Engaging the Green Holidays Challenge

Generationshave grown up learning the basics of recycling through Recycle, Reuse, Reduce (RRR) curricula in schools. It is time to go beyond that to RESIST, REIMAGINE & RE-PSYCH-ALL.

  1. RESPECT YOUR OWN EFFORTS: Humans participate regularly in many green practices, yet when it comes to celebrating holidays, these values often go on pause. People can create as much trash on a holiday as they tried to avoid creating all month long. And then, to top it off, they often throw it away more quickly and less carefully. Honor each month of green efforts with green celebrations.
  1. MAKE “GREEN” FUN: “Fun” may sound like a frivolous measure – but it drives so much of our human behavior and so much of our buying of single-use items. Alas, the drive to shop, unbridled, is at the heart of the drive to trash. A whole marketing industry, employing many of our top creative minds, goes into making each item on a shelf hard to resist.
  1. RESIST COMMERCIALISM: While holidays can be a lovely way to focus on nature and the season that is being experienced in your environment, the dominant culture is at work communicating about how to celebrate. This comes to people, especially children, as a very powerful dogma through store windows, screens, and even from school bulletin boards.

    Not getting swept up in the commercialism of the dominant culture takes conviction and can be greatly supported by bonding with a larger humanist community. It’s so helpful when children feel guided by the consciousness of their families rather than deprived. This process of envisioning your “holy days” will help you detoxify holidays and repurpose them for your own deepening values.

    Commercialism will colonize every holiday for which it can find consumers. It is every individual family’s responsibility to reclaim their intentionality and put it to work. This may indeed inspire your own activism, from humane entrepreneurialism to outright boycotts.
  1. STRENGTHEN SUPER-IDENTITIES: Seeds, planted and nurtured, grow. You are the nurturers. You are the holders of safe space and delicious words to play with. Children are the creators of a new emerging outlook. You can help children to not become entrapped by commercialism by creating strong ethical super-power identities that can be referenced at difficult times. At a fair being offered tons of free paraphernalia, a mommy says to her 6-year-old, “Let’s remember we are stewards of the earth, and this is a lot of plastic we don’t need.” A stewardship identity strong enough to help a child manage an overwhelming commercialized moment of temptation takes a lot of cultivation. What collaborative super-power identities are you nurturing that you can refer to in challenging moments? Cultivate these identities through home projects, repeated phrases, books, drawings, and maybe even a special signature handshake or gesture.
  1. SUPPORT OTHERS: Talk about “green” fun! Learn about “green” fun! Teach about “green” fun! Imagining the earth thanking you, you may enjoy this simple meditation of support:
    “As you breathe in oxygen, envision a tree that has released this for you. Gratitude.
    As you breathe out carbon dioxide, envision a tree receiving your gift. Gratitude.”