“Climate change is having a huge impact around the globe now. This is no future holocaust (although things will get worse). As sea levels rise, we are starting to see more coastal impacts around Australia. Scientists have been predicting the impact of Climate Change for 30 years. Today we are seeing those impacts almost on a daily basis.” We hear from John Foss, award winning filmmaker and member of the Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast Branch.
“North of Newcastle little Stockton Beach has been hit by a series of ocean storms that have eroded its beach. A local childcare centre next to the beach has been shut while roads and houses are also at risk of falling into the ocean.
“Port Beach near Fremantle has also been hit by storms that have closed beach restaurants and carparks. The scenario is familiar. Sea storms hitting the coast during high tides is leading to significant erosion taking away the sand that protects coastal infrastructure. Our sea levels may only be rising by 5mm a year but we are starting to see real impacts on king tides during storm events.
“Fairhourne is a little town in Wales that sits by the coast. It is roughly the size of Barwon Heads and it has officially been declared the first town in the United Kingdom to be ’decommissioned’ due to the impact of climate change. Over the next decade everyone in the town (over 1,000) people will have to up and move inland before the ocean takes over.
“So, what are the impacts for us on the Bellarine and Surf Coasts? Firstly, as sea levels rise, there will be a lot less space to put your towel on the beach. Experts suggest by 2050 there could be 30% less beach on a higher average tide… that’s a lot less space for families and surfers to enjoy the sun and sand.
“King tides and storm surges are going to wreak havoc along our coast. The stretch of beach from Point Lonsdale to Lorne is one of the fastest ‘naturally’ eroding coastlines in the world. Throw in higher tides and a few decent storms and that will lead to cliff collapses and loss of sand in many places. Parts of Airey’s Inlet, Barwon Heads, Torquay, Anglesea and Apollo Bay will be impacted by sea level rise and storm surge. We could see entire coastal towns ‘relocated’ inland.
“What can be done? Firstly, support a local community or environmental groups (Australian Youth Climate Coalition), go to a rally, get active, write to politicians. Educate yourself about why climate change is important and what can be done to reduce its impacts.
“Secondly, go for a surf, walk along a beach or forest (plant a tree or two or a dozen)… immerse yourself in nature and develop an understanding on what you are protecting/fighting for and why.
“Finally, do your bit, reduce your carbon footprint. Walk don’t drive, plant trees, spend less time on computers and more time on the coast.
“Climate Change… don’t think it won’t affect you at some stage…. It’s having an impact now!
“This little video from Surfrider Foundation Australia illustrates what we are up against. A major storm event in 2016 destroyed homes along Collaroy Beach. The same thing could happen here – https://vimeo.com/362006637?ref=em-share
Story sourced by Jacqui Bennett. Photo: from The Surfrider Foundation of Australia.