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

Australian Government Pledges To Protect Great Barrier Reef

great-barrier-reef

The Australian government pledged to stop coal port or shipping developments that would cause damage to the Great Barrier Reef as it responded to a Friday deadline amid UN warnings that the reef’s conservation status could be downgraded.

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The Scariest Environmental Fact in the World

shangai-pollution

As the data show, China is now burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world, combined. And despite impressive support from Beijing for renewable energy and a dawning understanding about the dangers of air pollution, coal use in China is poised to continue rising, if slower than it has in recent years…

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The Unwelcome Renaissance

germinal

Europe’s energy policy delivers the worst of all possible worlds…

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One-third of fish caught in Channel have plastic contamination, study shows

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News, Pollution
Jan
30

One-third of fish caught off the south-west coast of England have traces of plastic contamination from sources including sanitary products and carrier bags, scientists have found.

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Shale Gas Boom Now Visible From Space

bakken-shale-gas-flaring

Oil companies at the heart of the US shale oil boom are burning off enough gas to power all the homes in Chicago and Washington combined in a practice causing growing concern about the waste of resources and damage to the environment.

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Shell Acquitted of Nigeria Pollution Charges

shell-niger-delta-oil
News, Pollution
Jan
30

Shell was acquitted in a Dutch court on Wednesday morning of most of the charges against it for pollution in Nigeria, where disputed oil spills have been a long-running source of contention between the oil company, local people and environmental campaigners…

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Shell verdict will determine whether other firms could be tried for oil spills

innocence
News, Pollution
Jan
29

People affected in the Niger delta have come to Europe to ask for justice as multinationals dismiss their claims with impunity

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Cities Affect Temperatures for Thousands of Miles

shangai

In a new study that shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere, scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems. The world’s most populated and energy-intensive metropolitan areas are along the east and west coasts of the North American and Eurasian continents…

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Climate Change Impacts to U.S. Coasts Threaten Public Health, Safety and Economy

post-sandy-nc-coast-psds

According to a new technical report, the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of U.S. coastal communities’ social, economic and natural systems.

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Recent / Inform

Australia Creates World’s Largest Marine Reserve

kangaroos-beach

November 17th, 2012

Australia Friday created the world’s largest network of marine reserves, protecting a huge swathe of ocean environment.

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Oil Platform Explodes in Gulf of Mexico; 11 Injured, 2 Missing

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November 16th, 2012

An oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire after an explosion Friday, sending 11 people to hospitals and leaving two missing, authorities said.

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We Need to Retreat From the Beach

op-nyt-gall

November 15th, 2012

As ocean waters warm, the Northeast is likely to face more Sandy-like storms. And as sea levels continue to rise, the surges of these future storms will be higher and even more deadly. We can’t stop these powerful storms. But we can reduce the deaths and damage they cause… An Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey.

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San Francisco Bay Sand Mining Raises Question About Beach Erosion

sf-bay

November 15th, 2012

The sediment in San Francisco Bay, once thought of as a renewable resource, is eroding and being removed much more quickly than nature replenishes it

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To Birds, Storm Survival Is Only Natural

birds-orange

November 14th, 2012

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the northeaster, much of the East Coast looked so battered and flooded, so strewed with toppled trees and stripped of dunes and beaches, that many observers feared the worst. Any day now, surely, the wildlife corpses would start showing up, especially birds…

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Ha Long Bay Clean-Up Could Force Floating Fishing Village Inland

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November 14th, 2012

Vietnamese authorities devise resettlement plan for floating residents, whose dumping of waste is killing their livelihood

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Hurricane Sandy Challenges Short-Term Thinking On Nation’s Coasts

poor-coastal-develpmt

November 13th, 2012

America is an aggressively coastal nation. While accounting for just 13 percent of the nation’s total land mass, coastal counties, including those along the two oceans and the Great Lakes, are home to roughly half the U.S. population, the authors noted, and 60 percent of civilian income…

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Sculpting Of An Erodible Body By Flowing Water

rock-sculpture

November 13th, 2012

Erosion by flowing fluids carves striking landforms on Earth and also provides important clues to the past and present environments of other worlds.

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Venice High Water Floods 70% of City

venise

November 13th, 2012

Venice’s high water, or “acqua alta”, said to be the sixth highest since 1872, flooded 70% of the city and was high enough to make raised wooden platforms for pedestrians float away.

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Mozambique creates Africa’s largest coastal marine reserve

afrique

November 9th, 2012

The Primeiras and Segundas have been approved as a marine protected area in Mozambique making this diverse ten-island archipelago Africa’s largest coastal marine reserve.

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