North Carolina is no stranger to the hurricanes, tropical storms, widespread flooding, tornadoes, droughts and other severe weather events that seem all too common amid the fast-changing climate.

This week, many eyes were on Elsa, which developed into the fifth named storm of the 2021 hurricane season on July 1 between the coast of Africa and the Leeward Islands. As it churned across the Atlantic, over Caribbean islands, Cuba and then the southern United States, North Carolina hunkered down into that familiar posture of preparing for the worst in predicted paths, while hoping for the best.

Lawmakers and others who develop the polices, regulations and programs that shape recovery and resiliency efforts after megastorms often do so claiming to be taking a long view for how to deal with climate change.

They speak of efforts geared toward their grandchildren or their grandchildren’s children.

Yet the adults often make these decisions and lay out long-term goals without seeking the voices of the youth who are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

North Carolina Health News and Working Narratives/Coastal Youth Media held two workshops recently to give young people from southeastern North Carolina a greater voice in the debate over climate change.

With generous financial support from North Carolina Sea Grant through the Community Collaborative Research Program and a huge assist from Aranzuzu Lascurain, assistant university director of the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center at N.C. State University, NC Health News founder and editor Rose Hoban, NC Health News reporter Anne Blythe and Sarah Sloan, media producer at Working Narratives, worked with more than a dozen students to help them develop podcasts and essays.

They explored the impacts that climate change has on farming, fishing, backyard gardening and what we eat.

They researched what happens to sharks, small animals and even horse hooves as the oceans warm, storms grow more frequent and what were green woodlands become ghost forests.

They also dug deep on what’s happening in their own neighborhoods, schools and towns, questioning whether they and their peers can change the viewpoints, habits and actions of adults in their midst.

What they produced in just days is wide-ranging, far-reaching and, quite frankly, work that wowed us. We’ve compiled those essays and podcasts with hopes that their important voices will lend new depth and perception to an issue that will have great impact on their lives.

This is the second part in a series, focusing on how changes in the climate are starting to affect the food we eat.

Shows a smiling young woman who is standing outside on a dock.

Don’t grunt at sustainable seafood, by Lily Spalding

Sustainable seafood is a term used to describe methods of harvesting fish, crustaceans, and other marine life, in ways that support the marine ecosystem and help protect fish populations. Lily Spalding talked to some chefs who are using species that some people call “garbage” fish and preparing them as great-tasting gourmet food.

shows a photo of a young Black woman with shadows across her face.

The soil in my garden, by Ariel Shipman

Ariel Shipman’s grandmother taught her, “When you think about rain, you think about water, and how it’s great for the plants.” In reality, the acid levels from the rain are changing her garden’s soil.

How will the climate crisis change farming? by Brianna Leduc

Most of 17-year-old Brianna Leduc’s neighbors are farmers. Brianna lives in Whiteville, North Carolina. In this episode, she set out to discover – how will the climate crisis change farming in North Carolina?

Boy in an orange shirt smiles in front of several trees

Shrimping, Over Time

Alex Kies, a 14-year-old reporter, explores how the shrimping industry in his neck of the woods, Carteret County, North Carolina, is being impacted by climate change.

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2 replies on “Youth Climate Stories – Food and Farming”

  1. The students may appreciate our new book – Our changing menu: Climate change and the foods we love and need. It’s a dive into all that is changing on the menu including before dinner beverages, salads, main courses, sides, desserts and coffee.

    We also created a website that complements the book.

    Please let me know if you need more info or have any questions.


    Mike Hoffmann, Prof Emeritus, Cornell

    1. This comment has been edited to remove links which are not allowed, as per our comments policy.

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