Editorial: Forward on climate!

All politics are local, in the oft-repeated phrasing of a late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. But when it comes to environmental issues, everything is global.

For we all live downstream, even here in Rappahannock County at the headwaters of the eponymous river. It’s therefore fitting that focusing on the health of the river’s watershed is the primary mission of two of the county’s homegrown, local environmental organizations – RappFlow and the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP).

The other environmental issue that receives attention here in the county is, of course, land use. So the third homegrown “green” organization – the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance (RCCA) – rightly focuses on open-space easements.

With the exception of differing opinions on the value and efficacy of riparian buffers, however, there are few environmental “battles” being waged here in the county. Virtually all residents and visitors can be said to be – even if they don’t like the label – “pro-environment.” After all, the county’s unspoiled landscape is really what attracts and keeps us here – what unites us.

So with few battles to be waged locally, perhaps we should marshal that strong Rappahannock pro-environmental ethic into the larger concern of global climate change?

A perfect time and place to start is this coming Sunday in not-too-far-away Big Washington. A “Forward on Climate” rally is assembling at 11:30 a.m. at the Washington Monument grounds. From there will be a march on the White House. The more people who show up, obviously the bigger the impact.

People are coming from all across the country, so we who are conveniently nearby have few excuses if we don’t show up. For more information visit action.sierraclub.org.

It will be exactly 50 years ago this summer that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech at a rally in Big Washington. Maybe 50 years from now, with Rappahannock’s fragile ecosystem still intact, our descendants will tip their hats to our belated but not-too-late climate awareness.

Walter Nicklin

1 Comment

  1. Hi Walter! Great editorial! You are so right that we all live downstream, even if we live as you do, at the headwaters of a wonderful river. But we all live upstream, too, in that our actions have a direct impact of those far away we never see, and those yet unborn. I admire your dedication in coming to Washington and encouraging others to do the same. Like a young friend of mine told his friends: it’s a rally. If everybody said that they were too busy, nobody would come. I hope to meet you in DC.

    All best,

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