Dec. 1, 2021

We’re headed into the homestretch of 2021. Let’s say good riddance to hurricane season, keep an eye open for monarch butterflies and embrace cool weather for walking and biking on new trails. But first, our top story is not an environmental one. However, it does share with many environmental stories a quest for equitable treatment. It’s about A Better Glynn and the group’s efforts to make life better for county residents in the wake of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder.

A Better Glynn

The Current’s Editor in Chief Margaret Coker wrote this story about A Better Glynn in partnership with The Washington Post Magazine.

In it, Brunswick native Elijah Bobby Henderson, who helped found the group, recounts infuriating treatment at the hands of local police.

“When it comes to the police, almost everybody has a story like this,” says Henderson, now 46. “Once, you might shrug it off. But again and again? That pattern is self-evident. Black people in Glynn County face racism. Full stop.”

Henderson and others, tired of inequality, are confronting the failures of local law enforcement and other elected officials. And they’re getting results.

Equitable trails

It was hard not to think of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed while jogging in a white neighborhood, as Savannah officials re-opened a recently refurbished biking/walking/running trail Monday.

Savannah Alderman Nick Palumbo broke the ribbon with his vintage Raleigh bike to re-open the Police Memorial Trail. Credit: Mary Landers/The Current

Chatham County’s comprehensive planned trail network, called Tide to Town, aims to undo some of the damage done to Black and lower income neighborhoods that were cut off or split in two by earlier transportation projects, including Interstate-16.

“Don’t make this just about riding this trail, make it about connecting all of our neighborhoods together to continue that active, healthy lifestyle to bring equity and parity to all of our communities,” Alderman Nick Palumbo said.

Officials used the ceremonial opening of the 0.6 mile Police Memorial Trail to drum up support for more trails. The city is eyeing a higher bed tax as a possible source of funding for the carbon-free transportation and recreation network.

What’s that butterfly doing here?

Famous for their epic migrations, monarch butterflies were once abundant but are now being considered for endangered species status. Scientists who study them want Georgians’ help in tracking their behavior. They think more monarchs are overwintering here rather than completing their migration.

Emily Jones of WABE has the full story here, including how citizen-scientists can report sightings of the butterflies, caterpillars and eggs.

A monarch butterfly feeds in Walton County. Credit: Denise Shepherd/Georgia DNR

First day of not-hurricane season

Hurricane season runs from June 1 – Nov. 30. So today is the first day in six months that it’s not hurricane season. Phew! Coastal Georgia made it through another tropical season pretty much untouched. There were plenty of named storms, 21 in fact, just not here. Eight storms made landfall elsewhere in the continental U.S.

The National Hurricane Center created this set of portraits of 2021’s named storm. Credit: NOAA/NHC

Climate scientists like the University of Georgia’s Marshall Shepherd say climate change isn’t increasing the number of storms. But don’t feel relieved just yet. It is increasing the speed at which they strengthen. That’s a big concern for how we prepare and respond in future hurricane seasons.

If you have feedback, questions, concerns, or just like what you see, let us know at

‘It seemed like our lives didn’t matter.’

Generations of Black residents in Brunswick and Glynn County moved away to find opportunity and equality. A Better Glynn wants to improve things at home instead.

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The Tide: Savannah bike trail re-opens

The Police Memorial Trail is short, as trails go, just 0.6 miles. Savannah refurbished it over the spring and summer, adding a little height to give adjacent tree roots room to grow and resurfacing its entire length in concrete. It doesn’t exactly connect anything yet, but it will, city officials promised as they […]

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Scientists need your help spotting monarch butterflies in Georgia

The butterflies are a candidate for listing under the endangered species act, so understanding their population and changing behavior is key for scientists and officials making that decision.

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