During the early stages of the pandemic, Dogwood Alliance was no longer able to hold its annual storytelling festival, Woods & Wilds. This incredibly popular event drew storytellers from around the world. We shared tales focusing on climate issues, environmental issues, and everyday life. We loved it so much that we turned it into a podcast!
This podcast is different from anything we’ve done before. It’s personal, it’s powerful, and it’ll make you feel something. In each episode, a different storyteller will transport you to their world. You’ll hear about the places they love, the people they love, and why protecting our natural world is so important. Every episode shares a true story from leaders across the country.
Hosts Elizabeth LaShay and Kimala Luna believe that the climate movement needs to hear its own stories. Every episode of this podcast focuses on someone or something new to our listeners. From community activism and public health to wildlife conservation and nature music. So join Dogwood Alliance and SlayTheMic as we explore themes of climate change and liberation justice alongside the leaders of today.
You don’t want to miss when we release new episodes. Make sure you subscribe to Woods & Wilds: The Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. You’ll hear from world-changers tackling the movement’s biggest problems!
About The Hosts
Woods & Wilds: The Podcast is a collaboration between Elizabeth LaShay of SlayTheMic and Kimala Luna of Dogwood Alliance. With support from the occasional marketing and communications intern.
Dogwood Alliance’s Kimala Luna is Dogwood’s Advancement Outreach & Recruitment Manager. She focuses on raising awareness about our issues: the climate crisis, social justice, and Southern forests. She’s passionate about climate justice and protecting our world’s natural resources. She wants to bring awareness to issues of forests, climate, and justice.
Elizabeth LaShay, founder of SlayTheMic and STM Multimedia Co., is on a journey, fighting against racial inequality and justice disparities. She wants to tackle the systems that impact racial discrimination and injustice. She believes in world changes and tackling tough issues. Plus, she loves doing this podcast!
Who We’ve Talked To
We love talking to both new and old friends. Whether it’s a climate activist or a Duke University student, we love diving in on Woods & Wilds: The Podcast. In recent episodes, we’ve had chats with:
Youth activist Demon Thomas talks about the world’s biggest problems
Demon Thomas (he/him): is the former president of UNC Asheville’s Student Government Association. He’s also the student representative on the Board of Trustees. He was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He received his degree in mass communication, sociology, and Africana studies. Demon is a fashion model and plans to further his education to become a film producer.
Demon strives to become a TV entertainer who uses his platform to promote social justice. As a public figure, he aims to be a voice for the unheard and to ignite Black pride amongst the youth. He served as class president at West Charlotte High. He also founded the organization UNCA Umoja (brother of unity), which is a club for men of color.
He currently volunteers at Youth Transformed for Life (YTL). And he interned with the STEM Fun-Packs initiative during the summer of 2021. To create tool kits for Black and Brown children in Asheville.
A lot of people are affected by gentrification or police brutality. People need to realize that if you are not in that situation, that means you are privileged. And it’s okay because we all have privileges. As an educated Black man, it’s a privilege that I have my degree. But it’s all about how do you use that privilege to help others? A lot of people are not realizing that the purpose of living and the purpose of life is to help others.
Climate activist Ruddy Turnstone talks about incarceration and what freedom tastes like
Ruddy Turnstone (she/they): Based in Southeastern so-called Florida, Ruddy is on the Steering Committee for the Community Hotline for Incarcerated People (CHIP) which was founded in April of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. CHIP is an all-volunteer abolitionist hotline that provides direct support and advocacy for people incarcerated locally and does not discriminate based on the charges/convictions people have been given. CHIP’s work has been vital in getting people connected to resources, loved ones and on occasion, getting released.
When not doing hotline work, Ruddy provides direct action climb trainings for Earth First! and nonprofit organizations, participates in food sharings through Lake Worth Food Not Bombs, provides digital and in person direct action trainings, and dabbles in video editing and podcasting making. In varying degrees over the years, Ruddy has organized around environmental, climate justice, immigrants rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and prison abolition for over 10 years.
Indigenous people are the number one group of people that are the strongest protectors of the environment. Period. So many people of so many different races have to defend their homes and, so often, when you’re having to defend your home, it’s also very much tied to climate justice.
Kaleia Martin, Nakisa Glover, and radical dreaming
Kaleia Martin and Nakisa Glover, who chatted about radical dreaming, changing our belief around what is possible, and how we’re all needed in this movement.
Kaleia Martin(she/her): MSW is a community advocate who firmly believes in the power of individuals and communities to make extraordinary change. She has a passion for working in an authentic, community-centered way that allows for typically excluded voices to be elevated.
Nakisa Glover (she/her): is a climate justice practitioner, thought leader, tech advocate, and community engagement expert. Nakisa actively develops strategies across activism, films, music, and podcasts to help engage and activate millennials, Gen Z, artists, entertainers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and other climate experts.
Let’s talk about Black liberation. When we talk about the issues with the climate crises, we will not solve climate without solving racial inequities and solving for racial justice. It’s just not going to happen. There has to be a centralization of the impacts and the harms of capitalism and racism.
Muralist Georgie Nakima talks about how art is healing
Georgie Nakima (she/her): is a multidisciplinary artist and muralist based out of Charlotte, NC. After honing in on her artistry at Northwest School of the Arts, she attended Winston-Salem State University with the intention of further exploring the natural world. Her studies in Life Sciences have fueled her insight in environment preservation and philosophy, which transcends through her work’s subject matter.
Her work pays homage to the African and Indigenous diaspora while highlighting nature and biodiversity. She casts a heroic vibe to her subjects that represents the resilience and triumph that builds into the essence of women, people of color, and wildlife. Her aim is to collaborate with the community and contribute towards mural installments that also fuse techniques in art therapy. You can find more of her work at www.gardenofjourney.com.
The problems of the world do not belong to me. I don’t own them, but I do hope that I leave this world a little bit better than I found it. Even just through small efforts. I’m super inspired just to do things that are uplifting and just be a positive example of what you can do when you actually just believe in yourself.
Why Climate Change?
The climate question might feel like old news, but climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. The climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity, and we must act now. Climate change is a social justice issue, and we must fight for a just transition to a clean energy economy. We can no longer afford to ignore the science or the solutions.
Why Southern Forests?
The American South is home to some of the most biodiverse forests in the world. Woods & Wilds started out as magical tales. Magical tales about the connections between forests, climate action, and our communities. Southern forests are key to all three.
Is the podcast Woods & Wilds safe for my children to listen to?
Yes, but if you’re concerned, please listen to new episodes ahead of time. Our guests do explore complex topics, and your child may need help understanding deep issues brought to the table. We hope this podcast will inspire every listener to become a climate activist or youth organizer.
Where can I listen to Woods & Wilds: The Podcast?
You can find Woods & Wilds: The Podcast around the world on all of your favorite streaming platforms. Be sure to check out Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and more!