February 1, 2003 16 Comments
I’m an Episcopalian, so I observe Lent in some way every year. Sometimes I’ve given up something, and other times I’ve taken on something extra. Lent offers an opportunity to change my lifestyle without committing to making that change permanent. I’ve always learned something from Lent, sometimes a different lesson than I expected.
I’m also an environmentalist. While many of the threats to our planet’s health are caused by big corporations or government policies, I tend to focus on the environmental impacts of individual people’s lifestyle choices, because that’s an area in which it’s easier to make a difference. Over the years, I’ve changed my own lifestyle one step at a time.
As I thought about how to observe Lent this year, and as I considered what should be the next step in my environmentalism, I realized that the two could be combined. Giving up meat for Lent is an old tradition that’s still popular–the deprivation is supposed to help you feel grateful for what you have, and it’s symbolic of forsaking carnal pleasure to become more spiritual. Vegetarianism is good for the environment because producing meat uses many more resources than growing plants. For years, I’d been slowly reducing the amount of meat in my diet, but I’d never quite gotten around to becoming a vegetarian. It was time to try. Read more…