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

How do You Dismantle a Nuclear Submarine?

submarine-wreck
Inform, Pollution
Mar
30

When nuclear-powered submarines reach the end of their lives, dismantling them is a complicated and laborious process.

No comments

Polis Beach Erosion the Worst in 20 Years, Cyprus

cyprus

Climate change could be the reason for conditions which have led to drastic coastal erosion at a popular Polis beach, and experts say bad weather which battered the island has caused the worst erosion witnessed for at least twenty years.

No comments

Headlands Dunes Preserve is a Wild Beach with Sand, Forest, Marshes; OH

headlands-beach-oh
Celebrate, Inform
Mar
29

Once there were 170 miles of unspoiled Lake Erie beaches with dunes and beach-loving vegetation on Ohio’s North Coast. Headlands Dunes is one of the last surviving lakefront beach plant communities with its hummocks and its sand-loving vegetation.

No comments

Earth Hour 2015: UN Dims Lights to Focus Attention on Climate Action, Sustainability

sunset-2

Organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour encourages individuals, companies, organizations and Governments to switch off their lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m., local time worldwide, to focus attention on people-driven solutions to protecting the planet and building a bright, sustainable future.

No comments

Expanding Focus, Boundaries of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary

freedom-breach-pom-2013

NOAA has announced its proposed rule for expanding the size and the focus of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to include multiple marine species. Members of the public are invited to submit comments to the agency on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement now through June 19.

No comments

In the Aftermath of Cyclone Pam

tanna-1
Inform
Mar
27

When category 5 cyclone Pam swept over the island nation of Vanuatu in March 2015, two of the hardest hit islands were Tanna and Erromango.

No comments

Big Shelves Of Antarctic Ice Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought

1907-1

The Antarctic is far away, freezing and buried under a patchwork of ice sheets and glaciers. But a warming climate is altering that mosaic in unpredictable ways — research published Thursday shows that the pace of change in parts of the Antarctic is accelerating.

No comments

The Deadly Global War for Sand

sand-miner-mumbai-india

Apart from water and air, humble sand is the natural resource most consumed by human beings. People use more than 40 billion tons of sand and gravel every year. There’s so much demand that riverbeds and beaches around the world are being stripped bare.

No comments

Saltwater Intrusion: The Parts You Can’t See

wetland-nc

As saltwater moves increasingly farther into coastal plain, there will be changes to the landscape that we can see, like dead-standing trees, and many that we cannot. The quality of the water, the nutrients in the soil and the exchange of greenhouse gasses will all be affected.

No comments

Recent / Inform

How do You Dismantle a Nuclear Submarine?

submarine-wreck

March 30th, 2015

When nuclear-powered submarines reach the end of their lives, dismantling them is a complicated and laborious process.

Read More

Polis Beach Erosion the Worst in 20 Years, Cyprus

cyprus

March 30th, 2015

Climate change could be the reason for conditions which have led to drastic coastal erosion at a popular Polis beach, and experts say bad weather which battered the island has caused the worst erosion witnessed for at least twenty years.

Read More

Headlands Dunes Preserve is a Wild Beach with Sand, Forest, Marshes; OH

headlands-beach-oh

March 29th, 2015

Once there were 170 miles of unspoiled Lake Erie beaches with dunes and beach-loving vegetation on Ohio’s North Coast. Headlands Dunes is one of the last surviving lakefront beach plant communities with its hummocks and its sand-loving vegetation.

Read More

Earth Hour 2015: UN Dims Lights to Focus Attention on Climate Action, Sustainability

sunset-2

March 28th, 2015

Organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour encourages individuals, companies, organizations and Governments to switch off their lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m., local time worldwide, to focus attention on people-driven solutions to protecting the planet and building a bright, sustainable future.

Read More

Expanding Focus, Boundaries of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary

freedom-breach-pom-2013

March 27th, 2015

NOAA has announced its proposed rule for expanding the size and the focus of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to include multiple marine species. Members of the public are invited to submit comments to the agency on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement now through June 19.

Read More

In the Aftermath of Cyclone Pam

tanna-1

March 27th, 2015

When category 5 cyclone Pam swept over the island nation of Vanuatu in March 2015, two of the hardest hit islands were Tanna and Erromango.

Read More

Big Shelves Of Antarctic Ice Melting Faster Than Scientists Thought

1907-1

March 27th, 2015

The Antarctic is far away, freezing and buried under a patchwork of ice sheets and glaciers. But a warming climate is altering that mosaic in unpredictable ways — research published Thursday shows that the pace of change in parts of the Antarctic is accelerating.

Read More

The Deadly Global War for Sand

sand-miner-mumbai-india

March 26th, 2015

Apart from water and air, humble sand is the natural resource most consumed by human beings. People use more than 40 billion tons of sand and gravel every year. There’s so much demand that riverbeds and beaches around the world are being stripped bare.

Read More

Saltwater Intrusion: The Parts You Can’t See

wetland-nc

March 26th, 2015

As saltwater moves increasingly farther into coastal plain, there will be changes to the landscape that we can see, like dead-standing trees, and many that we cannot. The quality of the water, the nutrients in the soil and the exchange of greenhouse gasses will all be affected.

Read More

Pollution a Key but Underrated Factor in New Development Goals

pollution-morocco

March 26th, 2015

Pollution is likely to be the most pressing global health issue in the coming years without effective prevention and clean-up efforts, experts say.

Read More


You do not have the Flash plugin installed, or your browser does not support Javascript (you should enable it, perhaps?)


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