Building Coastal Resilience with Nature

Climate & Environment

Mike Beck

Director of the Center for Coastal Climate Resilience and AXA Chair in Coastal Resilience

Coasts play a central role in our societies and yet, because of climate change, they are now at greater risk or erosion and flooding. In this masterclass, Prof. Mike Beck explores the superpower of nature, especially reefs and wetlands, to help protect coastal communities from climate change.

Get familiar with mangroves, marshes and oyster reefs to build climate resilience.

What you will learn

  • How we're destroying natural ecosystems like marshes, mangroves, and coral reefs

  • Why nature is our greatest ally to protect our coasts

  • The importance of investing in green (vs grey) infrastructure solutions

  • Why Nature Capital Accounting should be the next big thing

  • How to use flumes and video games to visualize risks

30mn | Video

The masterclass in 3 main chapters

Chapter 1

The vulnerability of the coasts

05:23 | Video

1.1 The rapid loss of coastal habitats
Coastal development, over-fishing and pollution have led to terrible losses in terms of coastal habitats worldwide.

1.2 Coasts are facing growing natural disasters
There is a much greater problem for our coastal infrastructure than sea-level rise: rising waves. 

Chapter 2

Adapting to climate change thanks to nature-based solutions

07:00 | Video

2.1 Wetlands protect people and property
Wetlands, including marshes and mangroves, act as natural coastal defenses that protect people and property from flooding.

2.2 Reefs break big waves
Reefs are providing critical coastal protection that has been widely overlooked. We need to restore them. 

Chapter 3

Solutions to develop resilience

15:53 | Video

3.1 We can reduce risks by investing in nature-based solutions
Today we spend most funds to manage natural disasters after they happen, not before.

3.2 Including environmental assets in national economic accounting
Natural Capital Accounting can help to change policies about how we manage nature.

3.3 Insuring nature as an asset
We could insure nature as asset – just like our homes. And other solutions.

3.4 Rethinking public and private infrastructure investments
We have not reached the tipping point where nature-based solutions are regularly considered. How to get there?


MasterScience is a masterclass program designed to help you understand how science contributes to the progress of society.

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