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Statewide Workshops Train NC Residents on Climate Change

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Some 66% of Americans, or two in three, feel a "personal sense of responsibility" to help reduce global warming, according to research from Yale University. (Adobe Stock)
Some 66% of Americans, or two in three, feel a "personal sense of responsibility" to help reduce global warming, according to research from Yale University. (Adobe Stock)
January 6, 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Cities such as Asheville, Charlotte and Durham have adopted clean-energy strategies to fight climate change. Across North Carolina, however, some groups see a gap in community advocacy that they want to change.

A series of online workshops this month aims to equip residents with the knowledge they need to act on climate solutions and advocate for their region.

Eboné Lockett, founder and executive director of Harvesting Humanity, said the people affected most by climate change often aren't heard in the policy debates about problems such as more intense and frequent rainstorms, extreme heat and changes in weather patterns that impact crops.

"And if they don't understand it, and if they don't understand their role and responsibility in helping to shape and cultivate our physical and built environment," she said, "then they miss the whole idea of community, and community-centered and people-centered work."

She said the workshops will include details on North Carolina's climate and clean-energy initiatives. The next Climate Ambassadors Training will be held online next Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 12-13. Register at cleanaircarolina.org.

Former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, director of EcoAmerica's Path to Positive Communities, said more North Carolinians are feeling the effects of climate change but might not know how to approach their local and state officials. She said she believes that when citizens have the tools to jumpstart grassroots efforts, their actions add up.

"Because everybody can play a role in climate solutions, and when that happens, we all win - because utility costs go down, costs for cities to operate go down," she said. "Our air gets healthier; our health improves."

June Blotnick, executive director of Clean Air Carolina, said the strategies for improving air quality are closely tied to climate-change solutions. She said the workshops can help people find local ways to protect the health of their families and future generations.

"We're excited to take the program statewide," she said, "and to invite people - whether they be civic leaders, whether they be stay-at-home moms or dads, business owners, anyone - to learn how climate change is impacting North Carolina."

In Charlotte, she said, a group that dubs itself the "Charlotte Mecklenburg Climate Leaders" urged the city to expand its renewable energy and cleaner public transportation efforts to meet a city goal of going "carbon-free" by 2030. As a result of the group's work, the Charlotte Area Transit System announced plans last fall to transition to electric buses.

Disclosure: Clean Air Carolina contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC