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350 Climate Action and Eco-Fair in Floyd

fredbckyhaden.jpg~ The following was published in The Floyd Press September 17, 2009 and online HERE.

On October 10th, Floyd Countians are invited to join more than 1,000 communities in 100 countries around the world in a grassroots action to draw attention to global warming. The 350 action initiative was created by bestselling environmental author Bill McKibben, who was hosted by SustainFloyd to speak on resilient localized economy at The Floyd Country Store last June. The number 350 refers to NASA scientist James Hansen’s recent finding – that life as we know it on planet earth is not sustainable when the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air exceeds 350 parts per million.

“The bad news is we’re already past that number – we’re at 390, which is why the Arctic is melting … The good news is that the number 350 gives us a target to aim for,” Mckibben states on his website, 350.org.

In preparation for the International Day of Climate Action that McKibben’s has called for on October 24th, participating groups will stage creative photographs with the number 350 prominently placed. The photo planned for Floyd County will be a group shot of citizens holding a 350 banner against the backdrop of The Buffalo Mountain. Scout troops, Future Farmers of America, church groups, civic groups, and the public at large are encouraged to gather at 10:00 a.m. on October 10th at Château Morrisette Winery’s auxiliary parking lot (the same lot used for Floydfest) for the shot, said SustainFloyd member Becky Pomponio. 350%20Logo.jpg

Pomponio explained that the photographs taken from all over the world will be linked up on the 350.org site and will be sent to the United Nations on October 24th. The action, described by McKibben as a “visual petition,” is designed to influence climate policy change in time for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in December in Denmark.

Following the October 10th photo shoot, SustainFloyd will coordinate with the international action day by hosting the First Annual SplitRail Eco-Fair on October 24th. Named for Floyd’s old chestnut fences, the SplitRail theme was referred to by SustainFloyd member Fred First as “an iconic symbol of regional independence.”

The Eco-Fair will be a celebration of rural living and will take place downtown from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the cover of the new Floyd Community Market at the Station. Highlight features of the day will include locally grown and produced foods, live music amplified by solar energy, fresh coffee made with methane-generated power, and live theater by the Young Actors Co-op. Information on Community Supported Agriculture, sustainable business and forestry management practices, holistic health, and green education will also be available.

Founded in November 2008 with a goal of preserving and fostering Floyd’s natural resources and assets, SustainFloyd currently has a membership of upwards of 150 and is growing. One early member promoting the 350 global action, Haden Polseno-Hensley, pointed to the serious nature motivating the 350 action, saying, “In August the Pentagon released a report stating that global warming is a threat to national security.” More recently, the U.N.’s top climate scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, urged for world determination in lowering carbon levels to 350, citing the destructive impact inherent in climate change.

Fred First recalled that he got on board with SustainFloyd in July, after meeting McKibben and hearing his talk at the Country Store. “He’s been a hero of mine for twenty years,” First said, pointing out McKibben’s dedication, his Christian stewardship, and his renowned environmental writing. “McKibben’s been on this beat for a long time and he walks the talk,” First noted.

First thinks that using a number to draw attention to global warming is a stroke of genius. “People all over the world speak so many different languages but everyone knows numbers. In the same way we pay attention to body temperature and blood pressure numbers as a way to monitor personal health, 350 is an important number to pay attention to, he explained. “It’s an indicator of global health.”

SustainFloyd members agree with McKibben’s assessment, and those of climate scientists, that we can no longer stop climate change one light bulb at a time and that policy change is needed. But they also agree that each small individual effort adds up and suggest that citizens can help reduce greenhouse gases by using florescent light bulbs, parking the car and walking when possible, washing clothes in cold water and line drying, planting trees, and spending your time and money locally, which will save fossil fuels and assure local jobs.

Pomponio noted that 350 actions are also being planned in Blacksburg and Roanoke. She hopes that people of all ages and from all walks of life will get involved in the events and suggested those interested go to SustainFloyd.org and 350.org to learn more. ~ Colleen Redman


Very interesting as usual.
I live in such a sheltered life. I never think of these deep changes that are going on in the world. If I did I would probably be into the cause, but as it stands now.....I am happy there are people out there who care.

I bet you have a number of 350 actions in the Boston area.

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