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Lenten Challenge and Chinese New Year’s Resolution: Make Our Planet Your Valentine

February 14, 2018

No matter how you spell it or say it, today is a day all about LOVE. Read Pablo Neruda’s Poem “Amor” here.

What a day! Following Fat Tuesday and Galentine’s Day, today is Ash Wednesday AND Valentine’s Day.

And tomorrow is the Chinese New Year which means there’s a new moon plus there’s a solar eclipse following last month’s BLOOD BLUE Moon — and, if you’re into astrology, there’s a bunch of planets doing interesting things as well as the significance of change in store from the eclipse not to mention that Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles, is out and about before and after an eclipse.

So woah! What a day!

January 2018’s blue blood moon in Ventura

As you may know, the origins of St. Valentine are shrouded in mythology and faith. In one popular story, St Valentine defies a Roman emperor to marry devoted lovers in secret. Whether or not this is true, it inspires us today to celebrate ALL LOVE and to resist against injustice toward people and planet.

But my concern is that, as Pope Francis put it in his 2015 Lenten message. ““Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.”

Similarly, Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, says that “Only by Melting the Ice in the Heart of Man does Man have a Chance to Change and begin using his vast Knowledge Wisely.”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the relationship between having a cold heart coated in plastic, technology addiction, nature deficit disorder. It is clear to me that we must spend more time outside to renew our connection with the planet — otherwise why would we care what happens to the creatures that live here? It is also a grave matter of mental and physical health as articulated here as well as numerous other sites; here is an overview of a number of recent articles.

In what ways is the globalization of indifference connected to Nature Deficit Disorder and the impact of plastic pollution on the planet? What can we do about it? What are you willing to do? Which challenge will you take on and why?

As this is the start of the Chinese New Year and of Lent, I challenge you to choose one or more of the following:

1. Cut back on single use and other plastic consumption (read Chris Jordan’s “Trash Talk” here)
2. Spend more time outside in nature
3. Go on a technology diet
4. Reduce your carbon footprint at home or work or both

As writers, activists, and students of life on Planet Earth, we can’t wait for inspiration. We must act and be motivated every day to get to work. As artist Chuck Close explains: “Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that

things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea.’

And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”

Need something to read about love? How about one of these essays — on three very different aspects of love. See what connections you can make between the three — and with the message of Pope Francis.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “To My One Love” 

Brian Doyle: “Joyas Voladoras” (this is often a favorite of my students)

Miya Tokumitsu: “In The Name of Love”

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2018 12:21 pm

    Nature needs a bigger share in daily life for most of us – even the simple sound of birdsong is a reminder that life is abundant all around. Lovely post – what a packed day to recognize the spirit of connection and vibrancy!

  2. February 14, 2018 4:12 pm

    I think I would like to try to use plastic a bit less haphazardly. I would like to reduce my contribution to the “natural” disaster that is the overwhelming amount of plastic in the ocean. I say this with a plastic water bottle in my backpack as we speak. I think i’ll refill it when I get home and try to keep the same bottle for as long as I can keep up with it.

  3. February 20, 2018 10:37 am

    Thanks Jill!

    And while I used to reuse plastic water bottles, single use is designed just for that — single use. Better to ditch the plastic and get glass or metal containers designed for the purpose of reuse.

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