Take up the challenge to tackle climate change this Lent

During the season of Lent, which starts on Wednesday 6 March, church members are being invited to make a change to their lifestyles that will help make a positive difference to climate change and create a sustainable future for our planet and for generations to come.

Living Lent logo
You’re invited to choose something that will stretch you – and then become part of an online community made up of people who are also making a commitment.

Living Lent is the new initiative from the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT), a cross-denominational group working together for peace and justice.

During the annual 40 day season of Lent - this year taking place between Wednesday 6 March to Thursday 18 April - Christians may fast or give up some of their usual routine to give time to personal examination and to reflect on their relationship with God.

With these guiding thoughts in mind, the Joint Public Issues Team have this year decided to focus on environmental issues and how we as Christians can take committed steps to reducing our individual impact on climate change.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, said:

"Climate change is not simply a challenge we can solve with smart thinking and better technology. In reality, climate change and the human impact on species and habitat loss compels us to completely change our thinking.

"It is the greatest challenge of our age and will require us radically to alter our lifestyles.

"So, I wholeheartedly welcome this Living Lent series produced by our ecumenical partners in JPIT which will give us practical ideas as well as inspiration to make that shift."

What could I do?

You're invited to choose something that will stretch you – and then become part of an online community made up of people who are also making a commitment.

Rev David Coleman, the environmental chaplain for Eco-Congregation Scotland, will be contributing reflections during Living Lent and has made his commitment to give up meat.

"It's very easy to just sit back and lament, in resignation, at the alarming damage that is being done - now at a brutal pace - to everything which feeds and provides habitat both to us and our fellow creatures," David said.

"The season of Lent has always offered opportunity for an exercise in spiritual growth, earthed in a strictly manageable level of commitment.

"How appropriate to dedicate and channel Lent towards greater environmental awareness and personal active participation in our response.

"I will be joining in myself, as the project has given me the kick-start to get back to vegetarianism.

"I like the odd bacon sandwich and, as a minister, there will be times when honouring hospitality (as in sausage rolls at funerals) may provide exceptions, but I can't simply ignore the basic, easy, manageable stuff - like giving up meat.

"To take part is a small and worthwhile step. And each small step, like a prayer, is in God's hands."

The Living Lent community will share blog posts, spiritual reflections, devotional and creative materials that will help you explore where this Lent journey might take you.

You will also have the chance to share your stories, photos, challenges and the joys you face with the rest of the community.

Here are just six ideas you could implement into your lifestyle:

  1. Take up alternative forms of transport. Do you normally drive to work? If you can, why not walk, cycle or use public transport?
  2. Give up single use plastics
  3. Buy only locally sourced produce from around 30 miles from home
  4. Buy nothing new
  5. Give up meat - if you're not already a vegetarian, that is.
  6. Give up electricity for an hour each day. Get re-acquainted with reading a book instead of watching TV in the evenings.

Help spread the message

Different vegetables sitting on a table at a farmer's market
Why not take up the challenge to buy only local produce sourced from around 30 miles from your home?

Perhaps members of your church or your family could sign up together?

The JPIT team has created some useful downloadable resources you can use to share across your churches, encouraging and challenging one another as we journey through Lent.

Visit the Living Lent website to find out more.