To Sustain Community in a Viable Future

Toward a Proactive Local Economy
Toward a Proactive Local Economy

Busily working on whatever it turns out I’ll do for my little part of tonight’s meeting, our “plan” just loosely coming somewhat together last night. I hope to see some of you folks there, old friends and new ones, alike! The meeting at the Floyd Country Store starts at 7:00 pm tonight, Wednesday, July 29.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to be added to the email list for upcoming events or get an official “invitation” to participate in the NING SustainFloyd discussions, forums, and such…

Email: and be sure and mention any special interests, skills, or willingness to be involved in particular ways in coming months.

And take a look: go to the new web site (also freshly open for business and soon to be further fleshed out as the official organization web page.) A broad base of participation will help to bring about the best possible kind of local “sustainability.” Here’s my favorite definition I’ve found so far of the term: from U of Wisconsin

“Sustainability represents an idealized societal state where people live long, dignified, comfortable, and productive lives, satisfying their needs in environmentally sound and socially just ways so as to not compromise the ability of other human beings from doing the same now and into the distant future. It is, in effect, an attempt to merge development and nature conservation efforts in a mutually beneficial way for the common good of the planet’s present and future generations alike. In practice, achieving sustainability occurs through the process of sustainable development –  discovering, adopting, implementing, establishing, and adjusting appropriate institutions, policies, strategies, and technologies to produce a just transition that moves society toward the envisioned idealized state of existence.”

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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. Nice work on the site…Looks really good. The quote is pretty good, too.

    Looks like all that mucking about is leading you somewhere. Don’t forget to stop along the way and enjoy the trip…

  2. The potential issue on this quote is that it is so broad and general that I’m unable to know what it means in terms of costs and regulation. Example, you could just try and act for what’s good and even influence others through grassroots means, or you could try and implement greater regulation over individuals real property through political action. The leeway is extraordinarily large. There will be great challenges and division if you pursue the latter tact. What approach do you think is appropriate?

  3. Jim, the alternative to sustainability is unsustainability. SustainFloyd is by definition a grassroots organization. That does not mean apolitical–meaning that in some cases, a change of policy in mutually desirable directions will be of most benefit to the most people for the longest duration. What seems to be needed for the transition we face is radical rethinking of costs, rights, entitlements and the commons. It will not be an easy slide into doing things a wee bit different. You will see more of it than I will, and so will your children. I’m not sure I’d chose an either-or here, but a both-and path with humility, charity and wisdom. That’s a tall order.