2017 Ecumenical Carbon Fast

“If we cannot conspire to heal our planet, our reason for being is called into question.”

-Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the UCC


A carbon fast is looking at what energy we use, how we use it (driving,light,etc.),  how it is produced and what we do with the products and by products. Fossil fuel products in their production, distribution and use are hazardous to the environment.  Often over looked are the impacts on first peoples and the poor who have, wells, drilling, refineries and production facilities in their communities.  There is also the impact of the waste we all generate that goes into landfills.  There is an environmental cost to produce, transport to our stores and homes and then to dispose of many of these fossil fuel based products and their packaging.  

Mahalo to the New England Regional Environmental Ministries part of the Massachusetts UCC for this information to guide and help us to reduce our carbon foot print and learn more about our impact on the environment   http://www.macucc.org/environment

Call it a fast or call it Sabbath keeping – commit to purchase nothing on the Sundays between now and Easter. This will require some intentionality and may require a bit of sacrifice. Let this commitment prompt a new awareness of consumption. 

  Establish a habit of unplugging devices not in use (e.g. chargers, coffee makers, fans, and space heaters), or plug them into power strips so you can flip them on and off without worrying about accessing those pesky outlets. This could help reduce your household electricity consumption by around 10%.

Eating locally requires fewer fossil fuels to transport your food, seasonally requires less energy for refrigeration, organically helps restore soil ecosystems that pull carbon out of the atmosphere.

Consider composting to keep unnecessary food waste and paper goods out of landfills (plus get incredible free fertilizer for your garden!).  Don’t have the space to compost on your own?  Use the county composting facilities…

Reduce, reuse, recycle has been a popular slogan since 1970 and it is still spot on.  With very minor lifestyle changes you can reduce the demand for new energy intensive products, keep unnecessary waste out of landfills, and save your municipality money.

Lift in your private prayers those millions of people whose lives have already been overturned by climate change – we’re all in this together…   Remember our friends form Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau who have already been affected.  Ground water is now contaminated with sea water.  Ocean levels have driven people from their homes.  Add these to your prayers or share with your Bible study or friends and family.

Take some time to reflect on your Lenten journey.  Think back to the beginning of new practices — whether you began on Ash Wednesday or many years ago.  How can you be in a continuous state of creation of a lifestyle that is of the order of love?

Pope Francis calls on us to consider our values and our role as shapers of the future.  Find a group with whom you can ask these hard questions with: What is the purpose of our life in this world?  Why are we here?  What is the goal of our work and all our efforts?  What need does the earth have of us?

As soon as he arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus overturned the tables of the money lenders.  It was a fearless demonstration that business as usual was no longer admissible.  Living as we are 2000 years later, we recognize that our “business as usual” practice of wrecking creation by burning fossil fuel that costs a small fraction of its true price must be overturned.  How can we follow Jesus in our own day to facilitate the transformation for which all of creation is groaning?

Throughout history, when difficult societal changes were needed, individuals like  Jesus, Gandhi, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry David Thoreau and the Apostles Peter and Paul have sought to awaken the lawmakers by engaging in civil disobedience.  Between Christ’s Resurrection and their deaths, Peter and Paul actually spent more time in jail than out.  Given the disordered world we live in, is it time to make civil disobedience a normative expression of Christian discipleship?  Might this be the fast that is required of those who would be faithful in our generation?

Jesus’ ministry and passion were a monumental demonstration of God’s love for God’s people, and God’s desire that we love one another and seek justice for all of God’s children.  Justice for the poor and care for the earth are inseparable.  Learn more about how poverty is caused by environmental exploitation and degradation from the interfaith resources of The National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

Sign up for daily e-mails at http://www.macucc.org/carbonfast

The site also mentions Yale Divinity School courses, but the sign-up appears in a box at the upper right of the page with a space to type in your e-mail address.

May you have a blessed, thoughtful, thought provoking Lenten season.

Categories Community, Lent | Tags: | Posted on February 22, 2017

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