International
Collaroy Beach, Australia after the June 2016 storm. Photograph: UNSW Water Research Laboratory

Holding back the tides: Sydney's battle against coastal erosion

As Australian beaches succumb to destructive coastal surges due to climate change, Wendy Harmer considers the price of inaction at storm-battered Collaroy-Narrabeen

For the past 25 years I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a spectacular view of Collaroy-Narrabeen beach from my old wooden house tucked into the northern slopes of Mt Ramsay.

I survey a gorgeous, curved slice of coast where swell dispatched from the far reaches of the Southern and Pacific oceans reaches a final, spectacular resignation.

Collaroy-Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches is arguably as well known for its peerless status in Australian surfing culture as it is the pinup for rising sea levels due to climate change.

There cannot be a beach in Australia that has been more studied by experts and fought over by homeowners, beach users and grandstanding politicians than Collaroy-Narrabeen.

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