Sunday, May 6, 2007


I apologize! All over the place. But the Universe is insisting I write THIS post, not a more sensible one. We're NOT done with the Potty House, I know; we'll get back to it quick. But this has been thrust upon us by circumstance. Sorry! Sorry. It's beyond my control. :-)

I'd been pondering this possibility for some weeks- only to have Ms. Deanna, aka Crunchy Chicken , leap off into the blogosphere with a proposal that is extremely similar. So I think I need to toss this out there now, too, while the conversation is building. At any rate, it has occupied my brain, and I need my brain back; so I've got to get this out.

Crunchy suggested, on Colin aka NIM's blog, having a "Low Impact Week". Look at Colin's "Worms in the Apt." post, and the comments thereafter, it's not hard to find. Deanna got some good responses; so being action oriented, she went ahead. She's got lots to suggest- you should take a look.

Readers of this blog should be familiar with the comment "gosh, this is interesting, but you know, I'm just not ready..." to take some drastic environmentally beneficial action.

That's entirely understandable; and totally human. Something else that is quite human- it's much easier to do something new and silly/weird/questionable - if a whole bunch of other people are being silly at the same time. We really need a way for people to comfortably be able to try out alternatives. REALLY need it.

Me being a student of history, what I'd come up with was - Lent. Borrowed, adopted, and thoroughly rearranged, from our Catholic friends' version. An ancient community observation, when everyone temporarily "does without" some luxury- all for the common good. Lent. (I highly recommend that link as a guide to the variety of opinion that is possible, too...)

Earth-Lent. Not for 40 days, though; let's just start with a week. There's already a backlash brewing out there- Global Yawning we don't want to become too annoying too fast.

One of the REALLY good things about Lent, the historical one, is that it comes with REALLY BIG PARTY- all built in. Mardi Gras! Hm.....

So, I emailed Crunchy Deanna, and asked if she'd like to collaborate; and laid out my concepts. She was receptive- but it turns out she'd also gone to Catholic School; and Lent had some not so nice connotations for her - "deprivation" came up, never good bait for an event.

We emailed back and forth a bit, and what we came to was, each way has some advantages; and the BIG advantage would be to let YOU choose which way to go. Lay them both out; and see what happens. So that's what we're going to do- you'll have a week to think about it, then Crunchy will host a poll on her website (something she's already adept at) and we'll see where we are.

This is not intended to be a competition; more a way of getting the community involved in the choices. Inevitably; once we have 2 proposals; we'll have 10. That's really ok, in fact; and probably better than just 2- diversity is good. Find what works for you.

Bearing in mind that events go better when they are fun, and "connect" things, here is what I suggest. It's not totally "convenient" - but really- what, that is worthwhile, is?

The Party is a big big part of this. Earth Mardi Gras. Sort of. Yes, I know that Mardi Gras means "fat Tuesday", which is not entirely relevant to anything; but most people on the planet have some concept of Mardi Gras as this really big, really fun, way TOO fun, party.

Now Uncle Conan- he says us environmentalists are party poopers. Prohibitionists at the frat party, is how he put it. Well, poop on that. Let's show 'em. NOT a frat party- the quintessential immature reckless drunken slob mess. But a good, FUN, community party. Emphasis on fun- but responsible, too. Isn't it time grownups got some recognition in our culture? Our US government has been run by 5-year-olds for years now- and it's actually clear that everyone in the country is good and sick of it.

Increasingly, the word "party" seems to denote "drunk and stupid" - what a shame. And what a bad idea. Here's a chance to fight back. "Take Back The Fun!" Now there's a T-shirt. Hm. And it could say "Take Back The Earth!" on the back......

See how this whole thing winds me up? Silly of me, I know.

So what's a good day for a Party? If you've ever tried to organize a big one, you know the answer; as soon as you pick a date, everybody will complain. They can't make it, any of them.

But they do. So- my suggestion is - Summer Solstice.

It's a date that humans have celebrated pretty much forever. And at the moment, it's not a date that's occupied by other entities or celebrations. Christianity occupied the Winter Solstice a good long while ago, but the summer is open.

The half-way point in the year. The longest day; the shortest night, of the year. Earth is doing something, that day; balances shift.

Does it come on a nice 3-day weekend? Well, no, in fact the darn thing moves around from year to year. June 21, this year, Thursday. But- it's REAL. I like that, myself.

Now- before, or after? The rationale for Mardi Gras being before Lent is that it's your last chance to get stupid drunk, laid, and eat til you're sorry, for 40 days. Not such a hot idea anyway- personally, I'd prefer to have the party AFTER the week of "giving things up" for the planet. But we can talk.

If we do it before, the Earth Lent starts on June 15 this year; and includes Father's day, as a nice bonus. Then we have the big Planet Party on Thursday the 21st.

Ok - details...

ha! See?? You're all palpitating to hear about the party!! Ah, how predictable we are. :-)

Tough. Be a grown up, for a minute, and let's talk about the Earth Lent part, first. Deferred gratification is so delightful, anyway.

Here's what you might do. You're someone who's been THINKING about "doing more" for the Earth; but it's just hard to get going. You've talked about it with your friends......

Aha. Get them into it. Promise them a party, afterwards.

So now you've got 3 of your buddies who are going to "do" Earth Lent with you, this year. (We'll do it again next year, you know- a good thing). What do you "do"?

Whatever you want, really just like in Lent Lent; the choice is up to you. You've thought about a LOT of things- "I might do this; or that, but..." Ok- so pick the one you've thought about the most- and commit to do it; for ONE WEEK. With your buddies, so you can commiserate about it the whole time.

Sounds like fun to me!

If you NEED suggestions for what to do; Crunchy Dee has a bunch of 'em.

ok, NOW, the party....

In the next post. Very soon.

Meanwhile- tell me what you think. Add your suggestions. Tell Crunchy what you think. And send this to all your enviro buddies, and get them thinking. And names. Name for the Party? Lent?

One party thought- do you think we could get Arnold Schwarzenegger to come to the party?

Are you kidding? He'd be there in a heartbeat- and the press with him. I don't live in CA- so somebody out there would have to do it......


Anonymous said...

ok, i'm confused, but isn't Earth Day the party? should we move Earth Day?
(or am i, like, confused...)

Greenpa said...

I think it's different. As, hopefully, you'll see when I get the whole thing described. Earth Day is kind of an "exclusionary" party - only people who are already greenies notice it, or go. Most people see it much more as a PROTEST than a party.

I don't really like Planet Party as a name- for that reason- it will tend to turn off the people who need to be included.

Anonymous said...

i'm totally interested in a week-long earth-lent. i'd even do it without the party! but parties are good, too.

i'll get on to checking crunchy chicken's blog here shortly and try to come back to you with more suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Call it the Less is More party and whoever celebrates the following week{s}the longest wins and so do we all.
But I am just not sure why the party is needed or how it might be observed.
I do get the idea, which you are not quite articulating sufficiently, that the party event is a public relations and mass communication concept and that by means of the party the message of Less is More will spread.
That is all well and good, but perhaps something other than a party is needed.
As sad as it is, I think now is the time to look at an obvious reality again. The "sudden" awakening of US public interest in the global warming/carbon/oil/desertification/
melting/energy/transportation/crises is because Al Gore and a very few others finally figured out a way to get people's attention and to make them very afraid.
As Karl Rove can attest, fear can really get people's attention and make them do what has to be done, or often what the powerful want them to do.
Perhaps you are seeking an alternative to the fear process, and if so, great.
But honestly, I fear that my grandchildren and everyone else's grandchildren ARE and WILL BE in a collossal trap if I personally do not do something about it right now, or in fact 30 years ago.
So how the party thing works to further the need for action is what I need to understand. I'm also an ex-Catholic. I vote to pass on the Lent idea. Maybe Advent {look that one up} might be OK, but I vote to pass on that too.
I realize that the Republicans and even most of the Democrats in the year 2002 were big on the fear {and vengeance} concept and perhaps this approach has been somewhat tarnished by the recent politics.
But it does seem that most of the sincere attention to the Low Impact route now is based on fear. That fear is probably an educated fear, but fear nonetheless.
So perhaps this factor might be considered when you find some resistance to the party idea among the readers.

Greenpa said...

rc - we're really pretty much on the same page; I haven't really detailed the party yet; hope to today; hopefully you'll like it. It's intended to be a kind of Inverse Xmas. Other side of the year; other end of the consumer world. We'll see!