Community Rising

Community Rising

Community Rising examines environmental news in the coastal Carolina region. We focus on the environment, development, climate change, pollution, and public health.


September 14, 2023 1 min

Coming soon on Community Rising. 

Climate change is reshaping coastal North Carolina in a myriad of ways, and one of the most striking is the emergence of ghost forests.

As our climate warms, sea levels rise, and saltwater intrusion advances inland, the delicate balance of coastal ecosystems is disrupted.

The result is the eerie transformation of lush, vibrant forests into skeletal remnants of their forme...

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Want to vote early in coastal North Carolina? Here's how.

¿Quieres votar temprano en la costa de Carolina del Norte? Escucha este anuncio. 

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Honey bees not only produce one of the most popular sweeteners used within food and drink products - they also play a huge role in our agricultural system. Onslow County Master Beekeepers David and Lynn Sanbeg, along with Eric Talley of the Onslow County Beekeepers Association, have made it their goal to provide high-quality honey for their communities. These dedicated beekeepers encourage residents of Coastal North Carolina to lea...

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Look to the coast of North Carolina and you may find something a bit unexpected - artificial reefs. These manmade reefs mimic the characteristics of real reefs in order to provide a home to ocean life. In this episode, Jordan Byrum, an artificial reef coordinator with the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, discusses the history, creation and importance of artificial reefs in North Carolina. 

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September 25, 2020 5 mins

Hog farms have been polluting the environment of Eastern NC for decades. And over the past few years, owners of these operations have started touting biogas as a way to make hog farms more sustainable. In this episode, Kemp Burdette, the Cape Fear Riverkeeper, explains why biogas isn't the sustainable solution that it's being made out to be. 

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September 4, 2020 4 mins

Low-income communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues in NC, and face higher rates of disease because of it. When COVID-19 hit, Sherri White-Williamson, the Environmental Justice Policy Director at NC Conservation Network, says it became clear that these were the communities that were going to be unduly vulnerable to the virus. In this episode, White-Williamson discusses why environmental justice c...

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August 6, 2020 4 mins

Christian Legner is the Public Informations Officer of Duck, NC. She speaks about what her town prioritizes when hurricane season is in full effect, and how this changes with COVID-19. Hurricane Isaias hit Coastal Carolina a few days ago. Christian speaks about how her town dealt with the damages and evacuations. 

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NC is predicted to have a high-intensity hurricane season this year. The state is launching a new tool – outlined zones – to help coastal residents understand which areas will be most vulnerable to impacts and organizes evacuations by predicted zone impact. In this episode, Katie Webster, Assistant Director of Planning for NC Emergency Management, talks about the state's new "Know Your Zone" program that hopes to str...

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North Carolina's low-income communities of color already face higher rates of chronic diseases like heart disease. And with the threat of increasing temperatures due to climate change, these disparities will only worsen. In this episode, Marian Johnson-Thompson, a virologist and environmental justice advocate, talks about how climate change will worsen health disparities, and why these disparities exist in the first place. 

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From hog lagoons to sewage sludge to wood pellet plants, low-income communities of color in Eastern North Carolina experience a wide array of environmental injustices. Naeema Muhammad, an organizer and activist with the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, has been fighting against these injustices for over 20 years and has experienced the emotional toll that comes with such activism. In this episode, Muhammad describes th...

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July 30, 2020 6 mins

Ana Zimmerman is a biology professor at the College of Charleston. She's also a flood survivor. Over the course of a few years, her home was repeatedly flooded after major storms. The effect of repeated floods caused major damage to her home, and left her with struggles that weigh on her both personally and professionally as a scientist. 

Produced by Ben Abrams. Music by Meydän. Photo by Wade Spees.


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On July 22nd, the Chemours facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina notified Cape Fear Public Utilities Authority that sediment highly contaminated with PFAS chemicals leaked into the Cape Fear River. In this episode, Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, tells us what Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender county residents that rely on the river for drinking water need to know. 

For more information, go to www.cleancap...

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Larry Baldwin is the Crystal Coast Waterkeeper and the Advocacy Director of the White Oak New River Keeper Alliance. He's an advocate for improving the health and quality of water systems throughout coastal North Carolina. Baldwin has experienced a number of hurricane and says they can actually be a good thing for river systems. But they cause a number of other issues - they destroy communities' infrastructure and create ...

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North Carolina's Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary is the second-largest estuary in the United States and serves as a vital resource for several industries and communities. Bill Crowell, Director of the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, says that as climate change continues to threaten this resource, taking steps to protect it is more important than ever. 

Produced by Kayla Guilliams. Music by Meydän.


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Peter Groenendyk is the Director of Housing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) and has experienced countless hurricanes. Groenendyk discusses the process of evacuating students during hurricanes and finding housing for students with nowhere to go. He says his experience relocating students during hurricanes prepared him to deal with student housing issues that resulted from COVID-19 - but only to an extent.

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As a seventh generation commercial fisherman, David “Clammerhead” Cessna, of Smyrna, NC, speaks about how his family's tradition led him to sustainable shellfish harvesting. At age 59, he is the co-founder of the Sandbar Oyster Company, producing job opportunities, environmental solutions and green gill oysters for Coastal NC and beyond.

Produced by Chris Moncrief. Music by Meydän.

Broadcast from the Working ...

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July 6, 2020 5 mins

The cancellation of plans to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was announced on July 5, 2020 by utility companies Duke Energy and Dominion Energy. Today we examine the negative impacts it would have caused and ask activist Hope Taylor, director of Clean Water for North Carolina, why she fought so long to end its proposed construction. The 600-mile pipeline would have brought natural gas from West Virginia down through North Carolin...

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Eric Griffin and Jeff Campbell are both seasoned administrators at UNCW, responsible for environmental health and safety on campus. They both explain how they could draw from past hurricane experiences to guide their plans for COVID-19 relief. Griffin and Campbell believe UNCW can be used as an example of resilience and community during these difficult times. But they admit that COVID-19 brings a whole new level of uncertainty that...

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June 26, 2020 4 mins

Where will you be when sea waters rise the most? In September, 2018, Hurricane Florence pushed waters 3.6 feet above the high tide line in Wilmington, NC. Don Bain, a scientist at Climate Central in Princeton, NJ, says this kind of flooding may be a yearly event by the end of the century due to climate change. In this episode, Don explains the "Surging Seas" project, a group of map-based tools to help people better unders...

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Chemours, a chemicals plant located in Fayetteville, North Carolina has been leaching PFAS chemicals into the Cape Fear River for decades, impacting the health and well-being of the communities that rely on the river for drinking water. Three new bills have been recently proposed that Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, thinks are a good first step in addressing the contamination. In this episode, Donovan speaks to what r...

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