Why not “Carbon Fast” for Lent 2020?

Our Lady of Loretto

& St Michael Archangel

A Carbon Fast for Lent 2020

Every year the Church encourages us to fast as part of our Lenten observances. This year we invite you once again to also fast by reducing your carbon (or energy) consumption.

In 2018 our parish received our first award as an eco-congregation. We commit ourselves as Christians to understand how our overconsumption can impact negatively on our planet and all who live on it.

We are all increasingly aware of the impact of climate change in our daily lives. With catastrophic fires in Australia, the highest ever recorded temperatures and melting ice sheets in Antarctica and wide-ranging storms in the UK, the climate crisis is no longer hypothetical. It’s on our doorstep!

In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis challenged us to understand our personal impact on the environment and how our faith as Christians calls us into care of creation, and justice for all creatures who live on our planet. In his latest Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis argues that the true ecological approach “always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment.” Our choices are at the heart of our relationships with others, our fellow human beings and all God’s creatures.

This November in Glasgow a major climate conference will be held, calling on governments and nations to take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis. Our campaigning, AND prayers, are needed that real action is taken before we are too late.

When we reflect this Lent on how we can turn our hearts and minds back to God, can we consider where our care of God’s creation fits into that?

  • ACT: How can we make action for environmental justice part of our daily action?
  • GIVE: What can we give up that will mean we use fewer resources and contribute to a more sustainable world?
  • PRAY: that world leaders and global citizens listen to the cry of creation and act now to protect our world.

This Lent try some of the actions included here, and talk to any of the Justice, Peace and Environment group, or Fr Basil, for more ideas on being involved in our parish and wider community.

Creator God,

We thank you for the gift of your creation,
And all that it offers us.
This Lent make us increasingly aware of our actions,
behaviours and desires
as they affect your creation, and all who live within it.
Encourage us in our desire to be better stewards
And courageous in establishing a new way of living.
We ask this in your name,



Day 1.   Wed 26th Feb
Ash Wednesday

Today as we begin our Lenten journey, we try not to eat meat. This Lent how about trying to reduce your meat consumption by one day a week? Or instead of eating beef, replace it with beans!


Day 2.    Thursday 27th Feb

The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year, and less than 1 per cent of coffee cups are recycled. Why not by a reusable cup and help cut waste?

This is also Fairtrade Fortnight. Commit to buying Fairtrade tea and coffee, even just for Lent. It guarantees a better wage for the producers and costs us just a few pence more.


Day 3.    Friday 28th Feb

Instead of shiny wrapping paper for gifts try brown paper or even scrap material tied with string or ribbon. Even better the recipient can use it again.


Day 4.    Saturday 29th Feb

Having a new baby is a busy time but it doesn’t mean you can’t be sustainable. Try cloth nappies and wash them or biodegradable disposable ones. Don’t forget your wipes and nappy bags, biodegradable ones are available and if the big stores don’t have them ask why not!


Day 5.    Sunday 1st March
1st Sunday of Lent

As we enter Lent, we ask God’s help as we reflect on our lives and the times we have failed to follow him. We think especially of the actions we can take every day to proclaim God’s Kingdom, and help work for a world of justice and peace.

Lord Hear us

Day 6.    Monday 2nd March

Try to use your car less often, even one day a week makes a difference. Investigate what public transport is available instead. Or double up your journeys; do shopping on the way home from work, or try to do all your errands together.

Day 7.    Tuesday 3rd March

Turn off your electronic appliances when not in use, especially personal computers and games consoles, which use a lot of energy. In the UK around £235 million is wasted through leaving computers on, causing nearly 1 million tons of CO2 to be emitted into the atmosphere.

Day 8.    Wednesday 4th March

Plan your meals for the week in advance and only buy what food you really need. Look at how much you save, as well as how much less you throw away. Scottish households throw away 630,000 tonnes of food waste every year. Avoidable food waste costs Scotland over £1 billion.

Day 9.    Thursday 5th March

Buy reusable bags and give up plastic. Plastic bags don’t biodegrade meaning it takes hundreds of years for them to decompose in a landfill. They are amongst the most common source of marine debris where they can be mistaken as food by birds and fish.

Day 10   Friday 6th March

Use wax wraps and reusable sandwich boxes and containers to take your lunch to work/school.

Day 11   Saturday 7th March

Grow your own vegetables! If you don’t have access to a garden, how about a window box?  Kids especially enjoy helping to harvest their own food!

Day 12. Sunday 8th Marc
 2nd Sunday of Lent        

As we buy our ingredients for our Sunday lunch consider using LOAF principles: Locally produced, Organically grown, Animal friendly, Fairly traded.

Purchase seafood with MSC (www.MSC.org) labels. This ensures sustainable fish farming that protects the environment.

Day 13. Monday 9th March

Compost. Use your food bin and brown bin from East Lothian Council or compost in your garden. Bins are available from a wide range of outlets, from as little as £5.

Council collections are composted and used for landscaping.

Day 14. Tuesday 10th March

Have you got household goods that you don’t need anymore? Take them up to Recycling First a brilliant East Lothian project that redistributes good quality household goods to households that need them. Look here for more information http://www.recyclingfirstel.org/

Day 15. Wednesday 11th March

How about seeing if you can train or bus instead of flying or driving? It’s not as difficult as you can think and can be a lot less stressful!

Day 16. Thursday 12st March

Turn down the thermostat to 18 degrees C. Even one degree will save energy, and money! If you’re feeling the cold, pull on a woolly jumper!

Day 17. Friday 13th March

Paving over our gardens can make them more prone to flooding and reduces biodiversity. If you do have a paved area consider using a few plant pots with flowers which provides food for bumble bees and other pollinators!

Day 18   Saturday 14th March

It’s the weekend so how about getting out in nature. Watching wildlife, taking a walk or doing some gardening is great for our mental health and wellbeing, so we can do good for nature and reap the rewards ourselves. East Lothian ranger service offer volunteering opportunities if you want to do a bit more.

Day 19   Sunday 15th March
3rd Sunday of Lent

We thank God for his signs of presence in our world. We ask for courage to respond to his invitation to speak out, and take action, wherever we see injustice happening.

Lord Hear Us.

Contact your MP and MSP about climate change and ask about their views. Read up about East Lothian council’s climate change strategy and how you can contribute, as an individual and community https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/downloads/download/13283/climate_change_strategy_2020-25

Day 20. Monday 16th March

Investigate how you can better insulate your home. In some cases this can be subsidised. More information from the energy saving trust www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Day 21. Tuesday 17th March
St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick used nature, especially the shamrock, to teach people about God. Take a moment today to be aware of the wonders of God’s creation.

On St Patrick’s Day we pray for our world that God has entrusted to us, and ask for his help to be good stewards of all his creation. We pray especially for the times that we have damaged our world through our desire to have more than we need.

Lord Hear Us.


Day 22. Wednesday 18th March

Defrost your fridge and freezer to maintain efficiency. Dust the back of your fridge to improve efficiency too!


Day 23. Thursday 19th March

Go back to using bars of soap instead of liquid soap. Or buy in bulk containers and refill small bottles instead.


Day 24. Friday 20th March

Give up on bottled water. Buy a reusable metal bottle and fill up with tap water at home.


Day 25. Saturday 21st March

Can you switch to a green energy supplier? There are many more around now and they’re just as competitive as the big six.


Day 26. Sunday 22nd March
4th Sunday of Lent

On Mother’s Day we pray for all mothers and thank God for the care and love they give to their children. We ask God’s blessing especially for mothers who struggle to protect their children against poverty and injustice.

Lord Hear Us.


This is also SCIAF Sunday. Pray for the work of SCIAF throughout the world. More information from www.sciaf.org.uk

If you are choosing a gift for someone, how about some spring bulbs or have a tree planted by https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/


Day 27. Monday 23rd March

Instead of buying new clothes try the Musselburgh and Portobello charity shops. The money goes to a good cause and you can find some really interesting stuff. The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shopping combined!


Day 28. Tuesday 24th March

Have a shower instead of a bath. Use a shower timer to watch your showering time too!


Day 29. Wednesday 25th March

Avoid buying products with lots of packaging. Challenge the shops about why they have to package so heavily e.g. shrink wrapped cucumbers!


Day 30. Thursday 26th March

Fill your kettle with only as much water as you need. If we all filled our kettles with only as much water for our cuppas, we could save enough energy to power over three quarters of the UK’s street lights.


Day 31. Friday 27th March

How about giving flower seeds for a birthday gift? Look for neonicotinoid –free organic seeds and give them to family and friends.


Day 32. Saturday 28th March

Recycle. If you already do, see if you can recycle even more. Our local utility site recycles domestic batteries. http://www.recyclenow.com/ can give you information on what can be recycled in your local area.

Day 33. Sunday 29th March
5th Sunday of Lent

We pray for all those caught in the traps of poverty and injustice, that they may be aware of God’s love for them and recognise their value as children of God.

Lord Hear Us.

Save water with a hippo! Hippo the Water Saver can help reduce the amount of water used every time you flush the loo, and that can help reduce our carbon footprint. 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by the supply, disposal and heating of water. More information on it from http://www.hippo-the-watersaver.co.uk/


Day 34. Monday 30th March

Use recycled paper products as much as possible from writing paper, to loo roll and kitchen roll.

Day 35. Tuesday 31st March

Only use your washing machine when you have a full load. And try to keep the temperature to 30C if the clothes aren’t very dirty.

Day 36. Wednesday 1st April

How sustainable are your beauty products and can you make them better? Many more are available now, ask your usual shops what they have and ask why not if they don’t have any!


Day 37. Thursday 2nd April

Swap school uniform, still in good condition but that the kids have outgrown, with others. Talk to the parent council in your school about organising a swap event. Zero Waste Musselburgh also has free school uniforms available


Day 38. Friday 3rd April

Check your tyre pressure. Tyres that have proper pressure are more fuel efficient.


Day 39. Saturday 4th April

How easy would it be to swap your petrol car for an electric one? Where can you find out? Do some research and share the information with others.


Day 40. Sunday 5th April
Palm Sunday

We pray for the community of the Church, that in our actions for justice, peace and care for creation, we may be true witnesses in the world to the truth of the Gospels.

Lord Hear Us

Only print emails if you really need to. Even then make sure you only print off the parts you need, cutting out unnecessary headers and footers.

Day 41. Monday 6th April

If you have a dishwasher, make sure it’s properly stacked, and full, before you use it.


Day 42. Tuesday 7th April

Walk for the shorter journeys, including the school run whenever possible. You’ll feel better for it, and so will the environment. Longer term, cycle! Contact the Bike Station if you can’t cycle or need a refresher. They have lessons for all ages and stages! http://www.thebikestation.org.uk/


Day 43. Wednesday 8th April

Recycle your old mobile phone. Many charities (including Cafod and Traidcraft) receive money if you recycle your phone through certain organisations. Recycle4charity allow you to nominate your charity or select from a list. They also take inkjet printers and toner cartridges.  http://www.recycle4charity.co.uk/home.aspx


Day 44. Thursday 9th April

Today we remember the Last Supper, and Jesus’ last meal with his friends. How about inviting friends and family to get together over a meal and talk about the Carbon Fast and being more aware of what we consume? Explain why you’re doing it and encourage them to get involved. How about working out your carbon footprint as a family, and see what more you can do?


Day 45. Friday 10th April
Good Friday

Today we fast, and abstain from meat remembering Christ’s sacrifice. As we do this, be conscious too of the impact on our planet, God’s creation, from our over consumption of meat throughout the year. Can we commit today to eating meat less often in our daily diet?


Day 46. Saturday 11th April

How about arranging a car share to Mass this Easter weekend or during the week? Or if you’re feeling fit, how about walking along?


Day 47. Sunday 12th April
Easter Sunday!

As we experience the hope and joy of Easter, we pray that it inspires us to use our gifts for the benefit of all God’s creation and work for a fair and just world for all.

Reuse gift bags and don’t write on the tags so that they can be reused again. Try placing a sticker on them encouraging recipients to pass them on again.

Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. One source claims doing this will save 25 gallons of water a month!