The Gold coast is a coastal city in the Australian state of Queenslanda and is located in South-east Queensland, stretching along 57 kilometres of coastline. The Gold Coast is just one hour, or 66 kilometres, south from Brisbane and immediately north of the border with New South Wales. The latitude of this coastal city is , 28.0167° S, 153.4000° E. Queensland’s Gold Coast has a subtropical climate, consisting of two seasons; a rainy and humid summer, occurring from October to May and a relatively dry season between June and October. It has been calculated that the residents of the Gold Coast experience approximately 300 days of sunshine per year.
One well known physical feature of the Gold Coast, which are critical for the protection of beaches is Dunes.These landforms are a large mass of wind-blown sand and are natural ‘buffer zones’ that reduce the impact of fluctuations of the shoreline and erosion by the sea. The process of dunes is quite simple, large waves make 'withdrawals' from the dunal sandbank to build offshore sand bars, and then small waves return this sand back to the visible beach. The wave action on the Gold Coast beaches creates the two types of short-term transverse movements; erosion and accretion. Dunes grow as grains of sand accumulate, creating a natural barrier to the destructive forces of wind and waves, providing us with our first line of defense against coastal storms and beach erosion. They absorb the impact of storm surge and high waves, preventing or delaying flooding of inland areas and damage to inland structures.
Although the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most famous vacation destinations, the environment is always fluctuating involving many human-induced changes, including tourism, climate change and urbanisation. Still to this day, tourism continues to be the main economic driver of the Gold Coast and as studies have shown, 48% of residents say that tourism has a practical affect on their local community, stating “The more tourists the better”. This is due to the fact that It allows so much more activity to the coast in jobs, food, fashion and other items that may not be as applicable if it wasn't for tourism. However, tourism could also impact the environment in a negative way, financially, congestion and behaviours.
An expected issue is too much public money is spent on developing facilities for tourists that would rather be better spent on other public facilities/activities for the actual residents of the Gold Coast. Additional complications involving traffic congestion, parking difficulties and excessive noise become a considerable issue when there are more tourists around. As well as this, tourism is associated with people behaving in an inappropriate manner, perhaps including excessive drinking or drugs, leading to other criminal behaviour.
Tourism isn't the only human-induced change towards this environment, another considerable one is climate change. Climate change significantly impacts the environment in many ways including, hashire weather, rising sea levels, More frequent seas level extremes and Warmer and more acidic seas. These factors allow erosion and infrastructure damage across the coastline. Queensland already often experiences natural disasters due to climate such as floods, droughts and bushfires, therefore climate change is likely to aggravate the frequency and severity of these events.
The Gold coast is heavily urbanised meaning it is one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing urban regions. This emphasises that Australia’s coastal population has been growing faster than the population of the rest of the country. However, urbanisation has been recognised as a significant pressure on biodiversity, water resources, cultural and natural heritage, marine environments and atmosphere.
Since we all use energy, which releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it also means we have the ability to make a positive difference to climate change. The Gold Coast discharges approximately nine million tonnes of CO2 equivalents each year. The total amount of energy consumed by the Gold Coast community each year is equivalent to driving to the sun and back 100 times. I believe the idea of reducing the use of energy will be successful in a change to climate change as, Using less energy, solar power and choosing energy-smart appliances helps reduce our community's contribution to climate change.
Climate change is not something that we can stop or change immediately or even get it to a perfect point however we can do certain things in order to not contribute to it. As well as the community making a difference, three SEQ coastal councils have also prepared shoreline erosion management plans, a coastal dune policy, and beach nourishment programs for key beaches. There is now also a unique artificial reef which will buffer the beach from erosion and generate waves, located in palm beach. The palm beach Artificial Reef is a unique underwater rock structure, built to enhance coastal protection along this vulnerable stretch of coastline. These strategies will be very effective in order to manage climate change the best way possible and control erosion. I know this based on the sustainability and effectiveness of this artificial reef, it will be a structure that will positively impact the environment over several years.
Although there’s much more to the Gold Coast than its beaches, the stunning coastline gives the city its identity. People live and work along the coast, play on the coast and most importantly the coastline protects everyone as well as supporting a rich variety of coastal and marine wildlife. The significant economic, social and environmental benefits provided by coastal areas emphasises the reasons coastal management is a serious and important issue for the Council and community. Allowing coastal areas to fall into vulnerable situations is a big risk taker as it will servelry impact many ecosystems.