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Inform | Coastal Care - Page 79

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

A Sandstorm is Coming: Courtesy Sand Mafia And Sand Mining

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Rampant sand mining will have dire ecological consequences, warn environmentalists.

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Strait of Tiran, Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba

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Inform
Aug
5

The six-kilometer-wide Strait of Tiran between the Egyptian mainland and Tiran Island separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea.

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Sand Mining Issue: “Impact Cannot Even Be Calculated”

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From forcing the river to change its course, to affecting the groundwater tables and adversely impacting the habitat of micro-organisms, the ramifications of illegal sand mining are many.

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South Africa: Two oceans, 1700 Miles Of Coastline, And Series of Swells On The Way

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At the tip of Southern Africa lies Cape Point, a prized tourist attraction and one of the country’s most beautiful, secluded beaches.

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Why Illegal Sand Mining Is Profitable In UP, India

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The seemingly unceasing mining operation on the Yamuna and Hindon riverbeds in western Uttar Pradesh is encouraged by the increasing demand for sand for construction by realtors.

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Southern California Beaches Are Starving. Do We Nourish Them Enough?

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The natural processes that bring sand to most beaches in Southern California have been disrupted by development and other human activities.

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Back to the future: Scientists look into Earth’s “Deep Time” to predict future effects of climate change

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Climate change alters the way in which species interact with one another, a reality that applies not just to today or to the future, but also to the past.

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Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source.

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La Réunion Island Bans Surfing And Plans Shark Kill

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Reunion Island is known for its world-class waves, pristine swimming beaches and, in recent years, shark attacks. In response to the surge of attacks, government officials have banned surfing outside of the island’s lagoons until October 1 of this year, and plan to cull 90 sharks.

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Recent / Inform

EU Plans to Make it Mandatory For Ship Owners to Measure Carbon Emissions

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June 28th, 2013

Owners of large ships using EU ports will have to measure and report annual carbon emissions from January 2018 under new European commission proposals published on Friday.

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A Vertical View of Wildfire Smoke as it Heads to Sea

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June 28th, 2013

Meteorologists closely monitor smoke plumes from wildfires because smoke can spread across vast distances and pose significant health hazards, particularly to children and the elderly.

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Large Dead Zone Forming in the Gulf

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June 27th, 2013

Ocean experts had predicted a large “dead zone” area in the Gulf of Mexico this year, and according to the results from a Texas A&M University researcher just back from studying the region, those predictions appear to be right on target.

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Crabs, Oysters Disappearing on Maryland’s Shrinking Island

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June 27th, 2013

Smith Island, Maryland island is slowly disappearing…Scientists at the University of Maryland say the water level is rising in part because of climate change and that the island could disappear in 20 to 50 years.

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Los Angeles Bans Free Plastic Bags In Grocery Stores

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June 26th, 2013

Los Angeles became the biggest city in the country to ban free plastic bags in grocery stores following a city council vote. Under the law, shoppers will have to tote their own bags, or pay 10 cents each for paper bags.

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Sand Mining Will Continue to Relocate Families in Sierra Leone

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June 26th, 2013

For people desperate to earn a living, this all translates into break-neck, environmentally disastrous, 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operations to carry hundreds of tonnes of sand from the beaches and sell it to builders as construction material. Not much is being done to stop what is almost a military operation…

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Jobless Youths Revert to Beach Sand Mining, John Obey Beach, Sierra Leone

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June 26th, 2013

There´s a construction boom in Sierra Leone. For people desperate to earn a living, this all translates into break-neck, environmentally disastrous, 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operations to carry hundreds of tonnes of sand from the beaches and sell it to builders as construction material.

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For our future, today can’t be Obama’s final Act On Climate

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June 25th, 2013

President Obama ordered the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants today, as part of a broad-based climate change initiative.

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U.S. Airports Face Increasing Threat From Rising Seas

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June 25th, 2013

Due to climate change-related sea level rise, LaGuardia and other coastal hubs throughout the U.S. face a growing risk of flooding during even modest storms.

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The Great Barrier Reef We Stand to Lose; In Pictures

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June 25th, 2013

As the UN pressures Australia to better protect the Great Barrier Reef, here are some images of the spectacular wildlife harboured by this vast stretch of coral.

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