Why I’m Glad Obama Is Not Gay

Obama Pride

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

Thank god almighty we are free at last from white-president gridlock. In America now you can be black (technically biracial) and become president. This spanking new reality is genuine progress. It is progress for civil rights, for black Americans, for white Americans, for all Americans, and for world citizens everywhere. It is a gigantic symbol that race is losing currency as a reason for bigotry, and that is something to smile about.

But although bigotry took a hard kick to the gut on November 4, 2008, it caught its breath quickly and assuredly in America that day when voters banned gay marriage in California, Florida, and Arizona and banned adoptions and foster parenting by unmarried couples in Arkansas. So, while I’m glad Obama happens to be black, I’m grateful he is not gay because he would not be our President (-elect) if he were. Continue reading

Refugees from Planet Earth

refugeesby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

War, disease, economic devastation, and catastrophic geologic and climate events create refugees every day. According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’  World Refugee Survey 2008, worldwide there are currently over 14 million. An additional 25 million people are displaced internally and so are not considered in refugee totals. In the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, the advances of Tutsi Rebels have displaced 200,000 people since August.

But those are just numbers. And they’re so big, it’s hard to understand what they even mean on a personal level, to the people who are refugees—and to the people who are not. Continue reading

Clean Coal’s Dirty Little Secret

By Sarah at ProgressiveKid

Both President-Elect Obama and his former opponent John McCain endorsed “clean coal” as an important element of their energy plans. But “clean coal” is a fairy tale with a very bad ending, as in the Big Bad Wolf eats and digests Little Red Riding Hood and belches out a black cloud afterward. Continue reading

Wolf in the Mirror: Recovery and Redemption

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid for Wolf Awareness Week

For me, wolves are easy to love, and hard not to cry about. For starters, they are beautiful animals—strong, smart, fast, muscular, lean, furry, and at times they smile. As a friend (and fellow pack member) of dogs, I feel a natural affinity with wolves too. Dogs are, after all, the likely descendants of wolves who became friendly with humans, to our mutual benefit (you toss me a bone, and I’ll guard the cave). But besides their aesthetic appeal and doggish familiarity, they reflect what I like best in me, and what I and the rest of my human clan exiled from our nature a long time ago—our free, clear, and purposeful animal selves. Continue reading

Beware the Chocolate Monsters: Keep Slave Labor Out of Halloween

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

For most of us chocolate is a happy part of Halloween. It’s hands-down the best treat in the bag—so popular, in fact, that kids have to keep an eye on their chocolate-pilfering parents at this time of year. So, it’s especially ironic that this beloved sweet treat is a living nightmare for the children who are caught in the chocolate slave trade. Continue reading

A Green Lining to Economic Downturn

25 Green and Cheap Ways to Live

by Sarah Lane at ProgressiveKid

As the struggle in the economic markets rages on, you can feel confident that your family’s particular financial concerns are pretty much irrelevant in any specific plans to slow down the slide of our economy into a likely recession. We regular people (a.k.a. nongazillionaires) are simply going to have to take care of ourselves and each other. And when it comes down to it, making like Buddha and saying to yourself (I’m paraphrasing here), “I don’t have any control over it anyway,” might be the healthiest strategy in terms of your own emotional and mental health. Continue reading

Stand Up for Your Rites

Ritual in a Changing World

by Sarah Lane at ProgressiveKid

Ritual is good for all families. Researchers tell us that family rituals make people happier (S. Harrar 2003, p. 28) for one thing. And they find in family routines experienced by kids of four years of age predictors of academic achievement at age nine (Barbara Fiese 2000). But some of the rituals a lot of us grew up with don’t mesh with the values and goals of the green movement, or they seem alien or even devoid of meaning to people with an awakening sense of concern for the planet. For example, the unsustainable practice of giving or receiving oodles of Christmas gifts can make us feel heavy and unhappy. The Fourth of July emphasis on explosions feels uncomfortable in an age of climate change, forest fires, and dwindling wildlife.

So what’s a green family to do? Here are some rituals that greenies can agree on and use as the foundation for more personalized adaptations based on individual belief and culture: Continue reading

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