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

Atlantic Hurricane Season On Track To Be Above-Normal

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Inform, News
Aug
8

NOAA issued its updated Atlantic hurricane season outlook today saying the season is shaping up to be above normal with the possibility that it could be very active.

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Environmentalists Alarmed at Tourism Plans for Small Islands

pelicans

The Venezuelan government’s plans to develop tourism infrastructure on virtually uninhabited highly biodiverse small islands in the southern Caribbean have triggered warnings from environmentalists.

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Govt, Energy Industry Accused of Suppressing Fracking Dangers

sand-mining-truck

New signs have emerged in recent days which indicate that extreme measures are being taken in order to suppress evidence of the pernicious effects of the energy extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”.

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Disappearance Of Coral Reefs, Drastically Altered Marine Food Web On the Horizon

reef-fish

If history’s closest analog is any indication, the look of the oceans will change drastically in the future as the coming greenhouse world alters marine food webs and gives certain species advantages over others.

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Starved polar bear perished due to record sea-ice melt, says expert

polar-bear-diving

Climate change has reduced ice in the Arctic to record lows in the past year, forcing animals to range further in search of food

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Which Way for Goleta Beach?

coastal-erosion-ca

Save Sand? Protect Lawn? Inside the debate over the future of a southern california popular coastal park and ongoing battle with beach erosion.

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A Sandstorm is Coming: Courtesy Sand Mafia And Sand Mining

sand-mining-mumbai

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

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Strait of Tiran, Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba

tiran
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”

sand-mining

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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Recent / Inform

Fukushima: One Man’s Story

japan-child-beach

July 2nd, 2013

It was Japan’s worst nightmare: an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear meltdown. Two years on, the fallout has left the people facing up to some inconvenient truths… A story by Henry Tricks, for The Economist.

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Predicting Hurricane-Induced Coastal Change

coastal-erosion-north-carolina

July 2nd, 2013

The probability of hurricane-induced coastal change on sandy beaches from Florida to New York has been assessed for the first time in two U.S. Geological Survey studies.

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Desert Solar Power: Opportunities For Green Energy, Yet Challenges In Application

maroc-enfant-desert

July 2nd, 2013

The appeal of building solar power plants in deserts like Ivanpah’s Mojave is obvious, especially when the mind-blowing statistics get thrown around, such as: The world’s deserts receive more energy beamed down from the sun in six hours than humankind uses in a year.

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NRDC Annual Beach Report: Reveals 13 “Superstar Beaches” and 11 “Repeat Offenders”

beach

June 30th, 2013

America’s beaches experienced over 20,000 closing and advisory days for the third consecutive year because of polluted water or threatened contamination, according to the 23rd annual beachwater quality report released June 26th, by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Black Sand Mining Unabated, Watchdog Says

sand-bags-sand-mining

June 30th, 2013

Black sand mining in Ilocos Sur, Philippines, continues to thrive despite an order from higher police and environmental authorities for a more aggressive campaign against the illegal activity…

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Boat Noise Stops Fish Finding Home

coral-reef

June 30th, 2013

Boat noise disrupts orientation behaviour in larval coral reef fish, according to new research from the Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Liège. Reef fish are normally attracted by reef sound but the study, conducted in French Polynesia, found that fish are more likely to swim away from recordings of reefs when boat noise is added.

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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

Atchafalaya delta

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

smith-island-maryland

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