North Carolina

cypress trees NC

Durham cypress swamp. Photo by LFLamb, for reuse

13
Jul
2017

Rural North Carolina: An International Battleground on Forests and Climate Change

by Danna Smith, Founder and Executive Director, Dogwood Alliance Category: , ,

Today, most people understand that transitioning away from fossil fuels toward clean energy is essential to solving the climate crisis. Despite the fact that the Trump administration pulled out of the historic Paris Agreement, it’s been inspiring to see the flurry of activity on the part of states, municipalities and corporations across the nation committed to ensuring the U.S. does its part to meet the ambitious goals by committing to transition toward 100 percent clean energy. While this is certainly encouraging, we must face a harsh reality. Essential, getting off fossil fuels won’t be enough. Every scientific model I have seen proposing pathways to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius includes both a rapid reduction in carbon emissions and a dramatic increase in the amount of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere. Standing natural forests are the only proven system that can operate at the scale necessary to remove enough carbon from the atmosphere within the timeframe necessary to avoid climate catastrophe. Equally as important, standing forests provide a safety net that can mitigate the effects... read more +

In North Carolina, getting more fire in the longleaf pine ecosystem is at the heart of a new partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Orton Foundation

Longleaf Pine Forest | Credit: Christine Ambrose for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

31
Mar
2017

When Forests Burn, It’s Good for Wildlife and Local Communities

by Jay Jensen, Southern Region Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Category:

Southern forests were once covered by the longleaf pine — over 90 million acres of it! Longleaf was the dominant forest type for the coastal plain, and hundreds of plants and animals evolved and thrived within the open, park-like stands that characterize longleaf pine habitat. By the mid-20th Century, that acreage was down to just 3.5 million acres, partially due to a lack of regular fire, which is critical to maintaining the habitat conditions favored by plants and wildlife unique to this ecosystem. But recently, thanks to hard-fought collaborative conservation efforts, the longleaf range has begun to expand again, reaching nearly five million acres. Unfortunately, the decline in the acreage and the quality of longleaf forests has translated into a similar decline for the plants and animals that depend on healthy longleaf habitat, sending many of these species to the emergency triage room that is the Endangered Species Act. But there is a plan to reverse this troubling trend: fire. In North Carolina, getting more fire in the longleaf pine ecosystem is at the heart of a new... read more +

A bald cypress tree rises from the Cape Fear River near Tar Heel. Photo: Andrew Kornylak

3
Mar
2017

A River Worth the Fight: Visualizing a Healthy, Connected and Respected Cape Fear

by Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper Category:

The Cape Fear River is North Carolina’s largest and most diverse river, the only river in the state to empty directly into the Atlantic Ocean, and the drinking water supply for one in five North Carolinians. For the river and the people who live along it 2016 was marked with both major victories and ongoing challenges. Already in 2017, many river guardians are working hard to secure more of the former, and mitigate more of the latter. I know the following to be true, as do conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon and The Orton Foundation: this river is worth the fight. An introduction to its specific geography, history and romance can be found in Our State’s story of my eight-day 203-mile paddle from source to mouth. We hope the photos of our trip, maps and videos will inspire you as you learn about its threats and visualize a healthy future. Coal Ash Clean Up North Carolina, home of the nation’s largest electric utility, Duke Energy, took center stage in the national fight to clean up toxic coal ash, the... read more +

13
Jan
2017

A Victorious Year Against Offshore Drilling along East Coast – Thanks to a Grassroots Movement

by Claire Douglass, Campaign Director for Climate and Energy, Oceana Category:

Last week, the Obama administration formally denied all pending seismic airgun blasting permits in the Atlantic, favoring local voices over oil interests in a move that goes against the grain of our historically fossil fuel dependent society and solidifies the path to a cleaner, more sustainable renewable energy future. Although in recent months groups have been making headway, the fight against offshore drilling and exploration in the Atlantic certainly started as a seemingly losing battle. In 2008, the Bush administration lifted a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Done quietly, most East Coast communities had no idea their waters were open to the prospect of offshore drilling, and up until 2014, the only people privy to proposed drilling plans were those who supported it. Virtually unopposed, the government proceeded with plans to open up the Atlantic to offshore drilling – plans that surely would have gone smoothly, except for one little hitch: people like you. In 2014, Oceana planted the seeds of a grassroots movement that would eventually sweep across the East Coast. It all started... read more +

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The “Fire Forests” of the southeast need fire the way rain forests need rain. Photo (c) Anne Liles

27
Dec
2016

Fire and the Longleaf Pines of the Southern US: A Bright Future for a Magical Forest

by Angie Carl, SE Coastal Plain Stewardship & Fire Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy Category: ,

The longleaf pine forests of the southern US have a unique and subtle beauty. The secret to this beauty is fire. The “Fire Forests” of the southeast need fire the way rain forests need rain. Most of the plants and animals here have adapted to years of fires that occurred as frequently as every one to five years, through lightning and Native American burning. Without these fires the woods become overgrown, shading out the natural systems and rare plants that therefore can no longer survive. I have been leading burns in the forests of southeast North Carolina for 13 years. They are some of the most beautiful and difficult forest in which to burn. I do it because the health of our unique forests – an amazing array of carnivorous plants, orchids, grasses, birds, bears, bobcats, and many other animals depends on it. A dramatic fact is that the Venus Flytrap, which now only grows here naturally, would die off forever if we ceased to burn. Recently The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased a new tract in Brunswick County,... read more +

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21
Dec
2016

An Ode to the Act of Giving Thanks to Dosher Memorial Hospital Grant from Louis Bacon’s Orton Foundation

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On December 16, 2016, team members from The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, visited Dosher Memorial Hospital to deliver a $30,000 contribution for the hospital’s Emergency Department, which treats more than 13,000 patients per year. During the check presentation, Dr. Joseph P. Hatem MD, MPH, gave a kind and poignant speech about the act of giving, the ripple effect of hope, and the spirit of the holidays. Dr. Hatem has graciously agreed to let us publish his wonderful remarks here in their entirety.  On behalf of the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and staff of the J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, I would like to thank the Orton Foundation, Mr. Louis Bacon, Mr. Dillon Epp [Property and Wildlife Manager, Orton Plantation Holding LLC], and Ms. Ann Colley [Executive Direction and Vice President, The Moore Charitable Foundation], for the continued gift of faith they have in our hospital. Again to put this into perspective, the original hospital cost $30,000 to build in 1928, with Brunswick County Hospital Opening, June 2, 1930. James B. Duke and The Duke Endowment... read more +

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18
Jul
2016

In Wilmington, NC and Everywhere: Economic Development Is More Than Just Growth

by Scott Johnson, Chairman, Cape Fear Economic Development Council Category:

The following blog post is the second entry of a series in WilmingtonBiz.com Insights and reflects the opinion of the Cape Fear Economic Development Council. Written by Chairman Scott Johnson in support of adopting the improved community-focused Industrial Special Use Permit (SUP), it advocates for clean and responsible economic growth for New Hanover County. Cities and towns recognize the need to pursue economic growth and adopt policies and programs, including incentives, that are designed to enhance economic development opportunities. Most residents understand there is a relationship between the successful function of the local economy and the quality of life they enjoy. They also know that many community services, including public schools, are often defined by the amount of local taxes collected. But how we implement and define what economic growth means to us will be the tipping point for how an older industrial area, such as ours, will remake and rewrite the story of the power of economic innovation. Historic concepts of economic growth in American cities like Wilmington can be viewed in many ways. One view has been that all... read more +

Dusk on the Cape Fear: Wilmington, N.C.
3
Jul
2016

Using the Triple-Bottom Line to Define Best Practice Resource Management in the Cape Fear

by Scott Johnson, Chairman, Cape Fear Economic Development Council Category: ,

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is leading the My Community, My Voice Campaign to engage citizens and business leaders to help adopt the improved community-focused Industrial Special Use Permit (SUP), which advocates for clean and responsible economic growth for New Hanover County. The vote is in the fall; as such, this blog will feature articles and thoughts from business leaders who are in support of this important initiative.  The following entry is the first of a series in WilmingtonBiz.com Insights and reflects the opinion of the Cape Fear Economic Development Council, written by Chairman Scott Johnson. The Cape Fear Economic Development Council (CFEDC) is a nonprofit 501c3 based in Wilmington. For the last eight years we have explored new concepts for addressing our region’s economic growth strategies, while helping identify more suitable and practical alternatives in economic development, land use, energy use and environmental management. CFEDC is neither a think tank nor an academic endeavor, but a group of citizens who believe by using the “triple bottom line” framework (people, profit, planet) to define best practices in land and resource management, we... read more +

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13
Jun
2016

Winning Protections from Offshore Drilling, but Atlantic Still Threatened by Seismic Airgun Blasting

by Claire Douglass, Campaign Director for Climate and Energy, Oceana Category:

After years of hard work and loyalty to the fight against offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Oceana and citizens along the East Coast have won a historic victory. This March, the Obama administration announced its decision to remove the Atlantic from its oil and gas leasing plan. It was not only a huge day for the oceans, but also for democracy. By yielding to the overwhelming opposition from East Coast communities, President Obama proved that good old-fashioned grassroots organizing makes all the difference. It was not easy, and at first, it was a lonesome fight. Most cast it off as a losing battle, but Oceana jumped in when few other groups would take the plunge to fight Atlantic drilling. In 2008, the Bush administration lifted a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Done quietly, most East Coast communities had no idea their waters were vulnerable to the prospect of offshore drilling. Virtually unchallenged, President Obama proceeded with the past administration’s plans to re-open the Atlantic. They didn’t see what was coming next. Years ago, Oceana... read more +

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of the Waterkeeper Alliance

Robert F. Kennedy, Junior, Founder and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance

10
Jun
2016

CoastLine: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the Origin of CAFOs, Environmental Justice

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Robert F. Kennedy, Junior is Founder and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization of nearly 300 waterkeepers spanning the globe.  He serves as Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, is a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic, and he is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. He came to Wilmington, North Carolina for the annual conference of The Waterkeeper Alliance.  There he sat down with Rachel Lewis Hilburn, News Director and Host of CoastLine, to discuss the origins of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and environmental justice – issues that are inextricably intertwined. Here is the transcript of that interview, first published here and available as an audio file. RLH:  Robert Kennedy, your journey as a champion of clean waterways began on the Hudson River.  For that work, you were named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Planet. You’ve held that up as an international model of ecosystem protection.  How is it that?  What changes were you able to make in New York? Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:  Well, It... read more +