Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Lenten Journey

2010 Lenten Journey
Querida Familia en Cristo:
Because of an increase in the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, the world’s climate is changing dramatically.  There are more regions in the world experiencing severe drought. And, by contrast, there are more areas in the world experiencing severe flooding. The number of hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, and cyclones is more frequent.  The number of known animal and plant species is lessening faster than ever. The world’s most poor peoples suffer the most, and they have contributed the very least to the problem of climate change.
When we consider our responsibility as Christians, we must consider this injustice.
God has entrusted the earth to our care.  We are to be stewards of creation. Therefore how might we examine our practices to help taper off the devastating effects of climate change?
Our overall objective during lent is to grow closer to God.  It is to examine our lives and consider ways in which our current lifestyles and practices keep us from being in right relationship with God.  It is also about seeking right relationship with our neighbor and God’s good creation.  It is our hope that, through fasting, altering, or taking on new practices that might help reduce our carbon footprint, we may discover what it means to be loved and claimed by God, as well as loving neighbors.
To compliment the primary objective, our Lenten theme this year is “touching the earth lightly.” We will strive to reduce our carbon footprint, namely by reducing the amount of fossil fuels we use. Please consider these areas of your life.  Might you commit to reducing your carbon footprint by focusing on one area?  Or maybe challenge yourself to do a little (or a lot) in each area?

Home Energy use:  How much energy do you consume in your home?  Consider turning off lights you are not using.  Replace light bulbs that are not energy efficient with compact florescent bulbs.  Unplug chargers that are not in use. Watch less TV, and turn it off when you’re not watching it.  Turn down you thermostat 1 degree.  Recycle! Someone (Anu) suggested taking cold showers! Maybe shower less frequently or for a shorter period of time. Cut back 3 minutes to reduce carbon dioxide by up to 715 lbs each year!
Basic challenge:  Be aware of what it takes to heat, cool, and live day to day in your home.  You may consider a home energy audit.
What might you fast, alter or take on in the area of home energy use?

Transportation: Can you drive less?  During lent, consider driving less by taking public transportation, or even better walking or riding a bicycle to your destinations?
Basic challenge: Ride the bus or the train and see how you are connected to community while reducing your carbon footprint.
What might you fast, alter or take on in the area of transportation?

Food: On average, the food that arrives on our plates has traveled 1500 miles to get there. During lent, reduce your meat consumption by half and save approximately 1600 lbs/CO2 per year.  Eating lower on the food chain will greatly reduce your carbon footprint, and is good for you.
Long-term:  examine your food budget to see if there is a margin to spend a little more money to buy:
Organic, or even better, food from a food co-op, or even better, seasonal food at the farmers market.
Consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture).
Basic challenge: Get to know a local farmer, as part of getting to know your neighbor.  Say a prayer before each meal and consider where your food has come from, who has grown it, and what it took to get it to you.
What might you fast, alter or take on in the area of food?

Product Choice:  How many of the labels on the products you buy say: “Made in China”? That product has traveled half way around the world for your enjoyment or use. Could you choose products that are made somewhere closer to home?  What about packaging of products you use?  If you have a choice, choose less packaging or buy in bulk.  Basic Challenge:  Do you need as much stuff as you have? 
De-clutter you home during lent as a spiritual practice–give away or sell stuff you don’t need.  Buy less, and buy used products whenever possible.
What might you fast, alter or take on in the area of product choice?

Want a wide variety of options? Follow the Lenten calendar that is in the back of the sanctuary
For more information check out (even if all you do is check out these sites it will help!):                      (find out how big your carbon foot is)                
Read: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver
Add to this list…email your suggestions
May God bless your Lenten journey!

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