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

Study Finds Some Of Australia’s Remote Beaches Are Most Polluted

beach-kangaroo-australia
News, Pollution
Apr
23

A new study of Australia’s dirtiest and cleanest beaches estimates more than 150 million pieces of rubbish litter Australia’s sand and shores.

No comments

Plastic Bank: Tackling The Issues Of Poverty And Plastic Pollution

plastic-pollution-coastal-care
News, Pollution
Apr
23

There’s too much plastic making its way into the environment; here’s an innovative solution to the seemingly intractable problem of plastic waste…

No comments

Florida Communities Prepare For Rising Seas

sand-dredging-miami

While the nation looks for solutions to the problem of rising sea levels, some coastal communities in Florida are taking action to save themselves from sinking into the ocean…

No comments

“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common”

world-turn

It’s not enough to have Earth Day once per year. The “Earth Day” phenomenon needs to become a way of life

No comments

Happy Earth Day. We Just Reached Another Scary Climate Change Milestone

emissions

In May 2013, it was big news when, for the first time, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million. Now, researchers say that number has been consistently above 400 for the last month…

No comments

Earth Day 2014: How It Became a Global Environmental Event

peace
Celebrate, Inform
Apr
21

More than a billion people around the world will celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2014—the 44th anniversary of the annual day of action, during which people engage in various activities in honour of the Mother Earth pledging to do something to protect the environment.

No comments

Four Years after BP Oil Disaster Many Lessons Remain Unlearned

oil-on-beach

The BP oil spill, often called the worst man-made environmental disaster of our time, first began four years ago today, on April 20, 2010. The oil that spewed into the Gulf was an unprecedented environmental disaster that continues to devastate local communities. It will be years before we understand the full extent of the damage…

No comments

Painting with Islands and Sunglint

antilles-nasa
Celebrate, Inform
Apr
19

Sometimes the imagery is remarkable simply for its beauty. When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite looked down on the Lesser Antilles, the combination of sunlight, islands, and wind painted a beautiful scene on the surface of the Caribbean Sea.

No comments

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

Recent / Inform

Study Finds Some Of Australia’s Remote Beaches Are Most Polluted

beach-kangaroo-australia

April 23rd, 2014

A new study of Australia’s dirtiest and cleanest beaches estimates more than 150 million pieces of rubbish litter Australia’s sand and shores.

Read More

Plastic Bank: Tackling The Issues Of Poverty And Plastic Pollution

plastic-pollution-coastal-care

April 23rd, 2014

There’s too much plastic making its way into the environment; here’s an innovative solution to the seemingly intractable problem of plastic waste…

Read More

Florida Communities Prepare For Rising Seas

sand-dredging-miami

April 23rd, 2014

While the nation looks for solutions to the problem of rising sea levels, some coastal communities in Florida are taking action to save themselves from sinking into the ocean…

Read More

“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common”

world-turn

April 22nd, 2014

It’s not enough to have Earth Day once per year. The “Earth Day” phenomenon needs to become a way of life

Read More

Happy Earth Day. We Just Reached Another Scary Climate Change Milestone

emissions

April 22nd, 2014

In May 2013, it was big news when, for the first time, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million. Now, researchers say that number has been consistently above 400 for the last month…

Read More

Earth Day 2014: How It Became a Global Environmental Event

peace

April 21st, 2014

More than a billion people around the world will celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2014—the 44th anniversary of the annual day of action, during which people engage in various activities in honour of the Mother Earth pledging to do something to protect the environment.

Read More

Four Years after BP Oil Disaster Many Lessons Remain Unlearned

oil-on-beach

April 20th, 2014

The BP oil spill, often called the worst man-made environmental disaster of our time, first began four years ago today, on April 20, 2010. The oil that spewed into the Gulf was an unprecedented environmental disaster that continues to devastate local communities. It will be years before we understand the full extent of the damage…

Read More

Painting with Islands and Sunglint

antilles-nasa

April 19th, 2014

Sometimes the imagery is remarkable simply for its beauty. When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite looked down on the Lesser Antilles, the combination of sunlight, islands, and wind painted a beautiful scene on the surface of the Caribbean Sea.

Read More

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


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Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
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