A thoughtful North Carolina nonprofit has devised a very effective and immediate way to display climate change on a local and personal level. The video below describes its program, The Climate Listening Project.
The project is a new collaborative storytelling effort spearheaded by the Western North Carolina Alliance to connect conversations about local climate impacts and human efforts to cope. Its basic premise: Communities will bear the brunt of climate impacts across the world, and resilience to climate impacts starts at the community level.
Climate Listening Project planners believe that sharing concerns about climate change, climate impacts seen in daily life, and ideas for how to address these can help us all prepare ourselves to face climate change. A community can improve its climate resilience by sharing experiences and knowledge of its unique surroundings.
Western North Carolina is a region known for its outstanding natural beauty. And our economy is very dependent on a stable climate. From the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, to our agriculture and fishing and our adventure recreation industry, this community (like all others) relies on healthy and healthy natural surroundings and stable climate.
In western North Carolina, like an increasing number of other self-determined regions, individuals, businesses, and groups are developing community-based resilience efforts: a lively green tech sector, a craft beer industry, and farm-to-table restaurants. The WNCA believes its community can depend on its greatest resource—people—to face the impacts and create solutions.
The recent midterm elections have downcast much of the nation about prospects for environmental safety and improvement and have provided more fuel for harmful climate change denial. However, more important at this moment than political agony is unity over one of the most significant federal efforts to date to reduce climate pollution at its source.
That’s the Clean Power Plan. As the Climate Listening Project points out, the plan will help cut needless carbon pollution by approximately 30% from 2005 levels. It will also reduce air pollutants that make people sick by over 25%. We do have limits in place for arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and soot that power plants can emit.
National limits on carbon pollution levels from power plants are needed now because these facilities put out more carbon dioxide emissions (about one-third of the domestic total) than any other industry in the country. While the United States has limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels. The EPA plan is a sensible first step to reduce the poisonous effects of traditional energy-producing fossil fuels.
The time for public comments on this crucial environment rule draws to a close on December 1. The deadline is the last chance for the people to register their support of cleaner air and a less murky climate future for the US and the world. Link here for more about this history-making initiative.
And do some climate listening in your own community like this group in western North Carolina. The Western North Carolina Alliance has been empowering citizens to be advocates for livable communities for more than 30 years. It has twice prevented destructive logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004, and has recently teamed with 80 Asheville area businesses to urge Duke Energy to retire its coal-fired power plant.
We’re honored to live in a region that is home to the world’s leading climate scientists and educators. People right here in Western North Carolina have received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on climate. This area is also where a director of one of the world’s top global climate think tanks calls home: NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
To learn more about the climate storytelling project, view and read some of the WNC Climate Listening Project stories on Facebook. Share your own stories on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #MyClimateStory. Also, check out the many resources available to states here.
And on the national scale, it seems that EPA needs all the support it can muster to slow and reverse the damage done by indiscriminate and careless burning of fossil fuels. Those who can help in this effort should offer support and constructive comments on the new Clean Power Plan by December 1, 2014. More information here.