The beach towns of North Carolina’s Outer Banks have an allure that brings in droves of vacationers from around the world.
They come to enjoy the sandy beaches with family and friends, surf the rising ocean swells, fish in the Atlantic or sound-side waters or marvel at the wild horses whose predecessors arrived centuries ago.
The Outer Banks are changing, not only because of all the new houses and development occurring on the barrier island that juts some 30 miles out into the ocean. Sea levels are rising. Beach erosion is changing shorelines. Hurricanes and megastorms are walloping communities.
North Carolina Health News and Narrative Arts/Coastal Youth Media held a workshop this spring to give young people from the Outer Banks 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 Aranzazu 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 Narrative Arts, worked with a half dozen students to help them develop podcasts and essays.
They explored whether there will even be an Outer Banks several decades from now and what they produced in just days is eye-opening and definitely a spark for many conversations that should be had about climate change. We’ve compiled their essays and podcasts with hopes that their important voices will lend a new perception to an issue that will have a great impact on their lives and the generations that come behind them.