There was also a shock for me on Tangier Island, within the Chesapeake Bay, with James “Ooker” Eskridge, the mayor of the community. On paper, me and this guy don’t have that much to say to one another. He was within the Trump-iest voting district in America by some measures, and he’s very, very, very conservative. But I had the luxurious of spending real time and feeling his energy and experiencing his hospitality. I learned that his house is disappearing as a result of rising sea levels, as a result of climate change. He won’t quite call it climate change, but he acknowledges the waters rising and desires to do something about it. He wants sea partitions, he wants federal money to be spent to avoid wasting his town. We were on the coast of his island and seeing tombstones within the water. You may show data about climate change and you might watch an Al Gore presentation and see the temperature going up. But you then can wade through a graveyard. Hearing him describe having to exhume his ancestor to his own backyard; he got emotional talking about it. It made it real. I didn’t expect to have that have in any respect. I definitely didn’t expect to have it with someone who’s seemingly so different from me.
Climate change comes up quite a bit within the show. Was that your intention?
Making a show in regards to the outdoors is making a show about climate change. We will’t avoid the subject. In every location, I used to be witness to the consequences of climate change: the dryness and lack of water in Death Valley beyond what’s expected; the firefighter training for those wildland firefighters; in Idaho, the smoke from Western fires, and the low levels of the river and the high temperatures of the river. In Minnesota, the premise of considered one of our segments with the Abaz family, the farming family, was attempting to breed climate-resilient trees that may bear higher temperatures, since the forest we were standing in goes to vanish. And so reasonably than simply mourn that, what type of latest forest can we create as a substitute? They’re engineering just through basic biology to harden the forest in order that their kids have trees, too. Once we were in Duluth, Minne., we could hardly breathe. Minnesota is having mad fires now. We couldn’t see Lake Superior. I needed to wear an N95 mask after we weren’t shooting, since it was burning inside.
In every single place we went, we had a climate story. Sometimes it was more of a point of interest of who we were talking with and the story; other times, it just affected how we could make the show.
What do you hope people may learn from this show?
I need people to see the outside as a spot where we are able to literally experience common ground among the many big selection of differences that make up this nation. Just about everybody should give you the chance to see themselves within the show — we’ve got different time zones, different ecologies, different ages and body shapes and talents. I hope we’ve reflected the variety of the nation each in its natural state and in its human state. I need this show to be a mirror for everyone.
The Indigenous people I spoke to have a culture of being a component of nature, versus aside from nature. We got to relearn that. That was a extremely big takeaway for me, especially because the climate gets more volatile in the following a long time. We must always all stay connected in that way. This shouldn’t be just something to make use of. It’s something to belong to.