Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a time on the Church calendar designed for repentance as Easter approaches. Lent disciplines include fasting, prayer and alms giving (giving to charity). In addition, Catholics are expected to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. As a Catholic who currently doesn’t eat meat at all, what should I abstain from on Fridays? On person suggested abstaining from sugar. I like that idea.
As far as fasting goes, Lent is not like Ramadan, in that Catholics fast from all food from sun up to sun down. Among things we’re encouraged to fast from include gossiping, violence, criticism, self-pitying. My dad one year fasted from cigarettes for Lent and never smoked again. I was reading pamphlet on Wednesday that suggested fasting from carbon. Fasting from carbon? What’s that? I thought it was a typo. Then off to the side, was an explanation. In 2008, the Church of England urged its members to lessen their carbon footprint by not using plastic bags, for example. Or use the dishwasher less often or put insulation around the water heater. The idea I liked best was to remove a prominent lightbulb for the duration of Lent and then on Easter replace it with an energy-efficient bulb. Most of our bulbs already are energy-efficient.
When I mentioned fasting from carbon to my wife, she pointed out that we already fast from carbon — we don’t drive, we eat a vegan diet, we rarely get plastic bags at the grocery and our dishwasher is either she or me.
So if you’re struggling with an idea for a Lenten fast — how about a carbon fast?
Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday, or fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras. My son and I had pancakes for lunch without added fat. I used a mashed banana in place of the oil and flaxmeal in place of the eggs. He had had pancakes for breakfast and for supper but didn’t recall ever having them for lunch.
In addition to eating pancakes, I went for a 3-mile run. It was cold. When I started, it didn’t seem cold, but once the sun set, it got cold in a hurry. In addition, the wind picked up. I don’t know what the temp was, but I’m guessing it quickly got into the 20s F.