Floyd, Down to Earth

We’re a week from Earth Day 2013, this year offered from the Floyd EcoVillage center for the first time.

I’ll be leading a “nature walk” and maybe sitting on a panel discussion of Floyd County’s general ecology and environment.

Towards that end, I’ve sent a piece to the Floyd Press about the WHY of our event. Here’s an excerpt.

It seems the time has come for a NEW STORY because we no longer live in the world where the old one was written. That map will not send us to a future worth going to.

The good news is that reconciliation and healing are possible. The good news is that real people like you and me, in ordinary places like Floyd, Virginia, can begin to rethink the future, to write the NEW STORY that our children will inherit. And we have already started writing.

An important early chapter in the New Story is what I call “relocalizing” where we live.This asks us to revisit and rekindle local connectedness lost as our attention has moved indoors, where more and more of our hours are spent in digital shopping, chatting and mindless surfing.

The better reacquainted we become with the natural and human communities we belong to, the better we can restore the kind of fellowship, creatureship, and world-aware citizenship we will need to craft the New Story.

The New Story will send us back to find our strength in real places and real community, drawing from forces at least as powerful for change as those that science and technology will offer.

You can read the whole essay on Medium, a promising new communications center you might not have but certainly will hear more about.

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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. I read the entire essay, and thought it is such a strongly worded message that it will get a lot of response from your neighbors. I hope you will write about the conversations it generates during your Earth Day events.

  2. I had a most interesting conversation with a Rush Limbaugh fanatic friend of mine today. We were talking about corporate greed and how it has impacted employees and customers alike and he allowed as how that is what gives capitalism a bad name. I used that as an opening to point out that profit is the core value of capitalism and how that lust for profit destroys employees, customers, small businesses, small towns and everything in between. Surprisingly, he only had a weak response and he started in by saying that there were greedy socialists, too. I told him that the conversation was about capitalism, not socialism. I think there might actually be hope – when “conservatives” such as he are actually somewhat open to the idea that maybe capitalism isn’t the best thing since sliced bread. He’s a good Catholic and surprisingly enough, had heard of G.K. Chesterton.