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

Dual approach needed to save sinking cities and bleaching corals

Local conservation can boost the climate resilience of coastal ecosystems, species and cities and buy them precious time in their fight against sea-level rise, ocean acidification and warming temperatures, a new paper by scientists at Duke University and Fudan University suggests.

Comments Off on Dual approach needed to save sinking cities and bleaching corals

Human rights are at threat from climate change, but can also provide solutions

Climate change is here, and it is impeding the fulfilment of our rights. The right to life is universally recognized as a fundamental human right, yet, every year, 150,000 premature deaths are being linked to the climate crisis—a number set to increase due to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Comments Off on Human rights are at threat from climate change, but can also provide solutions

The biggest source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Car tires

News, Pollution
Oct
5

According to a study from the San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project, the biggest source of microplastic pollution in California’s coastal waters may come from car tires.

Comments Off on The biggest source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Car tires

Simple changes in intensity of weather events ‘could be lethal’

Faced with extreme weather events and unprecedented environmental change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up, with mixed results. A new model helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction.

Comments Off on Simple changes in intensity of weather events ‘could be lethal’

Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time

News, Pollution
Oct
3

A huge floating device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean that is three times the size of France has successfully picked up plastic from the high seas for the first time.

Comments Off on Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time

Coasts in Peril? A Shoreline Health Perspective; By Andrew Cooper & Derek Jackson

Most assessments of coastal vulnerability are undertaken from the perspective of the risk posed to humans, their property and activities. In this paper we present an alternative approach to coastal assessment that centers on the physical integrity of the coast and its associated ecosystems both now and in the near-future.

Comments Off on Coasts in Peril? A Shoreline Health Perspective; By Andrew Cooper & Derek Jackson

A whale found dead, 3 others euthanized on South Carolina beach

Biologists will perform necropsies on one whale that died and three that were euthanized after becoming stranded on a South Carolina beach.

Comments Off on A whale found dead, 3 others euthanized on South Carolina beach

315 billion-tonne iceberg breaks off Antarctica

The Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica has just produced its biggest iceberg in more than 50 years.

Comments Off on 315 billion-tonne iceberg breaks off Antarctica

Longest coral reef survey to date reveals major changes in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

An in-depth look at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef over the past 91 years concludes that since 1928 intertidal communities have experienced major phase-shifts as a result of local and global environmental change, leaving few signs that reefs will return to their initial state in the near future.

Comments Off on Longest coral reef survey to date reveals major changes in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Recent / Inform

Human rights are at threat from climate change, but can also provide solutions

October 7th, 2019

Climate change is here, and it is impeding the fulfilment of our rights. The right to life is universally recognized as a fundamental human right, yet, every year, 150,000 premature deaths are being linked to the climate crisis—a number set to increase due to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Read More

The biggest source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Car tires

October 5th, 2019

According to a study from the San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project, the biggest source of microplastic pollution in California’s coastal waters may come from car tires.

Read More

Simple changes in intensity of weather events ‘could be lethal’

October 4th, 2019

Faced with extreme weather events and unprecedented environmental change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up, with mixed results. A new model helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction.

Read More

Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time

October 3rd, 2019

A huge floating device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean that is three times the size of France has successfully picked up plastic from the high seas for the first time.

Read More

Coasts in Peril? A Shoreline Health Perspective; By Andrew Cooper & Derek Jackson

October 2nd, 2019

Most assessments of coastal vulnerability are undertaken from the perspective of the risk posed to humans, their property and activities. In this paper we present an alternative approach to coastal assessment that centers on the physical integrity of the coast and its associated ecosystems both now and in the near-future.

Read More

A whale found dead, 3 others euthanized on South Carolina beach

September 30th, 2019

Biologists will perform necropsies on one whale that died and three that were euthanized after becoming stranded on a South Carolina beach.

Read More

315 billion-tonne iceberg breaks off Antarctica

September 30th, 2019

The Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica has just produced its biggest iceberg in more than 50 years.

Read More

Longest coral reef survey to date reveals major changes in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

September 29th, 2019

An in-depth look at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef over the past 91 years concludes that since 1928 intertidal communities have experienced major phase-shifts as a result of local and global environmental change, leaving few signs that reefs will return to their initial state in the near future.

Read More

We know they aren’t feeding’: fears for polar bears over shrinking Arctic ice

September 29th, 2019

This year’s annual minimum of the Arctic sea ice tied with the second-lowest extent on record, a mere 1.6m sq miles, and badly affected polar bear populations that live and hunt on the north slope of Alaska, plus those that live on the ice floes in the Bering Sea.

Read More

What will Malibu’s beach erosion problem look like in 20 years?

September 28th, 2019

The rapid erosion of Malibu’s beaches in the past few years is nothing short of startling and has drawn the concerned attention of local citizens, advocacy groups and public officials. Beach erosion, attributable in part to climate change and in part to the hand of man, is pervasive, invasive and expensive.

Read More


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