February 05, 2008

Green: It's The New Color of Lent

From one of our regular Llama readers comes the latest in fashionable piety:

London - Two senior Church of England bishops called on Tuesday for Britons to cut back on carbon, rather than the more traditional chocolate and alcohol, for the Christian period of Lent this year.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, and Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, have teamed up with aid agency Tearfund to invite the public to take part in a "carbon fast" for the next 40 days.

During Lent, which starts on Wednesday and lasts until Easter, Christians are supposed to fast and pray. In the bishops' green drive, those taking part can choose how they reduce their carbon footprint on a daily basis.

"For example, on the first day, people can take out one of their light bulbs and whenever they go to turn that light on, and it doesn't work, they can remember why they are fasting from carbon - to help the poor of the world.

"At the end of the fast they can replace it with an energy-saving light bulb," Jones - who is vice-president of Tearfund - explained.

Other activities include avoiding plastic bags and insulating the house.

The bishops and Tearfund said they had launched carbon fast because of the urgent need to cut emissions and protect poor communities, who are already being affected by climate change and will be the worst hit in the future.

"There's a moral imperative on those of us who emit more than our fair share of carbon to rein in our consumption," Jones said.

Chartres added: "We all have a pivotal role to play in tackling the stark reality of climate change.

"Now is the time for individual and collective action in addressing the unsustainable way in which we are exploiting the earth's resources."

Yadda, yadda. Know what? As far as I'm concerned, there really isn't anything wrong with seeking to conserve resources and being better about not wasting them (although to me this is simply a matter of common-sense stewardship, not a response to global climate change alarums). But leave that kind of hectoring to the enviro-groups. Bishops are supposed to be concentrating on, well, higher matters. (I wonder does anybody go to Confession with a laundry list of the number of times they've forgotten to turn off a lamp, used plastic bags or failed to separate their paper and glass recycling?)

BTB, as this is as good a place to mention it as any, I may note that after this evening I am laying off both the bottle and coffee until Easter. Since this will be the first time I've done so since I was about twelve, I'm not quite sure what effect it's going to have on me. If my posting gets somewhat...screwy, you'll know why.

Posted by Robert at February 5, 2008 03:33 PM | TrackBack

"Does anyone go to Confession with a laundry list of the number of times they've forgotten to turn off a lamp, used plastic bags, or failed to separate their paper and glass recycling . . . "

Why yes, in fact . . .


Not just a Church of England thing . . .

I suppose I could confess to all of these things, but Father has a half hour before Saturday afternoon Mass and I've usually got a few things ahead of them on the list . . .

Posted by: The Abbot at February 5, 2008 03:40 PM

I've proven I can lay off beer for a year without ill effects but I am not ready to roll the dice on going "cold turkey" on the coffee.

Posted by: LMC at February 5, 2008 03:44 PM

Are the bishops slipping? They did not suggest in cutting down on the consumption, or use, of johnnys during Lent, did they? Yet it was the C of E bishops who first made them socially acceptable for use among decent people at Lambeth 1930. Johnnys are made of rubber so the C of E is responsible for much of the global warming that is occurng now. They should repent. And tell their men to go commando.

However, in the bishops' minds, the creation a baby would be seen as increasing the parishonner's carbon footprint therefore it does not meet the standard of a proper fast in the Christian sense, does it?

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at February 5, 2008 06:09 PM

Other activities include avoiding plastic bags and insulating the house.

Insulating the house???

As far as taking out light bulbs is concerned... Our electric bill is $220/month and that does not include heat. About a year ago, I got the bright idea that I would go on a "one light" policy while my husband was away on business in order to save energy/money. One night I went to the back door to let the dogs in, tripped on them in the dark and cracked my head open. It bled like a SOB and scared the hell out of me. Since then, I have lights I keep on all through the night when my husband is out of town. I think of it as an insurance policy against having to crawl to the phone and call the ambulance. So, to anyone out there in a similar position I say, the hell with the "Lenten" light bulb thing.

Posted by: Babs at February 7, 2008 11:07 AM