Green Lent: Eco-friendly fish fries and more…

It’s Fat Tuesday, and you may be gearing up for a parade, a party, or a big meal featuring Cajun cuisine. While Mardi Gras has become a largely secular celebration, for many Christians around the world, it represents the last blow-out before the season of Lent. Tomorrow, many will attend Ash Wednesday services, and commit to fasting, prayer, meditation, and confession in anticipation of Easter.

As Baptist minister Chad Crawford noted a couple of years ago at sustainablog, the concepts and practices associated with Lent ties in well with green thinking and activity. No, that doesn’t mean that environmentalists are gloomy and demand constant sacrifice; it does mean that this period of reflection and simplicity can allow for meaningful thought on our relationship to the natural environment.

How can you celebrate a greener Lent? Here are a few ways to tie your faith and environmental commitments together during this season:

  • Green your “giving up”: Lent’s most popularly associated with the act of giving something up — a favorite food, an activity, or even a (bad) habit. The Daily Green has published a list of potential sacrifices provided by the Natural Resources Defense Council; it includes everything from plastic shopping bags to clothes dryers.
  • The Carbon Fast: Many Christians celebrate Lent with periodic fasts. For several years, organizations like Great Britain’s Tearfund have promoted the idea of a “Carbon Fast”: taking daily actions to reduce your own carbon footprint. Tearfund has a complete set of resources available if you want to take this step… or share it with fellow church members.
  • The sustainable fish fry: Many Catholics observe a pescatarian diet on Fridays during Lent (and some still do it every Friday). Whether cooking fish at home, or going out for seafood, why not also make sure that you’re eating  fish and seafood raised or caught sustainably, and likely containing lower levels of contaminants. Environmental Defense Funds Seafood Selector can help…
  • The local/organic/vegetarian soup supper: Soup suppers are another popular Lentan event — congregation members gather for a simple meal of soup and bread, and engage in prayer, religious study, and other activity. Why not add a green tinge to these events: encourage participants to bring soups made from locally-grown and/or organic ingredients. Meatless soups are another option.

Got other green Lenten activities planned… or ideas on this front? Share them…


  • Earthen Building documentary First Earth is available online.
  • Not planning to give up caffeine for Lent? Try some of our organic coffee

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