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Community Photo with a Purpose

lkgr.gif~ The following appeared in The Floyd Press on October 15, 2009. The SustainFloyd Eco-Fair mentioned in the story will take place in downtown Floyd tomorrow.

The fall foliage made for a scenic drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Nancy P. Morrisette parking lot for a community photo shoot with a purpose. Carpooling was encouraged for the 350 event, an internationally coordinated action initiated by environmental author Bill McKibben to bring awareness to global warming and to influence climate change policy.

The number 350, which was prominently placed in the photo, refers to the number of parts per million that scientists say we need to lower atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels to sustain life as we know it on the planet. Global warming is happening faster than first predicted, as evidenced by the melting of the Artic, and lowering carbon dioxide levels is necessary to curb its catastrophic affect, McKibben's website, 350.org, reports. lk7.gif

About 120, many donned in "go green" colors and some in raincoats to ward off morning drizzle, gathered in the field that is used annually as offsite Floydfest parking. Hot coffee was served under a green tent by volunteer members of Sustainfloyd, the local citizen group that organized the event. Musical entertainment, provided from a FloydFest stage by John and Linda Franklin, was amplified by charged solar cells. Luke Staengl, who has been in the renewable energy business for that past 30 years and at one time headed up an ethanol plant in Floyd, was the guest speaker.

"We need to send this message to all the leaders of the world to start pushing for conservation and renewable energy," Staengl urged. He explained how those promoting renewable energy have been doing it alone. "It would make it easier if the government got more involved and even easier if the world governments got involved," he continued.
"We need to make it a high priority, higher than defense or populating Mars," Staengl said about promoting alternative energy sources to lower CO2 levels. He recommended that every home have a solar array and pointed out how much energy could be saved if lights were turned off at night. "Why are we lighting the planet at night? Why are we so afraid of the dark?"

Following Staengl's address, men, women, children, and a few family dogs enthusiastically paraded up a grassy incline to pose in front of Buffalo Mountain as photographer Doug Thompson waited by his tripod, ready to record the action. Although the tip of the mountain had disappeared under cloud cover, the composition was impressive. It will be linked with other action photos from 150 countries around the world and sent to the United Nations, making a visual petition in time for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

The nearly five foot 350 sign came in three parts and was handmade by papermaker Gibby Waitzkin and her apprentices. Painted blue in Waitzkin's environmentally green studio, it was constructed of cardboard made of recyclable materials. "Making the pattern was the hard part, once we got that down, we zipped through it with a sawzall," Waitzkin said.350z.gif

After the photo shoot, the sign was loaded in the back of truck, headed for Blue Mountain School, where it will be used at their Go-Green Electricity Free Day to be held on October 13th. The solar powered sound system will also be used at Blue Mountain for the day of activities that will include a worm farm, making trash sculpture, a demonstration of the life of coal, musical entertainment, and a school 350 Action photo. "It's available for anyone that wants to do a 350 action," SustainFloyd member and Blue Mountain School parent Sam Steffens said about the sign.

SustainFloyd organizers hope that the sense of community and common purpose present at the 350 photo shoot will carry over to the first annual SplitRail Eco-Fair, a celebration of sustainable rural living planned to take place downtown at the new Community Market Pavilion on October 24th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. With nearly 40 vendors, local produce, environmental education, musical entertainment, and a live original performance of "An Inconvenient Spoof" by the Young Actors Coop, the free to the public fair promises plenty of activities for the whole family. ~ Colleen Redman blogs daily at Looseleafnotes.com

Note: Video clips of the 350 action photo shoot can be found HERE.


That looks like a lot of fun! NetChick sent me.

This is an informative post, simple changes we can all make turning off lights and taking shorter showers can help so much. I love some of the new commercials which remind us to try to conserve where we can, it's late of course however, it's a beginning and one we should share and shout to everyone.

Great post..

Dorothy from grammology

I like the way your region is more attuned and pro-active than some of the more citified areas of the state. I posted a photo you may recognize today.

What an interesting article. I had never heard about the 350. A great way to bring another level of awareness!

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