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

Science Panel Works To Update Sea-Level Rise Report, NC

coastal-erosion-north-carolina

A NC state-appointed science panel began work last week on an update to a controversial sea-level rise report, members of the panel said Thursday at a meeting of the Coastal Resources Commission.

No comments

Thousands Of Blue Sea Creatures Called Velella Velellas Wash Ashore In California

velella

The jellyfish-like invertebrates rarely washe ashore before the end of their lifespan. So when thousands of the tiny blue sea creatures recently turned up, en masse, on beaches in central California, many were surprised to see such a large amount of the beached marine life.

No comments

Plastic, Poverty And Pollution In China’s Recycling Dead Zone

china-garbage-recycling
Inform, Pollution
Jul
31

Adam Minter, Bloomberg’s Shanghai correspondent, visited Wen’an, once at the heart of the global scrap plastic trade. In a never-before published extract from his book, “Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade,” he describes the effects on workers’ health, and pollution incurred.

No comments

10 Hidden Beaches, Bays And Walks On The UK Coastline

duddon-uk
Celebrate, Inform
Jul
31

The British coast is dotted with magical spots few people visit or even know about. Here are 10 of the best.

No comments

Huge Waves Measured For First Time in Arctic Ocean

wave-ice-iceland

A University of Washington researcher made the first study of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and detected house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm.

No comments

Hawaii: Climate Wipeout

hawaii

A new video series that depicts Americans living on the front lines of climate change zooms in on one of our favorite vacation spots.

No comments

Nesting Gulf Sea Turtles Feed in Waters Filled With Threats

loggerhead-turtle-gulf-oil

Nesting loggerhead sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico feed among areas that were oiled by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and where human activities occur, several of which are known to pose threats to sea turtles, a new U.S Geological study showed.

No comments

Pacific Ocean Garbage Swirls Predictably, A Video

plastic-pollution-below
Films, Pollution
Jul
30

The ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’, including debris from the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, travels in seasonal patterns. Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team’s (COASST) executive director Julia Parrish explains the patterns and how her organization is helping to mitigate the problem.

No comments

Beach Erosion Again Exposes Concrete at Kuhio Beach, Hawaii

waikiki-beach-renourishment

It was just last October that beach erosion exposed an area of concrete along Kuhio Beach. Nine months later, it has happened again.

No comments

Recent / Inform

Science Panel Works To Update Sea-Level Rise Report, NC

coastal-erosion-north-carolina

August 1st, 2014

A NC state-appointed science panel began work last week on an update to a controversial sea-level rise report, members of the panel said Thursday at a meeting of the Coastal Resources Commission.

Read More

Thousands Of Blue Sea Creatures Called Velella Velellas Wash Ashore In California

velella

July 31st, 2014

The jellyfish-like invertebrates rarely washe ashore before the end of their lifespan. So when thousands of the tiny blue sea creatures recently turned up, en masse, on beaches in central California, many were surprised to see such a large amount of the beached marine life.

Read More

Plastic, Poverty And Pollution In China’s Recycling Dead Zone

china-garbage-recycling

July 31st, 2014

Adam Minter, Bloomberg’s Shanghai correspondent, visited Wen’an, once at the heart of the global scrap plastic trade. In a never-before published extract from his book, “Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade,” he describes the effects on workers’ health, and pollution incurred.

Read More

10 Hidden Beaches, Bays And Walks On The UK Coastline

duddon-uk

July 31st, 2014

The British coast is dotted with magical spots few people visit or even know about. Here are 10 of the best.

Read More

Huge Waves Measured For First Time in Arctic Ocean

wave-ice-iceland

July 30th, 2014

A University of Washington researcher made the first study of waves in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and detected house-sized waves during a September 2012 storm.

Read More

Hawaii: Climate Wipeout

hawaii

July 30th, 2014

A new video series that depicts Americans living on the front lines of climate change zooms in on one of our favorite vacation spots.

Read More

Nesting Gulf Sea Turtles Feed in Waters Filled With Threats

loggerhead-turtle-gulf-oil

July 30th, 2014

Nesting loggerhead sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico feed among areas that were oiled by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill and where human activities occur, several of which are known to pose threats to sea turtles, a new U.S Geological study showed.

Read More

Pacific Ocean Garbage Swirls Predictably, A Video

plastic-pollution-below

July 30th, 2014

The ‘Pacific Garbage Patch’, including debris from the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, travels in seasonal patterns. Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team’s (COASST) executive director Julia Parrish explains the patterns and how her organization is helping to mitigate the problem.

Read More

Beach Erosion Again Exposes Concrete at Kuhio Beach, Hawaii

waikiki-beach-renourishment

July 29th, 2014

It was just last October that beach erosion exposed an area of concrete along Kuhio Beach. Nine months later, it has happened again.

Read More

Bahamas Bacteria Feeding on Mineral-Rich Dust from the Saharan Desert

sahara-sand-dust

July 29th, 2014

Bacteria living in the warm waters off the Bahama Islands may feed on the mineral-rich dust that the wind carries over from the Sahara Desert, a new study finds. Winds may blow the dust about 5,000 miles across the Sahara and the Atlantic Ocean, before it settles along the Great Bahama Bank, a raised limestone platform on the ocean floor near the islands.

Read More


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