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

“Dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is biggest ever

Each summer, a large part of the Gulf of Mexico “dies”. This year, the Gulf’s “dead zone” is the largest on record, stretching from the mouth of the Mississippi, along the coast of Louisiana to waters off Texas, hundreds of miles away. Around 8,776 square miles of ocean, an area the size of New Jersey or Wales, is almost lifeless.

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Cause of Atlantic coastline’s sea level rise hot spots now revealed

Seas rose in the southeastern US between 2011 and 2015 by more than six times the global average sea level rise that is already happening due to human-induced global warming, new research shows. The combined effects of El Niño (ENSO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), both of which are naturally occurring climate processes, drove this recent sea level rise hot spot, according to the study.

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No longer water under the bridge, statistics yields new data on sea levels

While the scientific community has long warned about rising sea levels and their destructive impact on some of the United States’ most populous cities, researchers have developed a new, statistical method that more precisely calculates the rate of sea level rise, showing it’s not only increasing, but accelerating.

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Mangroves: A Star Player In The Coastal Protection Game

They do it all: sequester greenhouse gases, protect marine life, maintain fresh water and, of course, defend against rising sea levels and storm surges.

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Beirut’s beaches blighted by the rubbish crisis

News, Pollution
Aug
7

Lebanon’s coastline is changing dramatically, with new planned landfill sites that will extend hundreds of metres into the Mediterranean that, amazingly, seem to bother few politicians. Many are persuaded that waste is inert though that is hardly the case with significant environmental damage that will leave an impact on future generations.

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Most beautiful black sand beaches in the World

oc-la-reunion

You can find beaches in almost every color of the rainbow, from pristine white sands to chic pink shores. But there’s something particularly breathtaking about black sand beaches.

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“I never thought I’d see it again”: the Irish beach that came back

Inform
Aug
6

In 1984, a beach on Ireland’s Achill Island vanished. This year it reappeared overnight. How are locals handling the sand?

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Current threats to our oceans revealed

A survey of tens of thousands of marine studies from the last decade reveals current threats to our marine environment. These include: the effects of climate change, marine plastic pollution, conservation, as well as social and economic impacts.

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Dramatic changes needed in farming practices to keep pace with climate change

Researchers investigating nutrients in runoff from agricultural land warn that phosphorus losses will increase, due to climate change, unless this is mitigated by making major changes to agricultural practices.

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Recent / Inform

Cause of Atlantic coastline’s sea level rise hot spots now revealed

August 10th, 2017

Seas rose in the southeastern US between 2011 and 2015 by more than six times the global average sea level rise that is already happening due to human-induced global warming, new research shows. The combined effects of El Niño (ENSO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), both of which are naturally occurring climate processes, drove this recent sea level rise hot spot, according to the study.

Read More

No longer water under the bridge, statistics yields new data on sea levels

August 10th, 2017

While the scientific community has long warned about rising sea levels and their destructive impact on some of the United States’ most populous cities, researchers have developed a new, statistical method that more precisely calculates the rate of sea level rise, showing it’s not only increasing, but accelerating.

Read More

Mangroves: A Star Player In The Coastal Protection Game

August 9th, 2017

They do it all: sequester greenhouse gases, protect marine life, maintain fresh water and, of course, defend against rising sea levels and storm surges.

Read More

Beirut’s beaches blighted by the rubbish crisis

August 7th, 2017

Lebanon’s coastline is changing dramatically, with new planned landfill sites that will extend hundreds of metres into the Mediterranean that, amazingly, seem to bother few politicians. Many are persuaded that waste is inert though that is hardly the case with significant environmental damage that will leave an impact on future generations.

Read More

Most beautiful black sand beaches in the World

oc-la-reunion

August 6th, 2017

You can find beaches in almost every color of the rainbow, from pristine white sands to chic pink shores. But there’s something particularly breathtaking about black sand beaches.

Read More

“I never thought I’d see it again”: the Irish beach that came back

August 6th, 2017

In 1984, a beach on Ireland’s Achill Island vanished. This year it reappeared overnight. How are locals handling the sand?

Read More

Current threats to our oceans revealed

August 5th, 2017

A survey of tens of thousands of marine studies from the last decade reveals current threats to our marine environment. These include: the effects of climate change, marine plastic pollution, conservation, as well as social and economic impacts.

Read More

Dramatic changes needed in farming practices to keep pace with climate change

August 4th, 2017

Researchers investigating nutrients in runoff from agricultural land warn that phosphorus losses will increase, due to climate change, unless this is mitigated by making major changes to agricultural practices.

Read More

Sand Project: More Turtles Than Expected

August 3rd, 2017

Federal agencies are re-evaluating sea turtle activities off part of the Outer Banks after large numbers of the marine animals have had to be moved out of the way of an ongoing beach re-nourishment project.

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Earth Overshoot Day 2017: August 2nd

August 1st, 2017

Earth Overshoot Day will arrive on August 2 this year, according to environmental groups WWF and Global Footprint Network. It means humanity will be living on “credit” for the rest of the year. It’s the earliest date since the day was first calculated in 1971.

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