Friday, 12 February 2010

Give up your carbon for Lent?

Back in the days of gainful employment, I worked for four years at international development NGOs in the UK. One of my jobs was as Climate Change Campaigns Officer, a role that allowed me to accumulate more info on climate policy and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change than any normal person would ever want or need. (This role culminated in a 17-hour train journey to Poland for a conference – because you can't fly to an event that's trying to tackle climate change.)

Aside from learning UN protocol, I was privy to stories of people in the developing world who were working so hard to climb out of poverty, but an increasingly unpredictable climate was pushing them back down.
Photo: Tearfund

My job was to tell these people's stories, to put a human face to climate change and remind compassionate people in the UK that climate issues aren't just making polar bears vulnerable, but people too. Especially people who live hand to mouth off the land.

Since I was surrounded by global poverty and justice issues at work (and was being paid to communicate about them), I didn't ever feel overly compelled to blog about them. I needed an escape so blogged about things like the cupcake competitions (yum!), the search for decent coffee in London (arduous) and ticking off our London list once we'd planned to leave (fun!).

As it turns out, removed from my job and the incentive of a salary, I am still passionate about talking about global justice issues and encouraging people to take action. And without an outlet like a job, I thought I'd bring it to the blog.

With this preface, I'd like to throw it out there for people to think about giving up carbon this year for Lent (it starts next Wednesday by the way!). Giving up carbon is definitely better than giving up chocolate in my books. And if you are interested, my colleagues at Tearfund have rustled up a helpful Carbon Fast to jump-start that low-carbon diet. It wont force you to live in a yurt or anything, just give some helpful reminders of easy things you can do.

You can download the 46 daily actions or sign-up to receive daily emails here.

Some of the actions are specifically British, like cleaning the limescale off of your electric kettle to increase efficiency. But most are pretty universal.

My favorite action to save energy is eating by candlelight – save the earth and create great atmosphere at the same time, sweet deal.

Anyway, please have a look at the Carbon Fast and see if you're interested. My plan is to focus on one action for the whole of Lent, but I haven't decided which one. Perhaps eating by candlelight every night.  I'll have to check that one with Dan first...

How successful have you been with Lent in the past? Are you planning on giving anything up for Lent? Carbon anyone?


Jess Fouche said...

Right on!

I was just cutting up an old, unraveling shirt of Jude's for rags/napkins for the boys at meal times. (Cotton + pinking sheers= no sewing needed!:) So much better than using endless paper towels- softer on faces, easier on the earth. That's not a new thing of mine but maybe one that would be easy for more people to do as well!

alisha said...

That's a great idea Jess. Plus, sometimes it's easy to get attached to shirts that get worn out, so a great ways to reuse. I always thought it would be cute to make a family quilt out of favorite used clothes too. Probably more effort though.

Nadine said...

I love this post!

Matt and I have become very green in our time in Hawaii. We have a solar water heater, solar panels to power small appliances, and 75% of the time, our fridge runs off the energy provided by a windmill we constructed (and by we, I mean Matt, but I helped put it up)

But I love the candlelight dinner idea! I'm going to try that!

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