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

Australia To Face Japan Over Whaling In UN Court

eye-whale

The UN’s International Court of Justice has set dates for public hearings on Australia’s challenge against Japan’s whaling programme in Antarctica.

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Letting Nature Take Its Course?

sea-level-rise

Is sustainability still possible? Yes. Is it still probable? No. With bold action today, tomorrow, and in years to come, we could succeed in creating a sustainable and prosperous society. But what does bold action actually mean? An Op Ed by Erik Assadourian, IPS.

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Arctic Nearly Free Of Summer Sea Ice During First Half Of 21st Century

apollonova-island-russian-arctic-national-park_51c3-800x535px

For scientists studying summer sea ice in the Arctic, it’s not a question of “if” there will be nearly ice-free summers, but “when.” And two scientists say that “when” is sooner than many thought, before 2050 and possibly within the next decade or two.

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Nevis Government Says It Will No Longer Tolerate iIlegal Sand Mining

nevis-island
News, Sand Mining
Apr
11

Illegal sand miners across the island of Nevis have been warned to stop their illegal activities or face equipment seizure, arrest and prosecution.

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Surf’s Up: Turbulence Tells Sea Urchins to Settle Down

vague-11
Inform
Apr
11

Tumbling in the waves as they hit a rocky shore tells purple sea urchin larvae it’s time to settle down and look for a spot to grow into an adult, researchers at the University of California, Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory have found.

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Polluting Plastic Particles Invade the Great Lakes

plastic-pollution-garbage
News, Pollution
Apr
11

Floating plastic debris, which helps populate the infamous “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean, has become a problem in the Great Lakes, the largest body of fresh water in the world.

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Aurora, The Philippines: Land Deals And Development At A Price, A Video

aurora-casigura

Aurora’s governor says the development of a Pacific eco zone will bring benefits to this poor region of the Philippines. But locals wonder how long construction jobs will last, and what impact the development of a port, tourist haven and trading hub will have on livelihoods and the coastal environment.

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India Fights Plastic Waste ‘Time Bomb’

india-pollution
News, Pollution
Apr
9

A grim headline from the Times of India reports that India’s Supreme Court has emphasized that the country is a “plastic time bomb” due to the sheer volume of plastic it disposes of on a daily basis, with Delhi alone producing 689.5 tonnes of plastic refuse per day.

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Rebuilding the Shores, Increasing the Risks

mantoloking-before-after-sandy

This might be a good time to take a look at the most important environmental law that nobody has ever heard of…

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Recent / Inform

Islands Want UN To See Climate As Security Threat

majuro

February 16th, 2013

The Marshall Islands and other low-lying island nations appealed to the U.N. Security Council to recognize climate change as an international security threat that jeopardizes their very survival.

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Where the Danube Meets the Black Sea

nasa-black-sea

February 16th, 2013

The Danube River is the largest in the European Union, and where that great river reaches the Black Sea, a remarkable delta has formed, the “Everglades” of Europe. The Danube Delta is home to more than 300 species of bird and 45 species of freshwater fish.

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U.S. Sea Level Rise Along East Coast To Accelerate With Gulf Stream Slowdown

attente

February 15th, 2013

Experts on the sea level rise triggered by climate change have long known that it will proceed faster in some places than others.

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Keystone pipeline: Environmentalists protest in front of White House

oil-drum

February 15th, 2013

Environmentalists and industry groups ramped up efforts on Wednesday to try to sway the White House’s decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama said he will take action to curb climate-warming emissions.

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En Bretagne, Le “Peuple des Dunes” Défend Son Sable

kerlouan

February 14th, 2013

Fous de Bassan, cormorans huppés, petits pingouins, guillemots de Troïl, fulmars boréaux, goélands ou encore puffins des Anglais se pressent sur ce littoral des Côtes-d’Armor. C’est pour eux et pour tout le secteur de la pêche et du tourisme aussi, que le collectif le Peuple des dunes, se bat.

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To Go: Plastic-Foam Containers, if the Mayor Gets His Way

foam-wave

February 14th, 2013

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose regulatory lance has slain fatty foods, supersize sodas, and smoking in parks, is now targeting plastic foam, the much-derided polymer that environmentalists have long tried to restrict.

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Dune de Pyla, A new “Sahara” desert being born in France, In Pictures

pyla-dune

February 14th, 2013

The Great Dune of Pyla is the tallest sand dune in Europe. It is located in the Arcachon Bay area, France, 37 miles (60 km) from Bordeaux. The dune moves relentlessly towards the interior of the country and gradually covers buildings and roads…

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Tracking Sediment Carried by Mississippi Flood to Louisiana’s Wetlands

marsh-sunset-usgs

February 13th, 2013

The spring 2011 flood on the Mississippi was among the largest floods ever, the river swelling over its banks and wreaking destruction in the surrounding areas. But a study also shows that the floods reaped environmental benefits, transporting and laying down new sediment in portions of the Delta, that may help maintain the area’s wetlands.

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Retooling New York for Apocalyptic Storms

nyc-sandy-storm

February 13th, 2013

During World War II, a German U-boat made its way into New York Harbour. It fired two torpedoes at a British tanker, splitting the hull in three places and igniting it in flames. The captain and 35 members of his crew burned to death. Seventy years later, New York Harbour is Lower Manhattan’s first line of defence against another threat: the rising tides of the sea.

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Beach Sand Mining Rampant, Malabar Coast, India

kappad-beach-kerala-sand-mining

February 11th, 2013

Banking in on the scarcity of sand for construction activities, illegal sand miners and smugglers are thriving in different parts of the Malabar coast. Mining of beach sand is the new threat faced by the region as many illegal players in the filed find hotspots on the beach side of the district to evade the eyes of officials.

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