Judging from the underwhelming response here, there are quite a few folks with doubts about the name, at least, for an "Earth-Lent". Here is the original conversation Crunchikini and I had-
Crunchy- "Eco or Earth Lent - Personally, I would really want to leave out any religious reference. First, Lent is heavily tied to the Christian religion(s) and to those who know even the slightest about it (and let me tell you I've have had multiple conversations recently with people asking, "what is Lent about again" and we all went to Catholic school for 10 years) it generally means some sort of deprivation and/or penance. Which doesn't scream fun to me."
Greenpa- "I thought about that. I'm a non-catholic school person- and actually, the primary meaning of Lent to me is Mardi Gras, and sales on seafood. Really. Us outsiders never notice any deprivation going on- just the occasional whine, which really seems recreational mostly "oh, god, I've given up chocolate for Lent" - quite amusing, from the outside.
You do have a point, however. I wonder if the Pope might sue- "hey we own Lent, you can't have it." which would be great publicity. I'm SURE some people would be quite put off/out- but I'll guarantee you that will be the case regardless.
One of my thoughts was - religions are historically one of the great agents of change- it might be smart to adopt some of their features."
Something to remember- no matter what we choose, some cranks will be offended. So that should not be a huge factor, though we don't want to SET OUT to turn people off.
We might worry about names later; I'm not going to insist on Lent, that's for sure. Kinda like Planet Picnic, at the moment; not much baggage there, and has the connotation of an open event.
Here, as lucidly as I can, is how this could work. A lot of the "why" is in the previous two posts.
We need many many more people to be making individual choices that help the planet. It's difficult for them to get started, as we know. A one week community type event would really help- no long term commitment implied; and lots of company suffering at the same time.
I like the idea of folks setting up/hosting a community "Planet Picnic" - on the Summer Solstice. It's a day when Earth is really DOING something; and nobody else owns it at the moment. (Yes, I know the Druids still observe it, but they're not opposed to others noticing, too.)
1) Pick a park that folks can get to without driving too far- would be lovely if folks could bike or walk; BUT-
To the extent there are any "rules" here, I really think #1 should be - "No Preaching"; and #2 should be "No Excluding Anybody". If somebody really wants to come; and they have to drive 10 miles to get to one, they sure as heck shouldn't have to worry about some fanatic chewing them out for using a car.
2) YOU could host one- all by yourself. But this is intended to help the community along too- you might want to share the hosting. Is there a local group you could convince? Audubon? Sierra Club? Or, just call a friend. "Hey, let's do this! It's a picnic!"
3) Once you know where it's going to be- get the word out. A little, anyway. You might call the papers- or not, depending on where you want to aim. You can make this very laid back- just you and a couple of friends- or you could shoot for a couple hundred folks- your call. My own solstice event grew over the years; now folks look forward to it (though they always have to be reminded...) and come back year after year. As Alison clearly understands, this can be a good long term approach.
4) When you have a core group- PLEASE stretch out. Ask a neighbor- specifically one who does not normally take part in this kind of thing. It's a picnic for neighbors- they'll feel a little bad if they turn you down (and that's good). Just don't make a big deal about the greeny stuff. "Hey, we're having a picnic! Yeah, it's part of that Planet Picnic thing- but that's not a big deal- I'd just like you to come; we don't see you enough." Nothing works as well as a personal touch- catch them somewhere; or a phone call - answering machines are not as good.
5) Make sure folks are clear on where; and when. When can be pretty open, but telling folks "oh, anytime" is likely to make them forget. "Folks start to show up around 6- most a bit later; lots of folks stay past midnight..."
6) Make some specific arrangements for food. No picnic works without food. This could easily grow into a huge "pot-luck" affair- but particularly the first few times, the organizers need to be SURE there are good marshmallows- and sticks - and a fire. Eventually folks could bring a sample of their favorite "green" food- of whatever kind. But no exclusions.
7) Don't forget the world is not a safe place. And you want this picnic to BE safe. Be sure you've got enough folks to handle any obnoxious types that show up- if the local cops can come; fantastic. Be careful about drinking- etc. Just try to get folks to understand, at every stage- "This is a G-Rated Event- we've got little kids, babies, pregnant women - so just be cool, man." I've never actually had a problem of any kind; but somebody will. Let the cops know it's going on regardless; ask them to check in. You may need legal permits, in some places, remember.
8) People need things to sit on- blankets for the young, chairs for the geezers.
9) People need toilets- they ain't staying long if their innards are in pain.
10) Arrange some kind of activities. I listed a bunch in the previous posts. Here's the original conversation with Deenykini-
Crunchy - "The one last question I have, is what did you envision would occur for this no hair-shirt party? I think you'd want some sort of activities or recommended activities for people to get involved in."
Greenpa- " Dancing in the moonlight- homemade music- toasted marshmallows, hide and seek; "Statues" there's a whole children's culture of after dark games that have almost disappeared. Storytelling; ghost stories.
- summer solstice is the longest day of the year; the shortest night- should have the parties in places where there are NO artificial lights, maybe just candles and a small wood fire for the weenies (hey, nobody's taking my weenies.). Some youngsters make it a point to stay up all night; watch the sunrise on the other side of the year.
I've done basically this for 15 years; and people love it. Of course- not to hide anything- the big feature for that event for me is a HUGE bonfire. I've got a vast amount of "waste wood" that comes out of my operation, and I NEED to get rid of it (or it will rot and go to methane; can't have that) - so we revived the old solstice bonfire. That might be tricky to recommend; though it can be appropriate in some places. It's a very ancient and primal celebration. People come 150 miles for ours.
We could build a NEW holiday - specifically NON- denominational, but which in fact borrows from EVERY religion we can think of. The solstice of course is universal religion- far predating the Book. The Big Party, likewise. We could borrow from the Hindu festival of lights(?) I'm not at all sure I've got that right- but they have this festival where they throw dye all over each other- blue- GREEN - yellow, etc. Could be a harmless hoot, I think- kids would totally love it. And anything else anyone can think of . A Universal Earth holiday."
Squirt-gun tag? Kites, definitely. Do you know someone in the community who's fond of some lawn game? Invite them; get them to teach. Volleyball.
Home-made music is fantastic. Sing really dumb old campfire songs (I wish I was a fishy in a bowl...) Let the kids run. And shout.
You won't have to force it. You know what good folks do when they're sitting around and nobody's shoving them to do stuff? They talk. Assuming they can hear each other. No loud music, I think; either canned or over loudspeakers. I leave those places, myself.
11) A bunch of folks will want to help clean up- let them. Have somebody in charge, though, and make sure it's cleaned up.
12) Holler "See you next year!" to everyone as they leave.
13) Follow through with the next week- give something up, Lent fashion. It's just a one week commitment- everybody CAN do it. The folks who come to the party will either DO it, or THINK about it, all week. Invite them one and all to call you and check on how you're doing- with no car, or no refrigerator, or whatever.
14) DO write it up for the local papers afterwards. And publish the plans for next year; right away.
Ok. There's my thinking. Also in the previous two posts. There's supposed to be a poll at the end of this week, hosted on Crunchy Chiquita - not that we have to choose "either- or", really- but to get an idea of which kind of event folks think will get the best participation- and have the best effects.