Some Christians Giving Up Carbon for Lent to Combat Global Warming

Lent — the 40 days ahead of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, representing the time Christ fasted in the wilderness — is a time for Christians to prepare for the holy Easter season.

“Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others,” the United Methodist Church website states.

But, according to Yale University’s Yale Climate Connection website, this year, some Christians have decided that global warming is such an important issue they are giving up carbon for Lent.

Yale Climate Connections reports:

The weeks just before Easter are known as Lent. It’s a time when many Christians fast or give up luxuries. Now, some churches and faith groups are encouraging Christians to reduce activities that contribute to global warming.

Leah Wiste is director of outreach and advocacy at an organization called Michigan Interfaith Power and Light.

Wiste: “Lent is a state of preparing for rebirth … And so we focus on transformation.”

In that spirit, her group helps Christians use this time to develop more environmentally friendly habits.

“We propose a Lenten Carbon Fast,” Wiste said. “We’ve created a calendar that suggests one activity each day that folks can do in order to reduce their ecological footprint.”

That “to do” list includes using LED light bulbs, eating local food rather than food shipped long distances, forgoing very hot water, and driving slower.

“The hope is that this several week exercise won’t just end at Easter but that these actions actually seed a more fundamental transformation that people can then continue,” Wiste said.

The organization Wiste spoke on behalf of describes itself as a “faith response to global warming.”

Its mission statement says, in part: “Foster and create an educated faith constituency that’s committed to proactive solutions to decreasing harmful coal plant emissions through energy efficiency [and] renewable technologies.”

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