The United Diocese of Down And Dromore

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A plastic–free Lent…is it even possible?

A plastic–free Lent…is it even possible?

Wednesday 14 February 2018

A Lenten message from Bishop Harold:

Lent is always a time of challenge….unless we simply put it to the back of our minds! That is what it is meant to be. I have to confess that I’m never very sure about the idea of just taking things up for Lent, rather than giving things up. Most of us need both. 

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal has asked us to consider finding a jam jar, putting it in the middle of the table, and putting money in it every time we drive somewhere we could have walked to. Great idea! Why not do it. It at least raises our awareness of our wasteful and sometimes unhealthy lifestyles.

I want to suggest another Lent idea for 2018. It started when a friend in London said that he and his family were trying to live ‘plastic–free’. Most of us have watched the latest brilliant ‘Blue Planet’ series and seen the incredible build–up of plastic in our seas and oceans, with the damage it does to fish and birds, let alone the possibility of plastic particles entering the food chain.

This makes us suddenly aware of something we had simply taken for granted – the fact that throwaway plastic is all over the place. At least one supermarket chain has declared its intention to move away from plastic packaging, because plastic takes 400 years or more to bio–degrade. I also hear that railway stations and airports in England are planning to install water fountains to reduce use of single use bottles of water – something we never really needed in this country.

So, I thought I might try to live plastic–free for a day in London, coming back through railway stations and Heathrow airport, and I began to see things as I had never quite seen them before. Plastic was everywhere! It was hard to find something to eat that wasn’t in a plastic container, and nearly impossible to find something to drink! Then I came back home to find magazines in the post wrapped in plastic….it just seemed to be all pervasive.

I would suggest that we all take stock of our plastic this Lent. Perhaps a wee book where we put a tick every time we throw away single–use plastic, or a fast from drinks in plastic bottles, or throwaway coffee cups. This is a time to sensitise ourselves to our wasteful, Western way of living, which shows poor stewardship of the planet and is laying up trouble for the world in years to come.

Have a fruitful and challenging Lent.

+Harold
Down & Dromore

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