Floyd Earth Day April 20

earthday2013poster 3-26copy.pdf (page 1 of 1)

Floyd’s Earth Day event will happen three weeks from today.

You can click the image here and get a larger version that shows what’s happening.

Though I was not involved this year with the planning, I was asked to write a piece for the paper, and know probably what was expected was something that spoke specifically about spring wildflowers and highlighted the “nature walk” I will offer to whoever shows up in the afternoon.

I didn’t write in that direction–not because the individual activities at this year’s Earth Day gathering are not worth mentioning. But my continuing concern, the older I get, is that we are able to put these fun, entertaining and informative activities in the context of the larger frame.

It’s a good idea to change to CFL for lighting, but it’s wrong to think, doing that, that the problem of energy is in any way solved. What is the ultimate good we require that the light bulb change is a tiny part?

So, forgive me, I took the thirty-thousand-foot view, and tried to think about WHY we do Earth Day and building a park in Floyd and have street festivals and naturalist rallies.

For me, all those activities, even if we are not aware of the outcome or intend them in this way, serve to “relocalize” our collective identity and purpose.

We suffer from broken relationships to nature, place and community. Relocalizing is one of the positive responses that will help to heal that brokenness.

I recorded it here, and will post the text of the Floyd Press essay after it goes to press next week.

I called it “Floyd_DownToEarth.” Click to listen (mp3, about 5 minutes.)

So having said that, put April 20 on your calendar. And I really would be happy to have you join me on the trail–which I have not actually visited yet, and will need to scout for spring wildflowers—if the season ever actually arrives.

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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. Thanks for giving your readers the big view. Are other writers using the term”relocalizing”? It’s a good one. A meme in itself.

  2. I hope the turnout is good and that there are new faces who have never before attended a Sustain Floyd event. I also hope that people listen closely to your message, turn it over in their minds, and reflect upon its implications. I question, however, how much of the “progress” that we have achieved that we will be able to retain. Our entire civilization is based on oil and when oil gets more expensive, not just in monetary terms (think fracking), there is going to be some very serious social unrest. Marx was right.