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

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

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.

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

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.

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Erosion threatens scenery and real estate along iconic California coastline

This is supposed to be a beautiful beach, but instead it looks like a disaster area because a sea wall built about a decade ago to protect homes has failed. Now property owners are spending millions to fix it. From Mexico to Oregon, the iconic California coastline runs more than 3,400 miles.

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Sweetwater Authority eyes sand mining, material dredging opportunities, CA

Dam, News, Sand Mining
Sep
27

The board of the Sweetwater Authority is interested in sand mining and material dredging opportunities in and around the South Bay water agency’s two reservoirs.

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Why China’s renewable energy transition is losing momentum

Growth of wind and solar in China is slowing as government funding for green energy falters and upgrades to the transmission infrastructure lag. With China’s CO2 emissions again on the rise, experts worry the world’s largest emitter may fall short of key climate goals.

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Rising tides force Miami Beach residents to seek higher ground

Scientists with the United Nations Wednesday released their most alarming report yet on climate change. Oceans are warming, sea levels are rising and polar ice is melting — all of that is accelerating because of increasing carbon dioxide levels. But the report warns the harshest consequences may be on low-lying coasts, where almost 700 million people live.

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In Cambodia, sand mining is big business — but it comes at a price

News, Sand Mining
Sep
23

Sand mining accounts for 85 percent of all worldwide mineral extraction, a $70 billion industry. In Cambodia, the practice is big business — but it comes with a price. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

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Microplastics in the Great Lakes: Becoming benthic

Inform, Pollution
Sep
23

From the Great Pacific garbage patch to inland rivers, plastics are among the most widespread contaminants on Earth. Microplastics — particles of plastic smaller than five millimeters — are especially pervasive. As they build up in Earth’s waters, microplastics are also becoming a permanent part of the planet’s sedimentary layers.

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‘It can kill you in seconds’: the deadly algae on Brittany’s beaches

News, Pollution
Sep
22

For decades, potentially lethal green algae have amassed in shallow bays on Brittany’s beautiful north-western coast. Environmentalists say the blossoming of unusually large amounts of green algae are linked to nitrates in fertilisers and waste from the region’s intensive pig, poultry and dairy farming.

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Recent / Inform

Erosion threatens scenery and real estate along iconic California coastline

September 27th, 2019

This is supposed to be a beautiful beach, but instead it looks like a disaster area because a sea wall built about a decade ago to protect homes has failed. Now property owners are spending millions to fix it. From Mexico to Oregon, the iconic California coastline runs more than 3,400 miles.

Read More

Sweetwater Authority eyes sand mining, material dredging opportunities, CA

September 27th, 2019

The board of the Sweetwater Authority is interested in sand mining and material dredging opportunities in and around the South Bay water agency’s two reservoirs.

Read More

Why China’s renewable energy transition is losing momentum

September 27th, 2019

Growth of wind and solar in China is slowing as government funding for green energy falters and upgrades to the transmission infrastructure lag. With China’s CO2 emissions again on the rise, experts worry the world’s largest emitter may fall short of key climate goals.

Read More

Rising tides force Miami Beach residents to seek higher ground

September 26th, 2019

Scientists with the United Nations Wednesday released their most alarming report yet on climate change. Oceans are warming, sea levels are rising and polar ice is melting — all of that is accelerating because of increasing carbon dioxide levels. But the report warns the harshest consequences may be on low-lying coasts, where almost 700 million people live.

Read More

In Cambodia, sand mining is big business — but it comes at a price

September 23rd, 2019

Sand mining accounts for 85 percent of all worldwide mineral extraction, a $70 billion industry. In Cambodia, the practice is big business — but it comes with a price. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

Read More

Microplastics in the Great Lakes: Becoming benthic

September 23rd, 2019

From the Great Pacific garbage patch to inland rivers, plastics are among the most widespread contaminants on Earth. Microplastics — particles of plastic smaller than five millimeters — are especially pervasive. As they build up in Earth’s waters, microplastics are also becoming a permanent part of the planet’s sedimentary layers.

Read More

‘It can kill you in seconds’: the deadly algae on Brittany’s beaches

September 22nd, 2019

For decades, potentially lethal green algae have amassed in shallow bays on Brittany’s beautiful north-western coast. Environmentalists say the blossoming of unusually large amounts of green algae are linked to nitrates in fertilisers and waste from the region’s intensive pig, poultry and dairy farming.

Read More

The sound of the sand from the Dutch shores

September 21st, 2019

Sand, it turns out, has a signature sound of its own, and now scientists have found a way to tune in. In this study, scientists examine sand from the Dutch shores to link its unique acoustic traits to the source of the sand.

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Hurricane Nicole sheds light on how storms impact deep ocean

September 21st, 2019

Hurricanes can cause significant damage to human structures on land, and often permanently alter terrestrial landscapes. But these powerful storms also affect the ocean.

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Actions to save coral reefs could benefit all ecosystems

September 19th, 2019

Scientists say bolder actions to protect the world’s coral reefs will benefit all ecosystems, human livelihoods and improve food security.

Read More


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