Coastal development

The European coastal environment is victim of its own success.

Demographic changes, tourism and leisure development or simply the growing number of residential areas have largely contributed to excessive artificial development which is now threatening the coastline. Because coastal ecosystems are now at risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe has developed the «Coastal change and Climate change» programme.

Coastal cities sprawl, port expansion, breakwater constructions… the European coastline has become increasingly urbanized. This observation is all the more alarming as we estimate that the world population is likely to double by 2050. If no comprehensive action is taken to tackle such growing coastline artificialisation, the demographic pressure will bring its share of concrete even more heavily in the years to come.

Climate change: encourage citizen and regulatory awareness

There are many climate change issues at stake and so are their consequences for maritime areas and the coastline. Several environmental challenges specifically related to ocean acidification, integrated shoreline management or even coastline conservation and planning are therefore emerging. Likewise as overseas territories are particularly vulnerable to climate change, specific attention is needed as well as preventive and/or adaptation actions in those maritime and coastal areas. Furthermore, because coastal ecosystems are under threat, Surfrider Foundation Europe has decided to actively address this issue. The not-for-profit organisation is particularly operating so that these challenges are taken into consideration in the various national and European policies. Additionally the organisation is developing various thematic programmes which all include this dimension. Finally Surfrider is giving citizens the ability to join forces for coastal conservation in their own areas through the « Keepers of the Coast » programme.

Promote the « Keepers of the Coast » programme

In Europe artificial areas have expanded by190 km² per year between 1990 and 2000. These rapid changes have already modified the potential viability of coastal ecosystems. Yet the shift of coasts from their natural state to urbanisation is nearly irreversible. This is why concrete constitutes one of the main threats for the coastline. Since its creation in 1990, Surfrider has been running its own programme called “Keepers of the Coast” which enables every citizen to commit to the fight against coastal degradation and changes in their own areas. Such voluntary activism is a perfect example of the organisation’s philosophy: to give the opportunity to take action.

In doing so Surfrider provides its technical, legal, scientific or even media-related expertise to citizens and local associations who wish to take an active part in environmental campaigns in their own areas, who take a stand against the many aggressions both the coastline and the oceans are suffering from and who show that voluntary commitment can make a difference on the ground.