The concept of the 'Carbon Fast' has been around for a few years now, but for whatever reason, it has escaped my radar. It seems that in 2007, a bishop in Liverpool organized the first such fast, and it's a pretty profound notion—participants do their best to give up anything that causes global warming pollution for Lent.
Clearly, almost none truly expect to rid their lives of carbon, which would be impossible. But the goal is to single out elements of our lifestyle that are contributing most to climate change, and to eschew them during 40 days of fasting and reflecting.
Climate Progress has the story:
First started by a Bishop in Liverpool in 2007, Carbon Fast has been developed and promoted among individuals, bible study groups, and churches by the UK-based Christian development organization Tearfund since 2008. Its simple message of carbon reduction as a path to environmental and spiritual renewal has taken hold, and this year communities in Canada, the Netherlands, India, Hong Kong, Australia, and Brazil are observing Carbon Fast as well ...Many too quickly assume that religious groups discount climate change, as, for instance, many politically active evangelicals associated with the Tea Party do. There are, of course, numerous religious groups who place great importance on stewardship of the earth—and an increasing number that recognize the social injustices that arise from climate change.
In the US, several faith-based groups have created their own Carbon Fast materials. Interfaith Power & Light circulated a calendar of daily actions and alterations, ranging from the straightforward (“Turn down your thermostat by one degree”; “Remember to bring reusable bags to the store”) to the deeply symbolic (“Remember your baptism today, and the power of water. Try to conserve: Leave a bucket in the shower or kitchen sink, and collect ‘grey water’ to water the plants.”) ... A major focus of the Fast is on poverty and the environmental injustice of climate change, a concept that is appearing more frequently in concerns from both secular and religious green groups. The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), a Carbon Fast partner with Tearfund, has designed weekly devotionals around the idea of relationships and putting things to right, from God and others to Creation.
(Note: if you're participating in a carbon fast, please drop me an email or leave a note in the comments. I'd love to hear more about your experience)