Sustainable Living Forum a Chance for Generations to Join Hands
SWEET SPRINGS, W.Va. – A few years ago, at an annual retreat of a statewide environmental group in West Virginia, a young attendee said to me, “There are too many gray beards here. We need younger people.”
I agreed. While there were several people in their 30s and 40s, there were just as many in their 60s and 70s. I was one of those gray beards. My young friend was in early 20s. So, I asked her, “Why do you think that is?” After 30 minutes, I don’t think we reached a definitive conclusion; it was more of a general agreement that her buddies simply had too many distractions.
What was – and is – also clear is that the existential threat of climate change requires young, energetic, exceptional leaders. Together, we fretted over whether her generation would focus on the most vital issue of our day.
The question has been answered. In the last few years, the younger generation has been leading, in their hometowns and in Congress.
They have proven that there are countless ways to become engaged. The Sweet Springs Sustainable Living Forum, scheduled for Aug. 16-18 at Sweet Springs Resort Park here is one such way. It will bring together several subject matter experts who are working to develop local, sustainable communities.
The way for us to successfully respond to the existential threats facing us is to establish ties between people of all ages that take personal responsibility for earth stewardship, educate themselves regarding how they can help their local communities sustain themselves, and work with nearby, like-minded communities.
So, this is a direct appeal to my young friends. Grab your camping gear, and head out to a wild, wonderful corner of West Virginia. We’re also just over the mountain on Rt. 311 from Paint Bank, Va., not far from Roanoke, so it’s an easy – and pretty – trip for those living from Bristol to Winchester. Folks in Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Raleigh, Pittsburgh, Washington, Richmond and Baltimore can make it in four hours or less. Camping is free for a weekend of spending time in one of West Virginia’s most historic public parks while learning how to be part of the change we know our communities need.
For additional information about the Sustainable Living Forum or the Sweet Springs Resort Park Foundation, call 304-536-1207, check the Sweet Springs Resort Park Foundation Facebook page or the Events page of the Appalachian Chronicle. To get there by GPS: 19540 Sweet Springs Valley Road, Gap Mills, WV 24941.
© Michael M. Barrick, 2019.