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

The Great Barrier Reef’s Days May Be Numbered

heart-great-barrier-reef

Researchers appeared before an Australian Senate committee to review how federal and local governments have managed the reef, and found that the Reef is in the worse state it’s ever been in since records began. Researchers attributed the significant decline to coastal development as well as dredging and dumping sediment along the Queensland coast.

No comments

Science Brings Clarity To Shifting Shores

coastal-restauration-NY
Erosion, Inform
Jul
23

Each and every day, waves move sand back and forth, onto and away from beaches. The thin ribbon of sandy barrier islands and beaches along America’s coastline shifts constantly, especially during hurricanes, nor’easters, and other extreme storms.

No comments

U.S Gulf and Atlantic Coasts Not Prepared for Sea-Level Rise

coastal-flooding

The Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are not ready for the increased flooding and stronger storms that are expected from climate change, scientists say in The National Research Council report, released today.

No comments

Endless Erosion Battle a Matter of Money

treasure-island-florida

Since the first federal beach renourishment project in 1969, 3 million cubic yards of sand have been pumped back onto the beach, and about $25 million in today’s dollars have been spent on Treasure Island, Florida, alone to fight a natural process that’s been happening for ages on barrier islands, researchers say.

No comments

The Great American Oyster Collapse

willipa-bay

Scientists have linked climate change and pollution of the world’s oceans to problems with oysters and corals, and there are still questions about how other species of ocean life will be affected.

No comments

Plastic ‘Trash Islands’ Forming In Ocean Garbage Patch; Moore Live Webcast July 20th

plastic-pollution-below
News, Pollution
Jul
19

15 years after discovering what became known as ” the great Pacific garbage patch”, Capt. Charles Moore has returned to the garbage patch, and will report the staggering findings via a live satellite webcast on July 20th. He discovered a “trash island” more than 50 feet (15 meters) long, with “beaches,” a “rocky coastline,” and “underwater mountains” and reefs made up of ropes, buoys and other plastic debris…

No comments

Sustainable Tourism Thrives in Philippines’ Largest Marine Sanctuary

el-nido-philippines

In the last 10 years the number of tourists flocking to El Nido has more than tripled. In 2013 the famed marine sanctuary welcomed over 60,000 tourists to its white sand beaches, lush mangrove and ever-green forests, and magnificently sculpted jade islands. While tourism is a mainstay of the local economy, it is also an industry that is especially sensitive to reef conditions.

No comments

Microplastics Worse For Crabs And Other Marine Life Than Previously Thought

crab-mozambique

The tiny plastic particles polluting our seas are not only orally ingested by marine creatures, but also enter their systems through their gills, according to a new study.

No comments

Thousands Of Containers Fall Off Ships Every Year. What Happens To Them?

cargo-ship
Inform, Pollution
Jul
17

It is estimated that thousands of containers are lost every year along international shipping routes due to big waves or wind gusts. Sometimes they wash up on shore, but what happens to the containers that land at the bottom of the sea? No one really knew.

No comments

Recent / Inform

The Great Barrier Reef’s Days May Be Numbered

heart-great-barrier-reef

July 23rd, 2014

Researchers appeared before an Australian Senate committee to review how federal and local governments have managed the reef, and found that the Reef is in the worse state it’s ever been in since records began. Researchers attributed the significant decline to coastal development as well as dredging and dumping sediment along the Queensland coast.

Read More

Science Brings Clarity To Shifting Shores

coastal-restauration-NY

July 23rd, 2014

Each and every day, waves move sand back and forth, onto and away from beaches. The thin ribbon of sandy barrier islands and beaches along America’s coastline shifts constantly, especially during hurricanes, nor’easters, and other extreme storms.

Read More

U.S Gulf and Atlantic Coasts Not Prepared for Sea-Level Rise

coastal-flooding

July 23rd, 2014

The Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are not ready for the increased flooding and stronger storms that are expected from climate change, scientists say in The National Research Council report, released today.

Read More

Endless Erosion Battle a Matter of Money

treasure-island-florida

July 21st, 2014

Since the first federal beach renourishment project in 1969, 3 million cubic yards of sand have been pumped back onto the beach, and about $25 million in today’s dollars have been spent on Treasure Island, Florida, alone to fight a natural process that’s been happening for ages on barrier islands, researchers say.

Read More

The Great American Oyster Collapse

willipa-bay

July 21st, 2014

Scientists have linked climate change and pollution of the world’s oceans to problems with oysters and corals, and there are still questions about how other species of ocean life will be affected.

Read More

Plastic ‘Trash Islands’ Forming In Ocean Garbage Patch; Moore Live Webcast July 20th

plastic-pollution-below

July 19th, 2014

15 years after discovering what became known as ” the great Pacific garbage patch”, Capt. Charles Moore has returned to the garbage patch, and will report the staggering findings via a live satellite webcast on July 20th. He discovered a “trash island” more than 50 feet (15 meters) long, with “beaches,” a “rocky coastline,” and “underwater mountains” and reefs made up of ropes, buoys and other plastic debris…

Read More

Sustainable Tourism Thrives in Philippines’ Largest Marine Sanctuary

el-nido-philippines

July 18th, 2014

In the last 10 years the number of tourists flocking to El Nido has more than tripled. In 2013 the famed marine sanctuary welcomed over 60,000 tourists to its white sand beaches, lush mangrove and ever-green forests, and magnificently sculpted jade islands. While tourism is a mainstay of the local economy, it is also an industry that is especially sensitive to reef conditions.

Read More

Microplastics Worse For Crabs And Other Marine Life Than Previously Thought

crab-mozambique

July 18th, 2014

The tiny plastic particles polluting our seas are not only orally ingested by marine creatures, but also enter their systems through their gills, according to a new study.

Read More

Thousands Of Containers Fall Off Ships Every Year. What Happens To Them?

cargo-ship

July 17th, 2014

It is estimated that thousands of containers are lost every year along international shipping routes due to big waves or wind gusts. Sometimes they wash up on shore, but what happens to the containers that land at the bottom of the sea? No one really knew.

Read More

Climate Data From Air, Land, Sea And Ice In 2013 Reflect Trends Of a Warming Planet

co2-reduce-emissions

July 17th, 2014

In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators, greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc., continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released today. These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed.

Read More


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