Sunday, September 30, 2007

Climate Changing Fast!

“Fast and be healthy,” said the Prophet Muhammad PBUH (summu tasihu, in Arabic). The obvious implication being that overeating is bad for our health. Who can argue with that? But much as overeating can sicken the body, over-consumption can sicken the earth. Case in point, the climate crisis.

We are harming ourselves and the world around us. That much is beyond doubt (more on the science). But can fasting change this? Can we heal our planet through fasting? I believe so. If we used fasting and prayer (read: introspection, reflection and under-consumption) as guides, then it would be clearer which of our actions would lead to healing and which would lead to harm. We need to heal ourselves and, in turn, the earth. We cannot heal one without healing the other.

Ramadan is the month when we should reflect on needing, using and being perfectly satisfied with less. Not just with less food and drink, but less of anything that isn’t absolutely necessary: less clothes, less gadgets, less miles traveled and less energy consumed. The point isn’t to become an emaciated and immobile ascetic, but to use this blessed month to reevaluate how much “weight” we’ve accumulated over the course of the year; in body, spirit, consumer goods and, of course, carbon dioxide emissions (Carbon Calculator).

Here are a few suggestions on reducing your carbon dioxide emissions (thanks to Allison Fisher, from GWIPL for developing much of this list):

  1. Eat local food one meal a week. The average meal in the United States travels some 15,000 from the farm to our plates. By buying locally we will save fuel, carbon dioxide and help support our local farmers.
  2. Go car free one day a week. By eliminating just 10 miles of driving a week, we can save 500 pounds of CO2 a year.
  3. Change it up! By installing energy efficient appliances like light bulbs, refrigerators, and washing machines we can further help to cool the planet. If each household in the U.S. replaced its existing appliances with the most efficient models available, we’d eliminate 175 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
  4. Join (or start!) the greening effort at our mosques and help green our communities.
  5. Help advocate to elected officials for legislation which will help everyone reduce their impact on the climate.
I’ll end with a word on prayer. When the Prophet Muhammad PBUH was taught how to pray, the natural world (animate and inanimate alike) began to greet him with “salaam.” That greeting means much more than peace. It means wholeness and perfection. If we could hear what the plants and animals are saying to us (much like the prophets could), I believe they’d tell us that we are no longer whole and that nature needs us to be whole.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Come, break bread with me...

A friend sent me this post and it seems to really tie into what Ramadan Compact is all about. SubhanAllah! From Sidi Hakim Archuletta as posted on

"I recommend, at anytime and as frequent or infrequent as you can (not necessarily during Ramadan) as a lesson, the meal of a simple piece of bread and maybe a few small sips of water.

I recommend that this meal be taken with the condiment of reflection and as much recognition and presence of awareness of the incredible reality in this simple action as a means to awaken the sense in ourselves of the truth of our reality. This is presence with the self, with what Allah SAWT has created in ourselves, presence with the awesome process that took place in the growth of the plant that gave the seed that produced the flour that was made into bread and that by His command and as a portion of our rizq arrives before us with our name on it.

As seasoning I suggest an awareness of the thousands and thousands of nerves, in place by His Design, enabling such taste and smell in that experience, knowing that this simple piece of bread is so much more than that so we might then say, with genuine honesty, maybe in a way that once and for all we truly mean, by certainty, Alhamdulillah!"

For the complete post: Ramadan Reflection

Friday, September 28, 2007

If you like this, try freegan

So your Ramadan compact is going well, you haven't been tempted by lunch time shopping and the promise of new office clothes (unlike me), you find this break from consumerism a nice way to be a more eco-friendly person. Well I have a challenge for you: Freeganism.

A word combining free and vegan, Freegans are somewhat the extreme of the anti-consumerist lifestyle. They are best known for their "dumpster-diving" - salvaging food and other products that are still edible but thrown away due to whatever reason (excess inventory, expiration date, etc). In the current issue of Newsweek, Raina Kelly describes the month she spent living like a vegan. (See Freegan Ride: Are freegans oddballs or sages? NEWSWEEK's Raina Kelly spent a month living as one to find out.) Some excerpts:
America's overconsumption is legendary. We struggle with morbid obesity, use 25 percent of the world's oil and buy houses we can't afford. If the mildest projections are true, we are recklessly contributing to the warming of the planet. OK, we've made some changes, but does anyone really believe that "carbon offsetting" is anything other than eating your cake and having it, too?

I would live as a freegan for a month. I had nine rules: I would be a vegan who bought nothing but local and/or organic food. I would use only ecofriendly transportation, cut my electricity bill in half and erase my carbon footprint. My mantra would be "Recycle, reuse, renew," while never forgetting to reflect on my impact on the Earth before acting. Any money I saved would go into a "Freedom Savings Account" and be used toward allowing me to quit my 9-to-5 as soon as possible. That's tough work for an eBay-loving, omnivorous, cigarette-smoking shopaholic. But I was determined to change my profligate ways. I would transform myself into an eco-princess—a green goddess.

But you would be surprised at what freegans find in the garbage. I'd bet that you would eat it. I saw trash bags full of bagels so fresh that when they were opened, the air filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread. I also saw canned goods and even toilet paper among the rubbish. The USDA estimates that more than 90 billion pounds of food is wasted in America every year—much of it from inefficient ordering and inventory systems.
The rest of the article describes her cravings for a Target shopping spree and meat-deprivation. In the end, she finds herself changed and not ready to go "flying back into the arms of my local Target without a glance back" but not willing to give "shopping in the trash" a try either. Instead she decides on a path that incorporates small changes to do her (small?) bit in reducing waste and helping the environment. Check out her blog for a daily freegan diary.

Also check out the related article "The Noble Scavenger on The Living-Room Couch: There have been romantic rebels against civilization almost since it began. But civilization has a way of winning out (Jerry Adler)". Not endorsing the entire article (especially the bit about Native Americans eating their horses?! I'm not an expert but it seems a bit ajeeb to me). Adler writes:
Six billion people, however much we may deplore their impact on the environment, cannot sustain themselves by foraging for nuts and tubers. The way out isn't backward, but forward, by using our wisdom, and even our much criticized technology, to forge a better and more humane society.
Which reminds me of how Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described Islam as the middle way, not on either extreme. And this is the question that comes to my mind most often when thinking about the environmental crisis: what is the middle way? Extremism is easy, but balance is not. While I agree with most of the Freegan beliefs, I wonder what is the best way to have these ideas accepted by the larger society. What is the way that comes from the Prophetic tradition of balance and moderation?

Also (we're just all about linking to articles this morning :), Mr. Velvet Revolution weighs in on the issue - Our Moral Footprint (NYTimes). This reminds of another hadith (a saying of the Prophet Muhammad)- "be in this world as if you were a stranger or traveler." [Link courtesy of Omaira]

I leave it to you to discuss in the comments.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Helping Others: A Reminder

In a hadith related by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the grieves on the Day of Judgement. Whosoever alleviates (the) lot of a destitute person, Allah will alleviate his lot in this world and the next. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the next. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother.”

The other day, a good friend reminded me something we don't usually forget but sometimes fail to practice fully - the importance of feeding people during Ramadan. That is, feeding not just our friends and family, but people who cannot afford 3 full meals a day.

A suggestion from a dear aunty: "A great idea mashaAllah. tell Sanjana it is very good initiative to encourage people NOT TO buy surplus, even for food some of the things we can live without and still we keep buying extras [see our earlier discussion about this here]. I visited a seniors nursing home today and I think we need to have more people visiting these places Muslims or nonMuslims they need some attention. These places dont mind if we take some food for the seniors and they can enjoy these few moments of extra care and attention."

So as part of the Compact or just on your own, I'd like to remind myself and others to serve others this Ramadan. Take some time to feed the poor, help the homeless, or visit the sick and elderly.

For those of you in the DC-area, Islamic Relief is organizing a humanitarian day this Saturday September 29th. For more information visit the IR website or email marimokh (at) hotmail (dot) com. College students can also participate in their campus Ramadan Fast-a-thon - a nationwide initiative, started at the University of Tennessse in 2001, to bring awareness to the issue of hunger and homelessness in our communities, as well as highlight the tradition of fasting during Ramadan.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

To buy or not to buy..

That has been the question these past two weeks.. so many things I want to buy or even just think of buying. I didn't realize what a consumer I was until this pledge made me evaluate each item I thought of buying.. maybe its like a reverse psychology thing- when you aren't allowed to buy things, you wanna buy even more? The list is endless- a steamer, camera, baby clothes (even though we literally have an outfit a day until she turns 1), scissors, floss, laundry detergent, colander, jeans, eid clothes, books, gifts etc... its good that Ramadan began after our moving and spending fest where I allowed myself to purchase all sorts of things for our apartment- air purifier, coat rack, vacuum cleaner, rug, cutting board, water filters, microwave, desk, etc..

But I find that its pretty easy to hold off on buying things that are not really "needs" but more of a "want".. i can sit on the floor, breathe semi-clean air and throw my coats on the sofa.. but what I find difficult to control is my constant purchasing of food items used in various attempts at creative and ethnic cuisine.. like i had to buy fish sauce to make pad thai, right? I find my kitchen stocked with all sorts of cooking ingredients used sporadically and my fridge filled with items that make me search for new recipes which starts the cycle all over again... this is all connected to my larger problem of food waste and management- as long as I can finish the food in my fridge and not let things go to waste- my conscience is sated... but in reality- do I really need all these food items (and kitchen gadgets;)?

What do you all think?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

US family tries life without toilet paper

Those that have visited a Muslim country recently are probably thinking: no TP, no problem ;) But this family's experiment goes beyond the TP.

Here's an interesting article about Colin Beavan (aka: No Impact Man) and his family's year long experiment to minimize their impact on the environment:
"It is mid-afternoon in an airy, lower-Manhattan flat, on the ninth floor of a posh-looking building with a doorman.

It is a bit dark and there are no lights on. There is a strange quiet feel to the flat, perhaps due to the lack of any appliances - no fridge humming, no TV interference, even no air conditioning, though it is hot and humid outside."

From: US family tries life without toilet paper [BBC]

Some of the steps they've taken seem really waaaaaaay out there for us ordinary folks, but some seem entirely doable. We can all take our own bags to the store and make efforts to cut down on our water use. [Note to self: try this last one. It might get certain family members to stop yelling at you.] But I'm not so sure that I'm ready to forgo toilet paper and, much as I want to have a compost pile, I'm am NOT keeping worms in my kitchen.

Anyway, it's interesting how they've divided their actions with respect to "reducing impact" into phases (reducing waste, then eliminating carbon-producing transport, then turning off the electricity, and now focusing on water usage). It makes the environmental impact of various activities more apparent than going off the grid in one fell swoop would.

It's also interesting to flip the concept around and instead of looking at the impact of their action on the environment, to see how their experiment has affected them. In the article, Beavan's wife mentions that "[i]n essence, the project has really slowed down time, which is pretty amazing considering how fast time has become, and especially with us living in New York - you come home to a quiet, soothing cocoon."

Isn't that what a home is supposed to be - a refuge from the world? How does this play out with our hyper-connected lives? (Personally, I'm tethered not more that about 12 inches from my laptop for the greater part of my waking hours.) When are we not surrounded by things that buzz and hum and require electricity? (A: Ummm...ya, like never.) Beyond the obvious differences, how does their urban oasis of (almost) gadget free-ness compare to the more Walden-esque method of going completely off the grid in philosophy, actual impact, etc? Which is preferable? More feasible?

The scale of their year long experiment is another issue to consider. Obviously, zero impact for 3 people for 1 year is an infinitesimally small change in the global scheme of things. (To borrow from Thomas Friedman's very interesting NYT column today--which you all should read--Doha just ate that for lunch.) Since it's not making that much of a difference in real terms, is the point of their experiment a personal quest to have a guilt-free conscience? Or is it to raise awareness? If so, are not projects of grander scale, but lesser "depth" more likely to do that? (See: Hour of darkness; A former Google spokesman wants people in San Francisco to see the stars and save energy by turning off their lights for one night in October. [LA Times])

From my ramblings above, it's clear that the Beavan's social experiment raises more questions that it can possibly answer, but that's the point--to spark a discussion and make all of us be more mindful of our choices and whatnot. Anyway, I'm going to shut up now 'cause I'm not prepared for my next class and my books (aka: my new best friends who go everywhere with me) are calling out for attention. Discuss amongst yourselves in the comments, if you please.

For more information, check out Beavan's blog about the family's experiences.

Being Part of the Ramadan Compact Gives You Super Human Powers!

Tuesday night my clothing iron went out. I mean it was gone. Not a good thing, if you consider that I do not enjoy walking around in wrinkled clothes. I figure a clothing iron is essential so next day I went out and purchased another iron. I got this on sale for only $30 bucks, normally $50. It is awesome, all digital and has auto shut off (which is good for me since I keep forgetting to turn my iron off), a retractable cord, and it has the ability to spew out both vertical and horizontal steam.

Well, last night I went to go iron my cloths and without thinking picked up my old iron (cause it was still right beside the ironing board) and started using it. All of a sudden I was like, “hey this thing is suppose to be broken”. It worked perfectly, just like new! (Ok, well maybe not like it was new cause it did not have the new clothing iron smell). How could this be, I know what I witnessed and the iron was totally gone.

Here’s what I am thinking. Could being apart of the Ramadan Compact mean that we have super human powers that allow us to fix electrical deficiencies in stuff by just doing nothing? I mean if that is the case I figure I could go stand next to someone’s car (of course it would be a hybrid Lexus) and with my super human powers by pass the keyless entry system, start the car (just by sitting in it), and drive off. Of course this might be considered stealing and may not be compatible with the spiritual path that I would like to maintain during Ramadan. I would only want to use my powers for good and not my own gratification.

My first act where I use my powers for truth, justice and…something else… will be to return the super duper digital iron. I am a bit sad ‘cause I really started to get attached to the new iron and was imaging all the many ways vertical steam would cause me to be happy and fulfilled. However, good must triumph over an iron in the landfill.

Author: Anila Muhammad

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How I was Humbled by a Spatula

About three years back I was involved in a self imposed month long social experiment. I wanted to see how easy or how difficult it would be to detach myself from consumer culture. For one month I was going to commit to buying only items that were essential. I had never really been the type of person who was into labels, having a lot of stuff, and hanging out at the mall. Given my lack of being a consumer I thought “no problem, this will be a piece of cake”.

Well it was a piece of cake, chocolate cake to be exact on day one, and day two, up until day three. That was the day I stepped into a Target.

My intentions were honorable; I was there to purchase something for my home. What exactly that something was I did not know. Until I saw this beautiful, brushed stainless steel, every so sleek looking spatula.

You see buying stuff for my home was OK, because it was for my home, and not for me, so it was essential. Right? Especially if that something was a kitchen gadget. And kitchen gadgets, I rationalized, are essential because I have to cook, so I can eat, so I need another kitchen gadget. Right? Plus it was so beautiful, and it would look so good once I got it home, and it made me happy (I think), and I had been working hard, and didn’t I deserve some happiness in my life.

The crux of Consumer Culture is the belief that consumption will provide me with happiness. Meaning that the more stuff I have the happier I will be (if only this were true there would be many happy people in debt). The problem with this model is the pressure it puts on our environment. More consumption equals more stuff that goes into our landfills, and more emissions that come out of the factories that produce the goods, and from the transportation industry that gets these goods to me and you. The other problem with consumption is that it does not contribute to greater happiness or fulfillment. (Take a look at this article by National Geographic on Consumer Culture and the Environment).

For me the spatula (remember its brushed stainless steel), was happiness. At least happiness in that moment.

As a friend of mine, a self professed shop-a-holic, puts it “(consuming) is a high. When I am looking for something to purchase I am on a high, I’m happy, I’m excited, until I purchase it then the high fades and I have to start the cycle all over again”.

I believe I was in that very cycle when I was contemplating my purchase. And here is the irony, since I was never heavy into purchasing a lot of personal stuff (such as jewelry, a gazillion shoes, designer clothing) I thought I was immune to this very thing.

You’ll be happy to know that I did not purchase the spatula (though it probably would have enhanced the taste of my omelets). I also took the one month of learning and extended it over several months. I can’t say that I was completely faithful during that entire time since a new spatula mysteriously showed up next to my other two (I think it must have been a sleep shopping incident). I did realize that the consumer culture belief system has more influence on me than I initially thought.

Realizing this at the hands of a spatuala (sorry no pun intented here) was, indeed, a very humbling experience.

Author: Anila Muhammad

Monday, September 17, 2007


For me, the main part of the Compact process is an "exercise in simplicity." Figuring what I really need, thinking about it twice, and finding a way to fulfill it without having to run to the nearest mall, thoughtful consumption in other words. So to be honest with you, my first weekend in the Ramadan Compact did included consumption. I mean I didn't visit any malls or big box stores. And they were used items - a table for my plants (I needed one for a while since my plants were dying from lack of sunlight, this was used via Craigslist) and some kitchen paraphernalia (of course, a real NEED). Just to let you know - I haven't bought anything new yet, other than food :) The challenge is going far.

I've gotten some questions about what you can and can't buy under the Compact. To clarify, exceptions include:
- used or borrowed items
- diapers
- school books since we don't want you to fail out of school (try used first, they're cheaper anyways)
- gasoline: this is a hard one. Driving is one of the most environmentally damaging activities that we undertake on a daily basis. Check back for a more detailed post about the Compact and energy consumption.

Even if you've been consuming more than the basics this Ramadan, it's not to late to sign up. There's still another 3+ weeks left for you to try it out. 9 people have signed up so far.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ramadan Mubarak!

In the spirit of reducing consumption during Ramadan and using it as a time for reflection and awareness, I challenge you to a "Buy Nothing Ramadan."

You've heard all the news stories on the environment: global warming, air and water pollution, species extinction, loss of forest, etc. Whether you believe that our planet is heading for an immediate catastrophe or not, you have to realize that, as Americans, we just consume A LOT. If you look at our Ecological Footprint - a measure of consumption and waste production that is translated into the amount of land needed to maintain these services (see here) - an average American needs 24 "acres" of land to support his current lifestyle. I took the quiz and, even if the whole world were semi-green like me, we would still need 3.7 earths to survive (17 acres per person). Take the quiz and see what you get.

As a Muslim with "environmentalist" tendencies, I believe that this sort of consumption is not just inequitable but largely unsustainable. I also believe that we can make a difference through our individual decisions.

I invite you to take the barakah of Ramadan to be thankful for the blessings in our lives, be more mindful of our actions and their environmental impact, and reduce material consumption.

The idea of the Buy-Nothing Ramadan comes from the Compact movement, first started in the San Francisco area where members agreed to go a year without buying anything.

The Compact aims to:
"1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact
2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er)
3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)"

Here are the rules (modified from here):
1. Don't buy any new products. Exceptions: Food and drink, medicine, personal items (ex. socks and underwear), services, charitable contributions, and gifts (in moderation).
2. For other items, borrow or buy used.
3. Take the time you would spend shopping in other productive ways (read Quran, spend time with your family, volunteer for a local community organization, etc).

Feel free to add other "rules" for your personal Compact - unplug from TV and internet media, try carpooling to reduce vehicle trips - be creative and challenge yourself! Use Ramadan as a time to be more mindful of not only your eating habits, but of your overall consumption. Food for thought: Turn the tide and how to host a eco-friendly iftar

More information on The Compact: Blog; Yahoogroup; and SF Chronicle Article.

Compact Members

So far, these people have pledged to go consumption-free for the month:

Anila Muhammad

Great idea Sanjana and I am more than happy to reduce my consumption to essentials. About three years back I participated in a similar project and through self-reflection learned a great deal about myself, my values, and about the sustainability of this planet.

I am looking forward to hearing about everyone's experiences during this month of reduced consumption.

A bit about me. I currently teach undergraduate courses in the Women's Studies program at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis). Recently launched, a blog dedicated to focusing on the solutions to environmental challenges. And have been involved in volunteer grassroots efforts in animal rescue, animal advocacy, and forest stewardship.

Happy Fasting!

Asma Rehman

Dina Badawy
Salam! I'm Dina Badawy and I currently live in San Francisco, CA. I just moved here from DC, the place that I credit to making me much more politically and environmentally aware. It was a part-time job at Earth Day Network that got me to learn more about the environment, and more importantly, my impact on it. I came across this compact near the end of Ramadan (by google-ing "muslim and environment," how awesome), but figured these habits/behaviors would be good to learn and share at anytime of the year.

Faiza Ali

Inayet Sahin
Inayet Sahin is a homeschooling mom of 3 boys who is seeking a peaceful existance with Allah's creation. She has her masters in curriculum theory and development and is currently organizing the Going Organic and Green workshop to be held on Oct. 27th, 2007. She is also the developing the upcoming website,, which encompasses organic and green living.

Khadijeh Zarafshar
My name is Khadijeh, and I'm a senior at Georgetown University, studying English lit, Arabic, and Studio Art. I lived on M street this summer and walking past all the stores, at least twice a day, provided me a huge temptation, which I gave in to, a bit too frequently :) So I'm looking forward to this "exercise in simplicity," a means of re-focusing on the basics- the spiritual, family, and school aspects of life. I'm also trying to cut back on my internet usage this month. A few months ago, I picked up a copy of Vanity Fair's "Green Issue," which was eye-opening to say the least, and I love the concrete initiative the Ramadan Compact contains. Ramadan Mubarak!

Marwa El-Messidi
I currently live in Richmond, Virginia and work at a state government agency, the Department of Housing and Community Development. I decided to participate in the Ramadan compact in hopes to pull myself from as many worldly distractions as possible during this holy month. After reading about this project, I loved the idea.

I first became interested in being environmentally conscious while taking an Environmental Ethics course during my undergraduate years. This was a powerful course that truly opened my eyes to how mankind has neglected and mistreated the environment as well as how a simpler lifestyle leads to a more fulfilling life. One American Muslims scholar once said that "We need to be willing to say 'I will do with less/live with less as a means to have a more equitable world' " The Ramadan compact is an excellent way to raise consciousness about consumerism and our individual impact on the environment and is a great idea for an annual Ramadan resolution.

Mohamad Chakaki
Salaam! My name is Mohamad. I live and work in Washington, DC, my home-away-from-home... stirring things up here in the nation's capital, like any good social ecologist would, both socially and environmentally. I'm joining the compact for several reasons (social, environmental and economic) but mostly because I'm seeking clarity and focus in this blessed month. I pray this becomes an effort we can all extend well beyond Ramdan, insha'Allah!

Omaira Alam
I just completed a 3-year program in Washington, D.C. I'm almost back in my hometown of Toronto, but not quite (I keep doing these D.C. reappearances :)). I'm presently between jobs, between countries, and just trying to see which direction Allah want me to head in now. As for being part of this initiative that Sanjana has put together, I don't really consider myself a "green" person, but I don't like wasting things...In Toronto they alternate between collecting recycling and trash every two weeks, and they collect compost every week...but what if it wasn't the law, and something I had the option of doing. This is more an effort in self-reflection to see if I really am what I claim to be and an extension of what Ramadan is all my mummy put it, we don't need all this surplus whether material or otherwise...

With dua, and tawfiq,

Reem Abdelrazek
Salam! I'm Reem Abdelrazek, working in Nashville, Tennessee (residing spiritually in Knoxville). I decided to participate in the Ramadan Compact for several reasons. 1) Honestly, I'm low on funds and need to save money; 2) Why not give up 'consumerism' for a month? I've never tried anything like this before and it'll be interesting to see how well I fare; 3) Supporting Sanjana and her green ways; and 4) Instead of giving to myself in this blessed month, I should give to others. I wish you all the best. I must admit though...I did buy a book shelf yesterday :-\

Rehenuma Asmi
I'm joining this because I have always been a "tree hugger" as my brother calls it.. an eco nut who feels guilty if they don't collect everyones plastic bottles for recycling at those large parties people are always throwing and becomes extremely disappointed in mankind when there are no recycling stations in sight.. the environment and our fellow humans deserve a fair treatment when it comes to how we use our resources- its a true injustice that we are committing.. I like this focus because it really emphasizes the nature of the problem- not just basic recycling, but general over consumption and improper use of goods- we dont share and we don't seem to care if everyone has enough- our overconsumption should be directly linked to poverty, starvation and disease across the world.

I'm a doctoral student at Columbia Teachers College in the program of Anthropology and Education. I am married to wonderful man and have a beautiful 6 month old who at the rate she is transforming before my eyes will probably be 18 before I know it.

Rubina Siddiqui
Salaam! My name is Rubina, aka, Ruby. I'm from East Tennessee and have somehow found my way to the big city of DC... again. I've made this "Ramadan Compact" pledge for a number of reasons, the biggest being the fact that I don't need any more worldly distractions then I've already burdened myself with during this month. Besides, there are better things for your money to be spent on, right?

Sanjana Ahmad
Although Ramadan officially began on Wednesday night for most of us, my pledge did not start until 2pm Thursday afternoon. There was a pair of pants that I simply HAD to buy (I need clothes for my new job!) and a rolling pin (sounds lame but I REALLY needed it and I'm a sucker for [kitchen] appliances/gadgets). But now I am consumption free for another 29-days. Check back to see how it goes.

Tanzeela Ahmad