The science is clear: we are experiencing an unprecedented global emergency of our own making. Continued combustion of fossil fuels is changing our planet’s climate, and we are seeing the effects of a warming planet daily: more severe weather, greater uncertainty in food production, wildfires, droughts, loss of biodiversity and mass migration.
This global, existential threat is, of course, very worrying. It can be hard to know what to do when faced with such a large challenge.
But, we are stubborn optimists. We know we need to re-think, re-imagine and re-tool nearly everything we do–very, very quickly– to avert climate catastrophe, and we believe we can do it and build a much better world in the process.
In fact, we believe Eastern North Carolina can lead the nation in crafting grounded, bottom-up approaches that respect the environmental limits of our planet while also ensuring we do a better job of taking care of each other and the other species with whom we share this planet. As Warren County led the way in defining environmental justice a generation ago, our region can be leaders today in promoting and articulating a vision of climate justice for our region.
The climate crisis calls upon all of us to act swiftly to preserve a livable environment for our communities, our children, and the biodiversity of the planet. Working Landscapes is building a climate program that is rooted in our strengths as a rural, place-based organization, links to our food system work, and draws on the creativity of people in our community and region. This work has four main parts:
1) Our operations are going climate-positive. We’ve set a goal of being carbon-neutral by 2025! This will involve on-site energy production (solar panels), transitioning to an electric delivery vehicle, and developing a new composting program to turn 100% our food waste into a useful product.
2) Regenerative Agriculture and Soil Health. Regenerative agriculture is an approach to farming where food production creates healthy soils and draws down greenhouse gases–it’s one of the best ways to mitigate climate change while producing healthy food. We supporting farmers and landowners in improving soil health by providing technical support and funding, which is good for the environment, good for production and good for future generations.
3) Climate Forward Training and Toolkit. Supporting others in understanding what is at stake and taking concrete steps towards solutions. We are developing a Climate Forward Training and Toolkit for small nonprofits, civic groups, tribes, government agencies, and businesses, especially in rural, low-income communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Our goal is to significantly increase the number of organizations in the state who are committed to climate mobilization, while foregrounding rural perspectives.
4) Participatory Democracy. We’ll lead community-based research and sponsor, with partners, opportunities for all of us to come together to create the change we need, using approaches like the Community Voice Method and Citizen’s Assemblies.