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

The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says

Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.

Comments Off on The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says

Industry is leaking huge amounts of microplastics, Swedish study shows

News, Pollution
Feb
20

Millions of plastic pellets are leaking out into the environment from a manufacturing site in Stenungsund, according to a new Swedish study. Despite several international and national sets of regulatory frameworks, the leaking continues.

Comments Off on Industry is leaking huge amounts of microplastics, Swedish study shows

This Sardinian Town May Ban Towels to Save Popular Beach

News, Sand Mining
Feb
20

La Pelosa-one of the Italian island’s more popular beaches—might be banning towels and large beach bags to preserve its sand dunes. The announcement was made earlier this week by Mayor Antonio Diana, who plans to enact strict measures to save the beach.

Comments Off on This Sardinian Town May Ban Towels to Save Popular Beach

Scientists race to explore Antarctic marine life revealed by giant iceberg

British Antarctic Survey is trying to reach a newly revealed ecosystem that had been hidden for 120,000 years below the Larsen C ice shelf. Scientists say it is a race against time to explore these new ecosystems before they are transformed by exposure to the light.

Comments Off on Scientists race to explore Antarctic marine life revealed by giant iceberg

Mangroves protect coastlines, store carbon – and are expanding with climate change

Mangroves are providing extremely valuable services and may become even more important as they expand toward the poles. But according to one recent study, many mangrove ecosystems are not building enough new elevation to keep pace with sea level rise.

Comments Off on Mangroves protect coastlines, store carbon – and are expanding with climate change

Container ships use super-dirty fuel. That needs to change

About 90 percent of everything we buy will travel on ships like these at some point. And all of these behemoths burn fossil fuel, contributing significantly to the warming atmosphere and shifting climate patterns.

Comments Off on Container ships use super-dirty fuel. That needs to change

High levels of microplastics found in Northwest Atlantic fish

News, Pollution
Feb
18

A new study finds 73 percent of mesopelagic fish caught in the Northwest Atlantic had microplastics in their stomachs, one of the highest levels globally. These fish could spread microplastic pollution throughout the marine ecosystem, by carrying microplastics from the surface down to deeper waters. They are also prey for fish eaten by humans, meaning that microplastics could indirectly contaminate our food supply.

Comments Off on High levels of microplastics found in Northwest Atlantic fish

Impact of Climate Change on Karachi May be One of Pakistan’s Biggest Threats

Historically a small fishing village, Karachi has now turned into Pakistan’s biggest commerce and industrial center that generates about half of the country’s tax revenue. Karachi, Pakistan’s main portal city is also far from immune to the impacts of climate change.

Comments Off on Impact of Climate Change on Karachi May be One of Pakistan’s Biggest Threats

The Ship Breakers

After their useful life is over, more than 90 percent of the world’s ocean-going container ships end up on the shores of India, Pakistan, Indonesia, or Bangladesh, where labor is cheap, demand for steel is high, and environmental regulations are lax.

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Recent / Inform

The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says

February 21st, 2018

Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.

Read More

Industry is leaking huge amounts of microplastics, Swedish study shows

February 20th, 2018

Millions of plastic pellets are leaking out into the environment from a manufacturing site in Stenungsund, according to a new Swedish study. Despite several international and national sets of regulatory frameworks, the leaking continues.

Read More

This Sardinian Town May Ban Towels to Save Popular Beach

February 20th, 2018

La Pelosa-one of the Italian island’s more popular beaches—might be banning towels and large beach bags to preserve its sand dunes. The announcement was made earlier this week by Mayor Antonio Diana, who plans to enact strict measures to save the beach.

Read More

Scientists race to explore Antarctic marine life revealed by giant iceberg

February 20th, 2018

British Antarctic Survey is trying to reach a newly revealed ecosystem that had been hidden for 120,000 years below the Larsen C ice shelf. Scientists say it is a race against time to explore these new ecosystems before they are transformed by exposure to the light.

Read More

Mangroves protect coastlines, store carbon – and are expanding with climate change

February 19th, 2018

Mangroves are providing extremely valuable services and may become even more important as they expand toward the poles. But according to one recent study, many mangrove ecosystems are not building enough new elevation to keep pace with sea level rise.

Read More

Container ships use super-dirty fuel. That needs to change

February 19th, 2018

About 90 percent of everything we buy will travel on ships like these at some point. And all of these behemoths burn fossil fuel, contributing significantly to the warming atmosphere and shifting climate patterns.

Read More

High levels of microplastics found in Northwest Atlantic fish

February 18th, 2018

A new study finds 73 percent of mesopelagic fish caught in the Northwest Atlantic had microplastics in their stomachs, one of the highest levels globally. These fish could spread microplastic pollution throughout the marine ecosystem, by carrying microplastics from the surface down to deeper waters. They are also prey for fish eaten by humans, meaning that microplastics could indirectly contaminate our food supply.

Read More

Impact of Climate Change on Karachi May be One of Pakistan’s Biggest Threats

February 18th, 2018

Historically a small fishing village, Karachi has now turned into Pakistan’s biggest commerce and industrial center that generates about half of the country’s tax revenue. Karachi, Pakistan’s main portal city is also far from immune to the impacts of climate change.

Read More

The Ship Breakers

February 18th, 2018

After their useful life is over, more than 90 percent of the world’s ocean-going container ships end up on the shores of India, Pakistan, Indonesia, or Bangladesh, where labor is cheap, demand for steel is high, and environmental regulations are lax.

Read More

Factbox: Sifting Through U.S. Beach Sand Numbers

February 17th, 2018

Here is a summary of what Florida and other coastal states and communities have been doing to protect and rebuild their shorelines based on to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) data.

Read More


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