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

Our coastal cemeteries are falling into the sea; By Orrin H. Pilkey & William J. Neal

Cemeteries in coastal areas were not located with the expectation that they would flood or fall into the sea. But most of the world’s ocean and estuarine shorelines are eroding — some slowly like California’s rocky coasts, and others rapidly like the Carolinas’ barrier island coasts.

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Rise and fall of the Great Barrier Reef

A landmark international study of the Great Barrier Reef has shown that in the past 30,000 years the world’s largest reef system has suffered five death events, largely driven by changes in sea level and associated environmental change.

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You Can Help Turn the Tide on Plastic. Here’s How.

Inform, Pollution
May
27

Do these six pain-free things, and you’ll help reduce the impact plastic is having on oceans and other waterways around the world.

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Jobless Cape Coast youth venture into illegal beach sand winning; Ghana

News, Sand Mining
May
26

The youth at Bakaano, a suburb of Cape Coast, have taken to illegal mining due to the unavailability of jobs.

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New York city to consider banning plastic straws

News, Pollution
May
25

If the bill becomes law, restaurants that continue to use plastic straws would be warned, then face fines between $100 and $400.

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Del Mar takes another look at rising sea level and unpopular ‘planned retreat’

The California Coastal Commission requires all coastal cities to have a sea-rise adaptation plan, and to include planned retreat as part of their strategy.

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Fukushima radioactive particle release was significant, says new research

Scientists say there was a significant release of radioactive particles during the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident. The researchers identified the contamination using a new method and say if the particles are inhaled they could pose long-term health risks to humans.

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The best beaches on Cape Cod

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Celebrate, Inform
May
23

From open ocean expanses to quiet tidal beaches—all along the Massachusetts’coast.

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Review of biodegradable bags shows not enough is known to judge if they are safe for environment

News, Pollution
May
23

A team of researchers from the U.K. Austria and France has found that not enough work has been done to determine if biodegradable shopping bags are actually environmentally friendly.

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Recent / Inform

Jobless Cape Coast youth venture into illegal beach sand winning; Ghana

May 26th, 2018

The youth at Bakaano, a suburb of Cape Coast, have taken to illegal mining due to the unavailability of jobs.

Read More

New York city to consider banning plastic straws

May 25th, 2018

If the bill becomes law, restaurants that continue to use plastic straws would be warned, then face fines between $100 and $400.

Read More

Del Mar takes another look at rising sea level and unpopular ‘planned retreat’

May 25th, 2018

The California Coastal Commission requires all coastal cities to have a sea-rise adaptation plan, and to include planned retreat as part of their strategy.

Read More

Fukushima radioactive particle release was significant, says new research

May 25th, 2018

Scientists say there was a significant release of radioactive particles during the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident. The researchers identified the contamination using a new method and say if the particles are inhaled they could pose long-term health risks to humans.

Read More

The best beaches on Cape Cod

bali

May 23rd, 2018

From open ocean expanses to quiet tidal beaches—all along the Massachusetts’coast.

Read More

Review of biodegradable bags shows not enough is known to judge if they are safe for environment

May 23rd, 2018

A team of researchers from the U.K. Austria and France has found that not enough work has been done to determine if biodegradable shopping bags are actually environmentally friendly.

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Microplastics most abundant in the surface sediments

May 23rd, 2018

Microplastics were found at all 16 sites studied in Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel, British Columbia, and were most abundant in the sediments of Henry Bay and Metcalfe Bay, according to a new study, that identified three main types: microfibers, microbeads and micro fragments.

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Shipping and Industry Threaten Famed Home of the Bengal Tiger

May 22nd, 2018

Toxic chemical pollution in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, is threatening thousands of marine and forest species and has environmentalists deeply concerned about the future of this World Heritage Site.

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A Balkan dam boom imperils Europe’s wildest rivers

May 22nd, 2018

The Balkan Peninsula, one of Europe’s most undeveloped regions, is facing a wave of thousands of hydroelectric projects that would block pristine, free-flowing rivers and cause major environmental damage. Local residents and conservationists are fighting back.

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Human race just 0.01% of all life but has eradicated most other living things

May 21st, 2018

Humankind is revealed as simultaneously insignificant and utterly dominant in the grand scheme of life on Earth by a groundbreaking new assessment of all life on the planet.

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