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

1-Month Countdown Until Climate Marches In NYC And Around The World

drumbeat

September 21, 2014 is shaping up to be a day for the history books. Echoing the words of Paulo Coelho, “Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act.” That moment is now…

No comments

A Life Reserve for Sustainable Development in Chile’s Patagonia

chilean-flamingos-patagonia
Inform
Aug
21

The people of Patagonia in southern Chile are working to make the Aysén region, one of the few areas in the world that has largely kept its original wilderness intact, a “life reserve”.

No comments

Study Shows Marine Debris Costs California Residents Millions Of Dollars

beach-california
News, Pollution
Aug
20

Southern California residents lose millions of dollars each year avoiding littered, local beaches in favor of choosing cleaner beaches that are farther away and may cost more to reach, according to a new NOAA-funded Marine Debris Program economics study.

No comments

NOAA Analysis Reveals Significant Land Cover Changes in U.S. Coastal Regions

marsh-restauration-texas

A new NOAA nationwide analysis shows that between 1996 and 2011, 64,975 square miles in coastal regions, an area larger than the state of Wisconsin, experienced changes in land cover, including a decline in wetlands and forest cover with development a major contributing factor.

No comments

Earth Sliding Into Ecological Debt Earlier And Earlier

deforestation-guatemala

World has already exhausted a year’s supply of natural resources in less than eight months, being in a state of ecological overshoot.

No comments

The Army Corps of Engineers Moves Forward With 50-Year Project

beach-replenishment-ca

After more than a decade of work and research, a project report that aims to keep Bogue Banks beaches nourished for the next five decades has been submitted for final comment. The estimated cost for the initial project construction and the reoccurring nourishment projects over the next 50 years is $266,783,000. Since 2001, the project cost the county $2,947,503.

No comments

A New Frontier for Fracking: Drilling Near the Arctic Circle

alaska-child-thumbnail

Hydraulic fracturing is about to move into the Canadian Arctic, with companies exploring the region’s rich shale oil deposits. But many indigenous people and conservationists have serious concerns about the impact of fracking in more fragile northern environments.

No comments

A New Look At What’s In ‘Fracking’ Fluids Raises Red Flags

fracking

Scientists are getting to the bottom of what’s in fracking fluids, with some troubling results.

No comments

Project Serves Up Big Data To Guide Managing America’s Coastal Waters

elwha-river-mouth
Inform
Aug
18

Researchers have given a sweeping assessment to understand how human activities are affecting estuaries, the nation’s sounds, bays, gulfs and bayous. This study of the changes in land cover, river flow, pollution and nutrient levels offers a comprehensive look at the state of America’s estuaries.

No comments

Recent / Inform

1-Month Countdown Until Climate Marches In NYC And Around The World

drumbeat

August 21st, 2014

September 21, 2014 is shaping up to be a day for the history books. Echoing the words of Paulo Coelho, “Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act.” That moment is now…

Read More

A Life Reserve for Sustainable Development in Chile’s Patagonia

chilean-flamingos-patagonia

August 21st, 2014

The people of Patagonia in southern Chile are working to make the Aysén region, one of the few areas in the world that has largely kept its original wilderness intact, a “life reserve”.

Read More

Study Shows Marine Debris Costs California Residents Millions Of Dollars

beach-california

August 20th, 2014

Southern California residents lose millions of dollars each year avoiding littered, local beaches in favor of choosing cleaner beaches that are farther away and may cost more to reach, according to a new NOAA-funded Marine Debris Program economics study.

Read More

NOAA Analysis Reveals Significant Land Cover Changes in U.S. Coastal Regions

marsh-restauration-texas

August 19th, 2014

A new NOAA nationwide analysis shows that between 1996 and 2011, 64,975 square miles in coastal regions, an area larger than the state of Wisconsin, experienced changes in land cover, including a decline in wetlands and forest cover with development a major contributing factor.

Read More

Earth Sliding Into Ecological Debt Earlier And Earlier

deforestation-guatemala

August 19th, 2014

World has already exhausted a year’s supply of natural resources in less than eight months, being in a state of ecological overshoot.

Read More

The Army Corps of Engineers Moves Forward With 50-Year Project

beach-replenishment-ca

August 18th, 2014

After more than a decade of work and research, a project report that aims to keep Bogue Banks beaches nourished for the next five decades has been submitted for final comment. The estimated cost for the initial project construction and the reoccurring nourishment projects over the next 50 years is $266,783,000. Since 2001, the project cost the county $2,947,503.

Read More

A New Frontier for Fracking: Drilling Near the Arctic Circle

alaska-child-thumbnail

August 18th, 2014

Hydraulic fracturing is about to move into the Canadian Arctic, with companies exploring the region’s rich shale oil deposits. But many indigenous people and conservationists have serious concerns about the impact of fracking in more fragile northern environments.

Read More

A New Look At What’s In ‘Fracking’ Fluids Raises Red Flags

fracking

August 18th, 2014

Scientists are getting to the bottom of what’s in fracking fluids, with some troubling results.

Read More

Project Serves Up Big Data To Guide Managing America’s Coastal Waters

elwha-river-mouth

August 18th, 2014

Researchers have given a sweeping assessment to understand how human activities are affecting estuaries, the nation’s sounds, bays, gulfs and bayous. This study of the changes in land cover, river flow, pollution and nutrient levels offers a comprehensive look at the state of America’s estuaries.

Read More

Protecting America’s Underwater Serengeti

poissons

August 17th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed to more than double the world’s no-fishing areas to protect what some call America’s underwater Serengeti, a series of California-sized swaths of Pacific Ocean where 1,000-pound marlin cruise by 30-foot-wide manta rays around underwater mountains filled with rare or unique species.

Read More


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