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

Arctic Oil: It Is Madness to Celebrate a New Source of Fossil Fuels

Prirazlomnaya-platform-arctic
News, Pollution
Apr
18

After months of delays, Russian state-owned oil and gas company Gazprom has announced that the first ever shipment of oil from offshore Arctic waters has begun the journey to Europe.

No comments

Japan Will Conduct Pacific Whale Hunt In Wake Of Court Ruling

whale

Japan said it would conduct a sharply scaled down form of its annual Northwest Pacific whaling campaign this year despite an international court ruling last month against the mainstay of its whaling program in the Antarctic.

No comments

Keep Shell Oil Out Of The Arctic!

alaska

Be the change: Keep Shell Oil Out Of The Arctic! A NRDC call to action, supported by Robert Redford.

No comments

Saving Caribbean Tourism from the Sea

barbados-beach-erosion

Faced with the prospect of losing miles of beautiful white beaches, and the millions in tourist dollars that come with them, from erosion driven by climate change, Barbados is taking steps to protect its coastline as a matter of economic survival.

No comments

Army Corps Beach Erosion Fix Would Cost $43.4M

coastal-erosion-florida-daytona

The Army Corps of Engineers said it will be expensive to fix beach erosion problems along Flagler County’s shoreline, Florida.

No comments

Air Pollution Over Asia Influences Global Weather, Strengthening Pacific Storms

shanghai-night
News, Pollution
Apr
16

In the first study of its kind, scientists have compared air pollution rates from 1850 to 2000 and found that anthropogenic (human-made) particles from Asia impact the Pacific storm track that can influence weather over much of the world.

No comments

Turtles Change Migration Routes Due to Climate Change

cahuita-costa-rica

For centuries, the over 8 km of beaches in Cahuita, Costa Rica, have provided a nesting ground for four endangered species of sea turtle. But there is an “enemy” that conservation efforts can’t fight: the beaches themselves are shrinking.

No comments

Dorset Coastal Erosion: Nature Should Be Allowed To Take Its Course

dorset-wave

The National Trust has suggested that the best strategy in some cases is simply to allow nature to run its course…

No comments

Ocean Acidification Robs Reef Fish Of Their Fear Of Predators

reef-aj

Research on the behavior of coral reef fish at naturally-occurring carbon dioxide seeps in Milne Bay in eastern Papua New Guinea has shown that continuous exposure to increased levels of carbon dioxide dramatically alters the way fish respond to predators.

No comments

Recent / Inform

Arctic Oil: It Is Madness to Celebrate a New Source of Fossil Fuels

Prirazlomnaya-platform-arctic

April 18th, 2014

After months of delays, Russian state-owned oil and gas company Gazprom has announced that the first ever shipment of oil from offshore Arctic waters has begun the journey to Europe.

Read More

Japan Will Conduct Pacific Whale Hunt In Wake Of Court Ruling

whale

April 18th, 2014

Japan said it would conduct a sharply scaled down form of its annual Northwest Pacific whaling campaign this year despite an international court ruling last month against the mainstay of its whaling program in the Antarctic.

Read More

Keep Shell Oil Out Of The Arctic!

alaska

April 18th, 2014

Be the change: Keep Shell Oil Out Of The Arctic! A NRDC call to action, supported by Robert Redford.

Read More

Saving Caribbean Tourism from the Sea

barbados-beach-erosion

April 17th, 2014

Faced with the prospect of losing miles of beautiful white beaches, and the millions in tourist dollars that come with them, from erosion driven by climate change, Barbados is taking steps to protect its coastline as a matter of economic survival.

Read More

Army Corps Beach Erosion Fix Would Cost $43.4M

coastal-erosion-florida-daytona

April 16th, 2014

The Army Corps of Engineers said it will be expensive to fix beach erosion problems along Flagler County’s shoreline, Florida.

Read More

Air Pollution Over Asia Influences Global Weather, Strengthening Pacific Storms

shanghai-night

April 16th, 2014

In the first study of its kind, scientists have compared air pollution rates from 1850 to 2000 and found that anthropogenic (human-made) particles from Asia impact the Pacific storm track that can influence weather over much of the world.

Read More

Turtles Change Migration Routes Due to Climate Change

cahuita-costa-rica

April 15th, 2014

For centuries, the over 8 km of beaches in Cahuita, Costa Rica, have provided a nesting ground for four endangered species of sea turtle. But there is an “enemy” that conservation efforts can’t fight: the beaches themselves are shrinking.

Read More

Dorset Coastal Erosion: Nature Should Be Allowed To Take Its Course

dorset-wave

April 13th, 2014

The National Trust has suggested that the best strategy in some cases is simply to allow nature to run its course…

Read More

Ocean Acidification Robs Reef Fish Of Their Fear Of Predators

reef-aj

April 13th, 2014

Research on the behavior of coral reef fish at naturally-occurring carbon dioxide seeps in Milne Bay in eastern Papua New Guinea has shown that continuous exposure to increased levels of carbon dioxide dramatically alters the way fish respond to predators.

Read More

On Fracking Front, A Push To Reduce Leaks of Methane

fracking

April 13th, 2014

Scientists, engineers, and government regulators are increasingly turning their attention to solving one of the chief environmental problems associated with fracking for natural gas and oil – significant leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Read More


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