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):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Join (or start!) the greening effort at our mosques and help green our communities.
- Help advocate to elected officials for legislation which will help everyone reduce their impact on the climate.