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

What Comes First

Reflections on Freedom and Responsibility

by Sarah Lane at ProgressiveKid

During the Republican National Convention we’ve been hearing a lot about two key themes: personal freedom and personal responsibility. I am a big fan of both. I value and cherish my freedom and feel great empathy for people who live in places where they are severely restricted in their ability to speak their minds, to move about freely, or even to wear what they want to wear. As a corollary I also feel great responsibility: to value and protect those freedoms, to care for the place where I live and the people who live here, to pull my weight and make a worthwhile contribution to my community.

I wondered what examples candidate McCain and his running mate Palin would give in their exploration of these two themes. I wondered if there would be discussion of our important Bill of Rights and how we must defend it. I wondered if there would be talk about our responsibility to protect the land where we live, the air we breathe, and the water we drink and to care for one another.

This is what I heard: Continue reading