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

Stunning images of the Mediterranean shoreline

Celebrate, Inform
Aug
10

Aerial photographer Tom Hegen visited the Mediterranean region to capture the showstopping beauty of this famous coastline. But his photo series doesn’t just highlight the region’s beauty -he hopes his images are also read as a comment on the effects of overtourism on the area.

Comments Off on Stunning images of the Mediterranean shoreline

Sardinia sand thieves face fines of up to €3,000

Sardinian authorities are getting tough with tourists who steal sand from the island’s pristine beaches as a souvenir and are issuing fines of up to Euros €3,000.

Comments Off on Sardinia sand thieves face fines of up to €3,000

‘Fog tsunamis’ are one of nature’s most terrifying pranks

Inform
Aug
9

Last weekend, thousands of beachgoers along the southwest of England enjoying an otherwise normal summer’s day were shocked to glimpse what appeared to be a tsunami racing towards them.

Comments Off on ‘Fog tsunamis’ are one of nature’s most terrifying pranks

Red tide is devastating Florida’s sea life. Are humans to blame?

Thousands of sea creatures now litter many of southern Florida’s typically picturesque beaches. “Anything that can leave has, and anything that couldn’t leave has died.”.

Comments Off on Red tide is devastating Florida’s sea life. Are humans to blame?

Why the endangered green sea turtle is losing its male population

The struggle to save the already endangered green sea turtle faces a new challenge. Now, the males of the species seem to be disappearing.

Comments Off on Why the endangered green sea turtle is losing its male population

Ugandan children abandon school for sand mining

More and more Ugandan children drop out of school, lured into sand mining on the banks of River Nile in Busaana Sub-county, and joining what seems a lucrative venture to earn a living.

Comments Off on Ugandan children abandon school for sand mining

Piling up: Drowning in a sea of plastic

Piece by piece, an environmental threat is piling up, and we’re ALL to blame. Worse yet, even those of us trying to bring an end to the problem may not be doing as much good as we think.

Comments Off on Piling up: Drowning in a sea of plastic

For Marine Life, New Threats from a Fast-Tracked Canadian Pipeline

A new Canadian government-backed pipeline that will triple the amount of thick Alberta tar sands oil flowing to a British Columbia port poses significant risks for a threatened population of killer whales and other coastal marine life.

Comments Off on For Marine Life, New Threats from a Fast-Tracked Canadian Pipeline

Troubled Waters

UCSB scientists find that wealthy nations are responsible for almost all of trackable industrial fishing across the global oceans.

Comments Off on Troubled Waters

Recent / Inform

Sardinia sand thieves face fines of up to €3,000

August 9th, 2018

Sardinian authorities are getting tough with tourists who steal sand from the island’s pristine beaches as a souvenir and are issuing fines of up to Euros €3,000.

Read More

‘Fog tsunamis’ are one of nature’s most terrifying pranks

August 9th, 2018

Last weekend, thousands of beachgoers along the southwest of England enjoying an otherwise normal summer’s day were shocked to glimpse what appeared to be a tsunami racing towards them.

Read More

Red tide is devastating Florida’s sea life. Are humans to blame?

August 9th, 2018

Thousands of sea creatures now litter many of southern Florida’s typically picturesque beaches. “Anything that can leave has, and anything that couldn’t leave has died.”.

Read More

Why the endangered green sea turtle is losing its male population

August 7th, 2018

The struggle to save the already endangered green sea turtle faces a new challenge. Now, the males of the species seem to be disappearing.

Read More

Ugandan children abandon school for sand mining

August 6th, 2018

More and more Ugandan children drop out of school, lured into sand mining on the banks of River Nile in Busaana Sub-county, and joining what seems a lucrative venture to earn a living.

Read More

Piling up: Drowning in a sea of plastic

August 5th, 2018

Piece by piece, an environmental threat is piling up, and we’re ALL to blame. Worse yet, even those of us trying to bring an end to the problem may not be doing as much good as we think.

Read More

For Marine Life, New Threats from a Fast-Tracked Canadian Pipeline

August 5th, 2018

A new Canadian government-backed pipeline that will triple the amount of thick Alberta tar sands oil flowing to a British Columbia port poses significant risks for a threatened population of killer whales and other coastal marine life.

Read More

Troubled Waters

August 5th, 2018

UCSB scientists find that wealthy nations are responsible for almost all of trackable industrial fishing across the global oceans.

Read More

Children living on Indonesia’s coast get free goggles to enjoy – and save – precious reef

August 4th, 2018

Indonesia’s maritime affairs minister has come up with an unconventional way to help preserve precious reefs from marine pollution: distribute boatloads of free goggles to children in the archipelago’s remote coastal regions. She wants to give next generation ‘the eyes’ to appreciate the marine world.

Read More

Mapping blue carbon in mangroves worldwide

August 4th, 2018

Mangroves store greater amounts of carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem, which helps reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. When carbon is stored in the ocean or coastal ecosystems, it is called blue carbon. However, a more precise estimate of how much blue carbon is stored by mangroves has not been available until recently.

Read More


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