By: Ben Anderson
Just as climate change has become a very real issue globally, its potential impact regionally cannot be ignored. In the Southern Appalachians, a biological “hot spot” with varied ecosystems, the issue poses a growing challenge to the environment, economy and community life.
It is against this backdrop that the first Headwaters Gathering is being held March 27-29 at Warren Wilson College. Jointly hosted by Warren Wilson, Orion Magazine and The Wilderness Society, the gathering has a theme of “Southern Appalachia at the Crossroads: A Call to Action.” The three-day agenda, which seeks to bring together a diverse group in a collaborative environment, includes a number of people at the forefront of climate-change issues.
A headline event on Friday, March 27, from 7-9 p.m. is free of charge, and features a panel discussion titled “This I Believe” plus a Q&A session in a town-meeting format. Panelists include Majora Carter, Winona LaDuke, David Orr, Janisse Ray and Larry Schweiger.
Although the Friday event is free, registration at www.headwatersgathering.org is required of everyone wishing to attend. Registration fees are required for the Saturday and Sunday programs.
Keynote speaker on March 28 is Herman Daly, the renowned ecological economist who will speak via live webcast from the University of Maryland. One of the presenters that day is Thomas Peterson, Ph.D., physical scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville and a lead author on the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC report.
On March 29, a Writing Intensive aims to build a writers’ network that creates a strong voice on the issue of climate change. The Writing Intensive, hosted by the Warren Wilson Undergraduate Writing Program and facilitated by Janisse Ray and Andrew Revkin, is limited to a relatively small number of people who register for both the March 28 and March 29 programs.
For more details on the entire weekend, see the Headwaters Gathering website at www.headwatersgathering.org or contact Margo Flood of Warren Wilson College at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Footnote: A 2004 interview with Carol Browner, chosen by President-elect Obama for the new "climate czar" position (coordinator of energy and climate policy), can be read in Warren Wilson’s Heartstone Journal here.