The Land I Trust Profiles

Sierra Club’s The Land I Trust is an audio series that shares the stories of people from around the United States who are affected by and fighting against climate change. You can listen to their individual stories below or explore how they connect in Season One (Stories from the American South), Season Two (Stories from the American West), and Season Three (Stories from the American Midwest).

Season 1

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.

Don't miss the latest season: Stories from the American Midwest!

Host and narrator Precious Brady-Davis weaves together stories from people in the Midwest.

Season 2

Aaron Cage moved to Colorado to work in the oil and gas industry. But it wasn’t long before he made the switch to working in wind energy. Here, he talks about what led him to change jobs.

Gabriel Hunt is a fourth-generation coal miner living in Carbon County, Utah. He’s also a hip-hop artist. In this piece, he remembers using his rapping skills to quit his job in the mines.

Kayla Molloy is an 8-year-old climate activist. Here, she talks to her mom, Rachel, about how she got into activism, and what she likes best about planet Earth.

Krystal Two Bulls is an Oglala Lakota / Northern Cheyenne activist from Lame Deer, Montana. She visits Crazy Head Springs, a source of natural spring water on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, to talk about her work to protect the land.

Larry Dozier is the pastor of St Johns United Methodist Church in Watts, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. Here, he talks about how outsiders view Watts, and his efforts to improve his community by installing solar panels at his church.

Mishka Banuri is a 17-year old student in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this piece, she talks about being one of the young people who got Utah to pass a climate resolution—and how her faith informs her activism.

Patty Gladstone is a junior high math and science teacher in Seely Lake, Montana. Here, she talks about the challenge of teaching young people about climate change—and how recent wildfires have affected her community and her family.

Percy Deal lives on the Navajo Reservation, just south of the Peabody Energy coal mine. In this piece, he talks about how the mine has impacted his life, and his hopes for the future.

Richard Grant raises cattle on his family ranch in Wyoming. Wind is not always a rancher’s friend—it can chill newborn calves and blow away hay. But in this piece, Richard talks about how he found a way to make the wind work for him.

Vickie Simmons lives on the Moapa Reservation in Nevada, not far from Las Vegas. Here, she talks about the impacts that a nearby coal mine has had on her and her family.

Season 3

Theresa Landrum has lived in Southwest Detroit her whole life. Her zip code is 48217, which is infamous for being the most polluted zip code in the state of Michigan. Nearby is an oil refinery from Marathon Petroleum Corporation that sends chemicals up into the air. There’s also a coal-fired power plant just a few miles away. I-75 runs right through the zip code. Right in the center of all this is Theresa’s community. She’s been fighting for environmental justice for a long time. But when she was a kid, she saw her neighborhood much differently. Read a transcript of Theresa's profile.

Kate Madigan is the director of the Michigan Climate Action Network, which organizes grassroots climate action. For her, the next steps to address climate change are pretty obvious, it’s just a matter of whether or not we can get it done. Read a transcript of Kate's profile.

Jim Nugentis a farmer from Traverse City, Michigan, which some people call the Cherry Capital of the world. It produces nearly 75 percent of the country’s tart cherries, and about a fifth of our sweet cherries. However, in recent years, cherry farmers have been feeling the effects from climate change. Read a transcript of Jim's profile.

The Michna [MICK-na] family has lived near Caledonia, Wisconsin since the 1800s. In fact, there are now 11 Michna siblings living on Michna Road. But they have a bad neighbor now—a coal plan. Frank Michna and two of his sisters, Renee Michna and Maureen Michna-Wolff, sat down to talk about living in the shadow of coal plants

To Charles Hua [Hwah], Madison, Wisconsin, is more than dairy. It’s his hometown and the land has shaped who he is as a person, and how he approaches the issues of climate change.

Girl Scout Troop 6195 in Pleasant Plains, Illinois, does more than just sell cookies. They speak up and act on environmental issues. For them, environmental activism started small, literally, with protecting the Monarch Butterfly. Their success with the monarchs got the girls fired up about other environmental issues. Girl Scout Troop 6195 does more than just sell cookies. They speak up and act on environmental issues. For them, environmental activism started small, literally, with protecting the Monarch Butterfly. Their success with the monarchs got the girls fired up about other environmental issues.

Pete Lenzen lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where Duke Energy operates. When Pete heard that coal-burning Duke Energy proposed a rate increase, this got him really fired up. So fired up that he testified in front of the The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

Casey Weinstein probably is the most public environmentalist in Northeast Ohio, where he lives. In 2018, he ran for office and flipped a seat by 51 percent. Now, he represents part of northeast Ohio in the State House. Before that, he served on Hudson City Council. He’s in the public eye often, but the reason he ran for office started at home.

Bob Pashos is from St. Louis, Missouri. For him, reckoning with climate change meant he had to grieve for what we’ve already lost, and for what it’s too late to do anything about. But he didn’t just bury his head in the sand and give up. He came out the other side.

Lewis Reed led the effort to pass Resolution 124, which called upon the city to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2035. St. Louis, Missouri, is home to the headquarters of coal companies, but it’s also about to become a lot more solar friendly.

Josh Usdan [pronouns they/them/theirs] is a 17-year-old high school student from Nashville, Tennessee. Josh is also a climate activist and a member of the Sunrise Movement, a group of young people fighting climate change.