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

Port Launay: The Last Mangroves of the Seychelles

When French settlers first arrived in the remote islands of the Seychelles, thick mangrove forests fringed the western shore of Mahe, the largest of the islands in the archipelago.

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Affluent countries contribute less to wildlife conservation than the rest of the world

A new research collaboration has found that, despite facing a number of domestic challenges, such as poverty and political instability in many parts of the continent, Africa was found to prioritise wildlife preservation, and contribute more to conservation than any other region of the world. African countries made up four of the five top-performing mega-fauna conservation nations…

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Believe you can stop climate change and you will

If we believe that we can personally help stop climate change with individual actions — such as turning the thermostat down — then we are more likely to make a difference, according to new research.

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County warns businesses to stop mining sand, Maui

While sand mining is not illegal here, some community members are concerned about the resource being depleted and shipped off-island and archaeological damage. Mayor Alan Arakawa is among the concerned, saying the sand is needed for Maui projects and replenishing beaches.

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This Chic’s Beach resident wants you to have something back for keeping the beach clean

A couple, resident of Chesapeake Bay Beach (aka Chic’s beach), Virginia, launched Your Better Beach for the summer. Beachgoers can pick up plastic containers from participating businesses near Chic’s Beach, fill them up with glass and plastic found in the sand, and return full containers for discounts at the merchants.

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Impact of 2004 Asian tsunami could have been reduced with mangroves

Many of Indonesia’s mangrove forests were cleared before 2004 for shrimp farms (aquaculture) – subsequent research showed that mangroves and other forests could help protect coastlines and people from the force of tsunamis, hurricanes, and rising sea levels.

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NOAA Asks Public to Report Injured Whales

Humpback whales are dying in unusually high numbers off of the Atlantic coast, from Maine to North Carolina, and the federal government is asking the public to report any more sightings of whales. Federal officials reported last week that 41 whales have died in the past 15 months in what marine scientists coin an “unusual mortality event.”

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Sea level rise poses serious threat to Charleston; By Orrin H. Pilkey

Rising seas are the first truly global environmental disaster related to climate change. Millions of people will be forced from their homes as the seas drown the atoll nations, devastate much of barrier-island and river-delta civilizations and, of course, invade the world’s coastal cities including Charleston.

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Battling erosion an endless job for South Carolina beach towns

In South Carolina, beach renourishment is a never-ending job…

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Recent / Inform

This Chic’s Beach resident wants you to have something back for keeping the beach clean

May 3rd, 2017

A couple, resident of Chesapeake Bay Beach (aka Chic’s beach), Virginia, launched Your Better Beach for the summer. Beachgoers can pick up plastic containers from participating businesses near Chic’s Beach, fill them up with glass and plastic found in the sand, and return full containers for discounts at the merchants.

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Impact of 2004 Asian tsunami could have been reduced with mangroves

May 3rd, 2017

Many of Indonesia’s mangrove forests were cleared before 2004 for shrimp farms (aquaculture) – subsequent research showed that mangroves and other forests could help protect coastlines and people from the force of tsunamis, hurricanes, and rising sea levels.

Read More

NOAA Asks Public to Report Injured Whales

May 2nd, 2017

Humpback whales are dying in unusually high numbers off of the Atlantic coast, from Maine to North Carolina, and the federal government is asking the public to report any more sightings of whales. Federal officials reported last week that 41 whales have died in the past 15 months in what marine scientists coin an “unusual mortality event.”

Read More

Sea level rise poses serious threat to Charleston; By Orrin H. Pilkey

May 1st, 2017

Rising seas are the first truly global environmental disaster related to climate change. Millions of people will be forced from their homes as the seas drown the atoll nations, devastate much of barrier-island and river-delta civilizations and, of course, invade the world’s coastal cities including Charleston.

Read More

Battling erosion an endless job for South Carolina beach towns

April 30th, 2017

In South Carolina, beach renourishment is a never-ending job…

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Slathering on sunscreen at the beach? It may be destroying coral reefs

April 29th, 2017

Studies show that oxybenzone, a common chemical found particularly in spray-on sunscreens, contributes to coral bleaching and leaves reefs deformed.

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Orca pod filmed hunting whale calf in ‘unprecedented’ California killing spree

April 29th, 2017

In an “unprecedented” rash of attacks, a pod of killer whales in Monterey Bay, California, has killed four gray whales in a week, a phenomenon one researcher hasn’t seen in her 30-year career.

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How Would Just 2 Degrees of Warming Change the Planet?

April 29th, 2017

Why are climate scientists so alarmed about a worldwide temperature increase of just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius)?

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Caribbean Scientists Work to Limit Climate Impact on Marine Environment

April 28th, 2017

Caribbean scientists say fishermen are already seeing the effects of climate change, so for a dozen or so years they’ve been designing systems and strategies to reduce the impacts on the industry.

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In rare move, one South Florida city sues another in battle over beach erosion

April 28th, 2017

A spat over sand in adjacent cities finally landed in court this week, and it already has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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