RCE Georgetown - 2020

Building a Sustainability Dashboard: Measuring our Goals
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Building a Sustainability Dashboard: Measuring our Goals
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Georgetown
Contributing organization(s) : 
National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR); Coastal Carolina University; Georgetown County, SC; Black River United Way; Tidelands Health
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Pamela L Martin
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Carolina University
Maeve Snyder
Organizational Affiliation: 
Yolanda McCray
Organizational Affiliation: 
Black River United Way
Kelly Kaminski
Organizational Affiliation: 
Tidelands Health
Format of project: 
Data Dashboard
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Comprehensive Planning
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Georgetown County, SC
Address of focal point institution for project: 
125 Chanticleer Blvd. Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC 29528
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Georgetown County, South Carolina, is located along the Grand Strand area of the Atlantic Coastline of the United States and is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. It houses part of the UN Man and Biosphere Reserve along the Atlantic Coast and has some of the most pristine waters along it, including the third largest water-basin. The population of the County increased 20.5% between 1990 and 2000 to 60,158. It is predicted to increase by 25% by 2025. The county has a rich history and culture of Gullah Geechee ancestors who were slaves from West Africa. It is now part of a National Heritage Corridor for this unique and diverse population. Compared to all but one of the neighboring counties, Georgetown has lower average income and higher poverty rates that disproportionately affect the African American residents in the county.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Georgetown county is a place of wondrous natural beauty and a special heritage, yet these assets are also filled with challenges. While Georgetown County has some of the most pristine waters along the Atlantic and the third largest water-basin, it also suffers from high risk mercury levels in some of its waterways. The county has higher than national average unemployment rates and higher poverty rates that disproportionately affect the African- American residents. Of the 21 schools in the county, 12 are Title 1, meaning these schools receive free or reduced lunch for 75% or more of their students. Of third grade students, 45% tested below Math at the end of the year and 20% below reading levels. Coupled with coastal sea level rise and flooding, particularly over the past five years, Sustainable and Resilient Organization training for our county Public Services Department (that encompasses Environmental Services, roads, stormwater, capital projects, and the airport) integrate with down scaled climate data and the UN SDGs to their mission, vision, values, and short and long term goals and strategies. In light of the past five years of hurricanes and flooding, and now a pandemic, such resilient planning is the key to bounce back better for the future of all in the county.
May, 2020 to October, 2020
As a result of a NOAA Climate Adaptation Grant for Georgetown County, participants from Black River United Way, Tidelands Health, and RCE Georgetown formed a leadership team for a 25 person resilience task force for Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties in response to 5 consecutive years of hurricanes, flooding, and sea level rise, in addition to the 2020 pandemic. This task force consists of emergency managers, financial directors, mayors, municipal administrators, health care community outreach, nonprofit grassroots disaster responders, and university and scientist members to create multi-sectoral adaptation and mitigation/disaster risk reduction plans for the counties. In order to measure the counties’ sustainability and resilience, we developed a dashboard with local data to help track progress, gaps, inform policymaking, and assist in grant-writing from common data sources.
● Measure the UN SDGs with local indicators
● Provide data analysis on sustainable development targets
● Foster community conversations around sustainability and resilience
● Inform resilience policy making
● Create a common data base for the Winyah Bay, SC region for decision making, grant writing, etc.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
1. Climate Adaptation and science task force discussion
2. A task force analysis of climate risks and integrated socio-economic stressors on the community
3. Monthly task force meetings to review pandemic status and needs
4. Research team to create a Tableau powered UN SDG data dashboard
5. Verification and validation of dashboard data
Size of academic audience: 
A Beta version of a data dashboard for the counties with a phase 2 of localizing the data via community-level to analyze intra-county gaps in sustainable development.
Lessons learned: 
1. County employees are understaffed and under resourced, which makes carving out time for planning and data collection difficult, yet this is necessary for a resilient future.
2. Indicator verification and conversations are critical to accurate and useful data for end users.
3. Integrated, systems level analysis is not common for all and requires education and training. Decisions have not been being made on data.
4. More opportunities to train and work with our local governments provides the building blocks for better, more sustainable and resilient communities and lives for all
5. Coastal Counties want and need access to resilience training, evaluation, and policy development, especially in light of challenges with Covid.
Key messages: 
Data driven policies on commonly accepted goals and targets move communities together on equitable and sustainable paths for hopeful futures.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
This project is the result of our 2018-19 climate adaptation student, funded by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), in partnership with the county, municipalities, University of South Carolina, Coastal Carolina University, the Consensus Building Institute, and NERR.
This training was a result of a $100,000 NOAA funded grant on climate adaptation in Georgetown County.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level