Dolly Parton: Everyone’s Earth Mother on Climate Change

April 10, 2022

Everyone loves Dolly Parton. And it turns out, Dolly loves her Mama Earth.

Turned up a really hauntingly beautiful song sung by Dolly and her sisters Stella and Cassie on the Porter Wagoner Show in 1970. (above)

People:

Dolly Parton wants you to know the importance of climate change awareness.

The country icon recently spoke to National Geographic for an in-depth story about her native Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, touching on the region’s colorful vegetation, wildlife, and the crucial nature of protecting it from the effects of climate change. 

“We should pay more attention,” said Parton, 76. “We’re just mistreating Mother Nature—that’s like being ugly to your mama… We need to take better care of the things that God gave us freely. And that we’re so freely messing up.”

The musician and Run, Rose, Run author generally strays from speaking on controversial issues related to politics, as she told USA Today in 2020. “I don’t like to get involved in politics, because first of all, I have as many Republican fans as I do Democrats,” said Parton at the time. “I don’t want to offend anybody.”

However, Parton’s passion for her home state’s nature seems to override her often-neutral stance when it comes to climate change. “She is very active in causes that speak to her heart, and the Smoky Mountains where she grew up—that’s where her heart is” American Eagle Foundation executive director Jessica Hall — who helps run a bald eagle sanctuary at Dollywood, the “Jolene” singer’s Pigeon Forge, Tennessee amusement park — told NatGeo.

Possible that the disastrous 2016 Gatlinburg Wildfires may have raised Dolly’s consciousness on the issue.

Knoxville News – November 2016:

Dolly Parton’s Pigeon Forge Dollywood theme park was spared in the wildfires ravaging East Tennessee, but Parton says she is bereft about the destruction suffered by others in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The forest-fire emergency briefly threatened Dollywood late Monday, only one day after the National Park Service sent out a Smokey Bear-style video ad that Parton made urging her fans to help protect public lands throughout the Southeast by observing burn bans and reporting fires when they see them.

“I love these Smoky Mountains that I call home, and I know you do, too. Help protect their beauty and prevent human-caused wildfires,” Parton, 70, says in the ad.

East Tennessee, Nov. 27, 2016

Guardian:

Investigators are still examining what caused the fire but NPS spokeswoman Dana Soehn said the fire was “human caused”, according to outlet WREG, without elaborating further. 

There were fires in Georgia and North Carolina last week as the region is also experiencing a crippling drought, making it ripe for wildfires. Tennessee governor Bill Haslam said the fires were the worst the state has seen in a century.

Gatlinburg, TN, November 2016

The Smokies.com:

But, it’s important to note that the autumn of 2016 in East Tennessee had been exceptionally dry. The region was in the midst of an epic drought. Fires of various sizes burned all over East Tennessee.

NPS monitored the Chimney Top fire. It was being treated as a normal fire. 

However, it was no normal fire. As the weather reports began to indicate the looming approach of a significant wind storm, efforts to fight the fire were increased.

The efforts weren’t enough

The high winds, in addition to creating a firestorm, knocked down power lines and created new fires. The winds carried burning embers, sparking still more hotspots.

Under non-drought conditions, at least some experts had been warning officials that not allowing smaller fires to burn up fuel on the forest floor would lead to bigger fires in the future.

The extreme drought conditions meant there was a massive amount of highly flammable fuel throughout the region.
Even if investigators could conclusively prove the boys started the Chimney Top fire, it was the windstorm that proved to be the driving force behind the disaster.

Compare to December’s Marshall Fire in Colorado.

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