Instead of staying away from alcohol or sweets for Lent, some Christians are honoring the religious observance by giving up plastic.
Churches near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are advising their followers to go eco-friendly and give up Styrofoam, food wrappers, shopping bags, drinking straws and water bottles, reports The Washington Post.
“It’s a way to think about it as more than just a personal thing, like chocolate or alcohol that’s enjoyable,” said Rev. Sarah Rossing, pastor of St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Youngstown, Pa. “This is asking people to give up convenience … and be more intentional with things and the Earth.”
Rossing said that her church came up with the idea after a local Episcopalian church encouraged churchgoers to cut back on plastics like Styrofoams and grocery bags.
Lent began on Ash Wednesday March 6 and ends on Easter Sunday on April 21.
Meanwhile people in the UK have launched a Twitter hashtag #PlasticFreeLent after watching Blue Planet II.
Marketing consultant Izzy Crouch told Mashable that she’s gone cold turkey on plastics.
“For me the most challenging aspect are things that in my town I can’t buy out of plastic, such as pasta, rice, ham and cheese,” Crouch, from Brighton, England, said. “It is also things you have no control over, such as things people give you.”
Journalist Rosie Paterson also hopped on the sustainable trend after watching the documentary series.
“Last year it was sugar, a few years ago it was all processed food, and once I made myself do 30 mins sweaty exercise every day,” she said. “I’m a big David Attenborough fan, so I think this year’s challenge came about partly because of the Blue Planet series.”
According to a 2017 statistic, the world produces over 300 million tons of plastic yearly. And the Washington Post reports that 91 percent of those plastics are never recycled, which puts the environment and ecosystem at risk.
A recent seal study found that plastics have taken over our waters. Scientists discovered that 67 percent of their animal stool samples contained a “remarkable abundance” of microfibers.
“It’s no secret that plastic pollution is one of the major threats to marine ecosystems, but we’re learning now just how widespread that problem is,” Mauricio Seguel, a research fellow at the University of Georgia, said in a statement. “These samples are invisible to the naked eye. We want to understand factors that are driving their distribution and what this means for animals in the Southern Hemisphere.”
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