Plastic Fast: Can I give up plastic for lent?

This year for lent, our family is committing to reduce and limit our use of plastic. Our goal is to not bring any new plastic into the house during lent, and not to use any plastic already in the house that would have to be thrown away, like plastic wrap, for example. This allows us to use reusable plastic containers and bottles, but not any throw-away plastic.

We are doing this for the planet, as an act of stewardship for God’s good creation, which we have abused in consumer greed. We hope it will show us how much plastic we use, and teach us ways of  reducing our use of plastic long-term.

It will feel like a first-world sacrifice – no drive-thru coffees; no chips; no frozen vegetables. It will mean going to the butcher for meat wrapped in butcher paper and buying food from the bulk barn with our own containers (not sure yet if they will allow it). No new lego for the boy.

“Remember you are dust. From dust you have come, and to dust you shall return.” The words of ash Wednesday remind us that we are part of the creation, dependent on this planet, entrusted to our care. Our lives are tied up with its breath. Yet we are responsible for creating a throw-away culture that is choking the sea and the land.

In a MacRae Centre politics night in Wolfville recently, I was challenged. After watching the film on Reinhold Niebuhr as a public theologian, Head of Politics at Acadia, Dr. Andrew Biro wondered aloud what Niebuhr would have to say about the major issues of our time, namely the destruction of the environment.

It was obvious to me that he would have had something to say, and likely quite a lot. So, recalling an idealistic young seminarian who was a member of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, I need to reckon with this afresh. I will try to unpack some of these thoughts as we progress through the next 40 days, mindful of our environmental stewardship, and in trying to take at least some appropriate action.

We are sure we will not be entirely successful, but we are committed to giving it a try. Feel free to join us on this plastic fast, and to comment on the blog as we share our journey through lent.


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