After the FOSTER AGM on 2 April, Emeritus Professor Richard Cowling, one of the founders of FOSTER and previous chair and now portfolio committee member responsible for reserve management gave a fascinating talk titled “Not planning with Nature: Vulnerability of Greater St Francis Region to storms” which is now available on YouTube.

The Greater St Francis Region comprises several coastal settlements that have been planned not by considering nature’s patterns and processes but by violating them. Shifting sand dunes have been stabilized to accommodate holiday homes, wetlands have been drained to build a marina and suburbs laid out in the path of massive, flood-induced water flows. This has made the region extremely vulnerable to obvious impacts of climate warming, namely sea-level rise and higher and more intense storm incidence. How did this happen and what can we learn from this?