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

145 pilot whales die in stranding on New Zealand beach

A group of 145 pilot whales stranded themselves on a remote New Zealand beach and died.

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‘Washaway Beach,’ fastest-eroding place on the West Coast, cobbles together a solution

There’s a reason a quiet and desolate strip of sand here is nicknamed Washaway Beach. Coastal erosion has claimed an average of 100 feet of this shoreline every year for the last century. That makes North Cove the fastest-eroding place on the West Coast.

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Climate Solutions: Is It Feasible to Remove Enough CO2 from the Air?

A U.S. scientific panel reports that technologies that take CO2 out of the atmosphere could be a significant part of a strategy to mitigate global warming.

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More than 100 sea turtles found dead off Cape Cod

A total of 173 sea turtles died off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this week because of the extreme cold.

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Undeniable climate change facts

Glaciers are melting; sea levels are rising. And 17 of the 18 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001.

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Beach sand mining in Grenada triggers loss of trees and beach erosion

News, Sand Mining
Nov
20

To the great frustration of some residents, illegal sand mining operations have been ongoing on Grenada’s beaches. Trucks have been seen daily, driving away loaded with bags of beach sand.

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What does a persistent bloom of algae indicate about the health of the planet?

While the harmful algae known as red tide have historically been common in warm waters like those of the Gulf of Mexico, the troublesome blooms are no longer seasonal. The algae kill marine animals and make life miserable for beachgoers.

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How climate change is impacting the Bay of Bengal region

While over 80% of the World’s top cities developed along coastlines and waterways, over the next few years countries like China and India will be the worst affected by climate change extremities. Switching to hybrid and solar power is the only way forward…

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Corporate Sand Mining In SF Bay Sparks ‘Sand Wars’

News, Sand Mining
Nov
17

Six years ago, nonprofit environmental advocacy organization San Francisco Baykeeper sued sand-mining firm Hanson Marine Operations and the State Lands Commission to stop sand mining in the Bay. However, in November, an appeals court judge sided with the State Lands Commission and the sand mining company.

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Recent / Inform

Corporate Sand Mining In SF Bay Sparks ‘Sand Wars’

November 17th, 2018

Six years ago, nonprofit environmental advocacy organization San Francisco Baykeeper sued sand-mining firm Hanson Marine Operations and the State Lands Commission to stop sand mining in the Bay. However, in November, an appeals court judge sided with the State Lands Commission and the sand mining company.

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Managing the ‘mega-houses’

November 16th, 2018

As Dare County municipalities try to address concerns about the proliferation of “mega-houses” and their impact on the character and environment of beach communities, the town councils in both Southern Shores and Duck met last week to explore new approaches to the issue.

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Crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change

November 15th, 2018

On Wednesday, associations representing California crab fishermen filed suit against 30 fossil fuel companies seeking to make the companies pay for the harm global warming has caused to California’s fisheries. It is the first legal action by a private industry group seeking to hold the fossil fuel companies responsible for major losses attributed to global warming.

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Is Your Home At Risk Of Flooding From Rising Seas By 2050? Check This Map.

November 14th, 2018

Even if the world more aggressively tackles global warming, about 350,000 homes across the US, worth about $190 billion at today’s prices, are built on land that’s at risk of annual flooding by 2050. And if no steps are taken to curb carbon emissions, the number of at-risk homes jumps to about 385,000.

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Cox’s Bazar Beach, Bangladesh

November 13th, 2018

Stretching a remarkable 75 miles in length, Cox’s Bazar Beach is the longest uninterrupted natural sand beach in the world. To be precise, there are some beaches—like Praia do Cassino Beach in Brazil and Ninety Mile Beach in Australia—that are longer than Cox’s Bazar, but they are not natural sand.

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A Russian village swallowed by sand

November 12th, 2018

Shoyna, a Russian fishing village on the frigid shores of the White Sea, is slowly vanishing under sand that engulfs entire houses, their roofs just barely visible above the dunes.

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The Largest River Delta in Europe

November 12th, 2018

Over the past century, the Volga Delta has grown from 3,222 square kilometers (1,244 square miles) in 1880 to 27,224 square kilometers (10,511 square miles) today. This significant growth is due both to sea level changes in the Caspian and the broad, gentle slope of the delta.

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Putting the brakes on fast fashion

marine-debris-orange

November 12th, 2018

The fashion industry produces 20 per cent of global wastewater and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping. Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally and it takes around 2,000 gallons of water to make a typical pair of jeans.

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The Caribbean island of Mayreau could be split in two due to erosion

November 11th, 2018

After years of erosion by the waves, people living on Mayreau, an island in the southern Grenadines, are confronted with the real possibility that the sea will split their island in two, and destroy its world famous Salt Whistle Bay.

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Marine Protected Areas overlook a large fraction of biodiversity hotspots

November 10th, 2018

Around 75 percent of marine biodiversity in Finnish waters is left unprotected, reveals a performance assessment of the country’s current Marine Protected Area network. Increasing protection by just 1 percent in the most biodiverse areas could double conservation of the most important species.

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