Charleston, South Carolina: Rising Tides


Charleston has been named the “best city in America” by Travel + Leisure magazine for 3 years running. It is an incredibly beautiful city with all of the history and culture that draws vacationers from around the globe. However, there is an existential crisis facing both municipal government and Charlestonians alike, climate change. Precariously positioned between major waterways, rivers and the Atlantic Ocean, Charleston is susceptible to flooding from major storms and just the daily shifting of the tides. This reality complicates everything from business coming and going through Charleston Harbor to the lives of thousands living in poor, historically black, neighborhoods in the city.
Earl enjoys showing Craig around his hometown and all the things that make it fun and exciting like the cuisine, often focused on oysters. But, because of Earl’s relationship with city leadership, the two also have in-depth conversations with people addressing climate change and sustainability like Mayor John Tecklenburg. They also venture out on the pluff mud rich oyster beds with Terrell Brown and his dad, owners of Brown’s Oyster Supply. They harvest these delicious shellfish as part of their family business and supply Charleston’s best restaurants with these delicacies. Terrell talks about sustainability and the impact that climate change has had on this generational industry of oyster harvesting.
Latonya Gamble at Eastside Community Development talks about the impact that flooding has had on this struggling community. Much has changed in this historic neighborhood due to gentrification and climate change. But, one thing has remained the same, the tight bonds that exist between the residents and people like Latonya who work day in and day out to make the community stronger. A visit with Latonya to Joe Watson and his family owned Mary’s Sweet Shop restores your faith in the power of family and community in the face of intense societal and meteorological pressures. Joe shows Earl and Craig the sticky notes and registers of names of many of the poorest of the poor who receive basic needed food and milk for free with a promissory note to pay Joe back when they can.