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

County Starts Dumping-Related Clean-up Work at Goleta, Carpinteria Beaches; CA

Two months after trucks stopped dumping loads of Montecito mud onto the shore at Goleta Beach County Park, the ocean waters remain closed because testing shows bacteria levels significantly exceed standards.

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We’re doomed’: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention

The 86-year-old social scientist says accepting the impending end of most life on Earth might be the very thing needed to help us prolong it.

Comments Off on We’re doomed’: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention

Record concentration of microplastic in Arctic sea ice

News, Pollution
Apr
25

Experts have recently found higher amounts of microplastic in arctic sea ice than ever before. However, the majority of particles were microscopically small.

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Why Seas Are Rising Faster on the U.S. East Coast

Scientists are unraveling the reasons why some parts of the world are experiencing sea level increases far beyond the global average. A prime example is the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, which has been experiencing “sunny day flooding” that had not been expected for decades.

Comments Off on Why Seas Are Rising Faster on the U.S. East Coast

Madeira, the island of eternal springtime, and Porto Moniz lava pools

Inform
Apr
21

The lava pools on the remote, northwestern tip of Madeira Island, are one of the most beautiful place to take a tip in the ocean, anywhere. Surging out of the Atlantic more than 500 Km west of Morocco, Madeira is the craggy tip of a giant volcano.

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Holden Beach Says ‘No’ to Terminal Groin, NC

Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets.

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Could a tiny enzyme eradicate plastic garbage plaguing the world’s oceans?

News, Pollution
Apr
19

A small enzyme could be the solution to plastic pollution, one of the planet’s biggest environmental problems. Millions of metric tons of plastics wind up in the ocean each year.

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Global warming is transforming the Great Barrier Reef

A new study published online today in Nature shows that corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef experienced a catastrophic die-off following the extended marine heatwave of 2016.

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Can Adding Sand to Beaches Save Them?

The question is, can beach nourishment keep up with the ever-increasing forces of climate change or, like Sisyphus forever pushing his boulder up the hill, is adding sand to beaches an expensive, temporary fix to a long-term problem?

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Recent / Inform

County Starts Dumping-Related Clean-up Work at Goleta, Carpinteria Beaches; CA

April 26th, 2018

Two months after trucks stopped dumping loads of Montecito mud onto the shore at Goleta Beach County Park, the ocean waters remain closed because testing shows bacteria levels significantly exceed standards.

Read More

We’re doomed’: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention

April 26th, 2018

The 86-year-old social scientist says accepting the impending end of most life on Earth might be the very thing needed to help us prolong it.

Read More

Record concentration of microplastic in Arctic sea ice

April 25th, 2018

Experts have recently found higher amounts of microplastic in arctic sea ice than ever before. However, the majority of particles were microscopically small.

Read More

Why Seas Are Rising Faster on the U.S. East Coast

April 24th, 2018

Scientists are unraveling the reasons why some parts of the world are experiencing sea level increases far beyond the global average. A prime example is the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, which has been experiencing “sunny day flooding” that had not been expected for decades.

Read More

Madeira, the island of eternal springtime, and Porto Moniz lava pools

April 21st, 2018

The lava pools on the remote, northwestern tip of Madeira Island, are one of the most beautiful place to take a tip in the ocean, anywhere. Surging out of the Atlantic more than 500 Km west of Morocco, Madeira is the craggy tip of a giant volcano.

Read More

Holden Beach Says ‘No’ to Terminal Groin, NC

April 20th, 2018

Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets.

Read More

Could a tiny enzyme eradicate plastic garbage plaguing the world’s oceans?

April 19th, 2018

A small enzyme could be the solution to plastic pollution, one of the planet’s biggest environmental problems. Millions of metric tons of plastics wind up in the ocean each year.

Read More

Global warming is transforming the Great Barrier Reef

April 18th, 2018

A new study published online today in Nature shows that corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef experienced a catastrophic die-off following the extended marine heatwave of 2016.

Read More

Can Adding Sand to Beaches Save Them?

April 13th, 2018

The question is, can beach nourishment keep up with the ever-increasing forces of climate change or, like Sisyphus forever pushing his boulder up the hill, is adding sand to beaches an expensive, temporary fix to a long-term problem?

Read More

Mapping Beach Changes After Devastating Montecito Debris Flows

April 11th, 2018

During the week of March 26, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey carried out four days of mapping selected beaches and the adjacent seafloor in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Results will be compared to surveys from last fall to highlight changes due to winter waves, and to sediment inputs from area streams.

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