We’ve spent the last seven weeks taking action in our personal lives, to respond to the call for urgent change for the climate. We’ve given up meat, stopped travelling by car, rid our cupboards of plastic and only bought the essentials. On top of this, we’ve raised our voices by writing to our MPs, asking for information from our local councils and bringing a youth voice to the centre of our discussions. We’ve dug deeper into the way God calls us to be partners in restoring creation.
Most of us have recognised that this isn’t a change we can stop on Easter Sunday. The call to climate action hasn’t ended – if anything, it’s got louder. For some of us, the commitments we began as part of Living Lent will now have become long-term lifestyle changes. However, the reality for others is that whilst these challenges will have made an impact on our mindset, continuing not buy anything new, for example, simply isn’t sustainable.
So what next? How do we carry the changes which have begun to restructure our attitudes into a sustainable life? We’ve put together a few suggestions:
It seems that for many of us, Living Lent has changed the way we view the world. Whether focussing on it or not, it has become impossible not to see the excess of waste, plastic use and pollution which clouds our society. This impacts our decisions, leads us to be more critical and often drives us to make changes we simply can no longer avoid. The way we see the world and our relationship with it has changed as a consequence. Whatever our contexts moving forward, continuing to look and see with this vision of urgent action is essential.
There will be a balance for each of us between the practices we can easily adopt into our lifestyles and those which will be tougher to welcome in. There simply isn’t a unified way of responding to the climate issues we’re faced with. However, a practice developed for many over Living Lent has been to be more considerate and thorough in our decision making. When able, take the time to stop, weigh up the cost and in some circumstances be prepared to pay the price to make more ethical choices. This won’t always be easy, will rarely have a simple answer and will sometimes require a greater amount of our resources for seemingly little reward. But this practice of consideration is important in building habits which maintain the value of creation, holding it at the centre of our lifestyle choices.
Sometimes, the way our society is structured means it’s really hard to step out of some practices. However, there are ways of looking out for more sustainable products in the supermarkets, for example. Ask questions: about whether you can recycle plastic bags at your local supermarket; where you can buy sustainably sourced fish; what the difference shopping at your local butchers will make; where you can get reusable cotton pads rather than disposable ones. To start, take a look at the bottom of this blog for some useful links.
One of the joys of Living Lent has been the moments of surprise, in which we have discovered new opportunities, formed new relationships and embedded new habits we didn’t realise we had the capacity to sustain. It is in these moments where we have been encouraged to keep moving forward, and have embedded our hope for change. As we continue, may we remember the way these moments motivate us to go further, and continue to make space to notice them when they occur.
We’ve recognised through Living Lent that whilst our personal actions are crucial, it is going to take more than just everyday changes to make real response happen. To make the progress we urgently need, we have to make a noise. So, remembering all of the challenging, useful, difficult and hopeful conversations we’ve had as a consequence of our lifestyle changes during Lent, let’s continue to talk. Everywhere and anywhere, let’s use the relationships we have, and the ones we are yet to form, with our friends, family, colleagues, bosses, bank managers, ministers and MPs, to get climate change at the top of the agenda.
To start, why not join us at The Time is Now mass lobby of parliament on 26th June? This is a chance to step up and stand out as we tell our leaders it’s time for change. You can find out more here.
When we started Living Lent, we said that changing our climate was ‘not just an activity, but a lifestyle’. Over the last seven weeks, I think we’ve realised that this isn’t as simple as we expected it to be. To really respond to this call to action requires a deep digging, re-structuring, costly way of looking at and changing our lifestyles. And it requires us to take this further than ourselves, to call on the leaders of our society to do the same hard work as we partner together.
As we go from here, may we continue to know the hope we have at the heart of these actions, as we respond to God’s promise for restoration.
Hannah Brown is the JPIT Intern for 2018-19. Her role involves managing JPIT’s social media, working with the Peace and Justice Forum and collaborating with the team to research and communicate key areas of JPIT’s workplan. She recently graduated from the University of Nottingham where she studied English Language and Literature. She has a background in local church partnership and engagement.