Days 247-251: NC Part 1: Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro

Here’s a quick rundown of our early days in beautiful North Carolina.
First we stayed with a terrific little family in the charming town of Carrboro. We walked with the Teals from their house right to the Farmer’s Market! Yeah, that’s the way it should be! Loads of bike trails and walking trails through forests behind people’s houses. 1st place where i actually said out loud, “I could live here.” IF we could afford it. Ay, there’s the rub. Still out of the range of the most modest incomes but nevertheless encouraging to see land being conserved, protected and shared as dear, instead of every house sitting on an acre or more of lawn, all to itself…

Professor Rob Jackson took us into a part of Duke Forest where scientists are pumping in extra CO2 to see if the forest will take in more carbon, grow faster, etc., as a possible solution to the problem of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The boys climbed a high tower above the canopy to see how the CO2 is dispersed, and I sat at the base, drawing leaves on my maternity jeans and making a really poor basket out of long leaf pine needles. Unfortunately, they’re finding not much of a change, really, in carbon absorption or tree growth, unless fat doses of fertilizer are involved, which sort of defeats the purpose, so…back to the drawing board?

We had quite a lovely and thoughtful visit with the elegant Dr. Ellen F. Davis – author, Old Testament scholar, and professor at Duke Divinity School – at her home near Duke University. Dr. Davis has rediscovered what she believes is an unmistakable message in the books of the prophets in particular: Our highest calling as humans is to take care of the natural world that God created. She has recently published a book called Scripture, Culture and Agriculture in which she examines Old Testament biblical text in relation to our relationship with the earth…

And Jeff Fisher has found a way to make Conservation profitable through a Conservation Real Estate Company called Unique Places, LLC. Will this be the beginning of different kind of relationship between land and developers?? Let’s hope so…

We also got to spend an afternoon with some students at Duke’s Nicholas School of Sustainability, thanks to Sonya Reinhardt.

Next time: Asheville: the motherload…

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