Manifesto for the Green Tea Party Movement
Making a More Perfect Union―One Cup at a Time!
We don’t have any demands . . . but we do have a big concern. And we have a suggestion.
Something’s brewing in the land. Whether it’s tea or whether it’s coffee, lots of folks are getting pretty steamed up, and that makes for some highly caffeinated conversation. Maybe what we need is a different (more mellow) “solution”―green tea!
Green tea parties are cozy affairs. And they have a serious mission. If we can speak to (rather than at) each other―if we can really listen to each other―we’ll be much more able to solve the complex challenges we face, in a world where we’ve missed too many opportunities.
Green tea parties calm the spirit and focus the mind, help us listen to one another’s concerns, allow us to share the infinite variety of our experiences and struggles―all of which are valid. Green tea parties can foster our collective wisdom.
Everyone―left, right, center, and all over the map―is invited to green tea parties. We come together to eat, drink, and converse. But we don’t expect everybody to agree. Rather, we accept and embrace our differences. However, stating our opinions is only the beginning.
When we weave an atmosphere of mutual respect and empathy, we start to listen more deeply, at a level beneath our opinions. For only on that deeper level can we ask the questions: How, my friend, have you come to this opinion? What’s led you to see things in this way? What do you hold most dear? What are your greatest hopes for a healthier country and more peaceful world? And, if it were up to us, what would we do? (Because, you know, it really is up to us!)
At green tea parties we listen without judgment (or, at least, with heightened awareness of our inevitable reactive judgments). We honor the truth of each person’s story and tradition. And, together, we explore our various perspectives, seeking for the deeply held values from which they spring.
This isn’t always easy. But, if we persevere, if we stay open to each other even when―especially when―things get rough and uncomfortable, then creative wisdom starts to flow.
We generate thoughts that reach beyond even the best ideas of anyone present. Belonging to no one, they belong to everyone. So who would have thought? Just by sitting down, drinking green tea, and talking together, we’re giving birth to the new solutions that will enable us to build a better future . . . for ourselves, for our country, and for our planet.
So how can you participate? If you want, you can host a green tea party of your own. This can be a one-time thing, or the same group might want to meet regularly, to deepen connections and more fully explore the possibilities for collective wisdom (along with hearty snacks and refreshing libations). You can also “green tea” any group or meeting you’re part of―in the workplace, church, school, etc. We provide tips handy for either on our website. So join the movement, and come together, right now―over tea!
April 4, 2010
- Paul Hawken.
Author, environmentalist, and social entrepreneur; Founder of Wiser Earth.org.
- Sandy Heierbacher.
Director, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation.
- Eric Utne.
Social entrepreneur; Founder, Utne Reader magazine.
- Paul Strickland.
Director, Center for Religious Inquiry, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis.
- Mary Jo Kreitzer.
Director, Center for Spirituality and Healing, University of Minnesota.
- Leif Utne.
Social entrepreneur; Media and communications consultant.
- John Miller.
Educator; Senior fellow, Center for Spirituality and Healing, University of Minnesota.