There is no question that land is being lost to the sea — it is an inevitable part of climate change. However, as Erica Gies reports in this fascinating essay for Hakai, in some areas of the UK, the Environment Agency is not only acknowledging this — but helping the sea to win.

For that homeowner in Rodanthe, water has dictated immediate retreat from the coastline. Elsewhere around the world, people are beginning to leave coasts, usually on the heels of disasters or when they can no longer afford routine flooding or salt intrusion that fouls drinking water, kills plants, and spreads sewage.