The climate crisis has always been in desperate need of coverage. The problem is ongoing, its creeping reach revealing itself to us day after day in the form of deadly heat waves, forest fires, rising coastlines, and strengthening storms – but for many of us, it fades into the subconscious. These events make the news and we worry, we hold fear, we lament, and then we move on.
With Surge: The Lowcountry Climate Magazine, we aim to connect readers with the fight for climate liberation by educating and energizing, processing the deeper lessons of the climate crisis, and sparking the climate activist that lies within. This first issue serves as a primer for the Lowcountry’s unique relationship with climate action. From Charleston’s Climate Action Plan to Mary Edna Fraser’s artwork, we share the gathering strength of our activists; and in stories like Finding Charles House, we highlight the challenges we still face.
This magazine grew out of the Charleston Climate Coalition and our goal of transforming the Lowcountry into a climate action leader. The climate crisis can be so complex and wide-ranging, affecting every industry, human health, our daily routines, the passage of the seasons, and more, that digesting it can feel impossible without a deft storyteller guiding you through it. We want you, the reader, to read Surge and feel like you have a better understanding of climate change and your place within it — and then we want you to get involved.
The urgency of the climate crisis prompted us to look to the rich history of US activist storytelling. Inspired by the countercultural movements that came before us, we chose a design that reflects the do-or-die stakes of climate activism and the wisdom, drawing on late 60s experimental magazines. Thanks to the work of Camela Guevara, our art director, we hope you don’t just take this magazine as a source of news and stories, but as art in itself.
To quote Joseph Campbell: “The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.’ And so it starts.”
We see the climate crisis as a call to adventure, to be present, engaged, and awake to the quest we’re on; to make space in our busy lives for the larger cause of climate liberation. By engaging with it, we’re both helping to heal the world and opening ourselves up to greater agency and compassion. Read on, Surgers, for a guidebook to the great challenge of our lifetimes.
Belvin & Sydney