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

Coastal Construction: How Britain’s Shoreline Changed in 50 Years

Erosion, Inform
Nov
18

Built-up areas have increased by more than 40% along Britain’s coast over five decades,but conservationists have saved almost all seaside landscapes identified as “pristine” 50 years ago, a survey has found.

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How Coastal Real Estate Is Being Impacted By Climate Change

Accelerated sea-level rise and growing storm intensity, two widely studied effects of climate change, are giving the oceans a powerful edge in the age-old battle against continental shorelines. The impact is not only environmental, but economical.

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Preserving Mangroves Provides Protection and Food Security

The aerial roots of the mangroves regulate tides and nurture the silt in the coastal ecosystem thereby sustaining diverse varieties of fish and crops…

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Oceans, Ocean Activism, Deserve Broader Role in Climate Change Discussions

Researchers argue that both ocean scientists and world leaders should pay more attention to how communities around the globe are experiencing, adapting to and even influencing changes in the world’s oceans and coastal environments.

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Greenland Glacier Sheds Billions of Tonnes of Ice Into Ocean

A glacier in northeast Greenland that holds enough water to raise global sea levels by more than 18 inches (50 cms) has come unmoored from a stabilizing sill and is crumbling into the North Atlantic Ocean. Losing mass at a rate of 5 billion tons per year, glacier Zachariae Isstrom entered a phase of accelerated retreat in 2012.

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Crescent Beach Arms Itself Against The Rising Sea, BC

Crescent Beach is a sleepy beachfront community thrust into battle. This sweeping ocean coastline with dramatic views of B.C.’s Boundary Bay has been home to people for nearly 3,000 years. Today’s residents find themselves besieged by climate change and its tidal onslaught.

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Jewels of the Sea: Microscopic Images of Sand Reveal Jaw-Dropping Beauty

grains of sand

A series of microscopic images have revealed the incredible details of sand and marine fragments from five Indian Ocean destinations.

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Nothing Can Compete with Renewable Energy, Says Top Climate Scientist

wind-farm

Catastrophic global warming can be avoided with a deal at a crunch UN climate change summit in Paris this December because “ultimately nothing can compete with renewables”, according to one of the world’s most influential climate scientists.

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Interactive Images Show Impact of Sea Level Rise on Global Icons

Long-term sea level rise set in motion by near-term carbon emissions threatens major coastal cities across the world. Climate Central presents projections of sea level rise that could be locked in following 2°C and 4°C of warming from carbon pollution in the coming decades. This pathway corresponds roughly to business as usual.

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Recent / Inform

Aquaculture in Northeast China

September 28th, 2015

The aquaculture basins have been built out from the wooded coast to a distance of nearly 6 kilometers (4 miles). Fish farms have been constructed at many points along the provincial coastline, but this group of basins facing the Yellow Sea is the largest.

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The Micronesia Challenge: Sustainable Coral Reefs and Fisheries

September 27th, 2015

While island societies can do little to control carbon emissions from developed nations, they can manage their local resources to enhance the ecosystem services that coastal habitats, including reefs, provide for people.

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Extreme Pacific Sea Level Events to Double in Future

September 27th, 2015

Many tropical Pacific island nations are struggling to adapt to gradual sea level rise stemming from warming oceans and melting ice caps. Now they may also see much more frequent extreme sea level swings.The culprit is a projected behavioral change of the El Niño phenomenon and its characteristic Pacific wind response.

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What Chile Did Right

September 25th, 2015

Recently, Chile survived a powerful quake with relatively few casualties. More than one million people were evacuated from coastal areas in a matter of hours, escaping the tsunami waves, some of which were 15 feet high in the region of Coquimbo.

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Nearly Half of U.S. Seafood Supply is Wasted, Study Shows

September 25th, 2015

As much as 47 percent of the edible US seafood supply is lost each year, mainly from consumer waste, new research suggests.

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Does Beach Erosion Affect Oceanfront Property Prices?

September 24th, 2015

Do people tend to ignore looming problems until the wolf – or in this case, the ocean – is just outside the door? That may be the case, at least when it comes to certain pricey beach-front property.

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El Niño and La Niña will Exacerbate Coastal Hazards Across Entire Pacific

September 24th, 2015

The projected upsurge of severe El Niño and La Niña events will cause an increase in storm events leading to extreme coastal flooding and erosion in populated regions across the Pacific Ocean, according to a multi-agency study.

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Professor Lectures on Rate of Rising Sea Levels

September 23rd, 2015

The modern rate at which sea levels are rising is comparatively higher than previously believed, geophysics professor said at the Harvard Geological Lecture Hall.

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Kiribati Family ‘Terrified’ of Going Home

September 23rd, 2015

The lawyer for the Kiribati man who has lost his bid to be declared a climate change refugee says he and his family are terrified of returning home…

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Earth’s Oceans Show Decline In Microscopic Plant Life, Video

September 23rd, 2015

The world’s oceans have seen significant declines in certain types of microscopic plant-life at the base of the marine food chain, according to a new NASA study.

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Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
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