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

NOAA proposal extends rule reducing risk of whale ship strikes along U.S. East Coast

right-whale

The North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered species in the world, and are highly vulnerable to ship collisions. The whale primarily occurs in coastal or shelf waters. Its known range includes winter calving and nursery areas in coastal waters off the southeastern United States.

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Art Confronts Maldives’ Climate Change Controversy

venise

The Maldives’ first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the world famous art show that attracts art aficionados to this Italian lagoon city every two years, is all about climate change and the threat posed by rising sea levels to this low-lying chain of islands in the Indian Ocean.

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Human Deforestation Outweighs Climate Change for Coral Reefs

deforestation-guatemala

Better land use is the key to preventing further damage to the world’s coral reefs, according to a study published this week in the online science journal Nature Communications

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Shored Up, A Film By Ben Kalina

shored-up-gal

Shored Up : When Nature and The Force Of Nature Collide. A Film by Ben Kalina. See Listing: Upcoming screenings.

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Giant Garbage Patches of the Sea Become ‘National’ Art in Venice

Venezia
News, Pollution
Jun
3

Five huge patches of rubbish floating in seas around the world will have their own unofficial national pavilion on the sidelines of the world’s largest non-commercial art fair in Venice this week, thanks to artist Maria Cristina Finucci.

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Tarut Bay, Saudi Arabia

tarut-bay-saoudie-arabia

Tarut Bay is located along the coastline of the Arabian Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf). The bay surrounds one of the largest islands in the Arabian Gulf—Tarut—which has an area of approximately 70 square kilometers (27 square miles).

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Think Beyond Plastic

plastic-pollution-beach
News, Pollution
Jun
2

Think Beyond Plastic, is a competition and a conference, initiated by The Plastic Pollution Coalition, featuring entrepreneurs and solutions that measurably reduce plastic pollution. This competition and conference will take place on June 13, 2013 in Berkeley, CA and is open to the public.

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Kamchatka Surrounded by Blooms

kamchatka

The Kamchatka Peninsula of far eastern Russian was surrounded by life in late May 2013, at least the oceanic sort. Massive blooms of microscopic, plant-like organisms called phytoplankton spread green over the nearby waters. Phytoplankton typically support an abundance of other fish and marine life.

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2013 Sea State Report

california-coast

For the first time ever, a comprehensive report was released this week outlining how well states protect coastal waters. The report shows that most states and territories are failing to safeguard our nation’s marine life, seafood and coasts.

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Recent / Inform

Rebuilding the Shores, Increasing the Risks

mantoloking-before-after-sandy

April 9th, 2013

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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Particles From Fossil Fuels Affect The Growth Of Corals

coral

April 8th, 2013

Researchers have found the strongest evidence yet that aerosols from burning fossil fuels are affecting coral growth.

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Tar Sands Raw Deal: Arkansas Spill Is Another Reason to Say No to Tar Sands Pipeline

sand-mining-truck

April 8th, 2013

“When I see raw tar sands coursing through people’s yards and across wetlands, it makes me sick. My thoughts are with the people in Arkansas who are dealing with this river of toxic mess… “

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Aerospace Student Boyan Slat Invents Cleanup System For Plastic Choking Our Oceans

plastic-pollution

April 7th, 2013

19-year-old Boyan Slat’s impassioned and educated opinion reminds us that youth, with its promising vital force, often taps into genius. If he is correct, Slat has designated some flair for environmental cleanup.

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Western Australia’s Scott Reef Has Recovered from Mass Bleaching

scott-reef-nasa

April 5th, 2013

Isolated coral reefs can recover from catastrophic damage as effectively as those with nearby undisturbed neighbours, a long-term study by marine biologists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) has shown.

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Horned Ghost Crabs Change Camouflage From Day To Night

horn-ghost-crab

April 5th, 2013

Horned ghost crabs change their appearance from day to night for camouflage, a study has revealed. They can even match the colours of particular grains of sand found on the beach where they occur.

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Post Sandy: The Jersey Shore’s Susceptibility to Major Storms

post-sandy-seaside-nj

April 5th, 2013

Could the inflicted damage to the coastline have been avoided with advance preparation?

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Spike in Sick Sea Lions Along Calif. Coast Puzzles Scientists

sea-lion-pup

April 4th, 2013

Sickly, emaciated sea lion pups have been turning up on California’s coastline in unusually high numbers since January, with live strandings nearly three times higher than the historical average.

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How illegal sand mining in Sierra Leone is destroying the local beaches

beach-sand-mining-sierra-leone

April 3rd, 2013

It all started after the civil war in our country when most of the houses were burned, leaving people homeless. When people were finally ready to rebuild their homes, contracts were given to Chinese and Senegalese construction companies which led to a huge demand for sand. Now, sand mines have become a place where otherwise unemployed young people can find work…

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Chinese Foreign Fisheries Catch 12 Times More Than Reported, Study Shows

megatrawlers-greenpeace

April 3rd, 2013

Chinese fishing boats catch about US$11.5 billion worth of fish from beyond their country’s own waters each year — and most of it goes unreported, according to a new study led by fisheries scientists at the University of British Columbia.

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