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

Watch Out: Your Money Is Being Used to Destroy the World!

How governments spend taxpayers money to subsidise fossil fuels that cause deadly air pollution – A reminder to mark 5 June World Environment Day.

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Earth recycles ocean floor into diamonds

Inform
Jun
3

Most diamonds are made of cooked seabed. The diamond on your finger is most likely made of recycled seabed cooked deep in the Earth. Traces of salt trapped in many diamonds show the stones are formed from ancient seabeds that became buried deep beneath the Earth’s crust, according to new research.

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Mexico Beach holds sea oat planting event to rebuild sand dunes

Erosion, Inform
Jun
2

Mexico Beach is rebuilding its dunes along with its community. The city partnered with Duke Energy to start the process of restoring its beaches.

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UN Report: Sand Mafias are Destroying Moroccan Beaches

Sand mafias and illegal sand extraction are destroying beaches and threatening Morocco’s coastline, reminds the UN Environment Program.

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Newborn Hawaii beach is already polluted with tiny pieces of plastic

News, Pollution
May
30

There’s this romantic idea of the remote tropical beach, clean and pristine. That kind of beach doesn’t exist anymore. Pohoiki adds to the growing body of evidence that plastic is most likely ubiquitous on beaches: even ones that look virgin.

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Mass die-off of puffins recorded in the Bering Sea

A mass die-off of seabirds in the Bering Sea may be partially attributable to climate change, according to a new study.

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They partied on the beach. And then left 20,000 pounds of trash on it.

News, Pollution
May
28

Partygoers attending a “Floatopia” event spent the day drinking and bobbing in the Virginia Beach surf. And then they left behind tons of trash.

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Demand for sand: the largest mining industry no one talks about

The world’s largest and perhaps most destructive mining industry is rarely discussed. Approximately 85 percent of all material mined from the earth is a simple and widely available resource: sand. Because it is so cheap and readily available, it is mined by everyone from guy with a shovel, to multi-million dollar machine operations.

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Live fast, die young: Study shows tiny fishes fuel coral reefs

Scientists have long sought to understand how coral reefs support such an abundance of fish life despite their location in nutrient-poor waters. According to a new study, an unlikely group fuels these communities: tiny, mostly bottom-dwelling creatures called ‘cryptobenthic’ reef fishes.

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Recent / Inform

Earth recycles ocean floor into diamonds

June 3rd, 2019

Most diamonds are made of cooked seabed. The diamond on your finger is most likely made of recycled seabed cooked deep in the Earth. Traces of salt trapped in many diamonds show the stones are formed from ancient seabeds that became buried deep beneath the Earth’s crust, according to new research.

Read More

Mexico Beach holds sea oat planting event to rebuild sand dunes

June 2nd, 2019

Mexico Beach is rebuilding its dunes along with its community. The city partnered with Duke Energy to start the process of restoring its beaches.

Read More

UN Report: Sand Mafias are Destroying Moroccan Beaches

May 31st, 2019

Sand mafias and illegal sand extraction are destroying beaches and threatening Morocco’s coastline, reminds the UN Environment Program.

Read More

Newborn Hawaii beach is already polluted with tiny pieces of plastic

May 30th, 2019

There’s this romantic idea of the remote tropical beach, clean and pristine. That kind of beach doesn’t exist anymore. Pohoiki adds to the growing body of evidence that plastic is most likely ubiquitous on beaches: even ones that look virgin.

Read More

Mass die-off of puffins recorded in the Bering Sea

May 29th, 2019

A mass die-off of seabirds in the Bering Sea may be partially attributable to climate change, according to a new study.

Read More

They partied on the beach. And then left 20,000 pounds of trash on it.

May 28th, 2019

Partygoers attending a “Floatopia” event spent the day drinking and bobbing in the Virginia Beach surf. And then they left behind tons of trash.

Read More

Demand for sand: the largest mining industry no one talks about

May 26th, 2019

The world’s largest and perhaps most destructive mining industry is rarely discussed. Approximately 85 percent of all material mined from the earth is a simple and widely available resource: sand. Because it is so cheap and readily available, it is mined by everyone from guy with a shovel, to multi-million dollar machine operations.

Read More

Live fast, die young: Study shows tiny fishes fuel coral reefs

May 25th, 2019

Scientists have long sought to understand how coral reefs support such an abundance of fish life despite their location in nutrient-poor waters. According to a new study, an unlikely group fuels these communities: tiny, mostly bottom-dwelling creatures called ‘cryptobenthic’ reef fishes.

Read More

Bird chick clip on BBC One’s Drowning in Plastic documentary leaved viewers in tears

May 23rd, 2019

However hard this is to watch, we must face up to it.

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Against the grain: anger grows at spike in ‘sand graffiti’ by tourists in Japan

May 20th, 2019

Local authorities in Japan have drawn a line in the sand amid anger over a rise in graffiti by foreign tourists disfiguring its pristine coastal dunes.

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