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

More than ever, our clothes are made of plastic. Just washing them can pollute the oceans.

marine-debris-orange
Inform, Pollution
Sep
21

It’s no secret that too many of the plastic products we use end up in the ocean. But you might not be aware of one major source of that pollution: our clothes.

Comments Off on More than ever, our clothes are made of plastic. Just washing them can pollute the oceans.

Satellite image shows Florence’s floodwaters polluting the Atlantic

News, Pollution
Sep
20

As the Carolinas’ swollen rivers crest, their “polluted floodwaters” are dumping out into the Atlantic, visibly discoloring the water offshore, federal experts have noted.

Comments Off on Satellite image shows Florence’s floodwaters polluting the Atlantic

Climate change modifies the composition of reefs

Corals devastated by climate change are being replaced naturally by other species such as gorgonians, which are less efficient in acting as a carbon sink. A study has analyzes for the first time why gorgonians are more resistant than corals to human impacts and global climate change.

Comments Off on Climate change modifies the composition of reefs

Micronizing ocean plastics threaten sea turtle populations, ocean life cycle

Inform, Pollution
Sep
17

Ingestion of degrading ocean plastics likely poses a substantial risk to the survival of post-hatchling sea turtles because the particles can lead to blockages and nutritional deficiencies, according to new research.

Comments Off on Micronizing ocean plastics threaten sea turtle populations, ocean life cycle

Catastrophic construction: Storms can build reef islands in atoll regions

Many coral reef islands, or atolls, are created by water moving sand and gravel, piling it up into consecutive ridged layers. However, new research has uncovered a different type of island construction: storm-deposited boulders.

Comments Off on Catastrophic construction: Storms can build reef islands in atoll regions

Scientists warned of rising sea levels in NC. Republican lawmakers shelved their recommendations.

The state’s coastal plain, would not be in such grave danger if lawmakers had not rejected a study prepared by a panel of scientists and engineers, that predicted the sea level would rise 39 inches by 2100 because of climate change.

Comments Off on Scientists warned of rising sea levels in NC. Republican lawmakers shelved their recommendations.

In pictures: Millions mark World Cleanup Day 2018

News, Pollution
Sep
15

Cleanups were organised in 152 countries around the world, with results from just 75 countries on Saturday night already confirming the participation of more than 14.5 million people. Full results of the day, including the amount of waste collected, were set to be released on Sunday.

Comments Off on In pictures: Millions mark World Cleanup Day 2018

International Coastal Cleanup: September 15, 2018

coastal-clean-up
Inform, Pollution
Sep
15

The International Coastal Cleanup began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline.

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Is the Great Barrier Reef recovering from coral bleaching?

Is the Great Barrier Reef recovering from coral bleaching? A CBS Video featuring Dr Mark Aerin, Coordinator NOAA Coral Reef Watch.

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Recent / Inform

More than ever, our clothes are made of plastic. Just washing them can pollute the oceans.

marine-debris-orange

September 21st, 2018

It’s no secret that too many of the plastic products we use end up in the ocean. But you might not be aware of one major source of that pollution: our clothes.

Read More

Satellite image shows Florence’s floodwaters polluting the Atlantic

September 20th, 2018

As the Carolinas’ swollen rivers crest, their “polluted floodwaters” are dumping out into the Atlantic, visibly discoloring the water offshore, federal experts have noted.

Read More

Climate change modifies the composition of reefs

September 20th, 2018

Corals devastated by climate change are being replaced naturally by other species such as gorgonians, which are less efficient in acting as a carbon sink. A study has analyzes for the first time why gorgonians are more resistant than corals to human impacts and global climate change.

Read More

Micronizing ocean plastics threaten sea turtle populations, ocean life cycle

September 17th, 2018

Ingestion of degrading ocean plastics likely poses a substantial risk to the survival of post-hatchling sea turtles because the particles can lead to blockages and nutritional deficiencies, according to new research.

Read More

Catastrophic construction: Storms can build reef islands in atoll regions

September 17th, 2018

Many coral reef islands, or atolls, are created by water moving sand and gravel, piling it up into consecutive ridged layers. However, new research has uncovered a different type of island construction: storm-deposited boulders.

Read More

Scientists warned of rising sea levels in NC. Republican lawmakers shelved their recommendations.

September 16th, 2018

The state’s coastal plain, would not be in such grave danger if lawmakers had not rejected a study prepared by a panel of scientists and engineers, that predicted the sea level would rise 39 inches by 2100 because of climate change.

Read More

In pictures: Millions mark World Cleanup Day 2018

September 15th, 2018

Cleanups were organised in 152 countries around the world, with results from just 75 countries on Saturday night already confirming the participation of more than 14.5 million people. Full results of the day, including the amount of waste collected, were set to be released on Sunday.

Read More

International Coastal Cleanup: September 15, 2018

coastal-clean-up

September 15th, 2018

The International Coastal Cleanup began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline.

Read More

Is the Great Barrier Reef recovering from coral bleaching?

September 13th, 2018

Is the Great Barrier Reef recovering from coral bleaching? A CBS Video featuring Dr Mark Aerin, Coordinator NOAA Coral Reef Watch.

Read More

North Carolina didn’t like science on sea levels, so passed a law against it

September 12th, 2018

In 2012, the state whose low-lying coast lies in the path of Hurricane Florence reacted to a prediction of catastrophically rising seas by banning policies based on such forecasts.

Read More


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