Thursday in Floyd: We Have the Right to Say NO MORE CARBON

Fossil carbon has been an unbelievable one-pass-through ultra-concentrated source of energy, power and change for the better for two centuries. We can’t fault those early energy pioneers who exploited the heat of coal and horsepower of petroleum to heat homes and power wheels of horseless vehicles  and run the engines of commerce of our great-great-grandparents’ time.

But we knew 150 years ago (see history of greenhouse gas and climate connection) that, sooner or later, if we continued to let carbon drive the economic engine, we’d reach the point where our “progress” would lead to  our undoing. We have now reached–if not gone past–that point.

The harder the Big Oil powers  press on the carbon gas pedal with their hands over our eyes, the sooner we will all will hit the wall–unless we take the wheel and press the brake to the floorboard. If we fail to do this now, people we know and love, or those who would have been our great-great grands, will suffer a world broken by our failure to stop the machine in time. I have no doubt about this whatsoever. Do you? It’s a hard thing to make yourself accept, but you must. We must.

And perhaps we will not, after all,  fail to stop it. The brakes are already being pushed by a million feet and the numbers are growing. People who say STOP are not technophobes; they are not Luddites; they are not starry-eyed tree-hugger romantics who want to destroy the economy and live in caves.

They are ordinary people who have bothered to look and are terribly disturbed by the facts on the ground–by the trends in all the measures that tell us we can’t continue business as usual. We can’t build the future on what has worked in the past. The end of the carbon era must come soon, and that divestment must begin NOW.

That divestment from carbon will receive a special focus during Global Divestment Day (Feb 13 and 14).  At least watch the short video and bookmark the link.

Fossil Free — Global Divestment Day

Some (hopefully a lot) of those ordinary people are saying NO to fracked-methane interestate pipelines across the Blue Ridge Mountains. And in this, they are also saying NO to another three decades of additional atmospheric insult and YES to the right for communities to veto large infrastructure projects that place their land, water and way of life at risk while all the gains go to the corporate suits and their politician poodles.

There are incredibly urgent issues of social and environmental justice at stake. Let’s do what’s RIGHT for people on the ground, not what’s best for shareholders who hold no stake in our future.  Don’t be silent any longer. See you (bundled well against the cold wind) on Thursday at the Country Store at noon?

Global Warming Timeline

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Interesting approach.

    If I were a resident of the Middle East or Russia I would see this as a arrogant Western movement to take from us the last asset that we have in our land and force us into a yet more poor more desperate way of life. Why not also target those governments who are even now killing the price of oil by pushing out increasing volumes just to keep their income flow high enough to run their ski slopes in the desert? They aren’t businesses we can divest, they are state owned and run. But they also would like to run western oil companies out of business. So for you, are they ally or enemy?

  2. I think I’m correct that Middle Eastern and Russian folks breathe the same air and also require the same minimum daily nutirents as my American grandchildren. So I don’t think Russian parents are any more eager to sacrifice the future of their children by eating up the last of our seed corn. We live on a planet that will survive the worst we can do, but homo cannot survive at anything like our present level of comfort for the centuries it will take to recover.

    I would not target any peoples, governments or corporations specifically, but only suggest that if we are to move away from carbon before it is too late, we should reward any practice that promotes the general well-being of people and planet and penalize any practice that depletes or despoils or ottherwise reduces the capacity of earth systems to replenish and repair.

    Making this transition will be the most difficult thing humanity has ever done together and simultaneously and with as much compassion and justice as can be created in austere and difficult but not unbearable or unlivable times. My kids and yours will be left to play out this drama, and I’d like to think that our generation, Con, can be a proactive part of the solution.