Adventures in Greening: contemplations in Giving Stuff Up


By Catherine Moran

As many of you may know, Lent began on February 13. For many practicing Christians, this translates to fasting, or “giving something up.” Going without meat on Fridays is a popular example.

While I am not a practicing Catholic any longer, I was for some time, so picking something to go without for 40 days is not a new concept to me. However, my parents, who are both open-minded, loving people, put a bit of a different spin on Lent. Rather than give something up (my sister and I didn’t watch tv during the week, nor did we eat lots of junk food, which were the two most popular things to “give up” during Lent for my classmates in middle school), my parents would suggest, each year, that we do something extra, be it an act of kindness toward someone, or volunteering our time after school to help clean up the library. This concept of doing something extra has stuck with me since childhood. I try to incorporate that mentality into my everyday life, and not just confine it to a proscribed period of time. Why should I not go out of my way to be kind to people every day? And doing something extra strikes me as a better use of my energy than being sad that I can’t eat chocolate for 40 days (though this is in no way of judgment of people who do sacrifice something that they enjoy as an expression of their religion.)

That said, I do feel as if I am participating in Lent this year, as I continue to try to purchase fewer plastic items.

As Kate-book readers may know, I’ve been trying to cut out plastic from my life. I’ve a ways to go, but getting better. However, in this season of Lent, I am trying to concentrate my efforts, and am inspired in part, as always, by Beth Terry, author of My Plastic-Free Life. She has a post up on her blog about giving up plastic for Lent, which inspired me to write about Lent this week. Please check it out. If you have already decided what you will do without for Lent, perhaps keep this in mind for next year. Or add (subtract?) it in addition! It’s one thing to give up a personal vice for a month, but if you could impact the environment with your choice as well, it would be giving something good to the world while simultaneously doing something that could be good for you.

Be well, greenies.

Adventures in Greening is a column running on every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter @folowbredcrumbs, or check out her excellent book blog.

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One thought on “Adventures in Greening: contemplations in Giving Stuff Up

  1. Sara says:

    Great post! My mom encouraged us along similar lines when we were kids: don’t just “give up,” but also “give back.” That sentiment stays with me even today. Fasting can be good for the soul, but even better is developing long term lifestyle shifts that impact the world beyond the self.

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