Giving up carbon for Lent

  • 6 March 2018
  • NormanL
The ultimate tempter

We are in the midst of Lent, the time when Christians recall the 40 days Christ spent in the wilderness and overcame the Devil's temptations. Many people make vows to abstain from certain pleasures or luxuries during this time -- a symbolic way to overcome their own temptations. For a few, there is no greater temptation than carbon, which they have decided to abstain from using (but not too much) during the Lenten season.

Yes, carbon:

Leah Wiste is director of outreach and advocacy at an organization called Michigan Interfaith Power and Light.

Wiste: “Lent is a state of preparing for rebirth … And so we focus on transformation.”

In that spirit, her group helps Christians use this time to develop more environmentally friendly habits.

Wiste: “We propose a Lenten Carbon Fast. We’ve created a calendar that suggests one activity each day that folks can do in order to reduce their ecological footprint.”

It includes actions such as switching to energy-efficient L.E.D. light bulbs, eating food that is not trucked long distances, turning the temperature down on water heaters, and hanging clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer.

While we won't stand in the way of anyone's peaceful devotions, we are still somewhat amused by all this. Surrendering one's use of certain light bulbs or clothes driers doesn't exactly strike us as a sacrifice, let alone one that will encourage spiritual growth.

They could just as easily go camping with the Boy Scouts...and in doing so, learn an extremely useful thing or two about personal growth, ecology and so on. And with nary a hot water heater nor clothes drier in sight.