Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Whole Planet Picnic Time -

I've been doing something like this for 15 years now; and every year it's the same thing- "WHAT?? Already??"

Thursday (as in the day after tomorrow) is the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year- essentially that day in the solar year when it's half OVER.

Half the year is GONE already; and it's always a shock, both to me and to the friends who've been coming all this time.

There's already been considerable discussion here about the Whole Planet Picnic- why, when, what, where, who, and whatever.

Here are the original posts and comments:
Big Party
Earth Lent

IT'S TIME. Day after tomorrow. Ready or not.

In kind of scary ways, it's a metaphor for the world's problems. "What? Already? Ready or not?" Alas, yes; it's NOW.

So, the Executive Summary; We are beginning a tradition this year, ready or not, of Earth Lent; a one week period, beginning on the Summer Solstice, where the participants "give up something for the planet" - for a period of just one week. And, like the Catholic version; we start with a good party; only it's the Whole Planet Picnic, not Mardi Gras. Kind of a G-rated good community picnic, instead of the R and X type.

We placed the start at the Summer Solstice. No, it's not convenient. But it's REAL. This is the day the year turns over; this is THE day when the balance of nature starts to cycle down. It should be good for us to work on Nature's clock once in a while, not our own.

Then the "Earth Lent" part. Just between you and me- this community of "greenies" here is kind of small. We know that; but hate to mention it much; because if what we're doing is to be of any real use, a LOT more people are going to have to start listening, and doing.

A big big barrier to people getting greener is just that first step. So many "green practices" sound impossible to those who've never tried them- crazy stuff like "no toilet paper!" or "unplug your fridge!" or "sell your car!'. Impossible!

The Whole Planet Picnic is a way for folks to hang out, in a totally non-pressurized way, with folks who are on all sides of the situation. So you can meet someone who lives without a fridge, for example- they DO exist! It IS possible - and gosh; this person actually seems to be... a nice person, not a total whack job. The whole thing is NOT a protest; NOT a funeral - it's a picnic, and a time to enjoy and appreciate; planet and people.

And the following week - Earth Lent - is a way for neo-greens to just TRY one thing- for one week. Many many of them WANT to be greener; but just don't feel READY. Here, the barrier is low- just one thing. Just one week. They can do it.

Then - success breeds success; and belief; and a little pride here and there. We need those.

I think, and hope, this can become a larger event, with plenty of participants. I'd kind of hoped to do more promotion and publicity this year, but it's just not been possible; danged old reality keeps intruding; primarily with "sleep - now - or fall over." Kinda busy here.

But we will take the time for the Picnic; and the Earth Lent, anyway.

I truly hope you will join us, by hosting your own event aimed in the same direction. Does it have to be identical, and meet standards? Heavens, I hope not. Diversity is our only hope.

Putting on a picnic is work; no question. But there's never been a year when it wasn't worth it.

So - I hope your plans are well underway. If not- get on the phone NOW! (I have to confess, I just called my porta-potty people; I forgot before. Lucky for me, they can make it.) Get your bratwurst ordered- or your yoghurt, or whatever.

I hope you'll comment here and let us know what you're up to; and I intend to get an email address here where you can send some photos of your Planet Picnic. Hm; Crunchiqita has certainly demonstrated the value of the "contest"; perhaps we'll have one; best story; best photos; best whatever.

I'll toss one out now- I've had "The Teddy Bear's Picnic" song running through my head all day. I knew it well when I was a child, and it's kicking around a lot again. Somebody out there could write a nice parody of it, for us "The Planet Picnic" song. "for every Green that ever there was, will gather there- together because- today's the day the Whole Planet has their Pic-nic."

Or something.


Let me hear from you. Put up a link to this on your blog. Email it out. Contact the Associated Press. And. DO IT. It'll make you feel good; guaranteed. And, it just might help. A little.


joe said...

Sounds like an interesting idea. Get people to ease into green living with a concept a lot of us (at least those who were raised catholic) can understand.

Greenpa said...

Joe- I guarantee even us non-Catholics are familiar with the basics surrounding Lent - and Mardi Gras! One of the good points here; it's widely understood, and has a 2000 year track record of apparent success- the Church is still doing it, anyway. :-)

Anonymous said...

It would be counter productive for me to drive from Kansas to Minnesota to practice my green-ness, but it does make sense to start something here. I already had my day in the local newspaper for this week, but an article touting the concept would make sense for next week's paper. Thanks for bringing it to my attention and I hope that yours is successful.

Michele Zzah said...

hi I really am enjoying and getting educated while reading your blog. I made a post about this event on my blog. I am going to celebrate this with my close friends and family tomorrow, even if we can't get together and have a picnic. Thank you for this great idea.


natalie said...

I love the idea of Earth Lent, I'll be doing it the first week of July though, if that's okay with you?

Heather said...

My family and I will be picnicing today! We will lunch and dinner outside on a blanket. Lunch is yogurt, fruit and bread. Dinner will be salad greens and chicken. The rest of non mealtime will be spent playing outside and enjoying the trees and clouds until dark. What a cool idea for the day... thank you! ~Hettie

Miss Music said...

Just found your blog a few days ago, so I won't be doing the picnic. But, I am giving up air conditioning in both the house and car for the Lent part. Actually started that on Monday, and I am sure I could more than likely continue the practice. I am not what you would call a "greenie," but grew up with many "green" practices, living with a dad who grew up on a tobacco farm with no running water, electricity or phone. As a child, I grew up with a back yard that was mostly garden, several bee hives, and lots of preserving food for the winter...all on a 1/4 acre suburban lot. After spending time reading your blog and a few others, I have come to the conclusion that I need to get back to that way of living, the one I resented so much as a child. I wish my dad were around to thank him for the life skills he taught me. And, Greenpa, thanks for your "slow and steady" advice...it is an attitude that brings hope in the midst of despair!

Shana said...

Great idea! I'm giving up red meat and purchasing anything that is not food or did not grow out of the earth for the next week. Thanks for the suggestion!

McDonnellDoodles said...

Great idea. But as a Catholic, I can tell you that the focus of Lent in recent years has been not so much giving something up, but taking positive action (volunteering, giving to charities, etc.). Author/activist Judith Levine makes a great point about the need to join together to take action through politics, environmental groups etc, instead of just instituting a "reverse quarantine," i.e. closing yourself off from the toxic world in your own little Eden. So maybe in addition to giving something up, we can all call our congressmen and demand greater fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, join the NRDC, whatever!

Anonymous said...

Wow... I just followed the link from No Impact Man and am impressed/in awe of you and your lifestyle... for thirty years no less. I look forward to coming back daily as I have to No Impact Man. Am always looking for ways to tread more lightly.

Anne said...

I'll be celebrating this evening with my favorite Honor the Earth artists. I have packed a picnic and I am trying to go all day with public/shared transportation, including getting to the concert.

Simone Craig said...


I'm just reading this post now but I intend to start today by giving up one thing for Mother Earth. Not sure what it will be yet. I look forward to reading more of your blog and learning about how to be more Green.


Beelar said...

Not sure if this goes here, but this is a report on my Extra Earthy Week. Since it's something I'd been faltering on recently, I decided to forgo all bags at all retail stores, no matter what.
Of course, I realized after having said this that it probably wouldn't be too hard, since there was a good chance I wouldn't even go shopping at all.
But as it turns out, I had to pick up a few groceries on the way home (by bicycle) one day, and didn't have any bags with me but my backpack. Fine, I often do this. At least it was fine until I got to the loaf of bread.
Often I've tied bags to the outside of my backpack when I run out of room, but I couldn't break the vow! And stuffing the bread in the backpack would more or less defeat the purpose of it being bread instead of dried paste.
So I somewhat precariously twist-tied the bread bag to my pack, and punched a tie-down strap through the top of the bag. Was a little nervous about it flying off and becoming road food on the bike home, but it all worked out just peachy. The bananas in the pack got a little smushed, but I was gonna put them in a blender anyway.

It was all pretty easy.