Have you seen or experienced the effects of climate change? What will you see in the future? Many areas are under threat of increasingly violent storms, and coastal cities face potentially devastating flooding. Here in the United States alone, we are already seeing droughts and other extreme weather events that are some of the predicted hallmarks of global warming. And, despite some extreme snow events, the average global temperature for 2015 was the highest in recorded history, according to NASA and NOAA. Add to that a powerful movement rejecting existing climate science data, progress can appear stagnant at best, and the future can seem, well… scary. Thankfully, that may not actually be the case, according to Dayna Reggero. She is the Producer of the Climate Listening Project.
"I think that the tide is definitely turning in a positive, hopeful direction when it comes to climate change. The conversations that are happening locally, nationally, [and] internationally are changing to a more positive solutions-oriented approach. We had the climate talks in Paris, which was a historic event of all of these countries and groups coming together to sign an agreement on climate change. The people in local communities are creating solutions. They are working on creating resilience, on mitigation and adaptation."
According to Reggero, much of our change will sprout at the local level.
"I think that we'll start seeing some of the shifts when it comes to policies around the response to the community needing a shift. In North Carolina, for example, we are going to be experiencing climate change impacts on our coast, and in the mountains as well, [and] in a variety of ways in our agricultural system. So, we're going to see these impacts. We're already experiencing these impacts. So, I think that the shift will happen because the communities will be calling that it needs to happen. Climate impacts in North Carolina that we've heard range from flooding to drought, even over the last decade, to forest fires that result from that. We have had extreme rain; things that we wouldn't have seen before, so it's hard to predict."
The Climate Listening Project is described as an ecosystem of individuals, businesses and organizations lending their products, services, art, and skills.
"One of the biggest pieces of any of this is collaboration and coordination and communication with each other locally and nationally and internationally. So, we find a connector. It may be faith, it may be farming and food, or it may be a place; something that people care about, and then we try to connect the climate stories through that. And then we share those stories through videos and through all of the ways that people sort of come around the table today."
Reggero is currently following a story directly affecting many of us here in the Piedmont.
"We're working with the Forsyth Audubon Society and Audubon North Carolina on a wood thrush story. They were able to track the wood thrush from here in Winston-Salem to Belize, and then back here to North Carolina. We're seeing less and less of this wood thrush bird. The wood thrush is a beloved songbird, so people are starting to notice, and it's because of deforestation and climate change. They're expecting that, in just a few decades, we may lose that bird altogether. A big part of what we've been doing is trying to find those connectors. The storytelling is such a big part of that, and I think that being able to listen without judgment, and listen and acknowledge, and encourage others to be able to share their stories. We're not trying to convince anybody that climate change is real, but we are trying to show them that the people who are working on the science behind climate change, and that are creating solutions, and are experiencing impacts from climate change... those people are real."