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Consumption vs. conservation

EarthBulbsI can’t believe I missed it!  The 10th annual Earth Hour to shut off lights in support of energy conservation and protecting the planet.  Me--the avid environmentalist since my youth—who to this day constantly goes around my house and other people’s houses shutting off lights—welcome or not!  Two days later I saw the back page Strib article: Cities worldwide go dim.  Other Minnesotans apparently missed it too—and most of the country.  New York City gave a nod to this environmental movement (begun in Australia in 2007) by dimming the lights atop the Empire State Building and some billboards in Times Square.  But I could have been the poster child for this environmental campaign!  O.k.—more accurately--the poster matron.   You can always count on me to turn out the lights.

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Civic Engagement, Humanist Style

state capitol MN

Watch the news.  Look around the world.  Listen to the candidates who aspire to lead our nation. It can be demoralizing -- to be sure.  We humanists envision a world better than the everyday portrayal.  But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that it isn’t going to happen by magical or wishful thinking. As humanists we understand that it is up to us to create the kind of world we want to live in and leave for our children and heirs. 

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Decoding spirituality

bodymindspiritAre you feeling more “spiritual” these days—overcome by a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being and wonder about the universe?  Apparently while Americans are getting less religious, spirituality is on the rise.  The latest report from the Pew Research Center  indicates that “spiritual” feelings are increasing--even among atheists, agnostics and the unaffiliated--along with everyone else.  What should we make of this?

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Happy new year--or not?

scrooge 274x300Happy New Year!  An apt greeting for the beginning of 2016, right?  During this holiday season, no doubt many of us have wished family and friends “good health and happiness” in the New Year.  These are time-honored greetings of the season.  Plus, living a good life and seeking happiness in the here and now are key aspirations for humanists, agnostics and atheists.  But did you happen to read the latest research about happiness not being an indicator of longevity? (The Lancet, December 9, 2015) Could it be that Scrooge gets the last laugh after all?  Maybe, maybe not.

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Happy Holidays--Indeed!

winter solstice evergreenForget about the red cup controversy that some want to stir up about Starbuck’s seasonal packaging.  Forget about the overwrought angst of a blue Christmas without a romantic interest or a Norman Rockwell family gathering in your life.  Ignore the inflammatory “war on Christmas” rhetoric of the Christian Right or the secular scrooges (ala Tom Flynn) and settle in to a “green” winter solstice holiday groove.  And then let’s just be civil to everyone with “Happy Holiday” greetings and work together for peace on earth.  O.k.?

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Defining Humanism

dictionary app symbol“Naturally curious, compassionate and rational.”  Last summer as I was biking home from one of our summer picnics, a more fit biker approached me from behind and called out “good reading!” as he cycled passed—pointing to my Humanist t-shirt with our tagline on the back.  Then at the NAMI Walk more recently, a fellow walker approached me from behind and queried—“So, what’s Humanists of Minnesota?”  The terse tagline got his attention, but I must admit, I still need to work on a short and snappy response.

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