Inform

The health, beauty and ecosystem of our beaches is under threat

The driving cause for most of these problems is overdevelopment and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline, there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

Coastal Care Introduction

“Beach sand: so common, so complex, so perfect for sandcastles; and now it is a precious and vanishing resource.”

—Orrin H. Pilkey

Beaches are the most visited natural attraction on the planet. The coast attracts millions of vacationing people each year. People love the sand, the surf, the sea breeze, and the vacation ambiance so much that many come to the beach to stay. There is a magical feeling living near the ocean, but human migration towards the coast comes with a high environmental price tag.

A majority of the world’s population lives within 50 km of the coast and the projections are 75% by the year 2025. This strip of land represents only 3% of the total land mass of the planet. In this context, it is easier to understand the environmental impact. Over 70% of the earth is covered by water and with so many people living on the coast, we are polluting a major source of food, the oceans.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

The loss of life and economic impacts of major storms – cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes – and tsunamis would be reduced drastically if beaches were not developed. Unfortunately, recent examples of the problem are numerous: 1999 Indian cyclone Orissa (over 10,000 dead and $5 billion in damage), 2004 Indian Ocean tsumani (over 250,000 dead), 2005 Hurricane Katrina (over 1,800 killed and $80 billion in damage), and 2008 Hurricane Ike (over 30 killed and $30 billion in damage).

Today, the health, beauty, and ecosystem function of the world’s beaches are under threat and the driving causes for most of these problems are over-development and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

It is important to distinguish between erosion and erosion problems. Erosion refers to the landward retreat of the shoreline. Most of the world’s shorelines are eroding, a very few are building out (accreting). There is no erosion problem, however, until someone builds something next to a shoreline. All over the world in remote areas, shorelines are slowly retreating and no one cares. In a global sense, our continents are slowly shrinking, and in a very real sense, erosion problems are man made. On a high-rise, condo-lined shoreline like those in Spain and the Florida coast, erosion is a huge problem and will only worsen in the future as sea level rise accelerates. Sea level rise will accelerate erosion of the shoreline and have a dramatic impact on our infrastructures, our economies, and our way of life.

Sea level rise is one of the most important causes of global shoreline erosion. If the coastline is developed, shoreline armoring is often used in an effort to save the buildings from the eroding shoreline. Once this begins, the beaches will degrade and eventually be lost. In the long-term, however, these armoring efforts are in vain. The ocean will continue to rise as the rate of sea level rise is expected to increase as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continue to degrade. The situation is made worse now because beach houses and condominiums are being built closer to the ocean than they were 25 years ago. Many of us are familiar with images of large beach houses about to fall victim to the oceans simply from daily erosion accelerated by the ever rising sea.

The work of the Santa Aguila Foundation will emphasize the impacts of sand mining and shoreline armoring: the first because the effects of sand mining have been largely ignored on a global scale and the latter due to its overwhelming negative impacts on the world’s beaches.


Surfing in / Inform

The Electric Eye of Cyclone Bansi

bansi-eye
Inform
Jan
24

Though these images may look like they come from a science fiction movie, they are in fact photographs of tropical cyclone Bansi as seen at night by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). The images were taken when the ISS was east of Madagascar.

No comments

What Happens When You Bring Sand to the Beach

beach-replenishment-ca

A homeowners association, in San Diego County, California, claims that a $28.5 million sand-replenishment project has gone wrong. The 450,000 cubic yards of sand taken from offshore sites and placed on less than a mile of coastline created a flood hazard.

No comments

The Costa Del Concrete: Europe’s Coastlines and Urban Sprawl

monaco
Inform
Jan
24

Two French oceanography researchers expected to find pollution on their 8,345km, 14-month kayak journey from Gibraltar to Istanbul, but what shocked them was the endless spread of cities along the coast.

No comments

Study Projects Unprecedented Loss of Corals in Great Barrier Reef Due to Warming

coral-reef-coastal-care

The coverage of living corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef.

No comments

A “Rosetta Stone” for Conducting Biodiversity Assessments

stone

This month saw an important milestone reached by the U.N.’s young Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): Publication of its first public product.

No comments

High, Wide Sand Dunes Worked During Hurricane Sandy, Report Finds

coastal-restauration-NY

A study by a leading coastal science center lends new support to New Jersey’s efforts to build protective sand dunes along its 127-mile coast.

No comments

Melting Glaciers Increase the Flow of Carbon to Downstream Ecosystems

glacier

Melting glaciers are not just impacting sea level, they are also affecting the flow of organic carbon to the world’s oceans, according to new research that provides the first ever global-scale estimates for the storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers.

No comments

U.S. Cities Lag in Race against Rising Seas

coastal-erosion-iv

In just a few decades, most U.S. coastal regions are likely to experience at least 30 days of nuisance flooding every year.

No comments

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says

poing-coastal-care

A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

No comments

Recent / Inform

The Electric Eye of Cyclone Bansi

bansi-eye

January 24th, 2015

Though these images may look like they come from a science fiction movie, they are in fact photographs of tropical cyclone Bansi as seen at night by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). The images were taken when the ISS was east of Madagascar.

Read More

What Happens When You Bring Sand to the Beach

beach-replenishment-ca

January 24th, 2015

A homeowners association, in San Diego County, California, claims that a $28.5 million sand-replenishment project has gone wrong. The 450,000 cubic yards of sand taken from offshore sites and placed on less than a mile of coastline created a flood hazard.

Read More

The Costa Del Concrete: Europe’s Coastlines and Urban Sprawl

monaco

January 24th, 2015

Two French oceanography researchers expected to find pollution on their 8,345km, 14-month kayak journey from Gibraltar to Istanbul, but what shocked them was the endless spread of cities along the coast.

Read More

Study Projects Unprecedented Loss of Corals in Great Barrier Reef Due to Warming

coral-reef-coastal-care

January 22nd, 2015

The coverage of living corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef.

Read More

A “Rosetta Stone” for Conducting Biodiversity Assessments

stone

January 22nd, 2015

This month saw an important milestone reached by the U.N.’s young Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): Publication of its first public product.

Read More

High, Wide Sand Dunes Worked During Hurricane Sandy, Report Finds

coastal-restauration-NY

January 21st, 2015

A study by a leading coastal science center lends new support to New Jersey’s efforts to build protective sand dunes along its 127-mile coast.

Read More

Melting Glaciers Increase the Flow of Carbon to Downstream Ecosystems

glacier

January 21st, 2015

Melting glaciers are not just impacting sea level, they are also affecting the flow of organic carbon to the world’s oceans, according to new research that provides the first ever global-scale estimates for the storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers.

Read More

U.S. Cities Lag in Race against Rising Seas

coastal-erosion-iv

January 20th, 2015

In just a few decades, most U.S. coastal regions are likely to experience at least 30 days of nuisance flooding every year.

Read More

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says

poing-coastal-care

January 20th, 2015

A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

Read More

Program Looks at Potential Coastal Impacts of Fracking

fracking-waste

January 20th, 2015

While the coast may not be prime for fracking locations, there are questions about the disposal of the wastewater from fracking and where and how that disposal would take place.

Read More


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Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
One Percent