Category Archives: News

Rising sea levels pose threat to homes of 300m people – study

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Severe coastal erosion in the Pacific Northwest, Washington state. Photograph courtesy of: ©Norma Longo.
“Cape Shoalwater, Washington is the fastest eroding stretch of land on the west coast, maybe even the entire Western Hemisphere.” —Eddie Jarvis.

Excerpts;

Figure based on new analysis of coastlines is more than three times previous estimate.

More than three times more people are at risk from rising sea levels than previously believed, research suggests.

Land that is currently home to 300 million people will flood at least once a year by 2050 unless carbon emissions are cut significantly and coastal defences strengthened, says the study, published in Nature Communications. This is far above the previous estimate of 80 million…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (10-29-2019)

New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding; Nature Communication (10-29-2019)

The only answer to rising seas is to retreat; By Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (10-18-2017)
Except for the timing, there is no controversy among scientists regarding sea level rise. Defending the coast and holding the shoreline in place ultimately will be futile. With a three-foot or a six-foot sea level rise, we will retreat, probably beginning within the next 50 years…

“Seawalls Kill Beaches,” Open Letters by Warner Chabot And Rob Young, (10-03-2014)

A softer approach, living shorelines as an alternative to a hardened coast; PortCity (05-12-2018)
Research over the last decade points toward the pursuit of living shorelines for coastal landowners seeking erosion control.But, with regulatory lag and miles of shoreline lost each year to harsh structures, it’s not always easy…

“Living Shorelines” Will Get Fast Track to Combat Sea Level Rise; Scientific American (07-06-2016)
As sea levels rise along U.S. coasts, it may soon get easier for people and local governments to obtain federal permits to build what are known as “living shorelines,” natural or nature-based structures designed to protect communities and infrastructure from extreme storms and flooding even as they protect habitat.

“A Never-Ending Commitment”: The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches; ProPublica (09-27-2018)

Beach rebuilding efforts won’t stave off climate change impacts forever; Guardian UK (09-20-2018)

Is Your Home At Risk Of Flooding From Rising Seas By 2050? Check This Map; BuzzFeed News (11-13-2018)

Coastal property was once king. Fears of climate change are undermining its value; The WSJ (10-31-2018)
In a growing number of coastal communities, homes near the sea are appreciating more slowly than those inland. That’s bad news for people on the beach, good news for those farther away…

Coastal residents need to set aside money now to cope with future flooding; Sun Sentinel (07-10-2018)
Sea-level rise is a national economic insecurity. According to the National Ocean Service, 39 percent of the U.S. population in 2010 lived in counties that are on shorelines…

Coastal homes could see flood insurance premium going up again, and that’s only the beginning; Miami Herald (07-24-2018)

Sea level rise is already eroding home values, unbeknownst to their owners; NOLA (08-21-2018)

Rising seas threaten nearly $1 trillion worth of US homes, and most of them are moderately priced; CNBC (10-18-2017)

Sea Level Rise Will Reshape U.S. Population In All 50 States; Yale E360 (04-19-2017)
Sea level rise could cause mass migrations that will affect not just the United States’ East Coast, but reshape communities deep in the heart of the country, according to new research…

Surrendering to rising seas; Scientific American (08-2018)
Coastal communities struggling to adapt to climate change are beginning to do what was once unthinkable: retreat…

Let’s end war with ocean, Op-Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey (04-2017)
The immediate future most certainly holds more miles of sandbags, resulting in more narrowed and ugly beaches.But this trend can be halted and reversed. Now is the time to make peace with the ocean.The time is now to stop sandbagging, both physically with no more shore-hardening structures, and politically with no more exceptions to the intent of the rules, no more undermining existing legislation, and a return to enforcement…

Survivors’ tales part of the art in Superstorm Sandy exhibit

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Photo source: ©© Hunter Desportes

Excerpts;

The stories of people who survived Superstorm Sandy, scrawled in their own handwriting, are an integral part of a new art exhibit remembering the deadly storm and the devastation it caused seven years ago. The “Just Beachy After Sandy” exhibit at Monmouth University in New Jersey is on display through early December…

Read Full Article; ABC News (10-27-2019)

Sandy Reminds Us of Coastal Hazards, by Robert Young

As the climate warms, we are ‘primed’ for worse storms than Sandy; Science Daily (10-06-2016)
With the climate warming and the sea level rising, conditions are ripe for storms deadlier and more devastating than Sandy that put more people at risk. If damaging storms become more frequent, retreat from areas with mounting repetitive losses will become a topic of discussion…

A Year After Sandy, The Wrong Policy on Rebuilding the Coast, by Robert Young Yale 360 E (10-31-2013)

‘Sand wars’: the battle to replenish Florida’s beaches amid climate crisis


A Gulf Coast of Florida community. Captions and Photograph courtesy of:© Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper

Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…Sand business is estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!” Captions by “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker: Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Excerpts;

Surfside’s postcard beach is experiencing a disappearing act amid hurricanes. rising sea levels – and a worldwide sand shortage…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (10-25-2019)

Florida has spent more than $100 million pouring more sand onto beaches in the past three years. Is it time to wave a white flag? Sun Sentinel (06-08-2018)
In South Florida’s war against the tides, it may be time to recognize that discretion is the better part of valor. For the past 70 years, the state of Florida has spent more than $1.3 billion on packing sand onto eroding beaches.

Column: The future of Florida’s beaches and the public’s right to know; Op Ed. by Orrin Pilkey (12-07-2015)

Column: High-rises spell the end for Florida beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper; Tampa Bay (07-25-2017)
Floridians are becoming more attuned to sea level rise and more familiar with nuisance flooding related to the rising sea. However, we believe there is less recognition that by century’s end it is likely that most of Florida’s major beaches will be permanently gone…

Gone with the wind: storms deepen Florida’s beach sand crunch; Reuters (02-16-2018)
Costs of so-called beach renourishments are a fraction of the total, measured in hundreds of millions of dollars, but the effort is crucial for Florida’s $67 billion tourism industry. And while sand needs are surging, there is not enough to go around…

Can Adding Sand to Beaches Save Them? How Stuff Works (04-13-2018)
The question is, can beach nourishment keep up with the ever-increasing forces of climate change or, like Sisyphus forever pushing his boulder up the hill, is adding sand to beaches an expensive, temporary fix to a long-term problem?..

Sand washes away as quickly as it can be dumped, Bathtub Beach, FL, TCPalm News (11-17-2017)
Between 2004 and 2014, some $13.6 million was spent on beach renourishment in Martin County, Florida. About $7.1 million came from local funds — your tax dollars. In the past two years, more than $6 million from a variety of sources has been spent to renourish and restore dunes at Bathtub Beach alone…

South Florida, Out of Beach, Wants to Buy Sand from the Bahamas, Slate (11-02-2017)
Miami-Dade County lost 170,000 cubic yards of sand during Hurricane Irma. It’s the latest blow to South Florida beaches in perennial decline. Nearly half the state’s coast—411 miles’ worth of beach—is considered “critically eroded.”

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

The hidden environmental toll of mining the World’s sand; Yale E360 (02-05-2019)
Sand mining is the world’s largest mining endeavor, responsible for 85 percent of all mineral extraction. It is also the least regulated, and quite possibly the most corrupt and environmentally destructive…

The Economist explains: Why there is a shortage of sand; The Economist (04-24-2017)
It may be plentiful, but so is the demand for it…

The world is running out of sand, The New Yorker (05-29-2017)

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations…? This investigative documentary takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “Sand Wars” have begun…


Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


BE THE CHANGE:

PETITION: Take Action To End Global Beach Sand Mining, Coastal Care

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Illegal beach sand mining, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Indian Ocean Dipole spells flood danger for East Africa


Little Hope Warrior, Kenya. Captions and Photo source: ©© Nesos

Excerpts;

Hundreds of thousands of people in East Africa are affected by heavy rains and floods linked to record-breaking temperature changes in the Indian Ocean.

The western Indian Ocean has been about two degrees warmer this month than the eastern Indian Ocean. As a result, higher evaporation off the African coastline is being dumped inland as rainfall: a simplified description of 2019’s positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) episode.

This year, the IOD is “enormous”, according to climate scientist Saji Hameed, who studies the phenomenon at the University of Aizu, Japan…

Read Full Article; The New Humanitarian (10-22-2019)

Turning plastic trash into high-quality liquid products


White stripes of decomposed styrofoam on the beach.
Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Researchers have developed a new catalyst that can cleave plastic’s strong carbon-carbon, converting it into higher value products.

The catalytic method serves a one-two punch by removing plastic pollution from the environment and contributing to a circular economy…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (10-23-2019)

Plastic pollution: When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care – ©2009
” Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us, around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods. However, durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power. Our tremendous attraction to plastic, coupled with an undeniable behavioral propensity of increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has become a combination of lethal nature…
The unprecedented plastic waste tide plaguing our oceans and shores, can become as limited as our chosen relationship with plastics, which involves a dramatic behavioral change on our part…”

Brazilians rally to clean beaches amid outrage at Bolsonaro’s oil spill inaction

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Brazil, Atlantic coast. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Nobody knows where the oil is from or why it keeps washing up on Brazilian beaches.

“People in the north-east are cleaning the oil from the coast with their own hands while the federal government is immobile…”

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (10-22-2019)

Scientists rush to rescue sea turtles threatened by mysterious Brazil oil spill; PRI (10-15-2019)
Crude oil has been washing up along a 1,200-mile stretch of coastline of the Brazilian northeast for over a month, leaving more than 150 of Brazil’s postcard-perfect beaches covered in thick, sludgy black patches. It is also along this coastline that olive ridley and loggerhead sea turtles come to make their nests and lay their eggs…

Mysterious Oil Spill Becomes New Environmental Crisis for Brazil; The NYT (10-08-2019)
A mysterious oil spill that has polluted shores along a vast area of Brazil’s northeast may have resulted from unspecified criminal activity. An estimated 100 tons of crude has drifted toward land since early September, polluting some of the country’s most pristine beaches…

Shocked scientists find 400km of dead and damaged mangroves in Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia

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Mangrove roots. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A cascade of impacts including rising sea levels, heatwaves and back-to-back tropical cyclones has created 400km of dead and badly damaged mangroves in the Gulf of Carpentaria, a scientific monitoring trip has discovered…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (10-03-2019)

Massive mangrove die-off on Gulf of Carpentaria worst in the world; Guardian UK (07-11-2016)
Climate change and El Niño have caused the worst mangrove die-off in recorded history, stretching along 700km of Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria. And last week it was revealed warm ocean temperatures had wiped out 100km of important kelp forests off the coast of Western Australia…

Queensland’s mangrove ecosystem dying in secret, Brisbane Times (05-20-2016)
There have been large scale diebacks of mangrove trees in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Scientists are not exactly sure what happened up there in the most remote areas of Queensland, but they know the damage is extensive and unprecedented…

Mangroves die-off in Queensland’s Gulf Country and Limmen Bight, ABC News Australia (05-13-2016)
Experts have been focusing on hundreds of kilometres of mangroves along the coast in Queensland, that have turned a ghostly white. Serious concerns about the situation, which is compared to coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef, which is the result of warmer ocean temperatures, are raised…

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Miami Beach declares a climate emergency. Youth activists want other cities to do it too.


Miami City’s Skyline, Through the Reflex System of a Camera. Photo courtesy of: ©Marc Martinez

Excerpts;

Miami Beach is one of more than 1,100 jurisdictions in 20 counties that have declared a climate emergency, including New York City, the United Kingdom, and even Pope Francis.

The long-simmering conversation about a climate emergency exploded in 2018 after an October United Nations report said that humanity needed to halve carbon emissions by 2030 to avoid even more dramatic changes by the end of the century, including droughts, famines and mass die-offs of coral reefs…

Read Full Article; The Miami Herald (10-18-2019)