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

Why Durban only got two Blue Flag beaches

News, Pollution
Oct
15

Durban was the first South African city to implement the international Blue Flag program.

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Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions

A new method for observing water within ice has revealed stored meltwater that may explain the complex flow behavior of some Greenland glaciers, an important component for predicting sea-level rise in a changing climate.

Comments Off on Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions

Climate Diaries: The hottest climate science in the world’s coldest place

A lot of what’s happening to sea level starts at the poles, where that ice is either liberated or sequestered … melted or frozen. NASA’s “Operation IceBridge” flies planes to Antarctica from South America to study how fast that continent’s ice is melting.

Comments Off on Climate Diaries: The hottest climate science in the world’s coldest place

Maui more susceptible to erosion from rising sea levels

Maui lands vulnerable to erosion are more than double previous projections, according to a new University of Hawaii study released last month.

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A New IFC Vision for Greening Banks in Emerging Markets

This past fiscal year, 36 percent of our own accounts and mobilization supported climate-smart projects — up from 12 percent a decade ago. Since May, we have been applying a carbon price to all project finance investments in the cement, chemicals, and thermal power sectors, at $40-80 per metric ton…Yet we should do more.

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Hurricane Michael brings new threat to Florida’s victims: toxic red tide

News, Pollution
Oct
13

Biologists fear that the storm surge carried with it red tide toxins that can cause respiratory distress and flu-like symptoms.

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Why the current hurricane rating system needs to be scrapped

For decades, hurricanes have been rated on a scale of 1 to 5 based solely on a storm’s wind speeds. But as recent hurricanes show, a tropical cyclone’s winds often tell us little about its real threats — coastal storm surge and precipitation-driven flooding.

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Sinking Santa Cruz: climate change threatens famed California beach town

Similar challenges are sprouting up along the coast, and the golden sands and beach properties that define the state at risk.

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10 of Australia’s best beaches

Celebrate, Inform
Oct
11

With a coast extending more than 50,000 kilometers, Australia offers beach-hoppers a staggering 12,000 stretches of sand to choose from.

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Recent / Inform

Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions

October 15th, 2018

A new method for observing water within ice has revealed stored meltwater that may explain the complex flow behavior of some Greenland glaciers, an important component for predicting sea-level rise in a changing climate.

Read More

Climate Diaries: The hottest climate science in the world’s coldest place

October 15th, 2018

A lot of what’s happening to sea level starts at the poles, where that ice is either liberated or sequestered … melted or frozen. NASA’s “Operation IceBridge” flies planes to Antarctica from South America to study how fast that continent’s ice is melting.

Read More

Maui more susceptible to erosion from rising sea levels

October 14th, 2018

Maui lands vulnerable to erosion are more than double previous projections, according to a new University of Hawaii study released last month.

Read More

A New IFC Vision for Greening Banks in Emerging Markets

October 14th, 2018

This past fiscal year, 36 percent of our own accounts and mobilization supported climate-smart projects — up from 12 percent a decade ago. Since May, we have been applying a carbon price to all project finance investments in the cement, chemicals, and thermal power sectors, at $40-80 per metric ton…Yet we should do more.

Read More

Hurricane Michael brings new threat to Florida’s victims: toxic red tide

October 13th, 2018

Biologists fear that the storm surge carried with it red tide toxins that can cause respiratory distress and flu-like symptoms.

Read More

Why the current hurricane rating system needs to be scrapped

October 11th, 2018

For decades, hurricanes have been rated on a scale of 1 to 5 based solely on a storm’s wind speeds. But as recent hurricanes show, a tropical cyclone’s winds often tell us little about its real threats — coastal storm surge and precipitation-driven flooding.

Read More

Sinking Santa Cruz: climate change threatens famed California beach town

October 11th, 2018

Similar challenges are sprouting up along the coast, and the golden sands and beach properties that define the state at risk.

Read More

10 of Australia’s best beaches

October 11th, 2018

With a coast extending more than 50,000 kilometers, Australia offers beach-hoppers a staggering 12,000 stretches of sand to choose from.

Read More

Sentinels of the sea at risk from changing climate

October 9th, 2018

Climate change’s effect on coastal ecosystems is very likely to increase mortality risks of adult oyster populations in the next 20 years.

Read More

Space junk?’ What is the ‘foamy’ mystery object that washed ashore on an SC beach?

October 6th, 2018

A mystery came out of the ocean on South Carolina’s Seabrook Island, and authorities haven’t yet identified what some are calling “space junk…”

Read More


Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
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