Resonating the views of its faith-based member groups, the EcoWaste Coalition called for a low carbon Holy Week as Christians recollect the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and as millions avail of the holidays to go on pilgrimage, excursion or trip back home.
“We all need to pitch in to stop the planet from further warming up. By making low carbon choices during the Holy Week and beyond, we cut our emissions, live up to our task as environmental stewards and uphold the sanctity of life,” said Rev. Fr. Glenn Melo, Steering Committee member of the EcoWaste Coalition, from the Sustainable Agriculture Apostolate of the Diocese of Tandag in Mindanao.
Rev. Fr. Ben Moraleda of the Kaalagad Katipunang Kristiyano believed that “the Holy Week is indeed an opportune time to go slow with crass consumerism and delight in simple and eco-friendly choices, which are low in carbon dioxide and good for the purse and the planet.”
For his part, Rev. Fr. Alfredo Albor of the Interfaith Bishops Care for Creation Foundation said: “We crucify Mother Earth when we ruthlessly exploit, pollute and diminish her capacity to sustain life. We resurrect her back to life when we adopt a lifestyle that is outwardly simple, yet inwardly rich and compassionate, and work for her wellbeing and protection.”
The EcoWaste Coalition listed several ways to simplify, slow things down, lessen use of fossil fuels and subsequently decrease carbon dioxide emissions from Holy Week activities.
1. Aim for Zero Waste as you carry out your plans for Lent and Easter, ensuring that waste is prevented and kept to the minimum at all times through creative reuse, recycling or composting.
2. Target reduced car use during the Holy Week and give the planet a breather; walk, cycle or go by bus or jeepney to your destination, especially for the traditional “Visita Iglesia” on Maundy Thursday.
3. If you are using your car, ensure the engine is well-tuned and the tires properly inflated, remove unneeded stuff from the trunk, do not overload, observe correct driving habits, and plan for your trips for a cleaner, climate-friendly drive.
4. Abstain from expensive, high carbon holiday spree and consider sharing the money saved as your Lenten offering to the “Pondo ng Pinoy,” Caritas Pilipinas or to your favorite charities.
5. Keep the park, beach and recreational spots free of plastic bags, cigarette butts, food leftovers and other litter. Be mindful of the eco-creed “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”
6. Cut back on plastic bags by bringing a few reusable bags for “pasalubong” (homecoming treats) and souvenirs from out of town pilgrimage and visits.
7. Save trees by keeping a handkerchief or towel with you to limit use of disposable tissue papers, especially when you meditate on the Stations of the Cross in the grotto under the sun.
8. Bring your own reusable water jug to avoid having to purchase water in plastic bottles as you carry out your spiritual or leisure schedule.
9. Prioritize and use reusable and recyclable materials over single use, “throw away” ones for all activities being planned during the Holy Week.
10. Keep all Holy Week events, rituals and vows simple on the outside, but profound and caring within.
“We hope that simplicity and compassion will thrive during the Holy Week and lead to lasting efforts to cut our carbon and other toxic outputs through Zero Waste and other real climate solutions,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
The report “Stop Trashing the Climate,” which the EcoWaste Coalition co-released in June 2008, shows that Zero Waste is one of the fastest, cheapest and most effective strategies to protect the climate and bring us to the path of climate stability.
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