Over the past few weeks, we have honored Veterans Day and Transgender Day of Remembrance. We’ve endured the marketing blitzes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and opened our wallets – and countless email asks – for Giving Tuesday. We’ve feasted and cheered on teams on Thanksgiving Day. Some of us have celebrated a birthday, and some of us have experienced a really hard day.
Our lives are comprised of days, and we are often reminded to take things day by day. (Re-live three minutes of hippy heaven with this musical number from 1973’s film adaptation of “Godspell.”) Daily routines and busy-ness can sometimes cause days to blur and a week to fly by. How about adding some novelty to the ways you and your family think of your weekdays?
- Meatless Monday: “The Meatless Monday For Family and Friends Package” contains easy-to-use resources to encourage our social circles to adopt more plant-forward diets.
- Mystery Monday: The Earth is full of mysteries and boggles our minds at every turn. Join Waterbear for free to explore the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet. So many amazing videos to choose from!
- Mindful Monday: Hit play on this podcast from Australia and check out these 10 ideas from Utterly Positive: “a regular mindful Monday practice means that you consistently show up for your mental strength every week.”
- Choose-Day: Although our economy relies in many ways on consumption, we can become more conscious in our decision-making about what, when, and how much we buy. Review the thought-provoking pieces in YES! Magazine’s consumerism archives.
- Tree ID Tuesday: They sway over us, shade our yards, and drop leaves and gumballs in our gutters. Do you know the names of the trees that live around you? Try using the Arbor Day Foundation’s interactive Tree Identification Field Guide. The Climate Action Team is considering a tree ID project on UUCA’s new campus. We would love you to participate!
- Twos-Day: Noah thought highly of pairs on the ark, right? Choose a pair of actions you can take to help save and savor the Earth. This practical list from our local Earth Mamas is a great starting place.
- Wonder Wednesday: Let’s exercise our capacity for awe by taking in these 39 international wonders from the Matador Network, listening to the American Bird Conservancy’s seven unbelievable bird sounds, and touring 30 of the most amazing human-made wonders. Look for your own sources of “wow”!
- Wakeful Wednesday: Ongoing tragic racial violence and glaring environmental injustice in communities of color compel us to wake up and advocate for systemic change. Pick up a book from Charis Book’s reading list, listen to the voices of Oakland high school students in the “Young and the Woke” podcast, or watch a few episodes of W. Kamau Bell’s “United Shades of America.”
- Ends-Day: The package appears on our doorstep, concealing the shiny new thing that we hope will solve our problem or enhance our day-to-day living. Do we stop to properly consider the means that led to this end: the extraction of resources, the human labor, the energy-consuming manufacturing, the carbon-emitting shipping, the landfill-bound packaging? Tune in to the age-old question of ends justifying the means with this Hidden Brain episode from NPR and read Donald Brown’s 2001 exploration of “The Ethical Dimensions of Global Environmental Issues.”
- Thoughtful Thursday: “Part of the challenge for environmental campaigners is the scale and apparent remoteness of the climate crisis,” Christian Jarrett writes in BBC Science Focus Magazine. “It’s not that we’re too selfish to save the planet, but rather our psychological makeup means that we find it harder to empathise with the needs of thousands of people far away than with a single person in front of us. For survival reasons, we also have a strong tendency to prioritise immediate pressing concerns as opposed to problems in the future that we can’t see.” Let’s set aside our own concerns for a moment and offer thoughtful attention to those who are suffering outside of our circles, on the other side of the city, on the other side of the world. Consider using Buddhism’s Four Immeasurables to guide you with this introduction from Venerable Thubten Chodron.
- Threatened Thursday: Familiarize yourself with one of the endangered species from the World Wildlife Fund’s list. Maybe it will be the nimble-footed Amur leopard, the black-faced Hector’s dolphin, or the seagrass-grazing Dugongs. Contemplate biodiversity and the importance of our help in advocating for protection.
- Throwback Thursday: It’s not just for social media! Plumb your memory to remember moments of childhood outdoor play, scenic hikes, wildlife sightings, beach strolls, waterfall swims, campfires, apple picking, and other sweet experiences of connection. Seek to preserve the memory and commit to preserve the opportunity for future generations. Mary Oliver remembered discovering a whale bone in this poem.
- Try Friday: Wise Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. … You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Identify something that makes you a little nervous. Consider a DIY project that threatens to expose how “un-handy” you are. Give yourself a pep talk (or let this two-minute reel do it). Go for small victories. Our success in the future is dependent on our ability to take risks, to learn from failures, and to valorize the try. Enjoy the New York Times’ “How to Do Everything” feature.
- Friend Friday: “Friendship is the single most important thing affecting our psychological health and wellbeing, as well as our physical health and wellbeing,” concludes Dr. Robin Dunbar in “The Psychology of Friends.” Send a card, tap out a text, or make a call to a friend who has enhanced your life. The support of our friends will likely become even more vital as we navigate the next decade.
- No Buy Friday: Hide the credit card, avoid the shopping app, and ignore the sales pitch! Do you really need something? Use your local “Buy Nothing” group or check out Nextdoor’s marketplace for free items offered by your neighbors. Be sure to reciprocate by listing items of your own that you are ready to re-home.
We would love to hear about your experience when you choose to experiment with any of these suggestions! You can email me and share your initial response to the idea and the ways you customized it to fit your personality, needs, and schedule. We can all be more mindful about how we use our days and how we save and savor the Earth.
• • •
JOIN US: The Climate Action Team extends a radical welcome to activists, contemplatives, readers, meditators, questioners, tree hugging hippies, scientists, policy wonks, radicals, pacifists, nature enthusiasts, and all who seek community as we navigate our changing times together. Contact Nicole Haines to connect to the CAT. Our next meeting will be in person on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 1 PM at the church. Learn more about the CAT here.
FUNDS AVAILABLE: The Carbon Offset Fund is now ready to offer grants. Read more here and consider working with another member or church group to prepare a grant request. The process is really easy!