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

UK’s Coastal Railways Vulnerable to Climate Threat, Expert Warns

railways-uk

Hundreds of miles of railway lines around Britain’s coast are becoming increasingly vulnerable to waves, landslides and storms triggered by climate pollution.

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Rising Seas Threaten Everything from Wallops to Resorts

wallops-nasa

Because of accelerated sea-level rise, Delmarva may look very different in 30-40 years. One of Delmarva’s real gems — Wallops Island and the rapidly growing NASA flight facility that is located there — is taking steps to ensure its costly and critical infrastructure isn’t inundated by a rising sea level.

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Successful Conservation Efforts along Florida, Pacific Coasts Recognized in Revised ESA Listing of Green Sea Turtle

green-turtle

NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to reclassify the green sea turtle under the Endangered Species Act, and list turtles originating from two breeding populations currently considered endangered as threatened due to improvements in their populations.

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Keep it in the Ground: A Guardian UK Climate Change Campaign

oil-on-sand-coastal-care

The argument for a campaign to divest from the world’s most polluting companies is becoming an overwhelming one, on both moral and financial grounds. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts it: “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change”…

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Record Crowds in Outer Banks Against Offshore Drilling, NC

horse-nc

An Outer Banks storm is brewing against plans to drill offshore. Dare County, local towns and other organizations tied to tourism have written resolutions opposed to drilling off the Atlantic Ocean coast.

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Flat CO2 Emissions Not Enough to Curb Climate Change, Experts Say

wind-energy

Global emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014, marking the first time in 40 years that there was no climb in CO2 emissions during a time of economic growth. The results suggest that efforts to reduce emissions may be on the upswing, but experts say the situation is not so simple.

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Conservationist Murders Threaten Costa Rica’s Eco-Friendly Reputation

turtle-eggs-costa-rica

The brutal murder of Jairo Mora, who was trying to protect endangered turtle eggs, was the latest in a string of crimes against environmentalists in the country. Since 1989, the murder of 10 environmentalists have gone unsolved. Environmental and human rights groups are calling for reforms to address the dangers these environmental protectors face.

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Communities Leading the Way to Save Madagascar’s Mangroves

madagascar-fisherman

A recent study carried out by the University of Antananarivo and Blue Ventures found that between 1990 and 2010, Ambanja and Ambaro Bays lost approximately 20 percent of their mangroves. In northwest Madagascar, charcoal production for urban markets is the biggest driver of this loss.

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Biodegradable Plastics Are as Persistent as Regular Plastics, Study Finds

plastic-pollution-coastal-care
News, Pollution
Mar
19

Plastics designed to degrade don’t break down any faster than their conventional counterparts, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

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Recent / Inform

The Future of Wetlands, the Future of Waterbirds – an Intercontinental Connection

flamingo-camargue-wetland

January 31st, 2015

To mark the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention – an intergovernmental agreement seeking to protect wetlands of international importance – the 2nd of February each year is celebrated as “World Wetlands Day.”

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Shell Wants To Drill Off Alaska Coast Again, If It Can Get The Permits

arctic

January 30th, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell PLC will move forward with drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast if it can obtain permits it needs and drill safely, its chief executive officer said…

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Four Gaps in China’s New Environmental Law

china-wall

January 30th, 2015

On 1 January, a new environmental protection law (EPL) took effect in China. It is the nation’s first attempt to harmonize economic and social development with environmental protection. Yet the law is not enough. For several reasons it will face many challenges.

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What a Waste: Study Finds Big US Brands Stuck on Disposable Packaging

plastic-pollution

January 30th, 2015

Lagging behind the rest of the developed world, American brands continue to opt for the worst packaging materials, according to a report released Thursday.

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Kenya: Leave the sand on Diani Beach

diani-beach

January 27th, 2015

Tourism stakeholders in Kenya and local residents of Diani Beach south of Mombasa are up in arms over plans to extract some 5 million tons of sand from award-winning Diani tourist beach.

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White House to Propose Allowing Oil Drilling Off Atlantic Coast

platform

January 27th, 2015

The Obama administration on Tuesday will announce a proposal to open up coastal waters from Virginia to Georgia for oil and gas drilling.

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Coastal Sand Mining: Govts. Asked to Respond; India

sand-miner-mumbai

January 27th, 2015

The Madras High Court has directed the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to respond to a public interest litigation petition seeking a SIT probe into illegal beach sand mining in the State.

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The Oceans Are Warming so Fast, They Keep Breaking Scientists’ Charts

noaa-ocean-heat

January 27th, 2015

NOAA once again has to rescale its ocean heat chart to capture 2014 ocean warming.

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After Nine Years of Foot-Dragging, U.N. Ready for Talks on High Seas Treaty

polynesia-coastal-care

January 26th, 2015

After intense negotiations, the United Nations has agreed to convene an intergovernmental conference aimed at drafting a legally binding treaty to conserve marine life and govern the mostly lawless high seas beyond national jurisdiction.

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Greenland’s Ice Layers Mapped in 3D

nasa-ice-3d

January 26th, 2015

Scientists using ice-penetrating radar data collected by NASA’s Operation IceBridge and earlier airborne campaigns have built the first-ever comprehensive map of layers deep inside the Greenland Ice Sheet.

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