The tagline for Climate Stories North Carolina is ‘daily lives, daily changes’, and that’s what this project from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Institute for the Environment shows.
The website Climate Stories NC collects stories from people living and working in North Carolina as to how climate impacts are affecting their lives and the things they love. Outdoorsman Kelly Darden talks about his love of hunting and how going out into the forest is an experience that is cleansing for his soul, not just about the meat he takes home. Third generation beekeeper Leigh-Kathryn Bonner talks about how when the seasons seem to switch straight from winter to summer, the lack of spring flowers means the bees starve.
Importantly, this video project collects stories from people who are not the ‘usual suspects’ for environmental videos. One of the interviewees – hunter and conservationist G. Richard Mode admitted (with his wonderful lilting accent) that when he first heard about climate change, he thought it was something ‘cooked up for political purposes’. However, he started seeing changes in the streams he fishes and realized it makes sense to act on climate to conserve the fish for his grandchildren to enjoy.
Trout fisherman David Wood from Murphy, NC also thinks acknowledging climate change is commonsense stating, ‘if you’re outside, you see it… Young people are going to have a hard time if it continues like this’.
David Wood, Murphy, NC (from Climate Stories NC)
Concerningly, severe impacts are already being felt. Suzanne Nelson who runs Haw River Ranch talked about how she needs to manage with more extremes, for example when the weather changed suddenly one spring day from about 70oF to 105oF and they lost 50 chickens to heat stroke that had been ready for market. Similarly, Bill Carson who runs the historic orchard at Altapass recently lost his farm insurance because they’d had four crop failures in six years and were judged as having land unsuitable for growing apples, despite the fact that the orchard has been there since 1908.
Projects like Climate Stories NC are really important because they can show the difference between political leadership and people’s experiences and opinions on the ground. While the State Legislature in NC has banned planning based on sea level rise projections, North Carolinians like Michael R. Bryant at the Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuge are living with and dealing with the impacts of climate change every day. As Bryant says, the question is, ‘is it important to you?’
image via Climate Stories NC