Today is Ash Wednesday which, in the Catholic Tradition, marks the first day of Lent- a 40 day period (February 22 2012- April 7 2012) of fasting, repentance, charity, and sacrifice for observant Catholics. Lent is also considered a time of change and reflection on one’s life.
Many Catholics choose to “give something up for Lent” which means that they are observing the tradition of sacrifice. If you’re Catholic and are pondering on how to spend Lent, or if you are just looking for ways to help the planet, here are some fun, eco-friendly ideas for Lent and any time of the year!
1. Conserve water
Water is a very important resource which, sadly, is becoming scarce due to over consumption. Did you know that a measly four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water?!
We can do our part to conserve water by spending less time in the shower, turning off the shower head/faucet when you are not using it, and choosing foods that require less water input. One very important awareness event coming up, which happens to fall during Lent, is World Water Day on March 22, 2012.
World Water Day (WWD) is an event that calls all global citizens to address the issues of food and water scarcity by making better consumption choices. Many do not know that most of the water we drink comes from the food we eat. Global water and food supplies are dwindling causing billions to starve.
Meanwhile, 30% of all food produced is never eaten and is wasted along with the water that went into its production. By conserving water, choosing food that requires less water input, and not wasting food, we can fight world hunger and other resource issues.
1,000,000 seabirds are dying every year by ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic
86% of turtles, 43% of seabirds, and 44% of marine mammals have plastic in their guts
Plastics are filling up landfills, clogging our oceans, and causing marine life to suffer
To reduce plastic consumption, remember to bring your own bag to retail stores, use a reusable water bottle, and avoid using other single-use plastic items (plastic cups, spoons, forks etc.)
Similar to the previous tip, recycling properly and often can keep trash out of landfills and out of the ocean! Sometimes it is difficult to know which plastics are recyclable and which are not. Check out our Plastics 101 on how to recycle properly!
4. Conserve Energy
Unplug electric items such as your cell phone charger when you’re not using them, and remember to switch off the lights before you leave a room! Another event that falls during Lent is Earth Hour on March 31st, 2012. Everyone across the globe is encouraged to turn off all lights for one hour to acknowledge that Earth’s precious resources are running out and to show commitment to building a sustainable planet.
5. Eat Sustainable Seafood on Fridays!
During Lent, Catholics abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays until Easter as a form of fasting. While shying away from meat, try to go a step further and choose seafood that was harvested sustainably. Here are our sustainable seafood guides to accompany you: Sustainable Seafood Guide, Sustainable Sushi Guide
Good luck to all on their life journey! <3