Nature is Not our Golden Egg if We Kill the Goose

Do you think that the chief purpose of natural places and communities of the planet is for human transformation into more and more human stuff forever? Or do forests or coral reefs or estuaries have rights to legal protection (as much as now afforded to corporations)?

Communities not unlike Floyd County’s population are impacted today by coal ash storage ponds that will contaminate their aquifers; they live downstream from mountaintop coal mining; they suffer genetic deformities in their newborns because of toxic industrial waste abandoned by the industries that created them.

Citizens of Floyd County have recently faced the real threat of massive fracking-gas pipelines that will potentially be putting our neighboring counties and their citizens and properties at risk.

Do communities in Giles, Franklin, Floyd and Montgomery Counties  have rights to prevent degradation of their water, soil, air and way of life — even if corporation-states blow off those human needs and rights as impediments to their profit?

We are at last acknowledging  that, if our local ecosystems become unhealthy, the humans and non-human creatures that depend on those living systems will also become unwell.

If we know these kinds of abuses of people and planet are wrong, what is a community on the ground in the path of known or anticipated natural-system damage to do in the face of what seems to be an indifferent, omnipotent, un-stoppable corporatocracy?

These are not academic questions and thankfully,  the solutions are not theoretical but real and available. Preserve Floyd is in the process of learning how to use these solutions for the common good in Floyd County and southwest Virginia in similar ways that locally-drafted ordinances have been used in 110 municipalities across the country.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund will provide guidance and assistance as we craft a draft ordinance in support of ongoing health and justice for those in-common natural resources within our shared habitat of Floyd County–water, soil, forests and more.

Come learn more this Sunday , from 3 to 5 p.m., at the public meeting of Preserve Floyd: Citizens Preserving Floyd County. Location is the Junebug Center across from the Jacksonville Center on Route 8 just south of the town of Floyd towards the BR Parkway.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund : Rights of Nature: Background

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fred

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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