The Land I Trust Season 1: Stories from the American South


The Land I Trust is a new audio series by the Sierra Club that brings powerful stories about special places into your home.

In our first series, we travel through the American South to talk with folks about the coal that is fouling their air and water, the dirty energy projects they're fighting in their backyards, and a shared vision for a clean energy economy that allows all of our communities to thrive.

From climate refugees to farming families, these Southerners generously sat down, walked, and canoed with us while sharing their truths.

The result: short first-person stories and a special podcast series. Take a listen, share your favorite pieces, and subscribe to our podcast. Welcome to The Land I Trust.



Adrienne Kennedy was born in Robeson County, North Carolina.  She moved away when she was young, but returned home as an adult.  She now runs the Seeds of Hope Project Disaster Relief Center, which provides aid to people displaced by Hurricane Matthew. Here, she talks about what home means to her.

Blair Campbell’s land in Randolph County, West Virginia, has been in her family for generations.  But the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cut right through her family’s 480-acre farm.  Here, she and her daughter, Penelope, age 9, visit their property.

Jorden Revels is a 19-year-old activist and member of the Lumbee Nation in North Carolina. Here, he paddles a canoe along the Lumber River—which some propose renaming the Lumbee River, in recognition of its cultural significance—and talks about how the river could be disrupted by the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Lifelong North Carolina resident Johnny Gurley recently found out that his drinking water was contaminated by coal ash—a coal power byproduct, stored in pits, that can easily leak into the groundwater.  Here, he talks about what that means for him and his health, and what it means to be from North Carolina.

Steve Benjamin is the mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. Here, he talks about the connection between climate change and his effort to make his city reliant on 100% renewable energy—and what that means for his family and his future.

Ruby and John Laury live in Buckingham County, Virginia, in Union Hill—a predominantly African-American community where Dominion Energy plans to build a compressor station as part of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  The station would use gas-fired turbines to pump gas through the system. The proposed pipeline would have only three compressor stations—one at each end, and one in the middle, where Ruby and John live. Here, they talk about why they think their community was chosen for this station, and what that means to them.

Susan Glickman was born in Tampa, Florida, and has been working to fight climate change since the 1990s. Here, she talks about trying to get Florida to change from fossil fuels to solar power—and about her secret identity.

Representative Amy Mercado and Senator Victor Manuel Torres, Jr, are the first father-daughter Latino pair to serve in Florida’s government. Here, they talk about how recent extreme weather in Florida and Puerto Rico has impacted their state and their families.

Rodney Lyons has lived in the fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, for generations. A former fisherman, he now runs a seafood business. Here, he talks about the changes he’s noticed in the oceans.

Justin Raines is a sixth-generation West Virginian, and worked in the oil and gas industry for 12 years, including working on a drilling rig. Here, he talks about how he decided to leave that industry.

Rick Cauley has been playing football since he was four years old. He’s now teaches history and coaches football at Satsuma High School in Alabama. Here, he talks about what football means to Alabama, and how the sport will reckon with rising temperatures.

About the Producers

This series was produced by the award-winning team of Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman. Their climate change audio project Frontier of Change, a series documenting climate change in Alaska, recently won the 2017 Online Journalism Award for Audio Digital Storytelling. Kestenbaum and Holtzman explore connections between climate and culture through immersive audio, experiential storytelling and live events.