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

Beyond Climate Change 101

Discovering a Life of Purpose Along the Way

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

As with all meaningful change, there is no simple fix for our climate change crisis. There is no pill, band aid, 12-step formula, or “expert’s” advice to heal Earth or its life forms. There is no “clean” nuclear power that will preserve our current luxuries without risking even more environmental disaster, no green product that will redeem generations of overconsumption, no fluorescent light bulb that will reverse the excess of our industrialized systems, no recycling process that can restore forests, no zoo or seed bank that can preserve our world’s biodiversity, no replacement planet we can relocate to. For worse and for better we are stuck here with our mess and our weakness, our solutions and our strength. Continue reading

Trust Your Kids: Raise Them Cage-Free!

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

Parents are a jumpy bunch these days. Even before I had my daughter I was troubled by the prevailing attitude among parents that the world has become a place too dangerous to let kids be kids anymore. Popular opinion seems to be that it is now too risky to let children do time-tested things like play outside unsupervised, climb a tree, explore on a bike, or walk to school alone, all things my friends and I enjoyed as kids. Once I became a mother I began to witness first-hand the stifling paranoia among other parents about their kids’ safety and to see the effect it was having on kids. Not surprisingly a new major study by Play England, part of the National Children’s Bureau of Great Britain, found that half of all kids no longer climb trees and 17 percent have been instructed by their parents not to play tag or chase. Although 70 percent of adults reported having had their biggest childhood adventures outside in natural settings, only 29 percent of children have such opportunities today. Depressingly, most children reported having their biggest adventures in playgrounds. Continue reading

Planet Earth Hung Out to Dry

World Water Crisis and Droplets of Hope

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

Like kudzu and other invasive species, the overgrowth of humans on Earth is a fundamental imbalance that is disrupting long-established physical and biological systems everywhere. When balance is lost, extremes ensue. In the case of our climate, these extremes include flooding, fires, storms, shifting ocean currents, ocean acidification, shrinking glaciers, drying wetlands, depleted aquifers, melting snow pack, rising sea levels, evaporating lakes and rivers, and drought. None of these extremes is good news, but water loss is the scariest, because without water life turns to dust and blows away. Continue reading

2. Unite

by Gel Fourtri

As an American woman who spent most of her life in a rock and roll band, I understand the concept of independence. Even after my injury (I dove off the stage and no one caught me, in an ironic manifestation of American isolationism), my inclination was to recover alone, and I spent months of therapy walking by myself. But it wasn’t until I reached the West Coast and, looking out over the Pacific, I saw how I couldn’t walk any farther that I figured out there wasn’t any walking away from anything or anyone. Continue reading

Underinsured Is Unsustainable

by Julie at ProgressiveKid

Underinsured is an oxymoron. If you’re insured, you’re insured—right? Wrong. As legions of us know all too well, paying high insurance premiums faithfully for years guarantees nothing but regular dings to your bank account and possibly little to nothing in return. Given that many of us have numerous insurance premiums, the dings can feel more like brutal gut kicks. Continue reading

Declaration of Independence

American flagby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

Two hundred and thirty-two years ago today, our forefathers, supported and counseled by our wise and steadfast foremothers, declared in a moving and revolutionary document their independence from the tyranny of a colonial rule without representation and began the effort to design a radically new type of government founded on the principle that all men, and regretfully only men and not quite all of them, are created equal and that government should be of, by, and for the people. Since that time, our most wise and courageous ancestors, including among numerous others Chief Sealth, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King Jr., César Chavez, and Rachel Carson, have with equal elegance asserted additional essential truths about the value of people of all colors and races and both genders, about our brother and sister animals, and about the forests and mountains and rivers of our nation. But today, we, the descendants of these people of vision and principle, have lost our way and stoop on the edge of moral decay, spiritual ignorance, and self-destruction. Continue reading