Over 60% of the World's inhabitants live within a 40 miles wide area along the coastline and our largest cities spread out along the sea.
Coastlines urbanization contributes to the coastal development process which gives way to the destruction of shallow' natural habitats.
Urban density, when out of control, has a high damaging impact on the marine environment: physical destruction, pollution... in addition to the impact of sea water desalinisation stations in dryer areas.
Upper waters from urban areas or those released from polluting activities taking place on upslope basins add a lot of pressure on the environment.
Rivers and lakes, important for agriculture and fishing, are the link with remote inlands (even thousands of miles away).
Country and sea are deeply interactive and – even though the effects of dirty waters are lessened by remoteness – they still are an entity through which liquids, air and waters carry harmful materials.
In most countries, rural depopulation is yet another factor in the urbanization of the coastal areas. Tourism, one of the main centres of interest on the sea side, is made more and more accessible as it increases in popularity.
Global warming, mainly impacting at sea level, is weakening the key contact area between sea and land.
Seas and Oceans are such great food and work resources in various industries, mainly in tourism, which could be continued into a sustainable development perspective.
The sea is the fishermen's countryside – cargo vessels ship through it to supply urban areas – and for the sake of which it is necessary to work towards a better harmony between towns and sea, between sea and countryside.
We do have the possibility to reverse the mechanics of environmental damaging, thanks to joint actions on waters quality, coastal management and through an educational guiding program leading to a better understanding of these mechanics and a greater involvement of all.
Many countries are concerned by the interaction between coastal urbanization and the protection of their marine environment.
The stakes of an eco-urban education are high. Educators are taking on a great responsibility in getting the right message through, in helping us to understand water cycles, the role of an upslope basin and the consequences of the materials being carried away by winds and waters, in making obvious the continuity between air, sea and land.
The matter suggests that we should share experiences, maybe work together on homogeneous areas such as the Mediterranean.
What relevant actions? Which ways to guide marine environmental politics? Who requires educational priority and what media can be used?
There is a true challenge for the educators => to reverse the trend.
What means do we have to convince so many people, to rise an eco-awareness in tourism?
Having to address lands people, from a sea remote culture, does not make it an easy matter.