Chasing a Livable Future in Floyd

Someone in last night’s audience for the 16th SustainFloyd Movie Series event–the presentation of the movie, Chasing Ice–suggested that perhaps things would go differently in our actions towards personal change in the light of climate chaos if all politicians were required to come face to face with the 75 minutes of documented facts in this movie: the undeniable retreat of glaciers in Iceland, Greenland and Alaska over the period of just a few recent years.

Nah. There are sadly too many people whose power depends on denial, inaction and keeping the people misinformed and off-balance but diverted into  a sense of control by demonizing “the environment” and those who attempt to speak on the planet’s behalf. James Balog, videographer, has certainly spoken truth to power with this exceptional undertaking and personal expense that culminated in this movie.

Discussion afterward, as often happens when this audience (the “choir”) gathers in this place, the discussion turned to where the rubber of the message of this documentary meets the road on the ground in Floyd County. How do we translate the realities in the message into the lives of our communities and families, and over the coming “transition” to the economy that must replace the broken one that lies at root of almost all of the “environmental” videos and discussions that go on seated there on the Country Store dance floor?

Points of discussion included: Continued and improved relocalization of the food economy; building better communications (skill-sharing) and neighborhood support networks; alternative energy solutions (including cleaner-burning wood stoves);  and taking advantages of the scale and pace of Floyd County to work to our advantage. We are a population whose “enough” is more compatible with sustainability, but “going green” can be a class issue, as alternatives like solar are not widely within the budget of many of those who might be most supportive of the technology. Conservation and lower resource footprints–not increased efficiency–is the key.

Well, I had a “so what” to all this and would bring in some links about “appropriate technology” with regard to wood heat and burning plastic waste cleanly. A few may still be reading so I’ll just pop in a link I found interesting.

This Cook Stove Cleanly Burns Plastic Bags and Generates Enough Electricity to Charge a Phone | TakePart

Back to the movie: the melting of the glaciers is perhaps the single most visually undeniable evidence of the accelerating rate and present extent of atmospheric warming–whose impact is particularly meteorologically relevant at the poles which are warming far faster than the mid-latitudes where most politicians live contentedly in climate-controlled blissful indifference.

Also if you’re still here, a parallel video worth watching (start after the 7 minute mark) is mostly about the METHANE component that may quickly and catastrophically eclipse the CO2 role in atmospheric warming:

Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb – YouTube

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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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