Africa: Archbishop Calls for Carbon Fast for Lent

Cape Town — Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has invited Christians around the globe to join him in a Carbon Fast for Lent.

"Lent is a time of repentance and fasting, of turning away from all that is counter to God's will and purposes for his world and all who live in it", he said. "This year, I invite Anglicans and Christians to focus their Lenten 'acts of love and sacrifice' on our contribution to climate change, and on those most impacted by it."

Archbishop Makgoba chairs the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) and is Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa which includes some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Two of the Church's dioceses, Lebombo and Niassa in Mozambique, have recently been hit by devastating floods, leaving more than 150,000 people homeless.

The Carbon Fast resource suggests a specific action for each of the forty days of Lent, raising awareness of environmental issues and guiding participants on how they can have a positive impact on creation. Building on traditional Lenten practices where Christians give something up, such as chocolate or alcohol, the Carbon Fast asks participants to focus on giving up, or making changes to lifestyle, so that they reduce their 'carbon footprint', that is, their contribution to environmentally damaging greenhouse gas emissions, usually measured in carbon dioxide equivalent.

The activities suggested for each day include cutting down on meat consumption: "A traditional Lenten observance is 'Fish on Fridays'. Why not also have a 'Meat-free Monday' - or some other day, if on Mondays you usually eat Sunday's leftovers? Did you know that 'a kilogram of steak could be responsible for as many greenhouse gases as driving a car for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home?' D Fanelli, New Scientist, 2007.

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