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

7 Solar Wonders of The World

caledonia-solar-heart

Solar energy is clean, reliable, abundant and an affordable alternative to fossil fuels – but not only that, solar is also cool. Check out a selection of the most amazing solar plants from all around the globe.

No comments

Seawall ‘Option’ Won’t Wash

sandbags-south-carolina

Hard erosion control devices aren’t generally allowed on South Carolina beaches, and with good reason. Here’s why: Seawalls actually can accelerate erosion, often on adjacent property.

No comments

San Francisco Rising to Threat of Swelling Seas

san-francisco

The City by the Bay, where bayfront shorelines will continue to experience worsening high tide flooding, where the nearby international airport is among the nation’s most vulnerable to floods, and where Pacific Ocean shoreline erosion could be accelerated by sea level rise, has adopted a first-in-the-nation approach to assessing potential infrastructure risks posed by rising seas.

No comments

Tracing Our Ancestors at the Bottom of the Sea

wave-sepia
Inform
Oct
21

Researchers are studying traces of prehistoric sea-submerged settlements. Some of these drowned sites are tens of thousands of years old, and have been found in the coastal waters and open sea basins around Europe. The drowned land includes some of the earliest routes from Africa into Europe, and the areas where people survived during the multiple Ice Ages.

No comments

Venice: Long-Admired Gondola Feature Threatened by Rising Waters

venise-gondoles

As the aqua alta -high waters- occur more frequently, largely due to rising sea levels, gondoliers are having more and more trouble getting their boats under bridges – and, as the highest part of the boat, the stern iron is becoming increasingly problematic.

No comments

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

cargo-ship2
Inform
Oct
20

Despite the physical limits and risks, ships of more than 450m are anticipated within the next five years.

No comments

2014 On Track to Become Warmest Year

coal

With September 2014 in the books as the warmest September on record and the year-to-date temperatures tying with 1998 and 2010 as the warmest January-September, the National Climatic Data Center announced Monday that 2014 will likely break the record for the warmest year on the books.

No comments

Belize Fights to Save a Crucial Barrier Reef

coral-coastal-care

Home to the second longest barrier reef in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere, Belize has long been acutely aware of the need to protect its marine resources from both human and natural activities.

No comments

Pacific Climate Change Warriors Block World’s Largest Coal Port

solomon-island-sail

Climate Change Warriors from 12 Pacific Island nations paddled canoes into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia, to bring attention to their grave fears about the consequences of climate change.

No comments

Recent / Inform

7 Solar Wonders of The World

caledonia-solar-heart

October 25th, 2014

Solar energy is clean, reliable, abundant and an affordable alternative to fossil fuels – but not only that, solar is also cool. Check out a selection of the most amazing solar plants from all around the globe.

Read More

Seawall ‘Option’ Won’t Wash

sandbags-south-carolina

October 23rd, 2014

Hard erosion control devices aren’t generally allowed on South Carolina beaches, and with good reason. Here’s why: Seawalls actually can accelerate erosion, often on adjacent property.

Read More

San Francisco Rising to Threat of Swelling Seas

san-francisco

October 23rd, 2014

The City by the Bay, where bayfront shorelines will continue to experience worsening high tide flooding, where the nearby international airport is among the nation’s most vulnerable to floods, and where Pacific Ocean shoreline erosion could be accelerated by sea level rise, has adopted a first-in-the-nation approach to assessing potential infrastructure risks posed by rising seas.

Read More

Tracing Our Ancestors at the Bottom of the Sea

wave-sepia

October 21st, 2014

Researchers are studying traces of prehistoric sea-submerged settlements. Some of these drowned sites are tens of thousands of years old, and have been found in the coastal waters and open sea basins around Europe. The drowned land includes some of the earliest routes from Africa into Europe, and the areas where people survived during the multiple Ice Ages.

Read More

Venice: Long-Admired Gondola Feature Threatened by Rising Waters

venise-gondoles

October 21st, 2014

As the aqua alta -high waters- occur more frequently, largely due to rising sea levels, gondoliers are having more and more trouble getting their boats under bridges – and, as the highest part of the boat, the stern iron is becoming increasingly problematic.

Read More

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

cargo-ship2

October 20th, 2014

Despite the physical limits and risks, ships of more than 450m are anticipated within the next five years.

Read More

2014 On Track to Become Warmest Year

coal

October 20th, 2014

With September 2014 in the books as the warmest September on record and the year-to-date temperatures tying with 1998 and 2010 as the warmest January-September, the National Climatic Data Center announced Monday that 2014 will likely break the record for the warmest year on the books.

Read More

Belize Fights to Save a Crucial Barrier Reef

coral-coastal-care

October 20th, 2014

Home to the second longest barrier reef in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere, Belize has long been acutely aware of the need to protect its marine resources from both human and natural activities.

Read More

Pacific Climate Change Warriors Block World’s Largest Coal Port

solomon-island-sail

October 19th, 2014

Climate Change Warriors from 12 Pacific Island nations paddled canoes into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, Australia, to bring attention to their grave fears about the consequences of climate change.

Read More

Salt Marsh Plants Key to Reducing Coastal Erosion and Flooding

salt-marshes

October 19th, 2014

The effectiveness of salt marshes – wetlands which are flooded and drained by tides – in protecting coastal areas in times of severe weather has been quantified in a study by researchers from the University of Cambridge.

Read More


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