City Climate Corner

Duck Hill MS: Youth vs. Flooding

Episode Summary

Duck Hill, a town of about 1000 people in north central Mississippi, experienced constant flooding until a team of young "Creek Rangers" took it upon themselves to address it. We interview high school senior and Creek Ranger Mersie Watkins, and Romona Taylor Williams, Executive Director of Montgomery Citizens United for Prosperity, about the program and how it has impacted the lives of the young people involved and the residents of Duck Hill.

Episode Notes

Duck Hill, a town of about 1000 people in north central Mississippi, experienced constant flooding until a team of young "Creek Rangers" took it upon themselves to address it. We interview high school senior and Creek Ranger Mersie Watkins, and Romona Taylor Williams, Executive Director of Montgomery Citizens United for Prosperity, about the program and how it has impacted the lives of the young people involved and the residents of Duck Hill.


Episode Transcription


Abby Finis  00:02

Cities produce more than sixty percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Big cities get a lot of attention, but most household emissions in the US actually come from communities outside urban cores, making them critical players in climate mitigation and climate justice. City Climate Corner explores how these small- and mid-sized cities are tackling climate change and moving toward an equitable and sustainable future.  I'm Abby Finis.

Larry Kraft  00:23

And, I'm Larry Kraft. We're co-hosts for City Climate Corner. Hey, Abby.

Abby Finis  00:30

Hey, Larry.

Abby Finis  00:31

So we have had conversations in past episodes on environmental justice, specifically with Jacqui Patterson previously with the NAACP and how racism, environmental justice is kind of pervasive throughout the energy system. And communities of color and low income communities tend to bear the brunt of negative environmental consequences. And in recognition of that President Biden has appointed Shalanda Baker to be Assistant Secretary for the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. And a couple of days ago, her nomination hit a little bit of a snag where a senator from Utah blocked unanimous consent for that. And his reasoning was, you know, she said that the energy system is racist capitalism, you know, and it's like, Yeah, it is. And I think it's fitting for the timing and the conversation that we'll have today where we see these stark inequities in a community in Duck Hill, Mississippi, where people are left to their own devices to build resilience to a changing climate and flooding. And I think you've mentioned some flash flooding that's occurred in St. Louis Park, and how have you responded to that. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Larry Kraft  01:54

Yeah, when I was campaigning for city council, a place in the city flooded that had never flooded before. It was a couple years ago during our wettest summer ever. And it actually flooded out a playground for a new school. And so the kids couldn't use it for a couple months. But there was immediate push to do something - the city, you know, jumped into action put in place a temporary solution. And then we had to invest several hundred thousand dollars for a more permanent solution. But there was an assumption that the city would do something about it and correct it and try to make sure that it would not happen again in the future. And it struck me how different you hear the reaction was in Duck Hill where basically nothing was done by the city or the county for years in this, until the residents and the young people took it up and did it themselves. 

Abby Finis  02:50

It's easy to take for granted, being an urban wealthier, oftentimes whiter communities, the services that are available and the infrastructure that is put into place. This is both an episode of highlighting those inequities, but also a really hopeful and pretty incredible story of how this community kind of took it upon themselves, to stop their flooding issues in a really creative way that also offers you know, a pathway for these kids who are involved to learn more and see what else is out there and what they can do.

Larry Kraft  03:28

This community is about 1000 people in North Central Mississippi, about 110 miles south of Memphis. It's an uplifting story to hear about what the students in the community did.

Abby Finis  03:40

Let's give it a listen. 

Larry Kraft  03:41

Let's do it. 

Start of interview

Abby Finis  03:44

We are here with Romona Williams and Mersie Watkins of Duck Hill, Mississippi. Welcome, could you both introduce yourself? We'll start with Romona.

Romona Williams  03:53

Hi, good morning. My name is Romona Taylor Williams and I am executive director of Montgomery Citizens United for Prosperity in Duck Hill, Mississippi.

Abby Finis  04:06

Great, Mersie.

Mersie Watkins  04:08

Hi, my name is Mersie Watkins. I'm a senior at Grenada high school and a Creek Ranger of Duck Hill, Mississippi.

Abby Finis  04:15

We are very excited to have you on City Climate Corner. I was looking around for climate action in the south and came across this incredible story in Duck Hill. And I'm really glad that you're both able to join us to share this story. Mersie. Can you tell us a little bit about what it's like to live in Duck Hill

Mersie Watkins  04:33

It's quite different from living in the city. Like we go out of town you can tell it's quite different. Like, I'm here. Everybody knows everybody. Nine times out of 10, they probably a cousin. And it's like a love-in foundation. Like as you grow you know these people are like, when something goes wrong, they know when to help you and when to stay in their lane.

Abby Finis  04:57

Is it a pretty small community, just over 1000?

Mersie Watkins  05:01

It's very small yeah it's under a thousand, I think at least it feels like it,

Abby Finis  05:07

Oh, wow. Ramona, can you tell us a little bit about just kind of give us a sense of what climate change conversations are like in the state of Mississippi,

Romona Williams  05:18

Oh in the state of Mississippi, we really aren't having a general conversation about climate change. Through the work of the ASEEDS initiative, ASEEDS stands for Achieving Sustainability through Education and Economic Development solutions. Where we launched in the pilot in Duck Hill, there has been more synergy around climate change. But it is very much at the grassroots level and at the local level, because we do constant trade, educating around climate change in our communities. So in the communities, it's starting to take root and resonate. Residents are learning that the flooding that we are experiencing in our various communities are the result of climate change. So we are in a moment of awareness, making communities more aware of climate change, and the impact that it is having on our neighborhoods and our communities.

Larry Kraft  06:44

Well, you're absolutely right, right, climate change is happening, and it's affecting all of us and is expected to get worse. What are some of the impacts you're seeing in Duck Hill,

Duck Hill flooding and impacts

Romona Williams  06:57

Duck Hill was a community that had experienced decades of flooding. And I'm talking about severe flooding, to the extent that when there would be a downpour, it would, Main Street would become a river, and folks would have to paddle themselves through in canoes in order to get through town. The flooding is what had the most significant impact. However, we are experiencing extreme heat in Mississippi, and these last few summers have almost been unbearable. And of course with heat, there also is drought. So we have a multiplicity of impacts that we are associating and relating to climate change and tornadoes. The tornadoes have been more severe, and just really have been devastating on the lives of our residents. 

Larry Kraft  08:10

I was going to ask you about stormwater management. But it sounds like there hasn't been effective stormwater management in the past there if you're if the community is experiencing that amount of flooding on a regular basis.

Romona Williams  08:26

Oh, no, not at all. The infrastructure is deplorable, especially in those areas that are predominantly populated by low income and African Americans. Our communities just are not getting the investments and infrastructure that we warrant. In fact, most of the water, the flooding in Duck Hill is the result of stormwater runoff. Mississippi is a timber state. And there's a lot of deforestation that takes place. And so that deforestation is also a contributing factor to the flooding that we are experiencing in our communities.

Larry Kraft  09:11

And we know that with climate change the harm disproportionately falls on vulnerable communities and especially communities of color due to structurally racist policies. 

Romona Williams  09:24

Oh, yes.

Larry Kraft  09:25

How is that borne out in terms of preparedness and response to flooding and I was particularly interested in reading some of the information about how it's impacted education.

Romona Williams  09:36

When we experience severe flooding - that has an impact on the real rural areas, because school buses can't get into those areas because they mud-out. Right? So that means that children are not able to get to school. So it is having a significant impact on education. We don't just look at Duck Hill, we look at how it is impacting us from a regional perspective and also, as a state, right? Mississippi is a climate deniers state. And as the result of that, the legislature does not take proactive measures in order to make our communities more adaptable and more resilient. So it's having a major impact, you know, we need policies in place, and we need an acknowledgement by our elected officials from the governor, to the state legislator, to the county board of supervisors, so that they will begin to take steps in order to help to mitigate the problems that we are facing. 

Romona Williams  10:58

When we looked at from a systemic perspective, and we looked at the emergency response systems, those emergency response systems just simply are not adequate. They're not thorough, they're not well researched. And we need to work on making working with the county boards of supervisors so that we will be able to put viable adaptation and resiliency and emergency management strategies in place. Right now, in Montgomery County, where Duck Hill is, where Duck Hill is domiciled, for instance, they do not have the emergency management plan on their website. Why don't they have it on their website, because they really don't have one. And we did some meetings with the County Board of Supervisors, and the Emergency Management Director, and their way of responding is dial 911. Well, the 911 system is inadequate. So we've got work to do in Mississippi. And I'm just really thankful for opportunities like this, where we will be able to share our story, and then be able to hopefully get support from the outside to help us to do the research to do the analysis that we need and to make the recommendations to our county supervisors, and also, ultimately to our state legislators.

Larry Kraft  12:53

Romona, we were chatting a bit before we started recording, about COVID. And as you talk about kids not being able to get to school due to flooding, you had that similar situation happened with COVID. And I was struck by the intersection of these issues and in the issues there around broadband. When other locations, maybe more affluent, they might say, well, we can just access school remotely. Can you talk about some of the challenges they are that you've experienced?

Romona Williams  13:25

There were major challenges. We were fortunate to have been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to stand up a community and youth leadership Institute and they were two separate Institutes because the youth were very adamant that they wanted to have their own Institute. And when COVID hit we launched the Institutes on March 11, for the youth and the 14th of 2020 for the adults. And that was at the same time that COVID hit. That required us to cease our in person trainings and then pivot to a digital platform. And that's when we really realized the crisis that we were in relative to broadband. We did a technology, conducted a technology survey. And we learned that 99% of our fellows, we had 25 youth and 25 adults, and 99% of our fellows did not have reliable broadband internet access. They did not have devices. The majority of them were the only devices that they had were their smartphones, and some of them also did shared devices. And then there was the affordability factor where they couldn't, families could not afford to pay this subscription for broadband. So our kids were literally trying to do their work and their homework and participate in virtual learning on their cell phones. Well, that created a major problem. And the libraries were closed, so they couldn't get to the libraries. So we really had a crisis,. We were fortunate enough that Robert Wood Johnson Foundation allowed us to submit a digital pivoting concept paper, and approved it where we were able to provide tablets to each of the fellows, hotspots and then pay for their broadband subscriptions. And we worked in partnership with Verizon, and Verizon donated the hotspots to us.

Abby Finis  16:00

Wow. There seems to be no shortage of barriers, put in your path. And yet you find a way to create this program that brings community together and starts to address some of these problems and in ways that, you know, you can manage at the local level. I just want to ask quickly. Mersie, how has flooding impacted you? And how does that contribute to your motivation to participate in this program that we're about to talk about?

Mersie Watkins  16:36

When the flooding in Duck Hill got like really, really bad, like I was missing two days of school at a time when it rained bad, because I couldn't leave. Like I live on the hill, it wouldn't be water, like on my street, but when you start to go down the hill, there's like water up under the thing is not good. It's nice to just stay at home. And I usually get in trouble for missing a lot of days of school. And it pushed me to want to fix it. Because I'm not the type of person to get in trouble at school. Like I don't get wrote up. I go to class. I ain't never skipped.

Abby Finis  17:12

You're able to make up some of that time.

Mersie Watkins  17:15

Yes, well, my teachers like they are really understanding. They let me come back and do my work. Because I had a valid excuse.

ASEEDS and the Creek Rangers program

Abby Finis  17:23

Yeah, we have school cancellations for snow, here, but it seems almost as regular that you all have cancellations for flooding, as some northern communities have for other weather extremes, and it really impacts things. I want to turn to the Creek Rangers program. Ramona, you touched on ASEEDS a little bit, and I think Creek Rangers is a program of ASEEDS. Could you give some more background and clarification on that program?

Romona Williams  17:56

Sure. When we were doing the visioning and framing the ASEEDS initiative, and we have several listening programs with the community. And one of the things that continues to pop up and resonate, was the need for structured youth development programming. And so we use the ASEEDS initiative as an opportunity to develop a youth program around sustainability and also climate change. And because we were dealing with water, and dealing with flooding, Duck Hill has like five creeks that run through it. And all of those creeks were in horrible condition. So when the creeks would back up, then that also contributed, in addition to the storm water run off, the creeks with overflow and they would also contribute to the flooding. I just thought in my mind, I said, Okay, we've got creeks, we got youth, residents want to have structured youth programs. And our funder wants to - this has to tie in to climate change and sustainability. 

Romona Williams  19:17

So we came up with the Creek Rangers program. And the Creek Rangers program. Our students initially started out with ages 12 to 18. And we had started out, we had 12 students, and then those students have younger brothers and sisters. And so Mersie's younger sister, they were coming to the meetings and everything like that, and they designated themselves as Junior Creek Rangers. So we have our Junior Creek Rangers and then we have our regular Creek Rangers. The Creek Rangers program does not only center around teaching conservation. It also, we also have a STEM component to it., and it's called SMART, which is Science, Math, Art, Reading and Technology because we also wanted to use this as an opportunity to improve up on our students academic achievement. And so we have the SMART program. We've engaged Creek Rangers, and we wanted them to be a part of the actual mitigation of the flooding. And so there is an area at the corner of Martin Luther King and Main Street. On that corner, once the water finally would recede, the water would puddle at that corner. 

Romona Williams  20:49

We worked with Professor David Perkes, who is with Mississippi State University, College of Architecture, Art and Design. And he did some visioning workshops with the youth and community and adults were involved too, but it was really centered around the youth. And that was on that corner, how will we be able to build that corner out into a rain garden and create a green space and plant the green space out with water absorbing plants and pollinators. And the youth they built that rain garden out, and it had to be excavated and everything and they were a part of it from the very beginning. And now it is a beautiful green space and the corner no longer floods. And we literally stopped the flooding in Duck Hill. If we have time we can talk more about the system that we put in. But Mersie can share more about how the Creek Rangers came together and did their first green infrastructure project, and we also used it as an opportunity to educate and teach them about creative placemaking.

Abby Finis  22:07

There's so much to love about this program. I especially love just the name Creek Rangers, is really awesome. Mersie, can you share your experience as a Creek Ranger with us.

Mersie Watkins  22:20

When Creek Rangers first got started it was about 12 of us, and we was told it was supposed to make a green space. It was at the corner of Main Street and Martin Luther King drive. It's like right in front of the church I attend, so I knew how bad the flooding was on the corner. Water used to just sit there even after the rain was gone it would just sit like right there. The parking lot, like on Sundays, we really can't use it or you're gonna be stuck in water. So we got to get there like... Was it two years ago or do it feel longer than 2 years?

Romona Williams  22:59

It was in 2018-19

Mersie Watkins  23:05

We went out there and, ooh baby, Mississippi is just hot for no reason. We all woke up at seven o'clock in the morning to try to beat the heat. And we're just out there spreading out dirt to try to put on the ground on top of the gravel so that the water will go through - it's hard to explain. Anyway we was putting down the soil for the flowers and we just out there sweating some pitchers, ooh it was hot anyway. We had to come up with a concept of how we wanted the flowers and plants to be spread out because we started off with small plants and like we had to do our research of how big the plant get, how much light can it take in, how much water can it take and all of that. So we had to take into consideration when we was planting the flowers how much space and we had to give it. Could we put a wall rocks beside it. Did it need to be beside the opening. It was just a lot of stuff that we had to do in order to plant them. And we all came together and we agreed on it, on a concept we wanted to do. We met like four times until we get like a good establishment. And then we just kept going down there like weeds and stuff after that. But we started planting and it felt like no matter how early we went it still got hot we just had to work through it.

Abby Finis  24:36

I hope you drank a lot of water.

Mersie Watkins  24:38

They provide us water, praise the Lord.

Creek Rangers exposure and collaboration

Romona Williams  24:44

Mersie share about your experience at Botanical Gardens and working with the master gardeners.

Mersie Watkins  24:53

We went to Jackson to the Botanical Gardens to help pick out the flowers that we used in the green space. As we was down there, I cannot remember her name, but we were talking to her and she was pointing us in direction of flowers and she gave was books and stuff, to help us pick out the flowers. She was just informing us on stuff that we needed to know when we were when we were purchasing the plants in the beginning.

Abby Finis  25:20

Do you have a favorite flower? 

Mersie Watkins  25:23

No. I think my favorite flower is not even a flower. The one that sets in the green space. I can't even think of the name of it. But it's a tree. We planted it like three months ago and like it is so big right now. And the tree not even that old. When we got it was like super, super small. Now it's like shade. Like it is really big now. That's my favorite because

Abby Finis  25:48

It's fun to watch those take off and grow, huh?

Mersie Watkins  25:52

Yeah, cuz now on the leaves it's like elephant ears.

Abby Finis  25:56

Is it a Catalpa?

Mersie Watkins  25:57

I don't know.

Abby Finis  25:59

They have the big elephant ear leaves? Yeah, really pretty flowers in the spring. Mersie, what have you learned through this program that you're most excited about

Mersie Watkins  26:09


Abby Finis  26:11

What kind of opportunities?

Mersie Watkins  26:13

Scholarship opportunities preferably.

Romona Williams  26:16

Abby, one of the things that I'd like to share is, we use the funding as an opportunity to expose our youth and the Creek Rangers to other communities and what youth were doing in urban areas. So we took them on an immersion, a four day immersion experience to Atlanta. And they were able to have a teach-ins with it's called Greening Youth Foundation, their urban core program. And so it gave youth from very small rural communities, the opportunity to share with youth in urban communities. And what they discovered was that, although our kids come from really small communities, they learned that they had many of the same things, and many of the same issues in common. 

Romona Williams  27:18

And our kids, we launched our Macho Girls group, because they had the opportunity to work at the Watershed Alliance in Atlanta, and they built out a bridge. And so the girls got to learn how to use small power tools and everything like that. They worked at a huge urban garden, really an urban farm at East Point. And then they also had the opportunity to see what community residents, everyday residents can do when they come together and organize, and form organization around community and economic development. Duck Hill is one of nine small towns and villages along Route 51 in North Montgomery County, and that's about a 40-45 miles stretch. And that entire area is a food desert. So the youth were able to see how we can create community arms, and then supply our communities and our people with food. And we can grow our own food and build an economy around local food growing. So it was very, very, very impactful for them. And in November 2019, we were chosen, the youth were chosen by National Geographic to participate in a four day intensive photo boot camp around climate change. And they had the opportunity to engage with youth from across the country, and also Native American communities that are literally being washed away in Louisiana. And the boot camp, the photo camp was held, and they were able to engage with NOAA scientists. And it was just really a remarkable experience.

Abby Finis  29:34

Wow. That is yeah, it's pretty incredible.

Romona Williams  29:38

And they did create, they did create a documentary as well.

Larry Kraft  29:42

Ramona, what's next for the program? Are you envisioning Creek Rangers and other communities? I loved to hear about the Jr. Creek Rangers. That sounds like there's a good group coming up to continue. And do you see opportunities to replicate this elsewhere?

Romona Williams  29:58

Absolutely, absolutely. The ASEEDS initiative is a model. It was designed to be replicated in other communities. And our Creek Rangers program evolved into the Youth Leadership Institute. And so we brought more youth and in the Institute and so we are now preparing to to scale the Creek Rangers program and also the Youth Leadership Institutes. And, of course, now our biggest challenge since our funding with SSDN that seeded the ASEEDS initiative, and also the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that seeded the Youth Leadership Institute - that funding is now over. So now our focus is on sustaining the work so that we can build power. There's no greater force than to train our young people to stand up and to advocate for equity and justice in our communities. And that's what we hope to continue to be able to do. 

Romona Williams  31:16

I am just so proud of these young people, Mersie, and also one of our young, male Creek Rangers, they participated in the 2019 National Adaptation Forum. They presented the Creek Rangers program, they did a poster presentation. And they also participated in a podcast. So we've given them a lot of exposure on the national level. And it has just been wonderful. And I think that it is a program that warrants support. And to continue on. And I tell you, Mersie is our Greta. Mercy is our Greta; she is truly a leader. She's going to be going off to college next year. And I just look so forward to her returning home, and just continuing this work and me passing the baton on to her.

Impact on climate change conversation

Larry Kraft  32:27

That's fantastic. I'm interested in how the program changed the conversation around climate change or provided awareness about climate change. And I'm interested in both of your thoughts on that maybe Mersie, did you know coming into it, did you have much of a view of climate change and how it impacted you?

Mersie Watkins  32:48

I knew about what we learned in school. I know it was rain a lot. But I just didn't really think about it too much.

Abby Finis  32:57

How has that changed since participating in the program?

Mersie Watkins  33:01

I understand a lot more than I did while I was in school. And now I have a better understanding of what they was trying to teach me in the first place. And like in school, they don't teach you about what you can use about climate change in your real life,  your actual life. They just teach you about what's in books. Now teach about how it affects you.

Abby Finis  33:23

Yeah. Romona, do you have anything to add to that?

Romona Williams  33:27

I think the conversation was elevated through the education component, and the listening sessions. We conducted surveys. And we worked in our climate change partner on the ASEEDS initiative was EcoAdapt. And we worked with Alex Score, who was the who was at that time, a lead scientist with EcoAdapt, and they helped us to develop a citizens driven adaptation and resiliency plan, for Montgomery, and also for Duck Hill. So going through that process really elevated the discussion and the conversation around climate change.

Greatest highlights

Abby Finis  34:18

So I want to wrap up with you both sharing what has been the greatest highlight for each of you participating and delivering this program, Mersie?

Mersie Watkins  34:26

Getting to know other people, and watching everybody grow as one. We became a family. And now I don't know what I'd do without those crazy people.

Abby Finis  34:36

Well, that's a really good answer. Romona, what's, what's the greatest highlight?

Romona Williams  34:42

I think the greatest highlight has been watching the evolution of a community that no one had ever heard of, including me, this little small community in Duck Hill, Mississippi. And that community is now nationally long known for its work of community coming together and defending itself against climate change. Being a part of solving a problem that had been plaguing this small town for decades. And then seeing the leadership that has evolved out of this program. For instance, one of the residents who started at the very beginning, who I literally had to take her chin and hold it up, right, so that she would speak and look at me in the eye and look at folks in the eye when she would be speaking. And she is now sitting on, was elected to the city council on June the eighth of this year. 

Abby Finis  36:05


Romona Williams  36:07

And stopping the flooding. You know, Duck Hill no longer floods. And the system that we designed, and bringing together a collaborative of partners, in order to do a project that engineers said, that could not be done for less than half a million dollars. But yet still, we stopped Duck Hill from flooding for less than $175,000. Those are the highlights that I have, and their empowerment. And now residents understand the importance of planning, and having plans and having roadmaps to follow, and actions that we have to take in order to protect ourselves from the climate, something that is greater than all of us, but it impacts all of us. And even when government does not work for us, we still have to make the systems work.

Abby Finis  37:15

Well, this is an incredible story. And thank you so much for sharing.

Romona Williams  37:21

Thank you for having us and allowing us to share our story.

Abby and Larry debrief

Abby Finis  37:27

Wow, what a really great conversation. What are some of your takeaways? Larry,

Larry Kraft  37:33

I'll go first to the youth side of it. Continual reminder of how powerful young people can be. And in this case, it's different. They're not protesting or rallying or asking for something, they're actually fixing a problem. But I think doing it in a way that helps rally the community around them and also provides an example for others.

Abby Finis  37:58

Yeah, I think it's really a testament of what community resilience is all about. It's not just how do we build this, you know, hard infrastructure to keep our building safe and whisk water away. It's also about those community connections and, and working with nature to offer some of those solutions. And you know, it goes back to that concept, again, of simple solutions for complex problems. And I just love the way that the Duck Hill kids in the community dug into this and created a beautiful space in their community and, and worked together on this project to stop flooding. And they've been able to successfully do that with this rain garden. That's pretty cool.

Larry Kraft  38:42

You talk about resilience and community resilience. When Mersie says, I love these crazy people, right that have become like her folks that she's worked with in Creek Rangers, that's that kind of stuff is what builds in the resilience for when something else hits the community that they can respond.

Abby Finis  39:03

You know, first responders are going to be your neighbors oftentimes in these kind of disaster things and so the more that you know your neighbors, the more resilient you're gonna be. Can you hear Parker? 

Larry Kraft  39:15

Yes, I can hear Parker.

Abby Finis  39:18

There's the official City Climate Corner pup.

Larry Kraft  39:22

That's right. Another thing that strikes me about this is Mississippi is not a blue state at all. It's very red, as Romona says, a climate denial state. But yet within it, you have a community here, taking action, taking climate action, and learning about it as well. Local is really, I think, provides a lot of hope and can provide a lot of leadership even in tough places.

Abby Finis  39:49

Yeah, and I think it's easy to forget that when you're in a blue state, hey, guess what you actually have folks in your state who are also going to experience these things and maybe not call it climate. It's setting politics aside sometimes and understanding that people are at the forefront of these sometimes disasters or different hazards that come into communities.

Larry Kraft  40:17

Back to inequalities. One of the things that struck me also in our conversation was the fact that when this flooding happens, has happened in the past, kids don't get to school. You know, we saw parallels with things that happened with COVID with them, where they don't get to school and the broadband infrastructure isn't there. Flooding impacts in so many other ways, because they don't have the kind of infrastructure to support things like remote learning.

Abby Finis  40:45

Yeah, we experienced that a little bit, I think, in interviewing Mersie, and she left school and went back home to get her computer and was very, very patient with us. And we appreciate her putting in some extra time to get this episode up. It's another thing that highlights those things that we take for granted. And having these conversations and getting more exposure so that we can come up with solutions that benefit people who need access to resources the most. As communities think about what does climate action look like in your community, it's, it's so critical to think about the most vulnerable populations in your community, so that you can work to rectify some of those inequalities and work toward a better future. 

Abby Finis  41:32

One of the other things that I really liked in this episode was just the exposure for the kids both in terms of what they're exposed to, and the things that they get to learn, you know, going to Atlanta and seeing how, what other kids are doing, and learning more about that, but also sharing their story. You know, she says, Mersie is the Greta of Mississippi right and Mersie, you're the Mersie of Mississippi and I am so happy that we're able to share her story and help to elevate some more awareness around that.

Larry Kraft  42:05

I love that.

Abby Finis  42:08

We hope you enjoyed this episode of City Climate Corner. If you like what you're hearing, make sure to subscribe and give us a review. If you're able, become a monthly supporter through Patreon. As always, you can find more information on this topic and resources from each episode's guests on our webpage If you have an idea for the show, send us an email at or find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Larry Kraft  42:31

City Climate Corner is produced by Abby Finis and me, Larry Kraft,. Edited by me. Our Production Assistant is Maggie Morin. Music by ...

Abby Finis  42:39

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Larry Kraft  42:42

Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.