by Sabine McDowell

plastic bagsLent is a time to repent, reflect, sacrifice, and listen to God. Grace is joining with many other churches in taking on a Lenten Carbon “Fast.”

We need to be mindful that the ways we conduct ourselves impact everyone, especially impoverished people.

Can you help reduce the production of pollution? Say “No, thank you!” to plastic when going shopping at the grocery store or mall.  Keep a couple of reusable bags in the trunk of your car or in your purse.

Better yet: Go shopping with Grace’s sturdy red bag! Save plastic bags and donate them to animal shelters or recycle them at your local grocer.

Why fast?
We don’t just give up something when we fast – we open ourselves up to hearing God speak to us, guide us – and in doing so gain much more than we ever gave up. We are conscious of our actions during this time, and give up our self-reliance and control. After 40 days, we are renewed and refreshed, having traded in an old, bad habit for a new, healthy one.

Why fast from plastic bags?
Plastic bags are costly for people, local businesses, and the environment. There is no “free” plastic bag; we pay for them, sometimes literally as a cost businesses pass on to customers, or local governments pass on to residents through trash removal. Or the cost may be less tangible but no less real. Million of plastic bags eventually make their way as litter in neighborhoods, parks, and streams. They are not just unsightly but unhealthy – to wildlife and to us – and once in the environment, they can take decades to break down, leaving behind tiny bits of plastic. We pass on the problem to our neighbors downstream and our children of future generations.

This Lent, choose to give up plastic bags. Instead, use cloth, reusable bags. Carry one with you to use on a regular basis and to remind yourself of your practice. Reflect and pray on what you are doing, listening to what God may speak to you during this time.

Other ways to make a difference:

  • Reflect on the 4 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle.
  • Avoid ‘vampire’ power: Switch off all electrical equipment, rather than leaving it on standby when not in use. Many electronics and appliances continue to draw power. If left on standby, a game console like Xbox uses as much electricity as a small refrigerator over the course of a year!
  • Check your tire pressure: Low tire pressure results in higher fuel consumption.
  • Turn the water off while brushing teeth: There are absolutely zero advantages to your dental hygiene by letting precious water run down the drain.

“Love the earth just as much as God does ” – former Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Thanks to the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (formerly Chesapeake Covenant Community) for instigating this Lenten practice!

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One Response to Lenten Carbon Fast 2013

  1. Kerri Dryden says:

    Thank you for this article Sabine. I am going to spend the next 40 days not using any plastic bags!

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