Should We Rebuild?

The title of this New York Times op-ed article, We Need to Retreat From the Beach captured my attention because I've been ruminating over three recent conversations:

1. "This line shows where your property will be in a few years. Underwater." ~ my husband talking to a friend after marking a measurement showing the rising sea level on the wooden planks leading up from the ocean to his beautiful beach home on Martha's Vineyard

2. "There's lots happening and none of it is good. We're homeless, but we're starting to rebuild." ~ a phone call from my cousin after Superstorm Sandy devastated her Long Beach home, wrecked two cars and washed away a lifetime of memories

3."They shouldn't give those poor folks a cent to rebuild. No one should be living so close to the ocean anymore." ~ my mother's friend at a Mahjong game last week

We've now seen and experienced the edge of the ocean spilling into our homes...our lives, and as my friend, Judith Ross writes, "We are at a fork in the road." 

The NYTimes piece agrees, "As sea levels continue to rise, the surges of these future storms will be higher and even more deadly. We can’t stop these powerful storms. But we can reduce the deaths and damage they cause."


There's been talk of constructing 25 miles of coastal build a $15 billion seawall. This is the "cheapest solution." But would "the side effects" of such a barrier with its impact on inland estuaries and coastal marshes...and might I add, an eyesore to those who choose to afford a water view, be feasible given the "complex and overlapping regulatory structure that involves multiple local, state and federal agencies?"

Then there's the issue of insurance costs and outlays...yours, mine and ours. In some cases, should insurance money slated for rebuilding be redirected toward relocation and resettlement? Wouldn't it be even worse to lose a home again...and possibly a life?

These are heart-wrenching questions. I would love to know your thoughts about rebuilding in the face of our climate crisis.

Photo used with permission: Ben Scott for Bluerock Design

The World Is My Oyster

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.” ~ Ernest Hemingway, ‘A Moveable Feast’

What is it about oysters that people either love or hate? It’s a slippery slope, and oysters slide right into one of those polarizing food categories, kind of like cilantro. I happen to love fresh, briny, sweet oysters. But my daughter…not so much. These sea-dwellers don’t float her boat.

Nevertheless, a few weeks ago, while I was vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard with my family, my daughter and her partner (in business and life) were in the midst of branding their client, Honeysuckle Oyster Farm. To inspire the design process, early one morning, they set out by boat to go oyster farming. Their research is this photo story:

The seafarers returned with a full bag of oysters. As it turned out, my daughter sampled a raw oyster on the boat and she was still not enamored with the texture and taste. So my recipe resourceful husband decided to make oysters more palatable for her and grill them over an open fire (with a few clams). Here's his recipe:

Wood-Fired Grilled Oysters 

  1. Scrub oysters clean. If available, use oak or hickory wood.
  2. The fire is hot when you can’t hold your hand above the grate for a few seconds.
  3. Place the deep cupped half of the oyster shell facing the fire (flatter part facing up).
  4. In 2-3 minutes the oysters will open. Immediately, take the oysters off the grill before the liquid dries up.
  5. Can be served with a simple Rose Mignonette sauce.

The beauty of this dish is that it is like inhaling the sea...and while my daughter may not have “lost that empty feeling” towards eating oysters, she was inspired to “make plans” and brand Honeysuckle Oyster Farm.

Photos (except the grilled oysters): Ben Scott for Bluerock Design Painting: Nadine Robbins

Two Coasts, Wild Air

Did I mention I recently spent a few weeks on Martha’s Vineyard? Probably not. I don’t like to advertise my comings and goings online until I’m safely tucked back into my nest.

Last year, I summed up my beachy vacation in one word…Unplugged. It was an introspective post that was transformative in its theme. When I returned from the beach last year I shared about being unplugged:

Slowing down allows for more reflection…
More reflection provides for more space.
..More space gives way to a different intention.
..Different intentions delve deeper.
..Delving deeper blows the lid off everything.

When I reread this, it struck me that this summer has been anything but unplugged…and that’s been OK too. Being plugged-in sometimes has its rewards. In this case, it took me to the other coast. Within days of swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, I flew to San Diego to attend the BlogHer Conference…and I briefly gazed at the Pacific.

Wild Air

What’s BlogHer? It is a spirited gathering of more than 6,000 bloggers (almost exclusively women) who came together to “discuss, inspire and connect with each other.” If you’ve been hanging out at Econesting, you’ve no doubt read that I am part of a team of bloggers who write for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Moms Clean Air Force. MCAF was a BlogHer sponsor. You can check out photos from the event here.

There’s been something else in the air this summer. I’m now working in more of an editorial role with the MCAF. Along with writing posts, I will be helping to manage the new website that is about to launch. I am very, very pleased about this. For me it combines two things I am most passionate about: the environment and family. Don't worry, I will continue to bring eco-friendly design ideas, DIY projects and thoughts about living a sustainable life.

Wild, huh? So that’s what I've been up to. Where have you been?

Credit: Free People