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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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

1. Walk

Walkingby Gelen Fourtri

Here is a conversation. Find the problem.

Person A: “I’ve started walking eight blocks to the bus station and then riding to work to cut back on greenhouse emissions.”

Person B: “So now how much do you walk every day?”

Person A [thinks, “Yikes–bad at math”]: “Eight to the bus, eight back. Sixteen total.” Continue reading