Rx: Take When Discouraged

Sometimes I think the planet really might have a homeostatic righting mechanism that pushes back against our specie’s other side dominated by fear, selfishness, myopia, ignorance and megalomania.

If it does, this is what it might be looking like in it embryonic stages. I hope beyond hope it survives the birthing process.


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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. Yes, yes, and yes! These are folks who are choosing not to despair, but to do what they can. And that is what changes the world.

  2. Sorry Fred but videos aren’t much of an option on dial up internet.

    I know your theme and share your interests. Find optimism where you can and keep doing what you are doing. I share your beliefs and interests but I always recall a cartoon years ago in the Farm Bureau magazine.

    “Sure, I could be more optimisitic if I could somehow ignore the facts.”

    I saw a commercial for a new Cadillac. 556 horsepower is a fact and they make it in a station wagon too. Do we fault the producer GM or the market?

    Big ideas don’t really have a chance at gaining traction when I see that we haven’t been able to stop simple problems such as litter.

  3. Big ideas suffer from the prevailing selfishness that so permeates a dominant headset these days: it’s all about me, here, now. Litter is about all too many individuals’ immediate inconvenience of dealing with hamburger wrappers–and especially empty cans of the cheapest beer–and to hell with anybody else. They take no ownership of the commons, of them-there-then. My faint hope is that the efforts of the thousands of groups–like SustainFloyd–that Hawkens celebrates truly will become the Earth’s immune response against that kind of self-serving myopic autodestructive pettiness.