THE HOLY Week is a perfect time to reflect on our wastefulness that is consuming lots of finite resources and creating huge quantities of garbage that often end up in the streets, dumps and the oceans, or as feedstocks for cement kilns and incinerators. It provides an opportunity for all people to act individually and collectively to promote environmental awareness and responsibility, especially in the way we use resources and treat our surroundings.
As care for creation is an integral part of the Christian mission, we urge the faithful to make Lent a time to break from wasteful habits that destroy our communities and the ecosystems year in and year out. We recall the 2015 papal encyclical on the environment Laudato Si where Pope Francis decried that “each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive, from homes and businesses, from construction and demolition sites, from clinical, electronic and industrial sources.”
As faith without works is dead, we ask all to perform acts of mercy and kindness toward Mother Earth that will prevent and reduce the generation of wastes and other pollutants, especially during Lent and beyond. Toward an eco-friendly observance of the Holy Week, the environmental advocacy group for a zero waste and toxics-free nation Ecowaste Coalition has these suggestions:
* Abandon acts that defile and pollute the environment such as littering, dumping and burning of discards.
* Keep all activities lead-safe: shun candles with lead-cored wicks and paints with lead content.
* Cut emissions by taking public transport, biking or walking for the seven churches visitation, or Visita Iglesia, on Maundy Thursday.
* Green the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) by collecting litter along the way.
* Decorate the floats for the Santo Entierro (Holy Interment) on Good Friday with energy-efficient and mercury-free LED lamps and with locally-produced flowers and plants.
* Welcome the Risen Christ on Easter Sunday without lighting firecrackers and fireworks and without releasing balloons.
* Keep Easter fun games and activities for kids simple and not wasteful.
* Quiet down and opt for “staycation” at home for a meaningful bonding time with family members.
* For those going out of the city for their summer vacation, make your trip plastic-free, trash-free: “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”
Let us observe a greener Lent through acts that prevent garbage and pollution.