Study details significant sea level rise

Beach Erosion at the Outer Banks. Photo source: ©© Soil Science


The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years, and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level. The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)…

The team found that sea level was relatively stable from 200 BC to 1,000 AD. Then in the 11th century, sea level rose by about half a millimeter each year for 400 years, linked with a warm climate period known as the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Since the late 19th century, sea level has risen by more than 2 millimeters per year on average, the steepest rate for more than 2,100 years…

Read Original Article, from “Climate related sea-level variations over the past two millennia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2011”, in Science Daily

Pennsylvania University, Benjamin Horton Sea level Rise

Study details significant sea level rise, AP Article

Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Ongoing Sand Mining Mafia, Konkan coast, India

Sand mining, Alappuzha, Kerala State, India. Photo source: ©© Christopher Macsurak


Maharashtra’s creeks and the Konkan coast are falling prey to the sand mafia, which carries out its illegal activities with the blessings of local politicians. The builders’ lobby has a huge interest in sand got through the dredging, as the material is then sent to cities where it is used in construction. Illegal sand mining is estimated to have an annual turnover of Rs 1,000 crore, according to activists tracking the trade.

Sand mining had come to a near standstill last year after the Bombay High Court banned it…

Read Original Article, by Dredging Today

Illegal Sand Miners Remain Unfazed

How Sand Maning Mafia is Plundering Beaches and Creeks

The Speed of Change: Oceans in Distress, An International Report

WATCH: State of the Oceans: The Speed of Change

Professor Chris Reid Marine Institute, University of Plymouth and Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science highlights the speed of change which has been greater than most scientists predicted even in worst case scenarios.

Pollution and global warming are pushing the world’s oceans to the brink of a mass extinction of marine life unseen for tens of millions of years, a consortium of scientists warned Monday.

Dying coral reefs, biodiversity ravaged by invasive species, expanding open-water “dead zones,” toxic algae blooms, the massive depletion of big fish stocks, all are accelerating, they said in a report compiled during an April meeting in Oxford of 27 of the world’s top ocean experts.

Sponsored by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the review of recent science found that ocean health has declined further and faster than dire forecasts only a few years ago…

Read AFP Article

State Of The Oceans: The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO)

Multiple Ocean Stresses Threaten “Globally Significant” Marine Extinction; Report
By The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO)

Photo source: Blue Voice / Gene Flipsy

A high-level international workshop convened by IPSO met at the University of Oxford earlier this year. It was the first inter-disciplinary international meeting of marine scientists of its kind and was designed to consider the cumulative impact of multiple stressors on the ocean, including warming, acidification, and overfishing.

The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) was established by scientists with the aim of saving the Earth and all life on it.

The 3 day workshop, co-sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), looked at the latest science across different disciplines.

The 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries produced a grave assessment of current threats, and a stark conclusion about future risks to marine and human life if the current trajectory of damage continues: that the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

Delegates called for urgent and unequivocal action to halt further declines in ocean health.

The report summary (released 21 June 2011) outlines the main findings and recommendations. The full report will be released at a later date.

Read IPSO Press Release

Report, Short Version

IPSO, State of the Oceans

The report is also accompanied by four case studies, which look in more detail at some of the workshop’s main findings.

WATCH: State of the Oceans: The IPSO Four Case Studies; 4 Short Videos

In “The Story of Corals Video“, Professor Charles Sheppard, Warwick University gives further perspective to the extinction threat facing coral reefs and stresses that the knock-on effects are already being felt on land.

Is it really Possible a Mass Extinction Could Happen?” In this latest video, Dr. Alex Rogers, Scientific Director of IPSO and Professor of Conservation Biology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, gives the overview of the main problems affecting the ocean — and some suggested solutions.

Original Article and Videos

The Mediterranean and Climate Change’s Impacts


By Greenpeace International

One of the most serious threats to life in the Mediterranean bassin and indeed every part of the global ocean is climate change. Climate change is already having an impact on the marine environment and this is likely to escalate swiftly, increasing seawater temperatures and coastal erosion, altering salinity and currents and causing serious declines in biodiversity.

Sea level rise for the next century (2100) could be between 30 and 100 cm and temperature shifts of a mere 0.05-0.1°C in the deep sea are sufficient to induce significant changes in species richness and functional diversity.

Any disruption to the water column, including the impact of increasing temperature, is likely to have profound impacts on the species inhabiting it, including commercial fish stocks.

Indirect consequences may also occur as a result of temperature rise, including demands on the Mediterranean for desalinised water, a process which will create localised areas of higher salt content, thus further disrupting the fine balance of the Sea.

Although the Mediterranean region will experience negative andpotentially severe impact as a result of climate change, it could also represent a major part of the solution. There is huge renewable energy potential in Mediterranean countries, especially solar, and most of this potential is untapped. If Mediterranean countries commit to developing their renewable energy potential, climate change impacts on the Sea and region can be reduced and the region can contribute to the global solution.

The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most heavily polluted marine areas in the world. Thousands of tonnes of toxic waste are pumped directly into the sea by industry each year.

sewage mediterrannee
Sewage facility dumping into the Mediterranean. Photo source: ©Greenpeace

Heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a serious threat to human health and marine life. High concentrations of mercury, cadmium, zinc and lead in sediments are found at “hot-spots”, generally located in the coastal zones receiving high levels of industrial effluents, solid waste and domestic sewage. These substances can travel thousands of kilometers, across national boundaries, far from their source.

This creates a serious health risk in a region where fish is an integral part of the regional diet and many people’s livelihoods depend on the sea. It also exacerbates stress on the ecosystems and marine life, which are damaged by the pollution.

Some of the world’s busiest shipping routes are in the Mediterranean Sea. It is estimated that approximately 220,000 vessels of more than 100 tonnes cross the Mediterranean Sea each year, about one third of the world’s total merchant shipping. These ships often carry hazardous cargo, which if lost would result in severe damage to the marine environment.

The discharge of chemical tank washings and oily wastes also represent a significant source of marine pollution. The Mediterranean Sea constitutes 0.7 percent of the global water surface and yet receives seventeen percent of global marine oil pollution.

It is estimated that every year between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes of crude oil are deliberately released into the sea from shipping activities.

Approximately 370 million tonnes of oil are transported annually in the Mediterranean Sea (more than 20 percent of the world total), with around 250 to 300 oil tankers crossing the Sea every day. Accidental oil spills happen frequently with an average of 10 spills per year. A major oil spill could occur at any time in any part of the Mediterranean.

With a unique combination of pleasant climate, beautiful coastline, rich history and diverse culture the Mediterranean region is the most popular tourist destination in the world, attracting approximately one third of the world’s international tourists.

Tourism is one of the most important sources of income for many Mediterranean countries. It also supports small communities in coastal areas and islands by providing alternative sources of income far from urban centres. However, tourism has also played major role in the degradation of the coastal and marine environment.

Rapid development has been encouraged by Mediterranean governments to support the large numbers of tourists visiting the region each year. But this has caused serious disturbance to marine habitats such as erosion and pollution in many places along the Mediterranean coasts.

Tourism often concentrates in areas of high natural wealth, causing a serious threat to the habitats of endangered Mediterranean species such as sea turtles and monk seals. It is ironic that tourism in this region is destroying the foundations of its own existence. And it is inevitable that the tourists will leave the Mediterranean as it becomes more depleted of its natural beauty.

Introduced Species
Whether intended or accidental, introduced or “alien” species can become invasive, having serious impacts in the marine environment, competing with native and endemic species for food and space, often dramatically altering the structure of communities and habitats.

The intentional release of new species can occur as a result of species being brought into an area (for example to establish aquaculture or for aquariums), and subsequently spreading into the surrounding waters. An example of this is the growth of the tropical alga, Caulerpa taxifolia, from its original introduction site at the Monaco Aquarium to covering over 40 million square meters of the Mediterranean coast.

Some species are accidentally transported in ballast water or attached the hulls of vessels and end up being released far from their origin. The North American comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi was introduced to the Black Sea through ships’ ballast, and reached an estimated total biomass exceeding the world’s total annual fish landings, adding to the effects of over-fishing and contributing to the near collapse of Black Sea fisheries.

Original Article

Zebra Mussel Invasion in Spain Is Irreversible
The expansion of the “introduced species” zebra mussel, has not only an environmental impact because of its impact on endemic species and on the environmental balance of ecosystems, but also a great economic impact.

Mediterranean Sea Invaded by Alien Species

Cuba: Sea levels to rise more than 30 in. by 2100

cuba sea level rise
“Train to Atlantis”. Santa Lucia Beach, Camagüey province, Cuba. Photo by: ©© Innoxiuss


Cuban scientists calculate that median sea levels around the Caribbean nation will rise more than 30 inches (75 centimeters) by the end of the century due to global climate change…

“Right now it is urgent to preserve mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass and sand beaches. Each of these ecosystems is a natural barrier to defend the coasts from the impact of climate change. If they deteriorate, the consequences will be worse.”Government scientist Marcelino Hernandez warned…

Read Full Article, AP / Huffington Post

Cuban coastline:Retreat up to 2.5 meters, The Watchers
Most of the 400 beaches of Cuba’s territory are affected by erosion with a receding coastline estimated at 1.2 meters per year, according to a study by the Institute of Oceanology of the island. The research ratified “the widespread nature of the Cuban beach erosion” due to phenomena such as sea level rise, sand mining, construction of buildings on natural dunes and incorrectlocation of piers…

2011 Ashden Awards international finalists, in pictures

Photo source: ©© Adam Foster
Sustainable energy is the provision of energy that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are said to be the twin pillars of sustainable energy.Green Energy is energy that can be extracted, generated, and/or consumed without any significant negative impact to the environment. The planet has a natural capability to recover which means pollution that does not go beyond that capability can still be termed green.
No power source is entirely impact-free. All energy sources require energy and give rise to some degree of pollution from manufacture of the technology. (Wikipedia)


Eight sustainable energy pioneers from Africa and Asia have been selected as international finalists for the prestigious Ashden Awards for sustainable energy 2011.

“The Ashden Awards bring to light inspiring sustainable energy solutions in the UK and developing world and help ensure that ” they’re part of a broader international process that’s designed to last: sharing knowledge, passing on experience and offering advice and support where it’s wanted.”

Click to View Photo Gallery, from Guardian UK

Read Original Article, from Guardian UK

Coastal Dunes, Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil

Lençóis Maranhenses Sand Dunes. Photo source: Wikimedia

Excerpts; from Gracie Murano, and Justin Wilkinson (Lockheed Martin / Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.)

It seems incredible, but in a country that keeps around 30% of the fresh water and shelters the largest rain forest in the world, we can find a “desert”. Located on the north shore of Brazil, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is an area of about 300 square kilometers (155,000 ha) of blinding white dunes and deep blue lagoons, forming one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world.

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, created on June 2, 1981, (Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses) is located in northeastern Brazil, just east of the Baía de São José.

The landscape consists of dunes up to 40 metres high, interspersed with lagoons of clear fresh water which form during the rainy season at the beginning of the year. The place: 155 thousand hectares, roughly 1000 square kilometers, which go from the coast as far as 50 kilometres inland, which form expanding sandbanks.

Image source: M. Justin Wilkinson (Lockheed Martin / Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center).

Persistent winds blow off the equatorial Atlantic Ocean onto Brazil from the east, driving white sand inland from the 100 km stretch of coast (upper margin of the image), to form a large field of dunes. The strongly regular pattern of these dunes is a common characteristic of dune fields. The basic shape of each sand mass, repeated throughout the view, is a crescent-shaped dune. In an area with a rich supply of sand such as coastal Brazil, individual crescents coalesce to form entire chains many miles long. The wind strength and supply of sand are sufficient to keep the dunes active, and thus free of vegetation, despite 1500 mm (60 inches) of rainfall annually. Justin Wilkinson (Lockheed Martin / Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center)

Composed of large, white, sweeping dunes, at first glance Lençóis Maranhenses looks like an archetypal desert. In fact it isn’t actually a desert.

Lying just outside the Amazon basin, the region is subject to a regular rain season during the beginning of the year. Despite its desert-like appearance, Lençóis Maranhenses records an annual rainfall 300 times more than in the Sahara.

The rains cause a peculiar phenomenon: fresh water collects in the valleys between sand dunes, spotting the desert with blue and green lagoons that reach their fullest between July and September, forming one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world.

The area is also surprisingly home to a variety of fish which, despite the almost complete disappearance of the lagoons during the period of drought, where the lagoons evaporate and become completely dried. The mystery in this story lies in the fact that when the lagoons fill up, life comes back, as if they had never left the place. One of the hypotheses to explain the phenomenon is that the eggs of the fish and crabs are maintained alive in the sand, exploding when rain comes back, or that have their eggs are brought back from the sea, by birds.

Read Original Article

NASA, Original Article

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Wikipedia

Italy says Yes to a nuclear energy free future

italia nuclear greenpeace
Photo source: ©Greenpeace

Excerpt, from Greenpeace

The people were asked and the people have spoken: Italy should have a nuclear power free future.

In the past weekend Italians’ were called to cast their vote on four referendums, one of which was about the production of nuclear energy in Italy. The answer has come loud and clear: almost 57% Italians went to vote and the vast majority of them, almost 95%, have chosen for a future free of nuclear energy.

25 years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and just three months since the earthquake and Tsunami wreaked havoc at the Fukushima nuclear complex, Italy, regardless the reckless will of its government, becomes the third country, joining Germany and Switzerland, to exclude nuclear power from their future energy sources, since Fukushima reminded us once more of the inherent dangers of nuclear power.

The time has come to leave the deadly nuclear distraction behind us and to move steadily towards a future powered by clean, safe and renewable sources of energy.

This is a great result also considering that there has been an almost total media blackout on all the four referendum, an institutionally driven blackout with a specific goal: not enough voters showing up to render any outcome invalid.

Over the past two months countless Greenpeace activities and those of others in civil society have been able to break the silence, giving back to the people the democratic right to exclude from their future and from future generations the tragic experiences the people in Chernobyl and in Fukushima have gone through, and still are.

Turning up was only the first part of the battle, next came the obtuse nature of the question posed in the referendum itself. Since it was meant to cancel legislation put in place by the Berlusconi’s government, if you wanted to vote “no to nuclear energy” you had actually to vote “Yes” .

In the light of all these difficulties put in between the citizens and one of the most powerful tools of direct democracy, a referendum, it’s clear that we all, not just those of us who are Italian, have good reason to celebrate. According to an opinion poll, run in France by IFOP, the majority of the French people support a nuclear phase out in future.

Original Article

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

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