'Carbon fast' urged during Lent

'Carbon fast' urged during Lent

By staff writers
25 Feb 2009

The Energy and Climate Change Minister, Ed Miliband MP, and senior Church of England's Bishops are urging people to cut down on carbon rather than give up chocolate this Lent.

Ed Miliband MP, The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Bishop of Liverpool and Vice President of Tearfund Rt Rev James Jones and the Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres, joined with development agency Tearfund in calling for a cut in personal carbon use for each of the forty days of Lent, yesterday.

Ed Miliband said: “Scientists warn that climate change could hit all countries hard and fast but by taking part in this carbon fast we can all reduce the size of our carbon footprints and make a difference.

“This initiative shows that there are plenty of ways we can make a difference that might seem like a sacrifice to begin with but can easily become part of everyday life that will help tackle dangerous climate change. I hope it will inspire people to cut carbon for Lent and keep them on a low carbon path.”

In what is a crucial year for climate change, when world leaders will gather in Copenhagen in December and must seal a strong and fair global deal to tackle global warming, the Bishops and Tearfund have launched the fast because of the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and protect poor communities, who contribute least to climate change yet bear the brunt of its impact.

The Carbon Fast is the brain-child of The Bishop of Liverpool and Vice President of Tearfund, Rt Rev James Jones, who said: "In 2008 people across the UK joined in the Carbon Fast. This year churches and organisations around the world have signed up to take part."

"God calls us to be stewards of the earth he created and to take care of the poor and vulnerable. With this in mind there is a moral imperative for those of us who emit more than our fair share of carbon, to rein in our consumption. The Carbon Fast is a fun and simple way to do this."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams said: "Let's try this Lent to walk more humbly, live more simply and cherish more deeply the creation of which we are only a part."

The Carbon Fast is a 40 day journey through Lent, towards a lighter carbon footprint, with a simple energy saving action per day. Participants are asked to begin by removing one light bulb from a prominent place in the home and live without it for 40 days - as a constant reminder during Lent of the need to cut energy. Taking part in the Carbon Fast will result in an estimated 727Kg C02 of saved energy per household over the 40 days. This results in a 25% cut in average emissions over this period.

"Taking part in the Carbon Fast will hopefully lead to more permanent life adjustments for those who take part," The Bishop of Liverpool concluded.

In Scotland, Reverend Ian Galloway, convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, is asking members of congregations to also remove a light-bulb from a prominent place in the home and live without it for 40 days.

The Church of Scotland has been active in the fight against climate change, and is heavily involved in the Eco-Congregation Scotland network.

Mr Galloway said: “At a time when more and more congregations are signing up to reduce their carbon footprint both as churches and as individuals and families, the plan for a carbon fast is the ideal opportunity for people all over Scotland to join in and form good energy saving habits.

“Care for the Earth makes sense from any starting point, and this is both a welcome reminder and a very practical invitation to take part in something of real importance.

“And having started, who knows where people will get to in carbon savings?”

To find out more about the Carbon Fast 2009 go to www.tearfund.org/carbonfast

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.