Lent Carbon Fast

Starting with Ash Wednesday, Christians who observe the season of Lent may put into practice a daily habit that reduces carbon emissions.

Arkansas IPL encourages individuals and congregations to participate in a Carbon Fast each year during the season of Lent, observed by many Christian congregations. Daily suggestions are made for reducing energy consumption and overall carbon footprints. Watch here for the list each year with daily tips that require easy action.

Day One (Ash Wednesday) Remove one ordinary light bulb and live without it for the next 40 days. Replace three other frequently used light bulbs with LEDs. Reduce carbon emissions and save money. If every household in the United States did it, we would prevent a trillion pounds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

Day 2 Check your home for drafts with a ribbon or feather. If it flutters, add weatherproofing measures. Do it yourself! Go to www.doityourself.com

Day 3 Tread lightly. Whether by foot, bike, bus or car, find ways to reduce carbon emissions when you travel today. Not driving just one day a week can reduce CO2 emissions by about 8 pounds per week. That adds up to about 400 pounds of CO2 per year. (Source: Consumer Reports)

Day 4 Are you recycling everything possible? Really? Everything? Look into it at www.regionalrecycling.org.

First Sunday Stop the Straw. 500 million plastic straws are discarded each day in the USA. (source: Plastic Pollution Coalition). Plastic straws are #5 on the list of top 10 items found in oceans, according to the Ocean Conservancy. Choose paper or plant-based compostable straws or give them up. Refuse them at restaurants.

Day 5 Turn your central heating thermostat down by one degree. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can cut energy use by about 3 percent. That translates to an average annual CO2 savings of about 1500 pounds. You save money too.

Day 6 Say goodbye to standby. Turn off electrical equipment when not in use. One TV alone will save a hefty 44 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Day 7 Join a Lent Study on Caring for Creation. Or start one!

Day 8 Register for a discussion group on voluntary simplicity in your community.

Day 9 Carpool! Sharing a ride just two days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated average 1,590 pounds a year.

Day 10 Plan now to attend the Drawdown Conference on March 24 at Second Presbyterian Church, Little Rock.  Register at www.arkansasipl.com. Scholarships are available for students. Information: arkansasipl@gmail.com or (501)772-9906

Second Sunday Environmental degradation is not a distant threat. It is affecting poor communities now. Pray for the work of charitable organizations that help vulnerable communities adapt to change around the world.

Day 11 Pray for those studying for careers in environmental sustainability.

Day 12 Give your dishwasher a day off. Save water and the energy to heat it. Or promote your dishwasher to a Grade A energy efficiency appliance. Only run it when you have a full load.

Day 13 Use local shops or farmer’s markets  (Local Food Link). They will thank you. Supermarkets and big box stores won’t notice your absence. Your choice reduces the distance that items travel to market, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. Avoid foods that have been imported by air travel.

 Day 14 . Plan to join neighbors one day in the Promise Garden – a community garden on 12th Street. Contact us to set a date: arkanasipl@gmail.com

 Day 15 Stop using plastic bags. Get into the habit of taking your own re-usable shopping bags.

Day 16 Compost. Put nutrients from food waste back into the soil – not into a methane-emitting landfill. You can do it. Go to www.motherearthnews.com

Third Sunday  Turn off your engine when you stop for a minute or two. In city driving, up to one-third of your fuel can be wasted through idling.

Day 17 Find one way to save paper today. Re-use an old envelope or print double-sided.

Day 18 Turn the taps off. In one day a hot, dripping tap could fill a tub – wasting water and energy.

Day 19 Give thanks. Visit www.regionalrecycling.org for details on what can be recycled. Express your appreciation for their provisions. Ask if they could provide more ways for the community to recycle.

Day 20 Who works hardest in the house? Mom or Dad? No, the fridge! It is working 24/7. Treat it to a good de-icing and make sure it’s running efficiently.

Day 21 Love does no harm to its neighbor. (Romans 13:10) While our lifestyles consume more and more energy, our poorer neighbors are suffering. Reflect on ways to love our neighbors in our increasingly connected world.

Day 22 Pressure a car owner to check tire pressure. Low tire pressure means high fuel consumption.

Fourth Sunday Wash dishes by hand or use your dishwasher only when you have a full load.

Day 23 Reduce your use of paper plates, cups, napkins.

Day 24 Pray for farmers who get caught in cycles of floods and droughts throughout the world because of changes in eco-systems. Their food can alleviate hunger.

Day 25 Pray for our neighbors around the world who are vulnerable to extreme drought, crop failure, rising sea levels, floods, raging wildfires and violent storms.

Day 26 Rid your car of any unnecessary weight. You lose 1% fuel efficiency for every extra 100 pounds.

Day 27 When driving on the highway, maintain steady speed. For most vehicles, 55 is the most fuel efficient highway speed and will save you 20–30% in fuel costs compared to driving at 75 mph. It’s also safer.

Day 28 Anticipate stops and slowdowns; decelerate steadily to save gas.

Fifth Sunday Put an insulation jacket on your hot water tank. If we all do it, we can cut enough CO2 to fill thousands of hot air balloons – not that we would.

Day 29 Re-use an item you would otherwise throw away – such as a jam jar, envelope, plastic container with lid.

Day 30 Put a lid on it. Cover a pan when cooking. Use a kettle to boil water.

Day 31 Unplug your mobile phone charger. It uses electricity even when not charging.

Day 32 Discover a new fact about carbon emissions and climate at Pew Research. The non-partisan Pew Center on Global Climate Change brings together business leaders, policy makers, scientists and other experts for a new approach to a complex and often controversial issue. The approach is based on sound science, straight talk, and a belief that we can work together to protect the climate while sustaining economic growth.

Day 33 Dry clothes by hanging them instead of using a dryer.

Day 34 Take a shower instead of a bath. You will heat less water.

Sixth Sunday Observe an Embrace the Silence Sunday. Turn off everything – no TV, radio, computers, video games. It will be good for the soul. You will save on carbon emissions and save money too.

Day 35 Stop junk mail. Visit www.catalogchoice.org  to opt out of catalogs. Stop waste. Reduce clutter, save natural resources.

Day 36 Say NO to bottled water. Use a re-fillable water bottle instead. If you find yourself in a situation where bottled water is your only option, be sure to recycle the plastic bottle. Plastic bottles are petroleum; we need fewer in landfills.

Day 37 If you have old appliances that no longer work, replace them with energy-efficiency models. They could save a third of your energy consumption.

Day 38 Make plans to join a Green Team, Youth Group, Scouts, Ark. Interfaith Power & Light members, and other volunteers for energy-saving activities.

Day 39 Learn more about how your resource usage compares to those in other areas of the world. Go to Climate Data Explorer.

Day 40 Remember that light bulb you removed at the beginning of Lent? Replace it now with an energy-saving CFL or LED bulb. You will save money and carbon emissions. Better yet, could you do without that light bulb permanently?

Easter Sunday Give Thanks.