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This is the second part of our Youth Voices series, focusing on how climate change has begun to affect the food we eat.

North Carolina is no stranger to hurricanes, tropical storms, widespread floods, tornadoes, droughts, and other severe weather events that seem very common amid rapidly changing climates.

This week, many eyes were on Elsa, which took place in the fifth storm named after the 2021 hurricane season on July 1 between the coasts of Africa and the Leeward Islands. As it spun across the Atlantic, over the Caribbean islands, Cuba, and then into the South United States, North Carolina plunged into that familiar attitude of preparing for the worst on the paths envisioned while hoping for the best.

Lawmakers and others who develop policies, regulations, and programs that shape post-megastorm recovery and sustainability efforts often do so by claiming to take a long look at how to deal with climate change.

They talk about the efforts made towards their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

Yet adults often make these decisions and set long-term goals without seeking the voices of young people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

North Carolina Health News and Work Narratives / Coastal Youth Media recently held two workshops to give Southeast Carolina youth a greater voice in the climate change debate.

With generous financial support from the North Carolina Sea Grant through the Community Collaborative Research Program and a large grant from Aranzuzu Lascurain, University Assistant Director of the NC State Center for Climate Change Science at NC State University, Founder and Editor NC health news reporter Rose Hoban, NC Health News reporter Anne Blythe and Sarah Sloan, media producer at Working Narratives, worked with more than a dozen students to help them create podcasts and essays.

They explored the impacts of climate change on agriculture, fishing, backyard gardening and what we eat.

They researched what happens to sharks, small animals, and even horse hooves as the oceans warm, storms become more frequent, and those that were green lands became ghost forests.

They also delved deep into what is happening in their neighborhoods, schools and cities, asking if they and their peers can change the views, habits and actions of adults among themselves.

What they produced in just a few days is a vast, expansive and, frankly, work that amazed us. We have compiled those essays and podcasts in the hope that their important voices will give a new depth and perception to an issue that will have a major impact on their lives.

This is the second part in a series, focusing on how climate change has begun to affect the food we eat.

Shows a smiling young woman standing outside in a dock.

Don’t get bored with sustainable seafood, by Lily Spalding

Sustainable seafood is a term used to describe methods of harvesting fish, crustaceans and other marine life, in ways that support the marine ecosystem and help protect fish populations. Lily Spalding talked to some chefs who are using species that some people call “waste” fish and prepare them as gourmet food with excellent taste.

shows a picture of a young Black woman with shadows across her face.

Land in my garden, by Ariel Shipman

Ariel Shipman’s grandmother taught him, “When you think of rain, you think of water and how great it is for plants.” In reality, acid levels from the rain are changing the soil of her garden.

Shrimp, over time

Alex Kies, a 14-year-old reporter, explores how the shrimp industry on his neck in the woods, Carteret County, North Carolina, is being affected by climate change.

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