Want to Give Up Something for Lent? How About Carbon?

During the Christian Lent season, church congregates give up something for 40 days: alcohol, a favorite TV show, a bad-for-you food. But on Wednesday, the first day of Lent, many participants chose to give up something else: carbon.


At Grace Episcopal in Newington, Conn., church-goers were encouraged to look at their light bulbs, their grocery bags, and their utility bills, and see where they could make changes. The idea is to think "about the environment and doing things to save it for yourself and those who come after us," said Rev. Jane White-Hassler.

It makes sense for a church that has been implementing eco-friendly building upgrades since last summer, and is currently considering solar panels.

Also in Connecticut, Catholic priest and Franciscan friar Tom Washburn blogged on Tuesday about his own carbon fast, which he implemented for the first time in 2008. Here is a sample of his 40-day guidelines:

The 40-day plan lists simple energy-saving actions that can lead towards a lighter carbon footprint, including snubbing plastic bags, giving the dishwasher a day off, insulating the hot-water tank and checking the house for drafts.

Here's how it works:

Day one (Ash Wednesday.): Remove one light bulb and live without it for the next 40 days.

Day two: Check your house for draughts with a ribbon or feather. If it flutters, buy a draught excluder.

Day three: Tread lightly - whether that's by foot, by bike, on to a bus or on the gas as you drive. Find a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions when you travel today.

If you celebrate Lent, are there any changes you plan to make for the greener good? Switching to CFL bulbs, swearing off non-local foods, bidding your car a temporary farewell?

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