By Sister M. Alan Wurth, ASC

Catholics of a certain age will remember abstaining from meat on Fridays throughout the year, but today the rule applies only to Fridays of Lent, hence, the plethora of Lenten fish fries. The discipline of fast and abstinence remains, however, and is universal, not restricted to Catholics.

The Anglican Communion Environmental Network adds a twist to the Lenten fast by encouraging people to fast from carbon, or at least to reduce carbon use during the holy season of Lent. Who knows? The Lenten discipline may create a new lifestyle and enrich our spiritual life.

Five years ago, I participated in a symposium entitled “Awakening the Dreamer,” where I received a woven friendship bracelet that I wear on my lapel. The bracelet symbolizes a compact with the Achuar people of the Amazonian rainforest of Peru and Ecuador. I pledged to join others in making changes to my lifestyle that would protect and preserve – rather than destroy — Earth’s environment.

Here are a few ways I am fasting from carbon this Lent:

  • Consume meat only once a day
  • Walk or bike to work
  • Recycle what is not reusable
  • Collect waste water for other uses such as to water trees, herbs and gardens.

I try to be mindful that all of this effort is gift for future generations to be able to enjoy God’s marvelous creation – our Mother Earth.

For more ideas, check out the Anglican Communion’s Carbon Fast calendar.