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Carbon Fast?


Our household has been actively working with the Architecture2030 plan to revise the codes and laws creating the change needed in energy consumption ( particularly oil consumption) and reduce carbon emissions.

We added solar panels to our house, study our water usage, do not use our clothes dryer, recycle, reuse and study to make our Architectural Firm the Greenest Design Folks in our area.  I am proud to say that we have taken an extremely old house, made it beautiful and created a lifestyle that has meaning and is very green.

We have offset our carbon production by the equivalence of planting a tree every month for the past 18 months.   We have produced enough power to run our household and 10 more for a number of months now, even with our dull and cloudy 2010 weather.

Can we improve?  Yes I am sure we can and that feels powerful to me, to be able to actively do some things to make an actual difference in my life and my planet.   So when the following invitation came to my email box – I said count me in…What a great way to bring carbon neutral into my spiritual practice for 40 days.

I just wanted to pass this on to you so you could have the option of making a difference on a daily basis.

Here is the invitation:

Please Join Us in a Lenten Fast . . .   From Carbon
As we write this invitation, the World Meteorological Organization along with NOAA and NASA all have data showing 2010 tied with 2005 for being the hottest year on record.  We also read that in December 2010, Arctic sea-ice cover was the lowest on record.  Just as humanity now recognizes climate change as a predominant scientific, economic and political issue, we also realize it is a profound moral issue.  Life on earth as we know it is mortal – it is susceptible to change, hurt and, yes, death.

Ash Wednesday (March 9, 2011) invites us into the season of Lent – a time within the church year to acknowledge that we are mortal, limited.  Lent awakens us to hope in God whose “steadfast love endures forever” and to struggle against everything that leads us away from the love of God and neighbor.  The Lenten disciplines of repentance, fasting, prayer, study and works of love are guides for returning to the steadfast love of God.  During Lent we confess our mortality, our limits and our vulnerability so that we might be transformed and become the new life God calls us to be.

We invite you to join us as we commit to fasting from carbon during Lent. Beginning Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, participants will receive a daily email with the day’s suggested carbon-reducing activity.  When possible, this will include a quantitative measure of the carbon reduction resulting from the activity.  Each daily email will also have a section suggesting a weekly focus for the congregation.

If you are a pastor, we encourage you to email this invitation to the members of your congregation.  If you are a denominational leader, we encourage you to extend this invitation (perhaps with your own introduction) to your churches and pastors and invite them to send the email to the members of their churches.  Our hope is that Christians the world over from every denomination might participate in this carbon fast.

Congregations that participate are encouraged to gather weekly to share their experiences, support one another, compare notes, share resources and pray.

God is calling us to be the change we long to see.  Let us engage this spiritual discipline, grateful for all God has entrusted to us, and trusting that with God all things are possible.

Click here to participate

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal  •  Conference Minister and President  •  Massachusetts Conference, UCC
The Rev. Dr. Chuck Barnes  •  Conference Minister  •  Rhode Island Conference, UCC
The Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak  •  Conference Minister  •  Vermont Conference, UCC
The Rev. David Gaewski  •  Conference Minister  •  Maine Conference, UCC
The Rev. Gary Schulte  •  Conference Minister  •  New Hampshire Conference, UCC
The Rev. Chuck Wildman  •  Interim Conference Minister  •  Connecticut Conference, UCC

An initiative of the New England Regional Environmental Ministries, United Church of Christ

This  fast is adapted from materials created by the following organizations, whom we gratefully acknowledge:  Tearfund; the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative; The Environmental Outreach Committee of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC; Washington Interfaith Power & Light; United Church of Chapel Hill; Rock Spring Congregational UCC; Alternatives for Simple Living; CLR(NSW) Social Justice Committee; Buzzle.com.

Local Washington State group organizing carbon Lenten Fast  Earth Ministry and WAIPL Lent Prayer and Reflection Guide, Earth Ministry and WAIPL Carbon Fast Calendar

So are you working on helping the planet?  Do you think this is a good idea?  Do you like to be active and to do things that can make a difference?  Did you sign up?

Related Reading you might also enjoy:
The Biking Architect
Agenda for a New Economy
Do you know your Walk Score?
Taking it on the Architecture 2030 Challenge

As always I look forward to your enlightening comments:

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17 Responses to “Carbon Fast?”

  1. Talon Says:

    We reduce, re-use, and recycle at every opportunity. When we bought new armchairs last year we were pleasantly surprised to find out how many beautiful “green” options there are available in the furniture industry, for instance. If you take the time, you really can make a difference.

    I think tying this type of awareness to Lent is a really inspired idea.
    Talon recently posted..VestigesMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I am listening to the discussion program here about the Nisqually Earthquake which happened 10 years ago today. It was a huge wake up call just like the Christchurch NZ earthquake is right now….in the 1970s we had changes many of our building codes so the heavy damage was done to older non-retrofit buildings – we need to change the codes now, so that all of our schools and buildings are fit and include all the carbon offsetting that we can…it will make a profound difference to our health and our environment. European countries are way ahead of us North Americans because the government has a unified commitment…we should be inundated with work right now with my partner’s expertise, instead we are still being bombarded with fear messages and greed….
    Yes, I think tying this to Lent was a great idea…

    All of my many links are not working on this post – such as the one to sign up….Will get over to IT GIRL fairly quickly..

    patricia Reply:

    UPDATE – Links are now working.

  2. J.D. Meier Says:

    I like your tenacity and focus.

    Sharing “why” you want to do something is always empowering and can help lead others with inspired action.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Jonathan Figaro on Lessons in LifeMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I am glad you like my tenacity and focus….I wish the links were working on this post…

    Why is important, but if the fear leaders keep us underground and without funds….how much will be have to give up to succeed?

    I am hoping I can get some more grant money so we can keep proceeding and educating by example…now that our neighbors are getting our cheaper power from the solar panels – they are getting a bit more interested….

  3. Galen Pearl Says:

    What an inspiration. There is so much more I could do than what I’m doing now. I will commit to becoming more educated and taking more steps to reduce my cabon footprint. You are a motivating model!

    patricia Reply:

    This is a great inspiration….I wish the links were working better
    Education, education, education…..

    on bikingarchitect.com I have been writing about net-zero housing, the carbon fast, solar panels, sunshade, products and all the various things we have been doing on our own and all the things Portland has been doing too…we live in an impressive part of the country

  4. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    You’re doing much better than we are. You inspire me!
    vered | blogger for hire recently posted..Stay Away From Fast Food Chicken Nuggets! Try Schnitzel InsteadMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Vered ,
    I am very happy to inspire someone in this area…the world is so physically beautiful I want it to remain that way and of course since it is our business to be ahead of others in this area and educate – well I hope this is inspiring enough to bring in some work? !!!
    Thank you for coming on by – love your comments…succinct words are you!

  5. Jannie Funster Says:

    That’s amazing on your excess of solar power! Do you manage to sell or give away some? I’m not sure how that works.

    We will be reducing our carbon footprint a lot this coming fall when Kelly starts taking the school bus. I like the idea of helping clean up the air.

    And this Lenten idea is a great one!

    Jannie Funster recently posted..The Corner Cabinet That Love BuiltMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    This Lenten idea is great and I see we got most of our links activated while I was at a meeting. It is very easy to just click through and get the 40 suggestions.

    …and they tell you how to unsubscribe too

    The power company puts a meter on the house…we have processors which integrate the power into our house and then what is left over goes onto the grid. The power company buys the energy that we make in excess of what we use.

    The amazing thing is that folks would think it normal for people in Texas to have solar panels, and not here in the rainy NW…but as long as the sun can get through in the form of light we are making energy…We have 2 big cedar trees which block sunrise and 2 more which block high noon…and we just had 4 days of icy snow covering the panels…so we bought our power too.
    Our state has lots of windmill farms and wave energy farms too.

    We have one of the most innovative recycling programs in the world here…and the biggest problem: People do not use it properly….so we have to pay other people to sort their garbage etc.

    It is always fun to find more things that we can do right at home that makes a difference to our world…clean air, what will we do without it?

  6. Deborah Says:

    Thanks toi my husband, our kitchen has become a true reycling plant. Our regular waste has diminished considerably since we started this about ten years ago. I have just carried several ‘sacks’ of recyclable waste out to the green bin which the local council has collected and taken away. The bottle bank awaits the empties, the clothing bank awaits our cast-offs and the money bank awaits the savings we make by re-using what we can when we can. Solar panels are on our list for this house. Every little helps! :-)
    Deborah recently posted..San Francisco Bay Area – just another dayMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Good for you Deborah, and yes indeed every little bit helps

    I think it is the most optimistic form of prayer I know of

  7. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. I recycle as much as I can .. my garbage bag is a small once a week bag, the rest is recycled .. I just need to walk up the hill to stop the car emissions .. mainly! .. which I’ll do once the better weather starts up .. soon I hope ..

    We all need to take better care of our planet .. otherwise we’ll fall off it .. and nature of some sort will carry on ..

    Hope all goes well with your trip .. cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Content is King – is it not How about Passion My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    I believe recycling is vital but I think this carbon fast information is even more things we can accomplish on our own….I am thinking there will be more information there and lots of new ideas??

    I signed up to learn more

    Working on the trip next…just paid the bills. Having trouble thinking of post ideas because paying the bills just stops the creative flow of writing and ideas for me. Need some new stimulation…!!

  8. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Any old time is a great time to get greener and more aware, but I do so love you teaming this effort up with Lent, the more traditional time to give things up for the common good. Fabulous!

    patricia Reply:

    Yes I agree suzen – any time is a good time to do something for the greater good…also add in every two weeks one can change a habit/ 40 days is a good start of new thinking too!

    Thanks for coming on by