A Small Town Earth Day: Floyd, April 2009

Earth Day
Image by from eye to pixel via Flickr

Here’s a question begging real opinions and suggestions, so do weigh in.

Given a short time to prepare, competition by little out of the way Floyd County for speakers invited the same April weekend to Earth Programs in other larger cities, and a short block of time in which to hold the attention of an audience (perhaps in the high school auditorium again)…

What should be the focus of such a program? It should inform and be relevant to the average citizen, not simply preaching to the choir. It should have a take-home actionable response by adults and children alike. This couple of hours should result in changes in the community for the common good. If done well, it might be exemplary to other small communities encouraging them to move in a similar direction on…

On what? Last year’s topic was water resources. I have some thoughts and preferences. But I wonder what you think. And if you have suggestions about speakers, canned programs (DVD documentaries and the like), demonstrators or vendors of hand-out information (we didn’t allow sales last year) or any other pointers, we’re a week or so away from our first meeting.

I’m thinking we need to make the general public understand the immediate nature of the problems and predicaments we will soon face. If you don’t comprehend the magnitude and personal nature of the problem, you’ll not move with adequate haste and in the right direction toward the solution–is my view. And yours?

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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. Fred, I have confidence in your ability to present just what you indicated was needed. I’d love to see you give an talk illustrated by projected pictures.

    Your appreciation and understanding of nature, poetry, sociology, technology, etc and your ability to relate these things can make for a powerful, inspiring talk. Think about it, please.

  2. Fred, I would highly recommend pursuing either having Jim Merkel as a speaker or viewing his DVD on Radical Simplicity. Contact info is below. With that recommendation I would also like to suggest that the theme be – Simplicity. What better way to address our environmental concerns than to focus on what we as individuals can do everyday (not simply on Earth Day).