Make Your Lenten Sacrifice Good for the Planet

In fidelity to our charism and the mission to bring all to oneness, we commit to live more simply, responsibly, and sustainably and to educateadvocate and act in collaboration with others for the dignity of life and the care of all creation.”
Read the full SSND commitment to become a Laudato Si’ congregation

This month, Christians all over the world will begin the season of Lent – 40 days of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter. During this time, SSND typically give up something they enjoy like chocolate, television, soda or meat. However, as our earth continues to be assaulted by the climate crisis and greenhouse gases warming the planet, there is another Lenten sacrifice that has become popular.

Sister in habit bending down to care for large head of cabbage in garden.

Sister Maryanne Ekam can eat locally-sourced food thanks to her community garden in Nigeria.

What is a Carbon Fast?

A carbon fast is cutting down on actions that release climate-disrupting carbon in the atmosphere and becoming more mindful of the way our habits impact the planet. Giving up carbon entirely is nearly impossible, but by making small changes to reduce or eliminate some aspects of our high-emissions lifestyle, we can help bring awareness to climate change and promote stewardship of creation.

What can you do for Lent to reduce your carbon footprint?

  • buy loose fruits and vegetables instead of those wrapped in plastic
  • buy locally sourced fruits & vegetables
  • turn your thermostat down by 1 or 2 degrees
  • read and have a conversation with someone about this topic and your carbon footprint
  • park your car and walk, bike or take public transportation as much as possible
  • reduce or stop eating red meat (beef is the single-most carbon intensive food product)
  • wash only full loads of laundry and use cold water
  • air dry clothes
  • mend or repair something rather than purchasing a replacement

We recommend checking your environmental footprint before you start your carbon fast and again at the end of Lent. It can be very rewarding to see what impact your individual efforts have.

If you want more guidance, consider signing up with Climate Stewards to receive a weekly email with a fasting challenge and prayer:

Get more daily ecological-minded actions with these past carbon fast calendars:

Although the climate emergency is a manmade problem, we have the resources to take action. By making changes to our daily actions and decisions, we can protect our common home and future generations.

Learn more about Laudato Si’ and the School Sisters of Notre Dame commitment to live more simply, responsibly and sustainably at