[indistinct chattering] - Good evening everyone.
Welcome to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
It is good to see all of you here for tonight's event, State of Change, Natural Solutions.
I work here at the Museum of Natural Sciences.
My name is Chris Smith.
I'm the coordinator for current science programs and that job title means that I get the pleasure and privilege of welcoming everyone to events like this one that we do here at the museum is a pretty cool job.
It means I get to hang out with really interesting people who are doing interesting things out there in the world of science and nature and conservation and talking about topics that I'm really interested in and that fortunately we're also interested in here at the Museum of Natural Sciences, things like climate change and what we're going to do about it.
What's the science and what's going into it?
A lot of things that I believe you're going to be hearing about tonight.
I did get a note for those of you here in the audience in the 3D Theater with me, if you parked a red pickup truck or a silver Camry on Edenton Street, I believe it's on the back of a tow truck.
If you need to just sprint out the door, I won't, you know, hold that against you.
Here at the Museum of Natural Sciences, our stated mission is to illuminate the natural world and inspire its conservation and we try to stick to that as best we can.
Of course, if you walk the halls of the museum and look around, meet some of our educators or our scientists who work here at the museum, we are all striving to that mission every single day, and I hope that if you haven't had a lot of time to view the museum, you'll come back and do so.
We have a lot of great exhibits, great programs that are happening every single day of the week.
With the museum being free, we're fortunate to be a part of the state of North Carolina.
The agency to which we belong is the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
It is the best part of state government if you're going to ask me and I am biased and they do pay me to say that.
[audience laughing] The secretary of that department is Reed Wilson, and I would like to invite Secretary Wilson up to the stage to deliver some remarks.
[audience clapping] - Thank you Chris.
Good evening everybody.
Indeed welcome to this wonderful museum and to our department of natural and cultural resources.
We take care of things people love about our state from our rich history, our diverse arts and culture, our spectacular natural areas, and I bring you warm greetings from Governor Roy Cooper, he and I earlier today were at one of those spectacular natural areas.
We were at Goose Creek State Park near Little Washington celebrating Earth Day, and you're thinking, wait a minute, Saturday is Earth Day, true we were there two days early, but you know what, we should treat every day like Earth Day.
I think the healthier our planet is, the healthier the seven plus billion people on it will be.
I want to express great appreciation to our friends, colleagues, partners at PBS NC, they do a great job of educating people, sharing compelling programming about not just science but also history and the arts and culture, and we really, really value our partnership and they are so great to work with.
Climate change is truly an existential issue.
I mean we see all the time, whether it's in North Carolina or out west or anywhere really around the world, changing climate, changing weather patterns, it's resulting in huge losses of life, losses of crops, losses of communities, whether it's to wildfires or floods or drought or all those things.
These unpredictable weather patterns are being caused by climate change, and I think it's important to remember that for decades climate scientists have been predicting this.
They have identified the cause which is manmade emissions of carbon and methane and other climate gases, and they've predicted the effects, wildly unpredictable weather patterns, a heating globe, everything else that we read about all the time now.
And so I believe since they've been getting it right all along, we really ought to pay attention to what they're saying about how we address the problem and mitigate the effects and get the emissions down so that we can not get above a place and a temperature where we really can't turn back.
And it's not just climate issues that we need to trust our science friends, there's a whole lot of issues out there where all of a sudden we're in a big argument all around this country about science.
Only 29% of people in this country in a recent Pew survey said that they had a great deal of confidence that scientists were working in the public's interest, and to me that's very troubling.
I mean, scientists are the ones who've devoted their careers, their lives to making discoveries, to finding out what works, to finding out what doesn't work, and we need to rely on their guidance 'cause they actually know what they're talking about, but it's hard for people these days to know what to trust because there's so much stuff on the internet and it's hard to tell what's truth and what isn't.
And so one of the really important things about this museum is that it is a place where we share science education and educate kids and their parents and their teachers about the scientific process, and I think that is the key to us resetting the button on trusting science in this country.
The more science education we can do, the better off we're gonna be in the long run, and it's not just this museum, we have four other museums connected to this one that are science museums, plus the zoo, plus three aquariums and Jeanette's Pier and over 40 parks and natural areas, and we're doing science in one way or another at all of these places.
So we're trying to do our part to boost science education so people can understand what's real and what isn't and to be able to discern reality from garbage on the internet.
As part of that, we just launched two weeks ago the North Carolina Science Trail, which involves those state entities I just mentioned, but also about 50 local, regional science museums, nature centers, botanical gardens, and we're all in this together with a wonderful interactive website that puts at any family's fingertips information on about 65 places they can go to do science, to learn science, to get a hands-on experience with science, so we're very excited about that, ncsciencetrail.org I believe.
And those of you who really love science already know that April, the whole month is the North Carolina Science Festival.
That's been something that's been going on for years, and so this is a wonderful time to be here tonight to be viewing this State of Change show and listening to the panel afterwards, 'cause now is the time for science, we need it more than ever, and I'm so grateful that all of you are here to listen to this message.
And I will get out of the way and turn it over to one of my colleagues at PBS NC, that is Laura Keeler.
She is the chief marketing officer and chief content officer for PBS NC, she must be a very busy woman.
Laura, come on up, thanks.
[audience clapping] - They certainly keep me busy, but I always have time for events and content like what we're gonna share with you this evening.
So thank you Secretary Wilson.
It's an honor to be here at the Museum of Natural Sciences joining the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Science Festival and the Pulitzer Center in sharing this latest installment of our Emmy Award-winning State of Change series.
Good evening and thank you for joining us.
Those of you in person and the 100s that we have joining us online as well.
I'm Laura Kieler, chief marketing and chief content officer at PBS North Carolina, and I am thrilled to be here with you tonight.
It's been a year since we last convened right here to launch this project with the goal of personalizing the impact of climate change and centering the stories of individuals and of communities that are finding the solutions to combat its challenges and to develop the resilience to adapt to it.
So tonight, a year later, we bring you state of change, natural solutions from grasslands to peatlands to farmlands and tidelands, this new special showcases North Carolinians who have developed simple yet innovative, nature-based strategies that help mitigate the impact of climate change, and it brings forward stories of hope and optimism from your fellow North Carolinians.
Tonight's event is made possible by the North Carolina Science Festival and is part of the month long celebration that Secretary Wilson had mentioned, it is full of family friendly events and activities across the state, and we're grateful to be a part of this year's festival.
We thank the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Chris Smith and the wonderful tech team that we have behind the scenes for their hospitality and for making this evening possible.
And I would like to extend a special thank you to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for their ongoing support, including the funding and support needed to launch this really critical initiative last year, which has now become a multi-year content partnership and for their support of our science programming and educational resources.
And of course, thank you to the Pulitzer Center.
The special you are about to watch this evening was made possible by their support Gushan, led by PBS North Carolina's own Frank Raff.
He is the executive producer and host of our program, Science C. We hope that you engage in conversation with our esteemed panelists, around what you saw in this film this evening and what they see happening across the state in their research and in their reporting.
Just as this program showcases how individual solutions contribute to collective difference, this exceptional film is the result of the collective effort by many talented individuals from our content marketing and education teams led by the remarkable Michelle Locker.
With that, thank you again to our partners, our panelists, and to all of you who are joining us this evening for your support of the special initiative and for your support of PBS North Carolina.
Please join me in welcoming the producer, director and editor, she is also very busy, of State of Change Natural Solutions, Michelle Locker.
[audience clapping and cheering] - Oh my gosh, what an introduction.
I know that we are all here to see this film tonight and hear from these awesome people, so I'm gonna to keep it brief.
I'm really excited to be here sharing these stories with you.
As someone who tells stories about science every day, I know that climate change is a really daunting topic to bring up and communicate with other people.
It can be divisive, overwhelming, and kind of paralyzing in some ways, makes you feel like you can't do anything about it, but when I get to go out and talk to people in person about what they're experiencing and what they're doing, there's a feeling of consensus that things are changing no matter whether they wanna call it climate change or not, and I can't help but be inspired and energized rather than overwhelmed, and I think our goal, my goal with this project every year is to bring some connection to people in the world doing things about these issues and diminish that overwhelm a little bit.
And so I really hope to share inspiring stories and give you a little hope and positivity around this big issue.
This year Natural solutions, ways that we can work with and support nature to solve some of the issues we're experiencing is the hot topic, so that's kind of what you'll hear about tonight, and I do wanna say a huge thank you to everyone that spent some time in front of the camera with me and trusted me and my fabulous DP Rob Nelson to help share their stories.
Some of them are here tonight, but I won't embarrass them and make them stand up, [audience laughing] and thank you all for traveling so far.
Anyone in the audience who traveled to come be with us tonight and everyone online, thank you for spending some time with us tonight to learn more about this important issue.
And with that in mind, I'm excited to share this film with you all and I'm really looking forward to the panel discussion afterwards, enjoy.
[audience clapping] - All right, again, thank you everyone who is here.
Thank you everyone who is watching online.
Let me introduce our panel real quick and say first off, a huge thank you to all of them for joining us tonight.
First off, Mark Hibbs is the editor of Coastal Review, is the new service of the North Carolina Coastal Federation.
Melody Hunter-Pillion you set down just the way I had it lined up here, this is great.
[Melody laughing] Melody Hunter-Pillion is a journalist, a Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, Global Change Fellow.
Busy people, she's also a grad student at UNC Chapel Hill who is collecting oral histories around North Carolina regarding climate change.
Lauren Farr is a journalist.
Her work has appeared in North Carolina Sea Grants Coast Watch Magazine.
She is an avian ecologist, a grad student at NC State and also a Southeast Climate Change Adaptation Science Center Global Change Fellow, yes they knew each other.
[Frank laughing] Adam Wagner is the Climate Change Environment reporter for the News and Observer.
So again, thanks everybody for joining us.
Please get your questions ready, if you're online, type your questions into the chat and we'll answer those.
Let me first start out with a same question to everybody just to get us going.
Given the stories you've written, the folks you have interviewed, where are we on climate change?
Are there people who say, "Yep, as we watched in this show, too much carbon going into the atmosphere that creates global warming, we're in deep trouble, we've gotta do something about that."
Or is it like a person I interviewed in a story a couple years ago who said, "Yep, something's changing, that road I used to drive on and flooded every once in a while and now it floods a lot.
So something's changing.
I don't know what it is, but something's happening."
Adam, go ahead.
- You're gonna make me go first?
[Frank, Lauren and Melody laughing] I think there's definitely a spectrum.
I mean, we're all over the place on this, just we're all over the place on everything in North Carolina, but I will note that things definitely changed after Hurricane Florence.
- [Frank] That was kind of the tipping point.
- Yeah, that was 2018 storm.
It came on the heels of 2016's Hurricane Matthew.
It was a lot of water in a lot of places that haven't seen water in a generation, a lot of water in places that have never seen water, and that really sort of, I think served as a wake up call in a lot of corners of this state.
Now as you know, you're gonna have people all over the place on, am I willing to use the word climate change, am I not willing to use the word climate change?
Am I gonna prefer to say resilience?
Well we're all talking about the same thing, we're just using different vocabulary.
- [Frank] But that was the tipping point that really seemed to get people thinking.
- I think so.
- [Frank] Okay.
- And I think Mark can probably speak to that too, 'cause they did an entire series basically on that, but I'm gonna get to Mark, I'm sure you something to say about that.
- All right, forgive me, forgive me, Mark go ahead.
[Melody and Lauren laughing] Nice job thank you.
[all panelists laughing] It was a great series by the way.
- Thank you.
We did work with the Pulitzer Center on that series and that was what we examined was the changing attitudes toward climate science, and what we determined in our reporting, what we found is, what you said it is all over the place, but it is generally recognized even by the most scientific skeptic or skeptic of climate science, that things are different, different species of fish are appearing, the crops are growing differently and they have their own explanations for what's going on, but they do acknowledge that something is different.
- Okay Melody, what about you?
'Cause you're doing all the oral histories, what are people telling you?
- Right, so the oral histories that I'm conducting in Eastern North Carolina, primarily in Brunswick County, also Bladen County, Carteret and Craven as well are with farmers and also watermen primarily.
I have a shrimp I think, and Harry Bryant is the retired shrimper that I interviewed and he says, "You know what?
You can call it what you want to, watermen and farmers are very pragmatic.
Call it whatever you want to, but what I'm telling you is I'm witnessing a change.
It doesn't matter the label that you put on it, there's a change, we've never seen it before."
And he describes the change in what would be normal tide in the Lockwood Folly estuary or river.
He says normal tide...
This is a shrimper, he knows he's done it for more than 30 years.
He said, you know, "It's six feet, but now it's eight feet all of the time.
That's the normal tide, and something's not right about that."
His property on the Lockwood Folly River over the last 15 years, the river to the back door of the house, they had about 120 feet of property, that's now 80 feet between that within 15 years.
Now 15 years may sound like a lot of time, but that's actually a very short period of time to lose 40 feet of land.
And then Harry Bryan also told me, and I'll say this one last change, just an anecdotal right information to give you is that I don't see the species that we used to see there, right?
So you have to go to Wrightsville Beach, a 40 minute ride if you want to go oystering.
I'm not seeing the sheep head that used to be in the river.
That was the first fish that my son caught when he was a little boy.
I don't see the spot and all those sort of local North Carolina fish that we come to know is sort of part of that culture of North Carolina and even South Carolina.
Those species are just rare, right?
They used to be very abundant and now they're few and far between, so yeah.
- [Frank] Thank you Lauren, what about you?
- Yeah, so I'm gonna just go ahead and put it out there.
So as Frank said, I'm an avian ecologist, I'm also a wildlife biologist.
So a lot of the examples I'm gonna use are probably gonna be about animals, so just wanna put that out there, [Lauren laughing] and birds, so y'all will be like, "Oh yeah, that crazy bird lady on here, yeah."
[Lauren laughing] I think to really answer your question, it's split, right?
Like so from a scientist's perspective, you know, talk to different people and they do right?
And discuss because, you know, all of this stuff that people read about on the internet and everything, you know, getting their information elsewhere, it's, you know, you have to combine that all into it as well, but everything that's been said is like right on point.
Again so using animals as an example, you know, like I myself in my work I'm seeing what, you know, how climate change is impacting animal populations.
So climate change is known to impact a lot of bird species and what they will do is birds will begin breeding earlier.
So I use my example of the research that I do, so I study the federally endangered Red-cockaded woodpecker or RCW for short, and I've been seeing already as I'm out in the field, a lot of them have already started nesting and it's pretty early, so we're all like, "Oh my gosh, like, wow."
So I mean, you see it and it brings it all back, and it's a prime example, fish, right?
So, you know, different things impacting the water and the nutrients, it's impacting fish species, right?
And so, I mean, you know, it's a thing that I think we should keep continuing to talk about and discuss of course, because it's happening, it's real and yeah that's awesome.
- Frank one more quick thing- - Sure - On perception of North Carolina.
We are a state in the southeast that has carbon reductions written into our state law.
We are the only state in the southeast that has that.
So getting to that point that something shifted, something shifted enough to make what really was a pretty monumental shift with House Bill 951 a couple years ago.
- Interesting, very good, thank you, thanks everybody.
Why don't we start getting some questions?
I'm seeing hands raised, no, I'm not seeing hands raised.
Yes, hello hand raised, yes.
- [Chris] I'll bring you a microphone that way- - Yeah, hold tight one sec, Chris will bring the mic.
- Everyone in the room, can you hear.
- [Audience Member 1] Hi, so what is the biggest success story you've had in terms of climate change outreach?
- Wait could you clarify that a little bit more?
Like that we've seen other people implementing or- - I'll accept either way you want to, like either your biggest success story you've had in like outreach for climate change and like education or even other ones that you've seen, like maybe effective methods or just something that you felt affected a lot of people.
- Ah good question.
I would say from the outreach perspective...
So as Frank also stated, I do a lot of stories and work for North Carolina Sea Grant, and two of those stories that I recently wrote, one was about the Gullah Geechee and the other was about Duffy Field New Bern community.
In both of those stories, and Melody and I was actually discussing this earlier, a common theme that I got when I was interviewing people, they would always say that, you know, somebody else that wasn't a part of their community, didn't understand their history, would always say, "Ooh well this is happening in your communities.
They're, you know, getting flooded and you're, you know, going through all of you know this stuff within your community, so why don't you move?"
That's always, you know, that one comment that you expect to get from people who just don't understand.
And what you have to understand about it is that, you know, those communities, their roots are there, their history is there, they care about, you know, where they are, they care about that land, they wanna restore it, and that's what's, you know, really, really important.
So as far as outreach, me telling both of those stories, I feel like really got in front of a lot of audience's eyes and, you know, really talking to the different community members and about all the different things that they're doing, you know, their resilience, right?
And talking about all these different things that, you know, they have been doing to restore their communities.
I think it just puts that, you know, in front of a whole bunch of audiences to be like "Wow, they care about their communities this much that they're willing to go, you know, this whole way to, you know, become more resilient."
And so I like doing stories like that, because it's just another way of showing the impacts of climate change and how, you know, it impacts communities and such.
- The why don't you just move?
When we were talking a couple weeks ago, that was one of our comments we kept coming back to, 'cause it's easy to say, but it's really difficult and that brings in- - Yeah.
- You know, social justice issues and everything else.
Why not just move?
Yeah go ahead.
- Speaking of places where people say, why don't you just move?
So I'm a reporter, so the way that I do outreach is by writing stories.
I go, you know, find facts, gather information, put it in the newspaper, put it online.
We did a really big series a couple years ago looking at the outer banks and just sort of looking through the lens of NC 12, which runs the entire length of the outer banks that developed outer banks, really kind of opened up that region to development.
If the highway wasn't there, there wouldn't be million dollar Beach houses or as many million Dollar Beach houses I guess.
After writing that story, the reaction to it really was a lot of... You know, we got a lot of emails, a lot of phone calls, people who love that place and feel a connection to that place, and were able to understand climate change through the lens of this summer vacation they've taken every year for 50 years or that memory they have of when they went there as a kid.
So I think that really putting people at the front of this issue and the places they care about really helps people understand, kind of takes climate change from this sort of huge hard to understand thing to this thing that's right in front of people's faces.
- If I can add on- - Yeah great.
- I think the places that people care about in down east Carteret County, there's an effort that's ongoing right now, predominantly led by Karen Amspacker of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, who has organized a lot of the academics and a lot of the down east community members, you know, their homes are surrounded by water.
We get, you know, a nor Easter much lesser a hurricane, you know, their yards are underwater, but the goal there is to try to get the community to identify the places worth saving and that's the phrase that they're using.
So, you know, you're really putting it in terms that people can relate to in that way.
- I think that's the biggest thing we found is to your point, is that you can't just cover this huge issue because people are just overwhelmed or numbed or whatever by it, but if you relate it to places that people care about and experiences they've had, it's a whole different response, which is really good.
Melody, go ahead.
- So Frank, let me just say on the question of why do people stay, that's just like one part of a question.
There's another subset too, but part of it is identity on some of the people I've interviewed, like in Craven County, the Harlow community, they've been there since the end of the 17th century.
It was a community of free people of color who came and migrated to North Carolina as free people and started farming and had land and were watermen and that sort of thing.
And so this is a part of their identity, a part of their culture, a part of their idea about connecting the land to ideas of freedom and citizenship, and so it's really important in that way, but also I think we need to expand the question too.
And what I try to look at in my dissertation is not only why do people stay, but what are the stories or the narratives that they share from generation to generation that carry on to help them stay rooted in places that are ecologically sometimes socially, politically, and economically sort of fractured.
What are their stories and what can we learn from that about resilience because they've done it for so many centuries.
But I guess the question is now when we talk about adaptation or resiliency is when people have done it for centuries right?
And adapt it, but is change sort of outpacing our ability to adapt, right?
- And I think, you know, one thing that a community, particularly a small community like we have on the coast, so many of, the community cemeteries, the family cemeteries, I mean that not only holds the ancestors, but it holds the family story, the family history, the community's history, and we see places like Salvo and along the Neuse River where, you know, they're eroding rapidly.
- Sure let's get a few questions.
Tatiana, we got a few questions from folks online.
- [Tatiana] Yeah.
Hello, yeah, we have a couple questions from folks online, three.
So the first one's from Claire, she asks, what are plans or do you guys know of any plans to incentivize landowners to let land be used for carbon credits?
- I'm somewhat familiar with an operation up in the northeastern part of the state, and they are I think it's the Carolina Ranch and that's the business model that they are trying to pursue, and it is re-wetted peatland, like in the film and the goal, it's a pretty tough goal to attain, but the goal is to establish a carbon trading market with that.
- I know there are a lot of land trust throughout the state that I don't know if carbon credits are involved in that or not, honestly, not sure.
Yeah, okay, go ahead.
- [Tatiana] Okay, next question is from Barbara.
I'm also gonna combine one from Susan with that one.
What can I do as an average NC citizen to help change the direction here?
And Susan wants to know like, how can I help?
How can I do my part to sequest carbon?
- Can I just start with first- - Go right ahead.
I think that's always- - That's a great question, - But I would say the first thing is just like being aware, understanding, getting information, listening to stories, having an appreciation for many different types of stories.
And, you know, like Harry Bryant says, it doesn't have to be from the scientists, right?
But just to understand that there are many people around you, older people around you who have this wisdom and they might give you information that's really instructive, that's built into, I don't know, a Bible verse or is built into what we might call a myth, but there's really like this nugget, this traditional local knowledge that's like right, buried in that myth or other things.
So I'm just saying just to be aware, to be open and just do like you're doing right now, right?
You know, asking questions and talking to different people, but do understand that people and prior generations have a lot of knowledge and instruction to share with us and they don't have to be scientists.
- I think kind of piggybacking on that, one of the things I would say is, care about places in North Carolina that aren't the immediate place that you live, you know, care about what's happening on the Shiloh River or in Marshallberg.
I mean, in one way or another we're all having to pay for this and we're having to pay for these communities and we're a state of small communities.
This sounds a little bit crunchy, but those are our neighbors.
I mean, realistically, and you know, we're a statewide news organization, so I spend a lot of time outside of the triangle and the plights that different communities face are obviously different, but there really are all lessons in all of them for each of us.
- I love to your point, you know, just ask questions and there are tons of resources out there if you're looking and you don't have to do something huge.
Personally I did a story years ago about, you know, native crops and you don't need that whole yard, so I don't have to cut half my grass anymore, because it's grassland and mulch and it's a wonderful thing.
Yeah, just there's a lot of stuff out there, a lot of resources if you just look.
Go ahead Lauren.
- Oh that was perfect.
I have nothing to add to that.
Oh, thank you.
[panelists laughing] - [Tatiana] And last one for now- - Go ahead that was awesome.
Thank you so much.
[panelists laughing] - Last one for now from Gedge, if I said your name correctly, hopefully, how can journalists and researchers accelerate information towards people in leadership to amplify nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change and the decision making process was in the scope of their influence?
I know that's a lot.
- [Tatiana laughing] - So it is our job to put our story because the audience is state legislators.
We wrote a story a couple years ago about the coastal Feds' work on sea level rise.
I heard from multiple legislators about that, sometimes months later, like it was literally eight months later that I got a text from a legislator from Wilmington that was like, "Hey, that was a good story about living shorelines."
And I was like, "Did I write one of those recently?"
[panel and audience laughing] It was the older one.
But so, they are paying attention, sometimes it isn't always as much attention as we would like, but they're busy people and there's a lot going on.
- And ideas have to germinate too so.
- Yeah, that's a really good point, important about all of us doing this work is that you have to kind of hit the same sore spot over and over and over again for it to really get attention and that's what all of us are doing, and there's a lot of other environmental journalists in North Carolina doing.
- It takes time.
I think you're seeing for the first time, just in the past few years, a government acceptance of nature-based solutions, particularly here in North Carolina.
NC DOT has embraced nature-based solutions.
The struggle or the hurdle that remains is that, not everybody's on the same page with it, even though the state has embraced it, not all the permitting regulatory agencies are up to speed.
So permits aren't getting issued for nature-based solution based projects, and so I think it takes time.
- Good I was gonna say to to your point about hurricane Florence, in addition to Florence, you've had, you know, a couple years of massive wildfires out west.
You had the peat fire that we saw in the film, drought out west.
You know, unfortunately, until something really hits you over the head and really, you know, is in your face, people don't change very easily, and my sense is that people are seeing this and saying, "Whoa, we need to do something."
And, you know, the nature-based solutions or somehow incentivize it financially to make a change.
I think legislators, I think people in power are more open to that now and saying "As the ground swell, you know, polling shows people are worried about this."
I think people might be more open to it.
I don't know.
- Well I think so I was just thinking about what Adam said, and then you used the word germinate and I was just wondering how does it actually work?
Is it that a policymaker, legislator has read the article and just eight months later, thinks about it?
Or is it that then a certain constituent or a reader and there's something that's impacting them directly and then their contact...
I mean sometimes it works that way, maybe sometimes not.
- Well and the more people see it, the more chances there are.
I mean, the more chances there is for the constituent that they really care about to put it in front of them or for it to become whatever, to become their pet cause.
Yeah, I mean the more work, the merrier, it's kind of my asset on it.
- Go ahead, more of the questions Tatiana?
Oh yes, here we go.
- [Chris] I've got one Frank.
- Okay, go for it yes, hi.
- [Audience Member 2] Okay you kind of already started to allude to this a little bit, but so the film discussed a lot more about carbon and some soil salinity, but you started to talk about some of the natural solutions that they've been using for soil erosion.
I was wondering if there are any that were any resolution like the coastal areas, like the outer banks.
- I don't know about the outer banks in the co... Well I can't tell you a little bit about what farmers and landowners, watermen are saying in coastal North Carolina, no-till and I think it was Miss Beverly...
I'll call her Ms. Beverly, is it Blackwell?
She talked about the no-till crops.
And so at least three of the farmers that I interviewed have switched over to no-till, either wholly or partially over to no-till, starting to do cover crops now that they weren't doing before.
I know that Harry Bryant and Conrad Bryant in supply had to build up, you know, a bulkhead right behind their yard to keep as much as they can keep the river at bay.
But it's just these different things that they're trying now, but no-till seems to be the thing that at least farmers in that area are doing now.
- I think it is becoming a thing.
I'm an avid gardener, I'm not always a successful gardener, [Mark laughing] but I've followed some gardeners like Charles Dowding, the Englishman, and he's been a proponent of no dig, no-till, excuse me, since the 1980s, and his books and YouTube channel, again it's just chipping away and convincing the skeptics that these regenerative techniques can be more successful in terms of crop yields.
- I think a lot of this is word of mouth also.
You know, well you tried that, your crop was really good last year.
I might try that if, maybe not- - [Melody] If I trust you, right?
- Right, maybe not my whole farm, but I might try it half and see what happens.
I think a lot of it is just, you know, try this, try this and it spreads.
- No, I was gonna say the same thing that it's, you know, definitely a word of mouth thing, which I've seen a lot of and kind of like what Melody was talking about, you know, with Mr. Bryant and all of the different things that they have been doing to, you know, like building upwards and everything like that.
You know, it's the exact same thing with, again, the two different communities that I have interviewed with both the Gullah Geechee and you know, New Bern.
Finding these ways to build upwards, you know, really it's been what I've seen a lot of, but yeah.
- Yeah, I thought I saw another hand out that, yeah.
- [Audience Member 3] Thank you for this program.
I learned a lot tonight and I've continue to be amazed by the innovation and creativity of people all across the state who are doing some wonderful things.
And I wanted to comment and ask a little bit about the question about what can we all do?
Because in some ways I think it is looking to the past for knowledge and wisdom, but I also think it's about looking at the present and doing, and what can I do differently and still have a good quality of life, like change the vehicle that I drive or look at how much electricity I'm using in my home.
Things that we didn't used to do generations ago, that can really make a difference, and there are policies that affect that, thanks to the reporting of the news and Observer, I learned that there's resistance to updating our energy efficiency models of how we build our houses, what a simple thing that would be to improve our lives, but there's, you know, resistance to that despite climate change.
So I think looking at your own life and how you can make simple changes like you talked Frank about, what you grow and how you garden and that's one of these great natural based solutions of switching to using native plants and planting grasslands like they were doing and that's something everybody can do, and it is hard because the landscaping industry has given us all these plants that are just about what was tradition, like whether the plants we saw around us versus what you pick up at Lowe's or Home Depot, none of which is native, but it is something that's beautiful is that it's something we can all do ourselves.
- And I think folks can feel really comfortable reaching out to their extension service and asking for ideas about this.
And I know that my husband, he does a great job planting and things do grow.
I'm just gonna say that- - Nice job, there you go.
- Many things do grow, [Lauren laughing] I know that whenever we've reached out to our extension agents, they are willing to help us to figure out right?
What's in our soil?
What do we need?
We can ask about some things that are more indigenous right?
To the area, what could really grow, and I think that's a good start too, is if we're looking at what we can do right now is reaching out to people who have this expertise about what grows, if you're in Wake County, but what part of Wake County?
'Cause the soil is kind of different in different parts of Wake County, and some of you may be from Durham and Chapel Hill and Johnson and other counties too, but soil can really differ from place to place.
- Tatiana anybody else on online question?
Hold on, yes.
- [Audience Member 4] I have just a comment.
It's interesting to hear the farmers say he is not willing to move, and I understand completely who would buy his land when he's spending family for generations and the market values decrease?
And I think it just shows in context how ridiculous it is, the extreme view that humanity can move to Mars or the moon, and I know those are on the extremes, but some people actually think, well that's the last ditch.
This is the tip of the iceberg.
If farmers not willing to move, how impractical technologically, culturally, financially place where to start from scratch where we didn't evolve, where creatures aren't there that we evolve with, we have paradise here and we just need to take care of it.
That's my comment.
- It's a good comment.
- [Audience Member 5] Followed some of yours work on places like social media, on broadcast TV, linking together to tell one story, but I often wonder if the whole story gets across.
So if Lauren is making just like fire Instagram reels about her fieldwork, [Lauren laughing] you know, out east in the long leaf pines and we're seeing, you know, Red-cockaded woodpecker woodpecker nest up close and we're hearing about how important the soils are to the woodpeckers.
And then, you know, the state of change is talking about how important soils are to sequestering carbon and Noah's reporting on erosion and hurricanes are coming through.
And then Melody's talking about, you know, well here's a story that I got from a farmer or somebody who's actually working the land.
But you know like state of change in this program is one of the few places I see it all kind of come together where we're all talking and sharing the same story and the same experience to the same goal.
I don't know if y'all have thoughts about how we continue to work together and to collaborate and to play together so that North Carolinians get the story.
- So my argument to my editors has always been, every single story can be a climate story.
Transportation is a climate story right now, obviously, health can be a climate story with farm workers working in extreme temperatures.
A lot of North Carolina's prisons don't have air conditioning or might be about to get air conditioning.
I forget if it was in a recent budget, but you know, that's a public safety accountability story.
So these stories all tie into climate in all of these different ways and that's just three kind off the top of my head.
And I think the time those things, back to climate kind of helps readers that care about that one thing, get back to that bigger story that this climate change thing is happening in the background of all these other issues.
- I think that, you know, despite the 24 hour news cycle and we're bombarded with news and information all the time, I think there's a lot of value in collaborative projects like this where you're bringing together different media and talking about common subjects like this.
- I think to your point, you're right, they can all be climate stories and you have to subtly put it in, because if you suddenly are, this is a climate story, you run the risk of people saying, "Oh, forget it."
But well put a promo in for a Science C in the fall, our new season starts in September and one of the stories you'll see is...
I just finished on the huge bird migration on the coast, which is just spectacular.
The problem is if the climate gets too warm and we go to about, you know, two degrees Celsius, the birds aren't gonna be there anymore.
They're gonna be going out west or to the midwest, and so I put, I put that in, I mean the story on this, but then, "Oh by the way, here's what people are worried about."
And to your point, I think that kind of brings it home that oh yeah, this is happening.
So if there's no other questions, Tatiana anybody online?
- [Chris] Yeah, we're gonna take some from the web.
- Yep, go right ahead.
- [Tatiana] Hi I got three more questions from online.
I'm gonna try to condense this first one from Laura who also mentioned how much she loved this programming and that she can't wait to use the documentary in her classroom about natural-based solutions to climate change.
She asked, what can we do to reduce human land use in order to have more wetlands, grasslands and forests for all climate benefits and many co-benefits they offer our communities?
- Slips and carry, but I'm passing by certain places and like all of a sudden all the trees are going, "Like, what happened?
What happened to the trees, right?"
And so not only is it like, just aesthetically, you know, unattractive, but you know, like what else can go there?
Does it always just have to be buildings or asphalt for parking lots or something else?
So I certainly don't have an answer to that question, but is the question I'm asking all the time myself, just as like as a community, right?
And as a society why aren't we all of us together thinking about that a little bit more?
I'm all for progress now don't get me wrong, but you know, like just sort of this balance right of things.
- Yeah, I think that what we're building and where we're building it and how we're building it, it is a conversation that hasn't quite reached North Carolina yet, but we're getting there.
We're seeing it in the energy conservation code debate that's going on right now.
We're seeing it at the real estate commission, which is moving to require flood disclosures, 'cause the argument is that if homes flooded once, that's the most likely indicator is gonna flood again.
And you ought to know about that if you're buying that house.
And then I think there was a study recently out of Chapel Hill that found that there were, I think it was 5,000 houses bought out of flood zones in North Carolina in about the last 1996 and 2017.
There were 48,000 built in there in 100 years.
So we have to think about where we're building things and what we're building where, and who we're exposing to risk.
- I think, you know, we're very blessed that North Carolina is growing and people wanna move here.
The downside is we're very blessed that North Carolina is growing and people wanna move here and to Adam's point, I think that's something that, you know, elected officials are really starting to grapple with that, yeah, we don't wanna be, what people are moving away from that is, you know, strip shopping center, mixed use development, parking lot.
We want more than that and I think we're at a point where we really need to start thinking about that pretty seriously.
- [Michelle] Frank- - Yes.
- [Michelle] I'm gonna jump in, it's Michelle, hi.
- Hi friends.
[Frank laughing] I just wanted to jump in 'cause I was thinking about that last question and I have answer in case it's helpful to the person that asked it.
- [Chris] Michelle, come up here.
- I was gonna say come on up on the... Yeah.
- [Michelle] It's stand, okay, all right, I'll do it.
Oh, thanks Frank.
- There you go.
- This is ridiculous.
[panelists laughing] Hi everyone.
I think that that question actually ties back into something that was asked earlier about carbon credits and when we talk about how do we make more change happen and more value given to these marshland ecosystems or even the patch of trees that's in the neighborhood that hasn't been disturbed in a long time, incentivizing with carbon credits, I mean, it's all about money in the end.
We might not wanna think about it that way, but that's the way to really make some change is to really put value beyond just people caring about it, which is also important.
They care about it enough to say to their legislators, "We want this to stay here."
And then money and value is put behind keeping those ecosystems around.
So I just wanted to throw that in there.
[Michelle and audience laughing] - Stay there, we're almost out of time, so I'm gonna just leave there.
[Frank laughing] - Thanks Frank.
- Thank you all for coming.
Thanks to those folks online who've tuned in.
One last question I guess to everybody.
What do you think for where we are in climate change and resilience and everything?
- I'm the- - Oh go ahead.
- I'm the eternal optimist, I really am.
I'm hopeful because I can see that people care and that makes me really hopeful and that people are talking about it, so yeah.
- Yeah I would say hopeful.
- Give me a microphone.
- I mean I could totally talk without the mic I'm loud, [panelists laughing] but I definitely with Melody, I am hopeful, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done for sure.
As with anything change isn't gonna happen overnight.
We have lots to do, but I'm hopeful, I'm optimistic.
So there's that.
[Lauren laughing] - Yeah I'm optimistic too because, you know, I see a lot of young people who come and work for the North Carolina Coastal Federation, which publishes Coastal Review and they're enthused, they're energetic and they're passionate about changing minds on climate change.
- There is hope so I'm definitely hopeful and I think just seeing people be motivated and still trying, like, everyone's not giving up, we're not all leaving.
We're staying and trying to keep doing what we've always been doing, so that gives me hope.
- We can be kind of cynically hopeful.
[panelists laughing] - Adam.
[panelists laughing] - I think a reason for hope is that there is a lot of money right now going into things and behind things that are climate solutions.
- Well I'll be hopeful that everybody tuned in and was interested.
I think that's a good sign, and again, thank you for coming.
Thanks to those online, thanks to the museum for hosting us, and Michelle great job on the film and have a good night thank you.
[audience clapping] [indistinct]