Each year, we create a Lenten Calendar to help you reflect, learn and take action on some dimension of sustainability and your faith. This year, we have created a Plastic Fast.
As a spiritual practice, fasting sharpens our intentions. Like a pebble in our shoe, the nagging feeling of hunger—or the discomfort of forgoing something we usually take for granted—is a persistent reminder to commit and recommit to inner transformation.
While many of us grew up “giving something up” for Lent, only to gleefully indulge in the forbidden item when the season passed, we hope that this fast will be more than a temporary exercise in deprivation and will help you make lasting changes in your everyday practices and mindset.
- If we continue to produce and discard plastic at the expected rates, our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
- As a byproduct of fossil fuels, plastics are the fastest growing and second largest source of industrial greenhouse gas emissions (according to the Center for International and Environmental Law).
- Throughout its life-cycle—from production through the hundreds (if not thousands) of years after its disposal—plastic harms wildlife and human health. Among humans, this harm is experienced first and worst by communities of color, low-income communities and other vulnerable populations.
How to use this calendar
A lot of the activities suggested here relate to individual consumption choices because these are areas of our lives where we often have the most agency to make changes. But while changing our consumption habits is a great place to start, it would be a terrible place to stop!
At Michigan IPL, we use the model of the 3-legged stool to think about change-making. One leg is about practical, local actions—like many of the actions suggested here. The second leg is about broader, structural change—change that is made through advocacy or voting, for example. And the third leg is about changing our spiritual orientations and relationships with others.
During Lent and beyond, we encourage you to think about how you can make change in all of these dimensions.