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

Earth already in midst of sixth mass extinction, scientists say – video report

The scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has reported that the Earth is already in the stages of the sixth mass extinction, which will see the world’s wildlife and plants die out. The research found that species, including those which are not endangered, had reduced in number due to habitation shrinkage, hunting, pollution and climate change

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Seven right whales found dead in ‘devastating’ blow to endangered animal

Seven North Atlantic right whales have been found floating lifelessly in the Gulf of St Lawrence, off Canada, in recent weeks, in what is being described as a “catastrophic” blow to one of the world’s most endangered whales.

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Indigenous Artists Turn Ghost Nets — Which Destroy Australia’s Ocean Life — Into Artwork

News, Pollution
Jul
7

Ghost nets — the name given to abandoned or discarded fishing nets — are dangerous traps for marine life and are a particular problem on Australia’s far north coast. But one group, GhostNets Australia, is dedicated to removing the nets and cleaning up the ocean. And a group of indigenous artists are turning those nets into powerful works of art.

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Unique coral reef at risk as oil companies plan to drill near Amazon river mouth

Oil companies planning to drill near a vast coral reef at the mouth of the Amazon river have calculated that the unique ecosystem has a 30% chance of being affected in the event of an oil spill. The unique reef system astonished marine biologists when its existence was widely revealed last year, and is believed it could be the home for dozens of previously unknown species.

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Alarm as mangrove forests at the Kenyan Coast rapidly disappear

A recent study carried out at Tudor Creek – the water body separating Mombasa Island from the mainland – shows that more than 80 per cent of mangroves along the Indian Ocean coast in the area have been wiped out.

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Sea shells: A new source of sustainable biomaterials

Inform
Jul
5

Over 7 million tons of mollusc shells are discarded by the seafood industry each year as unwanted waste, and the vast majority of these shells are either thrown in landfills or dumped at sea. Researchers are looking at environmentally and economically sustainable options for these biomaterials.

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Trump’s alarming environmental rollback: what’s been scrapped so far

Since January, the White House, Congress and EPA have engineered a dizzying reversal of regulations designed to protect the environment and public health.

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A Call for a Hippocratic Oath on Protecting the World’s Oceans

An international group of marine conservation experts called for the creation of a code of conduct called a Hippocratic Oath for marine conservation, to ensure that the rights of local people are not trampled as the number of marine protected areas grows worldwide.

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Sea level rise isn’t just happening, it’s getting faster

In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes — a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future.

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Recent / Inform

Alarm as mangrove forests at the Kenyan Coast rapidly disappear

July 6th, 2017

A recent study carried out at Tudor Creek – the water body separating Mombasa Island from the mainland – shows that more than 80 per cent of mangroves along the Indian Ocean coast in the area have been wiped out.

Read More

Sea shells: A new source of sustainable biomaterials

July 5th, 2017

Over 7 million tons of mollusc shells are discarded by the seafood industry each year as unwanted waste, and the vast majority of these shells are either thrown in landfills or dumped at sea. Researchers are looking at environmentally and economically sustainable options for these biomaterials.

Read More

Trump’s alarming environmental rollback: what’s been scrapped so far

July 5th, 2017

Since January, the White House, Congress and EPA have engineered a dizzying reversal of regulations designed to protect the environment and public health.

Read More

A Call for a Hippocratic Oath on Protecting the World’s Oceans

July 3rd, 2017

An international group of marine conservation experts called for the creation of a code of conduct called a Hippocratic Oath for marine conservation, to ensure that the rights of local people are not trampled as the number of marine protected areas grows worldwide.

Read More

Sea level rise isn’t just happening, it’s getting faster

June 29th, 2017

In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes — a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future.

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Controversial beachfront sand mining operation along Monterey Bay to close

June 27th, 2017

The last coastal sand mine in the United States, a facility on Monterey Bay that scientists say has caused significant erosion of beaches in the area, will close in three years under a settlement agreement announced Tuesday with California officials.

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Feeling the Heat: How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters

June 26th, 2017

Steadily rising ocean temperatures are forcing fish to abandon their historic territories and move to cooler waters. The result is that fishermen’s livelihoods are being disrupted…

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Rising seas could result in 2 billion refugees by 2100

June 26th, 2017

In the year 2100, 2 billion people — about one-fifth of the world’s population — could become climate change refugees due to rising ocean levels. Those who once lived on coastlines will face displacement and resettlement bottlenecks as they seek habitable places inland, according to new research.

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Paris agreement’s 1.5C target ‘only way’ to save coral reefs, Unesco says

June 23rd, 2017

First global assessment of climate change impact on world heritage-listed reefs says local efforts are ‘no longer sufficient’…

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Ocean Circulation Plays an Important Role in Absorbing Carbon from the Atmosphere

June 22nd, 2017

The oceans play a significant role in absorbing greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, and heat from the atmosphere. This absorption can help mitigate the early effects of human-emissions of carbon dioxide.

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