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

Can Data Save Dolphins? How Scientists Are Using NASA Data to Study Link Between Solar Storms and Animal Beachings

The age-old mystery of why otherwise healthy dolphins, whales and porpoises get stranded along coasts worldwide deepens: New research suggests space weather is not the primary cause of animal beachings — but the research continues. The collaboration is now seeking others to join their search for the factors that send ocean mammals off course, in the hopes of perhaps one day predicting strandings before they happen.

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The Birth of a New Island; 2 videos by NASA Goddard Space Center

Inform
Dec
11

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is the first island of this type to erupt and persist in the modern satellite era. It was initially projected to last a few months. Now it has a 6- to 30-year lease on life and gives scientists an unprecedented view from space of its early life and evolution.

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The World’s 50 Best Beaches

Celebrate, Inform
Dec
10

Beaches in Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America (‘and everywhere in between’) have been ranked according to five criteria: sheer untouched beauty, remoteness, sand and water quality, annual days of sunshine, and average annual temperature.

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Drowning in garbage

News, Pollution
Dec
9

The world produces more than 3.5 million tons of garbage a day — and that figure is growing.

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Soul-crushing’ video of starving polar bear exposes climate crisis, experts say

Video footage captured in Canada’s Arctic has offered a devastating look at the impact climate change is having on polar bears in the region…

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Rising waters: can a massive barrier save Venice from drowning?

A retractable barrier designed to protect Venice from sea level rise and storm surges is set to be operational next year. But the project’s engineering limitations and cost overruns are raising questions about the mega-projects that many coastal cities are hoping can save them.

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Quick sand, dirty Money; South Africa

Mining has already cut coastal sand supply by as much as 70 percent in the municipality of Ethekwini, which includes Durban. Each year, miners dig up more than 400,000 cubic meters of sand from Durban’s rivers, enough to fill 160 Olympic swimming pools. This sand would normally be deposited on beaches and help offset coastal erosion. At current mining rates, Durban’s beaches are predicted to contract, on average, by more than a meter each year.

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U.N. environment chief warns “we’re facing an ocean Armageddon”

News, Pollution
Dec
5

U.N. Environment Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Erik Solheim, said that he is hoping that the Nairobi summit will be a turning point, “We’re facing an ocean Armageddon: Every year, we’re dumping at least 8 million tons of plastics into our oceans.”

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Bottles Become Sand at Globally Recognized Ranch at Laguna Beach

According to General Manager Kurt Bjorkman, the resort is the first property in the continental United States to use a GL Sand Machine that turns beer and wine bottles into sand that can be used to replenish the sand in bunkers on the resort’s golf course or the sand at the nearby beach.

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Recent / Inform

Can Data Save Dolphins? How Scientists Are Using NASA Data to Study Link Between Solar Storms and Animal Beachings

December 11th, 2017

The age-old mystery of why otherwise healthy dolphins, whales and porpoises get stranded along coasts worldwide deepens: New research suggests space weather is not the primary cause of animal beachings — but the research continues. The collaboration is now seeking others to join their search for the factors that send ocean mammals off course, in the hopes of perhaps one day predicting strandings before they happen.

Read More

The Birth of a New Island; 2 videos by NASA Goddard Space Center

December 11th, 2017

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is the first island of this type to erupt and persist in the modern satellite era. It was initially projected to last a few months. Now it has a 6- to 30-year lease on life and gives scientists an unprecedented view from space of its early life and evolution.

Read More

The World’s 50 Best Beaches

December 10th, 2017

Beaches in Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America (‘and everywhere in between’) have been ranked according to five criteria: sheer untouched beauty, remoteness, sand and water quality, annual days of sunshine, and average annual temperature.

Read More

Drowning in garbage

December 9th, 2017

The world produces more than 3.5 million tons of garbage a day — and that figure is growing.

Read More

Soul-crushing’ video of starving polar bear exposes climate crisis, experts say

December 8th, 2017

Video footage captured in Canada’s Arctic has offered a devastating look at the impact climate change is having on polar bears in the region…

Read More

Rising waters: can a massive barrier save Venice from drowning?

December 7th, 2017

A retractable barrier designed to protect Venice from sea level rise and storm surges is set to be operational next year. But the project’s engineering limitations and cost overruns are raising questions about the mega-projects that many coastal cities are hoping can save them.

Read More

Quick sand, dirty Money; South Africa

December 6th, 2017

Mining has already cut coastal sand supply by as much as 70 percent in the municipality of Ethekwini, which includes Durban. Each year, miners dig up more than 400,000 cubic meters of sand from Durban’s rivers, enough to fill 160 Olympic swimming pools. This sand would normally be deposited on beaches and help offset coastal erosion. At current mining rates, Durban’s beaches are predicted to contract, on average, by more than a meter each year.

Read More

U.N. environment chief warns “we’re facing an ocean Armageddon”

December 5th, 2017

U.N. Environment Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Erik Solheim, said that he is hoping that the Nairobi summit will be a turning point, “We’re facing an ocean Armageddon: Every year, we’re dumping at least 8 million tons of plastics into our oceans.”

Read More

Bottles Become Sand at Globally Recognized Ranch at Laguna Beach

December 4th, 2017

According to General Manager Kurt Bjorkman, the resort is the first property in the continental United States to use a GL Sand Machine that turns beer and wine bottles into sand that can be used to replenish the sand in bunkers on the resort’s golf course or the sand at the nearby beach.

Read More

Rapid, large-scale, coordinated action needed to beat pollution – UN chief

December 4th, 2017

Noting the severity of the threats posed by pollution to both people and the planet, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the need for rapid, large-scale and coordinated action by all actors to make the world pollution-free.

Read More


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