Giving Compass' Take:

• The Aspen Institute Coastal Resilience Roundtable gathered experts from a variety of backgrounds to discuss the needs of coastal cities to sufficiently engage in climate resilience. 

• One way to prepare these cities is to provide them with accurate and reputable data of coastal community and flood zone maps. How can donors help provide resources or capital for data collection? 

• Read more about how partnerships are a key component for successful climate strategies. 

The degradation of our coasts is one of the many devastating consequences of climate change that impacts millions of Americans. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service, in 2010, 123.3 million people (roughly 39% of our nation’s population) lived in counties directly on the shoreline, and by 2020 that number is expected to increase by 8%.

Sea level rise, increased frequency and intensity of storms, and changing rainfall patterns are some of the immediate symptoms of climate change that have already impacted coasts and will only worsen. While these events directly impact coastal communities, they also result in downstream impacts that touch every single American.

The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program, in partnership with Senator Mary Landrieu, former US Senator from the State of Louisiana and Senior Advisor at Van Ness Feldman, convened the Aspen Institute Coastal Resilience Roundtable to gather experts from academia, government, non-profits, and corporations to discuss the state of our coasts and what is needed to protect them and ensure their resiliency for decades to come.

When it comes to coastal resilience, accurate and current mapping of our coastal communities and flood zones is essential. Communities must have a better understanding of their risk so they can be better informed and prepared. In order to provide this type of information, data must be collected from reputable sources.

Another critical component of resilience is more robust regional coordination so that planning happening at the local and city level can be scaled and applied regionally (and nationally) where possible.

Improving financing mechanisms for resiliency is also an essential component of success. The answer is not necessarily more funding, but rather smarter funding. One of the most common sentiments expressed at the roundtable was that solutions and technologies to address many coastal resiliency issues exist, but the resources to scale and implement those solutions do not.

Read the full article about coastal resilience by Kate Henjum and Melpo Vasiliou at The Aspen Institute.