I was thinking on doing a post Hurricane Florence podcast based in part on my own loses and recovery actions. In September I wasn't in Wilmington, North Carolina, when the hurricane devastated several counties and many communities.

When the hurricane happened I was in the Appalachian Mountains. I’m an older student at Appalachian State University and I'm currently studying in order to get a BA in the Environmental Studies program, College of Fine & Applied Arts, in the Sustainable Development Department. My concentration is Environmental Studies. And because I'd been working with the Latin America media all my adult life (from Mexico to Argentina, including Brazil), my manor is Media Studies. I’ve been focus on promoting sustainable tourism in the Caribbean all these years and now my goal is to be able to support climate change survivors through my podcasts and videos, and this is because I'd been in radio for 20 years.


When I heard from my partner that we lost three of the six trees of our yard because of the hurricane, I was very sad. I mourned for my fig tree more than anything. That fig tree was beautiful and gave me the most delicious and sweet figs twice per year. I loved to wake up and go to pick some figs for breakfast!

What exactly happened in our backyard during Hurricane Florence to this day i still don't know because everyone in my family flew away. The fear of having our well water contaminated by the flooding of heavy polluted waters alarmed me. I thought it would be a good idea going through the process of testing the water and documenting the process in the podcast could be interesting. But talking to some reliable people in Wilmington made me desist of such an idea. Our home is located in Wilmington Historic Downtown, six blocks up of Water Street and Front Street, which were the most floated and damaged of the area where we live.  It was the wind and also the heavy rain which destroyed our backyard, but luckily those dark poisoned waters which came upstream did not get into it. Besides, when listening to the ones that lost everything my concerns about my herbs and trees became ridiculous. Any of those hundreds of cubic yards of coal ashes, the untreated urine and feces from the 43 hog lagoons and a crescent number of poultry farms, the grey sludge from the power plant containing high amounts of toxic coal ash, meaning arsenic, selenium and other heavy metals, and more of GenX, the byproduct that was made at the Chemours industrial site by the Bladen and Cumberland county line which is affecting more than 250,000 people, came directly to our back yard through the Cape Fear River.


On January 26th of 2019 took place the Hurricane Florence Survivor’s Summit at the Coastline Convention Center in Downtown Wilmington, NC. This one-day summit was key to connect survivor’s with resources and with one another. Check-in began at 9:30 a.m. and remained open throughout the day. Breakfast and lunch were available to attendees, and the summit agenda covered a range of topics including a story circle; a presentation on environmental impacts and data from UNC Chapel Hill School of Public Health, and a Q&A session on Housing Displacement with Legal Aid of NC. I had many opportunities for networking. I was also working with the Coastal Youth Media program and I felt privileged to be a part of the team with Jennifer Witkowski, Erica O’Brien and John S. Parson. We did several video interviews, and at the same time I did my own interviews for my podcast.

Yndiana Montes © 2019