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Surviving in coastal North Carolina involves adapting to its environment

Historically, coastal communities in North Carolina had to adapt to the tough environmental conditions related to water. Water posed threats during storms and flooding and also limited transportation and communication options.

But they survived and even prospered before the arrival of road networks, bridges, electricity, and telephones. People depended on boats and rolled up their pants when the water got high.

They knew they were going to have to work with water—it provided life and livelihood to the commercial fishing communities.

Addressing climate change today

Effective Adaptive Management addressing climate change realities relies on local, state, and federal decision-makers and the policies they create. What does environmental adaptability require?

  • Acknowledging challenges
  • Setting up response strategies for “protection in place” and “managed transition”
  • Implementing them

In 2012, NC state lawmakers made decisions addressing climate change (see video left). What’s changed since then?

Today, our coastal communities are challenged to manage and conserve the resources needed to sustain the quality of life in the midst of population growth, land use change and variations in climate and weather. These challenges create high risk associated with living, working and doing business along the coast.

As North Carolinians, we must confront the challenges facing our coastal regions.

Rapid population growth of full-time residents needing housing, healthcare, education, products & services

Demand for development—residential and business—in an ever-shrinking, vulnerable geographic area

Sea level rise resulting in saltwater intrusion, greater damage from storm surge, frequent King Tide flooding, and rising water table

Loss of biodiversity caused by armoring the coastline, deforestation, saltwater intrusion

Vulnerable infrastructure, such as transportation, communication, water/sewer, and energy, is at risk as water level rises and storms become more intense

Point and non-point source pollution from stormwater runoff in the form of sediment, chemicals, and nutrient-loading

Increases in year-round, population and tourism comes with higher demand for infrastructure: roads, bridges, water, sewage, electricity, and communication.
Demand for development faces a limited availability of real estate. Vulnerable sites are frequently developed.
Challenges to biodiversity and habitat loss as marsh and oyster beds are replaced by armored shorelines.
Sea level rise increases storm intensity and storm surge.
Rapid growth of a full-time resident population.
Stormwater runoff and erosion.
Introduction of non-native plant species.

Let’s look towards some climate-compatible, future-focused solutions!

We’re looking for innovative and inventive blue economy startups in these sectors.

Infrastructure and housing

Shipping and supply chain

Aquaculture, mariculture, agriculture, food security

Tourism and hospitality

Goods and services

Power generation and energy


Environmental literacy and protection

i have a startup in one or more of these sectors

For the people, for the ecosystems, for our love for NC,
be part of the change.

goal 1

Balanced human-environment interaction

We must be in harmony with our environment, utilizing it to survive, and protecting and preserving it so all ecosystems can thrive. Before the industrial revolution, the human-environment relationship was much healthier and more balanced. Today, we can find ways to adapt, like the Dutch with their floating homes, and riverine villages in Bangladesh.

goal 2

Successful and sustainable Blue Economy

Business success isn’t always about growth. A successful blue economy is one that is balanced and in perfect harmony with the environment. Adding this “green” aspect to the Blue Economy idea could even make it a “Teal Economy”.

goal 3

Reaching the UN's SDGs

An important objective is aiming to reach the Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations urges everyone to strive for before 2030. They help us by providing a framework that we can all agree on.

Join our journey to reach these goals.