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Inform | Coastal Care

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

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great-blue-hole-belize

Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll is the home of the world-famous Great Blue Hole, a massive underwater sinkhole and World Heritage Site. But two of the islands that make up this special place could soon be dredged and paved to make way for race cars, golfers, and a tarmac.

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Small ‘Underwater Pompeii’ Found Off Greek Island

delos-greece
Inform
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21

emains of an ancient settlement, complete with a ruined pottery workshop, have been found on the bottom of the Aegean sea off the small island of Delos, the Greek ministry of culture has announced.

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News, Pollution
Nov
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No comments

Salinity Counts When it Comes to Sea Level

sea-salt

Using ocean observations and a large suite of climate models, scientists have found that long-term salinity changes have a stronger influence on regional sea level changes than previously thought.

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Environmental Bleaching Impairs Long-Term Coral Reproduction

coral-coastalcare

Bleaching, a process where high water temperatures or UV light stresses the coral to the point where it loses its symbiotic algal partner that provides the coral with color, is also affecting the long-term fertility of the coral…

No comments

Conservationists Slam Plans to Dump Mining Waste into Norwegian Fjord

Førdefjorden
News, Pollution
Nov
19

Norway’s image as one of the world’s cleanest, greenest countries with some of the finest unspoilt scenery will be tarnished if the government allows a giant titanium mining company to dump hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste directly into a fjord, conservationists warn.

No comments

Senate Defeats Keystone XL Pipeline

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News, Pollution
Nov
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The controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline failed to win approval in the Senate tonight by one vote.

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Discovering A Belt Of Carbon Dioxide

co2-belt-nasa

A continuous belt of higher carbon dioxide concentrations circled an area in the Southern Hemisphere that covered the tip of South America, Africa and southern Australia. Computer models that predict how chemicals move throughout the atmosphere did not predict this band.

No comments

Recent / Inform

A Luxury Resort Threatens Belize’s Mesoamerican Reef

great-blue-hole-belize

November 21st, 2014

Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll is the home of the world-famous Great Blue Hole, a massive underwater sinkhole and World Heritage Site. But two of the islands that make up this special place could soon be dredged and paved to make way for race cars, golfers, and a tarmac.

Read More

Small ‘Underwater Pompeii’ Found Off Greek Island

delos-greece

November 21st, 2014

emains of an ancient settlement, complete with a ruined pottery workshop, have been found on the bottom of the Aegean sea off the small island of Delos, the Greek ministry of culture has announced.

Read More

Explosion at Fieldwood Platform in Gulf of Mexico

oil-rig

November 21st, 2014

An explosion at oil and gas operator Fieldwood Energy’s Echo Platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday killed one person and injured at least one, but no pollution was reported, a U.S. safety agency and the company said.

Read More

EU Set to Approve Historic Deal to Cut Plastic Bag Use

plastic-bag

November 20th, 2014

A “historic” deal to cut Europe’s throwaway plastic bag culture is expected to be approved on Monday, which would cut the number of bags Europeans use each year by more than three quarters in just over a decade’s time…

Read More

Salinity Counts When it Comes to Sea Level

sea-salt

November 20th, 2014

Using ocean observations and a large suite of climate models, scientists have found that long-term salinity changes have a stronger influence on regional sea level changes than previously thought.

Read More

Environmental Bleaching Impairs Long-Term Coral Reproduction

coral-coastalcare

November 20th, 2014

Bleaching, a process where high water temperatures or UV light stresses the coral to the point where it loses its symbiotic algal partner that provides the coral with color, is also affecting the long-term fertility of the coral…

Read More

Conservationists Slam Plans to Dump Mining Waste into Norwegian Fjord

Førdefjorden

November 19th, 2014

Norway’s image as one of the world’s cleanest, greenest countries with some of the finest unspoilt scenery will be tarnished if the government allows a giant titanium mining company to dump hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste directly into a fjord, conservationists warn.

Read More

Senate Defeats Keystone XL Pipeline

oil-sand

November 18th, 2014

The controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline failed to win approval in the Senate tonight by one vote.

Read More

Discovering A Belt Of Carbon Dioxide

co2-belt-nasa

November 18th, 2014

A continuous belt of higher carbon dioxide concentrations circled an area in the Southern Hemisphere that covered the tip of South America, Africa and southern Australia. Computer models that predict how chemicals move throughout the atmosphere did not predict this band.

Read More

House Price Fears Over Plans to End Coastal Erosion Defense, UK

wales-coastal-erosion

November 18th, 2014

Thousands of people living on the coast of Wales, could see the value of their homes fall as the Welsh government agrees to stop defending some properties from the sea.

Read More


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