I could distinguish three phases of awareness. Until the fifties and probably till the sixties, those who lived in the coast were usually poor people living in the dunes from activities directly linked to the sea, and from time to time the storms forced them to reconstruct their houses, which were usually small houses built with ephemeral materials. This situation made people aware of how powerful and dangerous the sea was.
However, after the sixties, the coastal population explodes, and most of the people come from the cities and even from the interior of the country. They did not know the sea, so many of them built infrastructure - hard buildings from streets to hotels - and often in places where the older people would never build.
The environmental awareness came up after a series of events that went very badly for us, such as coastal inundations. In recent times and because of the globalization, there is a lot of information in the news, for example the problem in New Orleans can help people understand the consequences of nature in the coast.