Lent, the pre-Easter season of reflection and self-examination, began this year on February 22nd and finishes on Saturday, April 3rd.
Believing Christians set aside time for prayer and religious acts. One Lenten tradition is strengthening self-discipline by giving up luxuries like meat, alcohol, or chocolate. Considering chocolate’s dark origins, going fair-trade like the Archbishop of York is a truly spiritual thing to do.
And recently, churches are encouraging their congregations to take on an innovative Lenten sacrifice. It’s called the Carbon Fast.
Congregants are encouraged to take simple, carbon-reducing steps like eating less meat. (Our vegewarian recipes, like this risotto, give some good ideas for meatless meals.) Or packing groceries in reuseable bags instead of using that eco-menace, plastic bags. Walking, bicycling, or riding a bus rather than driving. You get the idea. These churches provide weekly calendars with suggestions and tips for carbon reduction, each paired to a spiritual goal.
An intriguing example is, “Remember your baptism and the power of water. Conserve water: leave a bucket near the kitchen sink and water your plants with grey water.”
Carbon Fast started in England in 2007. The Tearfund organization began promoting the idea in 2008 and has spread the environmental word among churches internationally. This year communities in Canada, the Netherlands, India, Hong Kong, Australia, and Brazil are observing Carbon Fast.
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