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

Climate Change Is ‘Single Biggest Risk’ to Global Economy

storm

Addressing climate change is not only crucial for preserving the environment, it also makes good economic sense, some politicians and business leaders say.

No comments

Climate Change Concerns Weigh On Cape Home-Buying Decisions

coastal-erosion

Climate change has become a focal point in real estate discussions on Cape Cod. Increased awareness of rising sea levels, flood zones, and storm surge have potential buyers rethinking how close a relationship they want with the ocean.

No comments

Microplastic Pollution Discovered In St. Lawrence River Sediments

plastic-fragments
News, Pollution
Sep
22

Microplastics have been discovered widely distributed across the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the first time such pollutants have been found in freshwater sediments.

No comments

Do the Right Thing: Institutions Can Responsibly Divest from Fossil Fuels

oil-rig

The world is on track to dump 2.5 trillion tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere by mid-century. Does that sound like an innocuous number? It’s not. It’s terrifying. It’s nearly 3 times what our planet can absorb without disastrous impacts.

No comments

Timelapse Of The Removal Of Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River, Video

dam-removal-elwha
Erosion, Inform
Sep
22

Timelapse of the removal of Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. The largest dam removal in history is complete.

No comments

“Sand Wars” Won At The 29th Gémeaux Awards, Canada

sand-wars-584

Sand-Wars won the PRIX GEMEAUX award for Best Documentary in the Nature and Sciences category, at the Academy of Canadian and Television (ACCT).

No comments

Volunteers Hit the Beach for 2014 International Coastal Cleanup Day

becah-clean-up2
News, Pollution
Sep
20

Today, volunteers around the globe will flock to the shore for International Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual call-to-action for people to help tidy up summer hotspots after the busy tourism season is over.

No comments

Why Americans Are Flocking To Their Sinking Shores Even As The Risks Mount – Water’s Edge Part II

sandy-coastal-dges

Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living.

No comments

We Can Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs

coral-coastal-care-2

Parrotfish eat algae and seaweed. These brightly colored fish with beaklike mouths inhabit coral reefs, the wellsprings of ocean life. Without them and other herbivores, algae and seaweed would overgrow the reefs, suppress coral growth and threaten the incredible array of life that depends on these reefs for shelter and food.

No comments

Recent / Inform

Climate Change Is ‘Single Biggest Risk’ to Global Economy

storm

September 23rd, 2014

Addressing climate change is not only crucial for preserving the environment, it also makes good economic sense, some politicians and business leaders say.

Read More

Climate Change Concerns Weigh On Cape Home-Buying Decisions

coastal-erosion

September 22nd, 2014

Climate change has become a focal point in real estate discussions on Cape Cod. Increased awareness of rising sea levels, flood zones, and storm surge have potential buyers rethinking how close a relationship they want with the ocean.

Read More

Microplastic Pollution Discovered In St. Lawrence River Sediments

plastic-fragments

September 22nd, 2014

Microplastics have been discovered widely distributed across the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the first time such pollutants have been found in freshwater sediments.

Read More

Do the Right Thing: Institutions Can Responsibly Divest from Fossil Fuels

oil-rig

September 22nd, 2014

The world is on track to dump 2.5 trillion tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere by mid-century. Does that sound like an innocuous number? It’s not. It’s terrifying. It’s nearly 3 times what our planet can absorb without disastrous impacts.

Read More

Timelapse Of The Removal Of Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River, Video

dam-removal-elwha

September 22nd, 2014

Timelapse of the removal of Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. The largest dam removal in history is complete.

Read More

“Sand Wars” Won At The 29th Gémeaux Awards, Canada

sand-wars-584

September 20th, 2014

Sand-Wars won the PRIX GEMEAUX award for Best Documentary in the Nature and Sciences category, at the Academy of Canadian and Television (ACCT).

Read More

Volunteers Hit the Beach for 2014 International Coastal Cleanup Day

becah-clean-up2

September 20th, 2014

Today, volunteers around the globe will flock to the shore for International Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual call-to-action for people to help tidy up summer hotspots after the busy tourism season is over.

Read More

Why Americans Are Flocking To Their Sinking Shores Even As The Risks Mount – Water’s Edge Part II

sandy-coastal-dges

September 19th, 2014

Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living.

Read More

We Can Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs

coral-coastal-care-2

September 19th, 2014

Parrotfish eat algae and seaweed. These brightly colored fish with beaklike mouths inhabit coral reefs, the wellsprings of ocean life. Without them and other herbivores, algae and seaweed would overgrow the reefs, suppress coral growth and threaten the incredible array of life that depends on these reefs for shelter and food.

Read More

Australia Not Prepared For Effects Of Climate Change

australia-erosion

September 18th, 2014

More than three-quarters of the population lives near the coast but Australia’s love affair with the beach will come at a future cost. A report on the effects of climate change on Australia’s infrastructure calls coastal flooding the sleeping giant of risk to future prosperity.

Read More


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Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
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