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

Cost of Coastal Flooding in Europe Could Reach $1 Trillion Annually by 2100

Without additional climate change adaptation measures, the annual cost of damage from coastal flooding in Europe could jump from $1.4 billion today to as much as $1 trillion by the end of the century due largely to rising sea levels according to new study.

Comments Off on Cost of Coastal Flooding in Europe Could Reach $1 Trillion Annually by 2100

Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time

Inspired by indigenous views of nature, a movement to grant a form of legal “personhood” to rivers is gaining some ground — a key step, advocates say, in reversing centuries of damage inflicted upon the world’s waterways.

Comments Off on Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time

Did sand mining exacerbate flooding during Hurricane Harvey?

Following Hurricane Harvey, the sand mining industry that has boomed along the San Jacinto River has come under fierce criticism. Protestors, environmental groups and state officials have argued that operating within the floodways reduced the river’s capacity to hold the surge of water.

Comments Off on Did sand mining exacerbate flooding during Hurricane Harvey?

Unspoilt, rare, dunes earmarked for new golf course

One of the last unspoilt coastal dunes in Scotland is under threat from plans for a championship golf course.

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Off the African Coast, a Struggle to Revive a Battered Fishery

The third-place winner of the 2018 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest looks at a campaign to enlist local fishermen to help reverse a sharp decline in the marine resources of the tiny island nation of Mauritius.

Comments Off on Off the African Coast, a Struggle to Revive a Battered Fishery

Jam-packed Colombian island preserves quiet way of life

Celebrate, Inform
Aug
12

From a distance, it’s hard at first to determine what Santa Cruz del Islote actually is. Rising from the sea, the island – one of the most densely populated in the world – appears to be floating.

Comments Off on Jam-packed Colombian island preserves quiet way of life

Some of the World’s best sailing destinations

Celebrate, Inform
Aug
12

Anchoring in idyllic bays. Slipping into azure waters for a refreshing dip. Warm breeze filling the sails en route to the next enchanted spot. The life aquatic is not to be missed. First, however, comes the decision on which tip of the planet to drift towards.

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“A place in crisis”: Author documents life on disappearing Tangier Island

Tangier Island, which is home to about 450 people, is slowly disappearing due to sea level change and shoreline erosion.

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Anse source d’Argent, Seychelles

Celebrate, Inform
Aug
11

L’Anse source d’Argent remains the Seychelles’ most popular stretch of shoreline, as its dazzling, reef-sheltered water and granite boulders atop bone-colored sand regularly prove too alluring to pass up.

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Recent / Inform

Cost of Coastal Flooding in Europe Could Reach $1 Trillion Annually by 2100

August 14th, 2018

Without additional climate change adaptation measures, the annual cost of damage from coastal flooding in Europe could jump from $1.4 billion today to as much as $1 trillion by the end of the century due largely to rising sea levels according to new study.

Read More

Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time

August 14th, 2018

Inspired by indigenous views of nature, a movement to grant a form of legal “personhood” to rivers is gaining some ground — a key step, advocates say, in reversing centuries of damage inflicted upon the world’s waterways.

Read More

Did sand mining exacerbate flooding during Hurricane Harvey?

August 14th, 2018

Following Hurricane Harvey, the sand mining industry that has boomed along the San Jacinto River has come under fierce criticism. Protestors, environmental groups and state officials have argued that operating within the floodways reduced the river’s capacity to hold the surge of water.

Read More

Unspoilt, rare, dunes earmarked for new golf course

August 14th, 2018

One of the last unspoilt coastal dunes in Scotland is under threat from plans for a championship golf course.

Read More

Off the African Coast, a Struggle to Revive a Battered Fishery

August 13th, 2018

The third-place winner of the 2018 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest looks at a campaign to enlist local fishermen to help reverse a sharp decline in the marine resources of the tiny island nation of Mauritius.

Read More

Jam-packed Colombian island preserves quiet way of life

August 12th, 2018

From a distance, it’s hard at first to determine what Santa Cruz del Islote actually is. Rising from the sea, the island – one of the most densely populated in the world – appears to be floating.

Read More

Some of the World’s best sailing destinations

August 12th, 2018

Anchoring in idyllic bays. Slipping into azure waters for a refreshing dip. Warm breeze filling the sails en route to the next enchanted spot. The life aquatic is not to be missed. First, however, comes the decision on which tip of the planet to drift towards.

Read More

“A place in crisis”: Author documents life on disappearing Tangier Island

August 12th, 2018

Tangier Island, which is home to about 450 people, is slowly disappearing due to sea level change and shoreline erosion.

Read More

Anse source d’Argent, Seychelles

August 11th, 2018

L’Anse source d’Argent remains the Seychelles’ most popular stretch of shoreline, as its dazzling, reef-sheltered water and granite boulders atop bone-colored sand regularly prove too alluring to pass up.

Read More

Stunning images of the Mediterranean shoreline

August 10th, 2018

Aerial photographer Tom Hegen visited the Mediterranean region to capture the showstopping beauty of this famous coastline. But his photo series doesn’t just highlight the region’s beauty -he hopes his images are also read as a comment on the effects of overtourism on the area.

Read More


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