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

Why mangroves matter: Experts respond on International Mangrove Day

Given all that mangroves do, it is unsurprising that the forests have a special day dedicated to them: July 26, International Mangrove Day. However, mangroves have declined rapidly around the world. What does the disappearance of this special forest ecosystem mean for our planet? This is what some mangrove experts have to say.

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Earth’s resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes

Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes. As a result, the Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to 1 August, the earliest date ever recorded.

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Acidic oceans cause fish to lose their sense of smell

Fish are losing their sense of smell because of increasingly acidic oceans caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, new research shows.

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Coastal homes could see flood insurance premium going up again, and that’s only the beginning

FEMA is looking into switching to risk-based pricing in 2020, which would end the subsidies most coastal communities enjoy on their flood insurance premiums and show the true dollar cost of living in areas repeatedly pounded by hurricanes and drenched with floods.

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See wave of garbage off the Dominican Republic

News, Pollution
Jul
24

A video taken by “Parley for the Oceans” on July 14 shows a “dense garbage carpet” covering the water in Santo Domingo.

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Global Study of World’s Beaches Shows Threat to Protected Areas

A first-of-its-kind survey of the world’s sandy shorelines with satellite data found that they have increased slightly on a global scale over the past three decades but decreased in protected marine areas, where many beaches are eroding.

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Starbucks is banning straws – but is it really a big win for the environment?

News, Pollution
Jul
23

The coffee giant has announced that it is phasing out straws. But are the new lids it’s introducing actually any better?

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Dead or alive? 3 ways to spot the difference between a live sand dollar and souvenir

Have you ever scoured the beach hunting for that perfect sand dollar to take home as a souvenir? Or perhaps plucked one of them out of the water? It could’ve been alive.

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Evaluating the Impact of Beach Nourishment on Surfing: Surf City, Long Beach Island, New Jersey, U.S.A.

In this study, the effect of the construction of a conventional beach nourishment project in Surf City, New Jersey, on the quality of the local surf break is examined in detail.

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Recent / Inform

See wave of garbage off the Dominican Republic

July 24th, 2018

A video taken by “Parley for the Oceans” on July 14 shows a “dense garbage carpet” covering the water in Santo Domingo.

Read More

Global Study of World’s Beaches Shows Threat to Protected Areas

July 24th, 2018

A first-of-its-kind survey of the world’s sandy shorelines with satellite data found that they have increased slightly on a global scale over the past three decades but decreased in protected marine areas, where many beaches are eroding.

Read More

Starbucks is banning straws – but is it really a big win for the environment?

July 23rd, 2018

The coffee giant has announced that it is phasing out straws. But are the new lids it’s introducing actually any better?

Read More

Dead or alive? 3 ways to spot the difference between a live sand dollar and souvenir

July 23rd, 2018

Have you ever scoured the beach hunting for that perfect sand dollar to take home as a souvenir? Or perhaps plucked one of them out of the water? It could’ve been alive.

Read More

Evaluating the Impact of Beach Nourishment on Surfing: Surf City, Long Beach Island, New Jersey, U.S.A.

July 23rd, 2018

In this study, the effect of the construction of a conventional beach nourishment project in Surf City, New Jersey, on the quality of the local surf break is examined in detail.

Read More

Blue Economy Movement Gains Traction in Africa

la-reunion-oc

July 20th, 2018

Ahead of the upcoming Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, that will be co-host by Kenya and Canada this November, economic experts are optimistic that the Blue Economy movement – which is about sustainable exploitation of oceans, seas, rivers and lakes – is gaining traction.

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Deep-diving scientists say shallow reefs can’t rely on twilight zone systems for recovery

July 19th, 2018

A team of highly trained scientific divers explored Pacific and western Atlantic reefs to test a widely held hypothesis that climate-stressed life from shallow reefs can take refuge at mesophotic depths.The results are clear: deep and shallow reefs are different systems with their own species, and deep reefs are just as threatened by climate impacts, storms, and pollution.

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Why This U.S. Climate Scientist Is Leaving Trump’s America for France

July 18th, 2018

With the Trump administration spurning efforts to combat global warming, the French government has invited U.S. scientists to bring their climate research to France.

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Coastal residents need to set aside money now to cope with future flooding

July 18th, 2018

Sea-level rise is a national economic insecurity. According to the National Ocean Service, 39 percent of the U.S. population in 2010 lived in counties that are on shorelines.

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Surrendering to rising seas

July 18th, 2018

Coastal communities struggling to adapt to climate change are beginning to do what was once unthinkable: retreat

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