ClearAIRE NC’s annual NC BREATHE Conference brings together a diverse group of North Carolina stakeholders to learn about current issues at the intersection of health, equity, and climate change and, using sound science, make recommendations to decision-makers aimed at protecting those most vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change.

2021 Panel Discussions

Voices from the Frontline

A panel conversation among North Carolinians working at the intersection of health, equity, and climate change. Moderator: Donna Chavis

Health Impacts of Climate Change

Greg Kearney, Professor of Public Health at East Carolina University provides a broad overview of the ways that climate change is expected to impact – and is already impacting – human health, with a special focus on vulnerable populations.

Looking Forward - Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resilience

To protect health and equity, we must simultaneously decarbonize, while preparing for the inevitable impacts of climate change that are already baked in by past emissions. Learn about successful strategies to decrease carbon emissions, adapt to climate change, and build resilient communities.

2021 Breakout Sessions

Farmwork Heat Health

Laurie Thie with the NC Division of Public Health’s Climate and Health Program and Roberto Rosales with NC State Extension’s Farmworker Health & Safety Program discuss extreme heat impacts on North Carolina’s farmworkers and opportunities to protect worker health.

Industrial Hog Farms, Air Pollution + Respiratory Disease

Caresse Gerald with NC Central University shares her research on the impact hog barn dust from concentrated animal feeding operations has on our airways.

Vector Borne Diseases

Changing weather patterns from climate change will expand mosquito and tick populations in North Carolina. How will this impact health and disease in NC? Learn more with Dr. Brian Byrd of Western Carolina University in this breakout session.

Building Resilient Communities

Amanda Martin, PhD discusses her work with the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency to advance community resilience with a focus on equity.

Climate Resilience in Albemarle-Pamlico Region Tribal Communities

Learn about the innovative Building Capacity for Climate Resilience in the Albemarle-Pamlico Region Tribal Communities Project. The project is a partnership between tribal organizations, government agencies, and university faculty, and was designed to support tribal communities in the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed in considering climate resilience during community planning, acknowledging the unique knowledge and cultural perspectives of tribal communities surrounding climate change impacts.

Racism & Extreme Heat

Angel Hsu is Assistant Professor of Public Policy and the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program (E3P) at UNC and Founder and Director of the Data-Driven EnviroLab, an interdisciplinary research group that innovates and applies quantitative approaches to pressing environmental issues. In this breakout session, she shares her research on extreme heat and the intersection with environmental racism and policy.

Building Resilience in Black Communities

Kamal Bell, CEO of Sankofa Farms, discusses the innovative program that includes agricultural and STEM education for Black youth, while also producing healthy food to address food deserts in African American populations, thereby building resilience in Black communities.

2021 Other Presentations

The Cost of Climate Change

Vijay Limaye of Natural Resources Defense Council closes out day one of NC BREATHE 2021 by considering the health costs of climate change. Dr. Kim Lyerly, a George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor of Immunology at Duke University and Director of their Environmental Health Scholars Program, moderates the Q & A session and offers closing comments.

Legislative Update & Student Poster Presentations

NC State Senator and Clean Air Carolina Board Member DeAndrea Salvador kicked off day two of NC BREATHE 2021 with opening remarks focusing on policy solutions to the climate crisis.

Following Sen. Salvador’s talk, three graduate students present their research in Lightning Talks. Dr. Mary Clare Hano, social scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, introduces the research session.

Addressing Equity While Addressing Climate Challenges

How can we incorporate climate justice into climate change solutions? Marilynn Marsh-Robinson, with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Energy Program, explores this and other pressing questions.

Future Directions for Climate Policy

Jeremy Tarr, JD, Senior Advisor for Climate Change Policy for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper closes out the conference with a discussion of Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 (“North Carolina’s Commitment to Address Climate Change and Transition to a Clean Energy Economy”) and future directions for climate policy in North Carolina.