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

At Last, the Shipping Industry Begins Cleaning Up Its Dirty Fuels

By 2020, the global shipping fleet will be required to slash the noxious emissions from thick, sulfur-laden “bunker” fuel, a move that is expected to sharply reduce air pollution and prevent millions of cases of childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments.

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Sea Level Rise Could Double Erosion Rates of Southern California Coastal Cliffs

Coastal cliffs from Santa Barbara to San Diego might crumble at more than twice the historical rate by the year 2100 as sea levels rise. U.S. Geological Survey scientists combined several computer models for the first time to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast.

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Seaweed farming and its surprising benefits

Increasing numbers of fishermen, scientists, and foodies in the country are starting to look at seaweed as a promising source of food, jobs and help cleaning ocean waters.

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Why This Sand From Texas Is Suddenly Worth $80 a Ton

News, Sand Mining
Jul
14

A major second wave of US fracking is about to be unleashed upon the world.

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Forests and Marine Resources Continue to Shrink

Deforestation and unsustainable farming are depriving the planet of forests, while destructive practices in fishing are limiting the chance to sustainably manage our oceans.

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Powering ships with plastic in Amsterdam

News, Pollution
Jul
13

In the Port of Amsterdam, a new factory is being built that could revolutionize the way we dispose of plastic waste. Utilizing groundbreaking technology, the facility will use previously unrecyclable plastic to create fuel for diesel powered cargo ships.

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Rising ocean waters from global warming could cost trillions of dollars

We’ll need to mitigate and adapt to global warming to avoid massive costs from sea level rise.

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Romans had whaling industry, archaeological excavation suggests

Ancient whale bones have been found on three Roman fish processing sites close to the Strait of Gibraltar. Until the recent discoveries it was unclear whether the whales’ habitat had ever included the Mediterranean.

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There could be a lot more water and a lot less sand at beaches this week, NOAA says

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said higher-than-normal tides are expected in coastal areas of the U.S. July 12-16.

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Recent / Inform

Powering ships with plastic in Amsterdam

July 13th, 2018

In the Port of Amsterdam, a new factory is being built that could revolutionize the way we dispose of plastic waste. Utilizing groundbreaking technology, the facility will use previously unrecyclable plastic to create fuel for diesel powered cargo ships.

Read More

Rising ocean waters from global warming could cost trillions of dollars

July 12th, 2018

We’ll need to mitigate and adapt to global warming to avoid massive costs from sea level rise.

Read More

Romans had whaling industry, archaeological excavation suggests

July 12th, 2018

Ancient whale bones have been found on three Roman fish processing sites close to the Strait of Gibraltar. Until the recent discoveries it was unclear whether the whales’ habitat had ever included the Mediterranean.

Read More

There could be a lot more water and a lot less sand at beaches this week, NOAA says

July 12th, 2018

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said higher-than-normal tides are expected in coastal areas of the U.S. July 12-16.

Read More

More Recycling Won’t Solve Plastic Pollution

July 10th, 2018

Encouraging individuals to recycle more will never solve the problem of a massive production of single-use plastic that should have been avoided in the first place.

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Hyatt joins Starbucks and other companies in eliminating plastic straws

July 9th, 2018

Hyatt Hotels is joining the growing count of companies and government entities moving to eliminate plastic straws in favor of ocean-friendlier alternatives.

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Stunning coral forests discovered around Sicily’s deep sea volcanoes – in pictures

July 9th, 2018

Scientists find a spectacular forest of bamboo coral, rare carnivorous sponges, and species never before seen in the region.

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Where River Meets Ocean

July 9th, 2018

They exist all over the world, are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth and are home to a diverse array of wildlife. They also are essential to the global economy. They are estuaries — coastal embayments where fresh river water and salty ocean water meet.

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Why is Hawaii banning oxybenzone and octinoxate from sunscreens?

July 9th, 2018

The two ingredients help protect skin from UV rays, but researchers have found that they also cause bleaching, deformities, DNA damage and ultimately death in coral when sunscreen washes off beachgoers or is discharged into wastewater treatment plants and deposited into bodies of water.

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Ocean Conservation Is an Untapped Strategy for Fighting Climate Change

July 8th, 2018

The ocean contributes $1.5 trillion annually to the global economy and assures the livelihood of 10-12 percent of the world’s population. But there’s another reason to protect marine ecosystems—they’re crucial for curbing climate change.

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