Ramadan is here and spring is in full swing! As our planet goes through its most bountiful season, we can reflect its transformation by making a few changes ourselves during this Ramadan holiday. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate our lives and change our habits to express harmony with one another for the benefit of our planet and our personal wellbeing.With spiritual reflection and self-improvement as key pillars of Ramadan, let’s explore simple ways to go green this season and inspire you to make ethical changes in your daily life
According to Islamic belief, humans have guardianship over the planet and should act as its custodians. And although the human experience on Earth is steeped in beauty, it’s also mired by an inherent destructive side. Careless attitudes and harmful human behaviours have wreaked havoc on our planet’s ecosystem. By taking simple steps toward sustainable living and giving back, we can have a powerful, positive impact on our community and environment. That’s right — it’s time to spring clean our thought patterns and purchasing habits, in addition to our surroundings.
Here are five sustainable tips to ponder for a green Ramadan!
1. Reduce your carbon footprint
Believe it or not, reducing your carbon footprint can be achieved with just a few small tweaks to your lifestyle. It’s about making gradual changes that you can attach to daily habits you do already.
Start with something manageable, like choosing reusable bottles and plates instead of plastic ones. Often the plastic we use ends up in unwarranted places and harms vital ecosystems like our beautiful oceans. Approximately 100,000 marine animals and a million seabirds die each year due to plastic entanglement. In addition, plastic bags take 20 to 1,000 years to dissolve, harming animals and releasing toxins into the atmosphere. The main step towards reducing our role in this devastation is to change our consumption by reusing and reducing plastic usage.
Take along tote bags for your groceries and purchases instead of accepting new plastic bags that end up in the collection under the sink — we all have that cupboard! Alternatively, you can reuse your plastic bags around the house for trash or other household projects.
To reduce the release of CO2 emissions, opt for a walk or a bike ride to the mosque or park. This has the added benefit of improving your well being, as you will stay fit and get your daily exercise.
2. Declutter and flutter
We all have possessions that we don’t necessarily need, piled up in a box or on the shelf of our closet. Our hoarding of items for sentimental reasons can often overwhelm the space in our homes. Parting with our possessions can help us tame our materialism and focus on what is more important in our spiritual journey. One way to sustainably part with our belongings is to donate or resell them. There are many charities and donation centres that will gladly accept your unwanted clothing.
Do you have a closet full of outdated or worn-out clothes? Maybe consider recycling or upcycling them. Never heard of upcycling, you say? Well, it’s the act of breaking down old fabrics and reusing them. You can cut up your old clothes and use them as household washcloths or decorative patches to breathe new life into an outfit or two. Instead of letting your beloved but old clothes gather dust in the attic, declutter your storage units and set them free to flutter in the fashion world. In the process, you could help someone find affordable clothing, and your old wardrobe will find a new home with someone who desperately needs it. There. Doesn’t that feel good?
3. Cut food waste
This month, as we think about how to promote personal growth, let’s add reducing food waste to our green agenda. Every year, about one-third of all food worldwide, or 1.3 billion tons, ends up as waste. During the month of Ramadan, there is always a rush of desperate shoppers buying food and other goods in bulk. The increased customer demand puts additional pressure on food suppliers who produce and import larger quantities, a significant portion of which is thrown away as soon as it expires. Even worse, about 15-25% of all food purchased or prepared during Ramadan ends up in the trash before it is even used or consumed. Unfortunately, this habit leads to massive amounts of food waste in Muslim countries, especially in the Gulf countries, where it can reach alarming levels during Eid.
Most of the time, the food we throw away is still fit to eat. Learning to prepare portioned meals or freeze leftovers can reduce the amount of food you throw away and save you money (and time!). Alternatively, you can use leftover produce and ingredients for new, creative recipes or household solutions. For example, you can turn overripe fruits into smoothies or make jams for Eid desserts. You can even make skin masks, hair treatments, or DIY fertiliser for your houseplants.
From a moral perspective, we should remember that there is a significant hunger crisis in our world and think about how our food waste affects it. Donating your leftover ingredients to food banks and other charities can go a long way towards reducing hunger in poorer communities.
4. Donate to charities
With a view to spiritual progress, generosity is a worthwhile virtue to explore and is especially holy during Ramadan. To give is to support one’s community and planet while building a stable foundation for righteous works.
An important lesson to learn from this season is that giving never takes away, and instead, lifts up both the giver and the receiver. Giving in any form or amount shows compassion and even a little can go a long way in the practice of charity. By showing generosity, we can cultivate selflessness with our financial activities and empathise with those in need. During this sacred time, try to support causes that help sustain the environment and strengthen your community. Here is a list of top charities that create lasting change for wildlife and humanity.
5. Buy sustainable
Try our five easy tips for a green Ramadan and reduce your impact on resources during this holy month and beyond.
As we mentioned earlier, spending our money wisely is important for our spiritual and personal development. By buying sustainable products, we invest our finances in the advancement of our world and communities. Whether it’s food or clothing, developing eco-friendly products upholds a level of responsibility to the planet that mass production ignores.
Choose locally and seasonally grown produce to support neighbourhood markets and families, while avoiding agricultural waste. Consider buying fair trade or ethically produced items as gifts for Eid Al-Fitr. Buy sustainably made accessories and clothing to reduce the harmful effects of fast fashion on the environment.
By applying these simple tips, we can improve our local communities and our personal wellbeing through a giving mindset and eco-friendly practices. Let’s get into the green Ramadan spirit and celebrate this time of year by developing lasting and positive habits in our daily lives.