It’s a little hard to believe, but next Weds (Feb 17th) is Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season. This means we should start thinking and praying about what we can do to make our season of Lent more fruitful. During Lent, we are called to pray, give alms, and fast; most folks focus on the fasting aspect or the question “what should I give up?”
Giving up something we enjoy (like chocolate) helps strengthen our will and we can take the opportunity to offer it up to God. However, I think there is also benefit in giving up a daily habit or convenience that we don’t necessarily recognize is ingrained in our routine.
Enter care of creation and sustainability-related practices. It is easy for me to go about my day using and discarding paper towels or buying another bottle of water from the gas station. Yet, despite being small conveniences, they can also take a toll on our environment. We can choose an alternative route that can also help us become more conscientious about the environment. Lynne and I gave up those conveniences the last two seasons of Lent respectively (paper towels and single-use plastic) and I found the practice had positive impacts on my overall care of creation journey. In addition, because they are so ubiquitous, I was constantly reminded that it was Lent and that it was a time to draw closer to God.
When thinking about your own season of Lent, I encourage you to consider committing to a new sustainable practice (and perhaps you can keep it going after Lent). In addition to limiting/eliminating paper towel usage and single-use plastics, here are some possible practices to get you thinking:
-Joining the clean plate club (eliminating food waste)
-Turning down the heat 2-5 deg F
-Buying things used instead of new
-Eating less meat (or buying locally grown meat and dairy products)
-Improving water usage (like washing dishes with cold water or taking shorter showers)
I’m still thinking about my own commitment for Lent, but will share it next week!