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Sustainable Roanoke Turns 1!

On May 12, 2019, I started this FB group and didn't invite anyone for a couple of days. I was afraid that no one would care. I was afraid that my friends would think I was a fool. I was afraid that I would end up more depressed about the environment and my inability to change things than I already was.

You all proved me wrong and I will always be grateful and indebted to you! 💚

Right now, things aren't looking better for the environment than a year ago, mostly because of the Covid-19 crisis, which has forced us apart, halted initiatives and legislation intended to promote sustainability, and even incentivized unsustainable practices. But another result of this crisis is a more acute awareness of the destructive powers of our lifestyle and a stronger desire among many more people to change it.

I don't think we will ever return to what we used to consider normal. I think that it's going to be really tough going forward, that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

But I am encouraged by the involvement of so many individuals in efforts to make things right for everyone. This crisis is showing that people are willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of the community, that people are more than ready to offer help to those who need it, expecting nothing in return. This is the kind of response we will need in order to meet the challenges of climate change. If we have a future, if things are to get better, it will be because of people like us, doing whatever we can to make sure it’s possible.

Some may think that what we can do individually or as a group is limited in its reach, insignificant in the face of our challenges. And they are right, if they focus exclusively on the impact of each individual or each small group. But the key is getting millions of us to do our best! Our separate efforts are small pieces of a very complex system, but they are essential pieces of the total. Our role as citizens concerned about the environment right now is to do what we are doing here: Share reliable information, discuss difficult topics in a respectful, constructive manner, ask questions and share advice, give each other hope, encouragement, and support, and take action whenever we can.

That last bit, possibly the most important one, is largely on hold for now because of the social restrictions imposed by the circumstances. But these will be lifted one day, and then we will need to pick up where we left off and step on the accelerator, because time is of the essence.

When social restrictions are lifted, we need to resume our recycling collections, we need to organize cleanups and other events to raise awareness, we need to figure out how to reach more people through our personal reach or educational programs, we need to put pressure on our local leaders, businesses, and organizations to adopt and promote sustainable practices. When social restrictions are lifted, we will need everyone's help. If everyone contributes to the best of their abilities and availability, not just here in the Roanoke area, but all over the country and all over the world, we will be able to ensure a future for the younger generations.

It will not be easy, but we simply don't have an alternative. We have to do this!

Please take care of yourselves and yours in these difficult times. And gather strength and determination for what lies ahead, because you will need them. But, if we are in this together, we will prevail.

Thank you for all you do!


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