Walk to Paris: Day 10

Saturday, November 21, 2015 – La Forêt-du-Parc to La Chaussée-d’Ivry

Dear Friends,

I’ll call-in to my program from France this morning at 11:00 with an update on the situation here. I’d love to have you tune-in at 1260 AM or online. There’ll be a podcast available later, too.

And how about them Hawkeyes going 11 and 0? Well, stay tuned on the Fallon Forum for the epitome of gutsy, as Dr. Charles Goldman lays out his argument for the abolition of football.

Not much urban sprawl in Normandy, with crops growing right up to houses.

Not much urban sprawl in Normandy, with crops growing right up to houses.

Meanwhile, here in Normandy, it was a cool but pleasant 13-mile day on sleepy country roads. Like most days, our path took us through a half dozen quaint, compact villages.

The Normandy countryside is a pastoral slice of paradise. When Steve and I are able to avoid the busier highways, we encounter few cars and fewer people. It is hard to believe that the population density of France is nearly five times that of Iowa.

This is partly because the land-use pattern in France is far more accommodating to human beings than the urban sprawl that has devastated both farm ground and town centers back home. On this account, Iowa can learn much from France.

And we will have to, because by the end of this century, Iowa’s population is likely to explode.

So much local food in France, including direct marketing of beef.

So much local food in France, including direct marketing of beef.

Yes, no one is talking about Iowa’s looming population explosion. But we ought to be. If we don’t plan for it, it could be a disaster. If we prepare intelligently, it could be one of the best things ever to happen to small towns across the state.

As coastal areas of the U.S. are submerged by rising sea levels, and as the West becomes increasingly arid, millions of refugees from within our own country will be forced to relocate. We are likely to experience a migration such as none the North American continent has ever witnessed.

And it won’t just be from within our borders. Climate disruptions across the globe already are causing vast migrations. Take Syria. The political upheaval in Syria is connected to the climate-change induced drought. Doubt me? Search the Internet for “Connection between Syrian civil war and climate change,” for a slew of reputable scientific analyses.

If we are compassionate and wise, we will get to work right away on a plan to accept and manage the inevitable torrent of climate refugees.

Or, we could behave like Governor Branstad. The Governor’s knee-jerk reaction to potential Syrian immigration is shameful, heartless and irrational.

Eleven million Syrians aren’t leaving their homes because they like a long walk through a foreign land. They aren’t coming to Europe to steal people’s jobs or to commit acts of terror. They are victims of war and hunger. Few willingly leave the place they call home. But sometimes, circumstances are such that one has no choice.

Can’t we get that? Can’t we empathize? Can’t we learn to respond from a place of love, not fear?

I have been sustained in this walk through the encouragement I receive from so many people back home, including one who wrote:

“It is important that you keep walking until you either get there or are stopped.  Our fears of terrorism are so much greater than our fears of climate change, which will kill many more people, destroy more livelihoods – and engender more terrorism.”

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2 thoughts on “Walk to Paris: Day 10

  1. Claire-Noel GRISON

    Quelle surprise ce matin de vous rencontrer en sortant de chez moi. Un américain marchant vers Paris, sous la pluie et avec le sourire, pour défendre le climat et l’écologie.
    Je vous souhaite une belle poursuite de votre marche.
    Je ne connais pas bien l’anglais, c’est dommage, il me faut beaucoup de temps pour traduire vos textes…..
    Bonne route.
    Claire-Noël

    1. Ed Fallon Post author

      Je suis désolé pour la réponse lentement. Merci pour votre mots gentils, et c’était une expérience très mémorable a marcher a travers votre pays pour deux semaines. – Ed