Greening Montgomery

By on 28 March, 2012 in Kate and Stephen, Outdoors with 0 Comments

A stray remark about global warming to a sales clerk recently led him to recommend that we watch a television show called Doomsday Preppers that airs on the National Geographic channel.

Although we are notoriously anti-television (well, except for sports and The Simpsons), we were flipping channels that same evening and came across the Doomsday Preppers show. It’s sort of like the fascinatingly-repulsive Hoarders, except with a political edge. And you get the vibe that they’re editing out some of the crazier beliefs of the subjects, who are often part of relatively unsavory subcultures.

Still, we were interested in the show — not because we derive smug satisfaction from watching seriously disturbed people enact protocols that they take very seriously — but because we agree that human consumption patterns are pushing the planet’s carrying capacity to (if not over) the breaking point. In short, we are environmentalists, concerned about loopy fringe values like air and water quality and the food supply.

As such, we care a great deal about sustainable living here in Montgomery and there are no shortage of issues to cause serious concern in this regard. Our state’s political climate is frequently hostile to government regulation of corporate activity, suspicious of the EPA, and lacks even a basic plan for water management (quality and quantity). Urban sprawl, excessive reliance on automobiles, and a lack of curbside recycling are among the problems that can lead a concerned Midtown resident to feel pessimistic about the whole business of trying to protect the environment.

Fortunately, good folks in Montgomery — including city leaders — have not let cynicism and fatalism win the day. In fact, steps are being taken to raise awareness about the environment and public support is needed to make reforms into reality. What are you doing on Saturday, March 31?

You’re  invited to attend the Hampstead Instituteʼs semi-annual Organic Gardening Workshop and Plant Sale at the Hampstead Institute Downtown Farm. Guests will learn everything they need to know about starting a spring garden and growing great tasting food with organic gardening expert and Hampstead Institute executive director, Edwin Marty, as well as farm managers Anne Randle and Jetson Brown. A $40 suggested donation to the Hampstead Institute non-profit organization is requested per adult for the hands-on workshop. Lunch will also be offered following the workshop for $10.

The organic gardening workshop is from 9 a.m. until noon, and after lunch, they’re having a plant sale. The press release promises that shoppers can “choose from a large selection of organic vegetable and fruit seedlings” and “all proceeds will benefit childrenʼs education programs through the Hampstead Institute.”

The festivities continue following the sale with Montgomeryʼs first ever local Earth Hour celebration from 7 to 10 by at the farm. ARC Energy Consulting and Hampstead, in conjunction with the City of Montgomery, will host a “lights out” family-friendly event and join hundreds of millions of people across the globe in switching off the lights of our businesses and homes for one hour – Earth Hour, the worldʼs largest public environmental action. Organizers promise live entertainment, food and fun for all ages.

We’re under no illusions that turning off the lights for an hour will solve the pressing environmental problems facing the Earth. But unless the solutions involve fun and community, nobody is going to want to do them. And the success of regulations depends on the willingness of the public to force and sustain government actions to protect the resources on which our shared future depends. In that sense, urban farms and consciousness-raising initiatives are critical pieces of crucial efforts to draw broad (and relentless) attention to the challenging work ahead of us.

Because if that show is correct, prepping for doomsday is a lot of work.

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A few other environmental links you might find useful:

Alabama Rivers Alliance

Coosa Riverkeeper

Conservation Alabama

Forever Wild

Montgomery Trees

 

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