By Fran Siracusa
Last Sunday, I listened intently to our pastor, Father Len, as he urged the congregation to “give up plastics for Lent” this year. He preceded this challenge by also discussing how instead of choosing something to give up that really only affects the person as an individual, it might be a better idea to care for God’s creation, and make a sacrifice/decision that would help the Earth. (The mom in me chuckled on the inside, as I have been saying that to my family for years, how it is better to spend your time doing good deeds rather than just giving up favorite candy or videogaming for Lent.) His homily especially resonated with me, though, as I am a dedicated advocate for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and a co-founder of the TeachSDGs organization.
Over the last couple weeks, as I worked on a new #TeachSDGs project, I spent time researching ways for individuals to make small differences. When it comes to SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production, or Goal 14: Life Below Water, simple ways to help include making intentional decisions to reduce usage of single-use plastics to positively affect reduction of marine litter. I asked my husband and my children for suggestions for ways we could help within our household, and I challenged our family to make a real difference this year, and especially, this Lent. We do recycle at our home, and I advocate for different related causes, like #CleanSeas and #byebyeplasticbags, but we can take this measure further.
Particularly, I truly admire young people who take a passionate stand for what they believe is right, and who take action. The sisters Melati (17) and Isabel (15) Wijsen from Bali were instrumental in spreading their mission to “to ban the use, sale, and production of plastic bags from retailers.” They worked with the government of Bali to create and change environmental policy! Whether it is by using technology in new and profound ways, or leading groups as an activist, or developing tools to affect, serve or empower global citizens, everyone can increase efforts to engage others in the realization of the Global Goals.
So, today and everyday through April 1st, I challenge my family and friends to make at least one decision each day to reduce usage of single-use plastics. Furthermore, I challenge you all to publicly post an image/photograph so that we can campaign together for SDGs 12 and 14. Please additionally use any related hashtags, but especially #giveupplasticsforLent. If you have any ideas/suggestions, or practices already underway in your home, please share them with us here in the Comment Section below.
To better equip you with inspiration and evidence, please check out the following links. These websites provide more information on how you can take action, along with me and my family. Until soon, and God Bless!
Church of England issues anti-plastic tips for Lent http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43071151
http://www.byebyeplasticbags.org/ and https://flipgrid.com/2df8ae