Lent, the Environment, and Jerry Garcia
Well, we’ve stuffed ourselves full of pancakes, the shroves have returned to their nesting sites for another year, the king cake is eaten, and we’re cleaning up the beads. What’s next for Lent? It’s time to think green! Even New Orleans is going green for Mardi Gras and recycling several tons of the Mardi Gras beads. Although I’m not a big fan of giving things up for lent (we prefer to DO things for lent, like have each of our neighbors to dinner or volunteer somewhere), I can see a role for sacrifice this season. I propose we give something up for the environment for Lent. God created this big blue marble; we’re part of the creation and responsible for protecting it. Here are some ideas:
- Give up use of disposable bags. For the next 6 weeks, try bringing your own bags everywhere that you’re usually offered a plastic bag – the grocery store, department stores, drugstores.
- Give up meat for two meals per week for Lent. Let’s kick it up a notch and try going beyond the ol’ “no meat on Friday.”
- Give up those disposable bottles of water for Lent. Start carrying your own water in a reuseable bottle – it’ll save you money and keep plastic out of the landfill.
- Give up one household cleaning product with toxic ingredients. Try switching your dishwasher soap to one without chlorine – I likeSeventh Generation dishwasher gel, no scent, phosphates, or chlorine. Or maybe an environmentally-friendly laundry detergent? I like Whole Foods or Seventh Generation products
- Give up one car ride per week. Is there somewhere that you’re driving, where you could walk once a week? Give up that ride and you may also be giving up a couple of pounds!
- Give up a patch of grass on your lawn. Plant a native flower butterfly garden or an organic vegetable garden.
- Give up one degree of heat in your house(frankly, this would be the toughest one for me). Use a little less energy this Lent by letting your house be one degree cooler.
- Give up 15 minutes each week to write yourstate or federal representatives about an environmental issue that you care about. Do a little research and send off a quick e-mail or letter to voice your opinion.
- Give up the winter raspberries. Try to buy most, if not all, of your fruits and vegetables in season for the next 6 weeks. Asparagus is almost ready and the leeks are looking good!
- Give up rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. This is an easy choice for the lazy green momster in all of us.
- Give up disposable napkins. Invest in cloth napkins or washcloths and use them at meals instead of disposable napkins.
- Give up junk mail. Sign up with Catalog Choice to limit the catalogs you receive in the mail.
- Give up the long showers. Try to conserve water and energy by taking shorter showers (ok, maybe this one would be the hardest for me….)
- Give up a little cash and buy one new organic vegetable per week. Organics benefit you and the environment by keeping pesticides and herbicides out of the environment.
- Give up a day to volunteer for the environment. State and local parks and other environmental groups are always looking for help.
- Give up your old way of thinking and try to think outside the box on environmental issues. What can you do to protect the planet? Come up with a great idea! At one point in their history, the Grateful Dead actually got involved in rainforest protection. When asked why they were doing it, Jerry Garcia answered, “Somebody has to do something, it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.” Some days, I agree with Jerry, but during this time of Lent, I believe God is saying that it does have to be us. So let’s get busy givin’ it up! Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way!
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