Globalization, industrial development and climate warming are changing the coastal communities world-wide. We need to know where these changes are taking us. We need awareness about our options and how to navigate for a sustainable future.
Ocean Health Index defined ten sustainability goals for healthy marine ecosystems and established indicators to measure the global development.
The Coastal Barometer measures nine of the sustainability goals in all coastal municipalities in Northern Norway by developing indicators tailored for the Norwegian context:
- Compile and combine all relevant data into transparent indicators measuring the distance to the sustainability goals.
- Use digital tools to engage local people and highlight their values and views on sustainable ecosystems and communities.
Given the anticipated growth in the importance of marine resources, the link between Blue Growth and ocean health is of global relevance. Northern Norway offers a unique possibility to study these relationships, as the communities in Northern Norway are highly dependent on marine resources and have strong cultural and social ties to the marine environment. Many of the changes in marine sectors postulated by the Blue Growth are currently taking place in the north, and the area is data rich, even in a global context. In Northern Norway, the blue growth comprises an exponential growth in the aquaculture industry, the development of a highly efficient and sustainable fishing industry, growth in nature-based tourism, and growth in the mining and energy sector. Kystbarometeret is therefore a highly relevant case for ocean health research in other parts of the world where such industries are emerging, contributing to the generic debate on how to navigate sustainable blue transitions. We wish to generate new knowledge on the trade-offs and synergies between different sustainability goals, and will provide a web-based tool where users can explore the trends and spatial pattern of the different indices and data.
Is it at all possible to measure sustainability?
We think it is! Kystbarometeret combines social and natural science to explore and monitor how the growth in the blue economy influences economic, social and environmental sustainability goals in Northern Norway. Kystbarometeret will compile extensive socioeconomic, social, environmental and biodiversity related datasets to develop nine sustainability indices for 81 coastal municipalities in Northern Norway. The project will identify trends and trade-offs in sustainability goals related to the development of the blue economy.
The broad interdisciplinary scope and a combination of both natural and citizen science will together identify:
- How do we define sustainability goals?
- What are the trends?
- Where are their opposites and synergies
- How are they related to Blue Growth?
Not at least we wish to include the societies and communities along the northern coasts of these municipalities to help define and add a human dimension to the barometer.