Staying Afloat

A Well-Watered Winter
A Well-Watered Winter

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about water lately–thankful for the abundance we have just now, sad for the water poverty of peoples and the planet to come. I’m struggling to find a working stance somewhere between parched by despair and drenched with hope. Is it enough to turn off the tap when we brush our teeth? How much will individual responsibility  alter the game if it only means changing habits within our homes  or in our day to day choices with regard to consumption of water for private? That’s important for sure, but it is not enough.

Like so many other major issues facing humanity, bottom up can help, but only top-down will turn the tide.

What will it take (I think we’re getting a pretty good idea of that now from inaction in Copenhagen) to shock us into international governmental action to do the difficult, costly thing today for the effects it will have on people who cannot vote today’s leaders and corporate CEOs back in office?

Do you think as a species we have the intelligence, courage or wisdom to exert our collective power on our leaders to save our own kind?

I guess for this answer, I’m trending more towards the parched end of the spectrum after watching the story play out since 1970. I see puddles of reason, vision  and hope, but seas of apathy, desperation and self-interest.

They say life began in isolated pools rich in nutrients and an energy source. Maybe that is humanity’s future: small ponds of creatures working with nature, living within their means, doing the right thing, swimming against the currents of their times, resilient, creative, staying afloat.

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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. YOur vision of the future sounds pretty likely to me, unfortunately. At least it’s better than no puddles.
    By the way, what a beautiful photo. I am so glad you are giving us a photo with every post.