In the third and final installement of our Green Hajj feature we suggest some practical action reduce the carbon footprint of the average pilgrim. Based on the experiences of past pilgrims to Mecca, we put forward four simple yet important steps that could reduce the carbon footprint of Hajj.
(If you missed the first two parts of the guide, start here:
Now continues Part 3 where we give our readers 4 tips
1. Embrace Slow Travel– There is a hadith that a Muslim is rewarded for every step they take to the mosque to pray- apply that concept to hajj and slow travel (using trains or even buses) makes a lot sense. As air travel contributes a big chunk of the carbon footprint this would definitely help make Hajj more eco. If you particularly ambitious you could even cycle to Mecca like two pilgrims from South Africa did this year!
2. Waste Less Water: The prophet Muhammed (pbuh) told his followers not to waste water even when next to a running steam which means that you shouldn’t waste water even if it’s abundant. Another reason not to waste water is that the region is one of the most water scarce in the world. Furthermore, the latest eco mosques have been built with sensors at taps to limit water waste which would be welcome at hajj wudu facilities.
3. Waste Less Electricity by going Solar: There is no getting around the fact that in Mecca it is hot but that doesn’t mean that we should rely on electricity from earth-destroying fossil fuels for our A/C. Solar power has taken off in the Middle East as countries finally realise that it can make the most of all that heat to create green electricity and energy. Now, some may get all sacrosanct about solar panels in Mecca and how it would look- to that I only have one thing to say: Mekkah Clocktower. The hideous building, which boasts posh hotels and shopping malls, has absolutely NO redeeming features and in my mind solar panels would be a marked improvement.
4. Start Recycling! This suggestion seems as old as time, don’t just throw away things. Re-use them and make the most of everything. Although the pilgrims do come from vary diverse places if there are clear and abundant recycling facilities, I don’t see why they won’t be utilised. Another way to reduce waste in the first place is to hand out a reusable bottle, cup, plate and cutlery to every pilgrim to reuse and simply not provide any harmful throwaway plastics that end up in landfills.
As author of ‘Green Deen’ Ibrahim Abdul Matin said in an interview for Green Prophet: “Every person that goes to Hajj gets a Qur’an when leaving, how about everyone gets a reusable water bottle when arriving? I think that would be amazing.”
: Image via Samlavi on Flickr.
:: Again I just want to re-iterate that I am no carbon expert. In fact, I welcome any offers from experts to assess the carbon footprint of the average Hajj pilgrim properly as it was the lack of any data, which led me to this rather slapdash effort.
For more on Green Hajj see: