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

This Amazing Beach Art Will Give You a Moment of Zen

Artist Andres Amador seeks to highlight the power of the impermanent.

Comments Off on This Amazing Beach Art Will Give You a Moment of Zen

Danger from extreme storms, high seas to rise, warn Australian researchers

Storms that battered Australia’s east coast are a harbinger of things to come and a stark reminder of the need for a national effort to monitor the growing threat from climate change, coastal researchers warn.

Comments Off on Danger from extreme storms, high seas to rise, warn Australian researchers

Montserrat residents and former premier outraged at public beach sand mining

News, Sand Mining
Jun
10

Montserrat residents are outraged and seeking answers as to why vast amounts of sand are being removed from Foxes Bay Beach in the south of the island. New photos taken on the beach show the sand being collected and put into trucks belonging to a local mining company.

Comments Off on Montserrat residents and former premier outraged at public beach sand mining

Mega Dams Remain Controversial Source of Energy

Erosion, Inform
Jun
9

Although mega dams can have devastating impacts on ecosystems and indigenous communities, many of the world’s poorest countries still see them as a way to fill gaping holes in their energy supplies.

Comments Off on Mega Dams Remain Controversial Source of Energy

World Oceans Day – 2016

News, Pollution
Jun
8

World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. This year’s theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” and individuals and organizations across the planet are taking action for prevention of plastic pollution in our ocean.

Comments Off on World Oceans Day – 2016

World Oceans Day 2016: Five studies showing effect of plastic pollution on world’s seas

News, Pollution
Jun
7

World Oceans Day 2016 is marked on 8 June and this year’s theme is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet. The aim of the day is to promote the prevention of plastic pollution in the world’s seas and to encourage people to take more responsibility for the care of the ocean.

Comments Off on World Oceans Day 2016: Five studies showing effect of plastic pollution on world’s seas

Disappearing beaches: a line in the sand

The forces chewing away at the nation’s beaches are only getting worse as climate change fuels rising seas.

Comments Off on Disappearing beaches: a line in the sand

The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

Australia’s natural wonder is in mortal danger. Bleaching caused by climate change has killed almost a quarter of its coral this year and many scientists believe it could be too late for the rest. Using photographs and new data, a Guardian special report investigates how the reef has been devastated – and what can be done to save it.

Comments Off on The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

Study to deter Maui beach erosion finds offshore sand

300,000 cubic yards of sand have been discovered off Kahana Bay in April, and this offshore sand is intended to be dredged to re-nourish eroding beaches in west Maui.

Comments Off on Study to deter Maui beach erosion finds offshore sand

Recent / Inform

French mayor draws a line in the beach sand

April 27th, 2016

The growing global sand and gravel exploitation has not spared France’s beaches either. Under what has been called the “Le Matelier project,” two companies are considering extracting about 13-million cubic metres of beach sand and gravel for 30 years, in the Gironde estuary.

Read More

Students Reviving Mangrove Wetlands, Bahamas

April 27th, 2016

Students participated in a pilot programme called the Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (BAM), a project about mangrove education and restoration.

Read More

Japanese Monks Recorded the Climate for 700 Years

April 26th, 2016

Some of the oldest continuous historical records from around the world show us how dramatically the climate has changed.

Read More

A warning for Miami, Miami Beach

April 26th, 2016

Scientists warn that we live in a “doomed city” in new book on climate change. “Retreat From a Rising Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change,” is an effort to explain the science for a lay reader. It is clear and authoritative and for South Florida, it is urgent.

Read More

Facebook, Google campuses at risk of being flooded due to sea level rise

san francisco bay

April 23rd, 2016

Technology giants including Facebook and Google face the prospect of their prestigious Silicon Valley headquarters becoming swamped by water as rising sea levels threaten to submerge much of the property development boom gripping San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Read More

In honor of Earth Day: National Geographic photos sharing on Instagram

April 22nd, 2016

After 46 years, people around the world are still honoring Earth Day with a different theme every year. This year’s theme is Trees for the Earth. Earth Day Network is calling people to action by encouraging them to plant trees through organized events around the world. Celebrate Earth Day with National Geographic by sharing your best pictures that illustrate the mysteries and magic of our planet.

Read More

Astronaut Photography from Space Helped ‘Discover the Earth’

April 22nd, 2016

In December 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first humans to leave Earth orbit and head for the moon. They also became the first to look back at their home planet and see the entire world in one glimpse. The view they shared had an everlasting impact. “When you see the beauty of our planet, it is striking, it’s sobering…”

Read More

Coastal Plain Is One of World’s “Bio” Hotspots

April 21st, 2016

The Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund recognized the North American Coastal Plain, a more than 800,000-square-mile area that stretches from Florida to Maine, as the world’s 36th biodiversity hotspot. The organization is a joint initiative with French, European Union, Japanese and other interests focused on biodiversity conservation of the most biologically rich and threatened areas by non-governmental, private-sector and community groups.

Read More

First Salish Sea-wide shoreline armoring study shows cumulative effects on ecosystem

April 21st, 2016

Impacts associated with shoreline armoring can scale up to have cumulative, large-scale effects on the characteristics of shorelines and the diversity of life they support, new research shows.

Read More

Climate Change and the Middle East (II)

April 19th, 2016

Water scarcity has become one of the major concerns of 33 Middle East Arab and North African countries. Also, due to the rise of the Mediterranean Sea water levels and land depression observed, the whole region is eventually exposed to two dangerous effects: water and soil salinization, and coastal sea flooding.

Read More


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