With Ramadan coming up in just a few short days, we wanted to alert you to an active initiative designed to start a “green” Ramadan movement. Ensuring that our Ramadan remains environmentally-friendly is incredibly important so that we get the most out of fasting. While we are purifying our souls and detoxifying our bodies, we certainly need to be mindful that we don’t pollute the environment!
The following list was developed for the Global Muslim Climate Network (GMCN) Green Ramadan global campaign in 2016. Yet, some tips have actually been adopted by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 2015. For more information on how the concept of “Green Ramadan” has picked up, please check out the link below:
And without further ado, here is a comprehensive summary of how you can stay “green” this Ramadan:
1. Reduce Food Waste and Over-Consumption
Take only what you can comfortably finish, eat moderately, and do not waste any food. Keep in mind the hadith of filling ⅓ of your stomach with food, ⅓ with water, and leaving ⅓ empty. Distribute the “leftar” (leftover food from iftar) to the needy and homeless. Do not waste food!
2. Perform a Sunnah Iftar
Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less meat. Remember that the Prophet’s diet consisted mostly of grains, dates, water, milk, honey, vegetables, and fruits, while meat was not a daily part of his diet. Meat is so much higher on the food chain, and eating lower on the food chain conserves a lot of resources, especially water.
3. Purchase Local Food
If possible, purchase locally grown food to support local economy and protect the environment! They are usually full of flavor and much healthier. Plus, local food has a much smaller carbon footprint!
4. Eliminate Plastic Water Bottles
Plastic should be minimized or eliminated because of harm related to global warming and health. Most plastics go into a landfill and harm the environment. Did you know plastic takes approximately 500 years to decompose? At the very least, if you use a plastic water bottle once, keep it and refill it for as long as you possibly can.
5. Bring Reusable Water Bottles
Whether you are at the mosque, school, work, or home, bring your own water bottle. Also, avoid bringing plastic disposable bottles to the mosque during iftar and tarawih.
6. Eliminate Styrofoam
Styrofoam is un-recyclable and non-biodegradable, which means that it will persist as garbage even a thousand years after its use.
7. Reduce Disposable Items
Reduce or eliminate all disposable and single-use items and start bringing your own utensils for community iftars (ironically, today 1 person can use 3 plates for a meal, while in the old days 3 people shared a meal from 1 plate). If you wish, you can buy a small plate, a bowl, a cup, and some reusable utensils. You can also bring Tupperware from home so that if you can’t finish all your food, you can take it with you and eat it later. Buy cloth napkins for yourself, and your family. Maybe even buy some cloth napkins for friends to encourage them to reduce and reuse, too!
8. Adopt Sunnah Wudu
It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad would perform the entire wudu from a bowl of water (approximately half a liter), and he warned against israf (excess) while performing ablution. If you use a bowl to make your wudu, cutting out excess water is much easier. Fill the bowl part way and then you can use the leftover water to water some plants!
9. Take Quick Cool Showers
Reducing shower time and avoiding hot showers means conserving water and saving energy at the same time! On average, a 10 minute shower results in 25 gallons of water down the drain, while letting your faucet run the hot water for 5 minutes uses as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 22 hours.
10. Make an Effort to Carpool
Make plans effectively and share your transportation to common destinations. You could also initiate/promote the use of non-motorized transportation (walking and bicycle) for short distances, or take public transport whenever possible.
11. Conserve Electricity and Utilize Energy Efficiently
Switch off or unplug unused electronic appliances/gadgets and replace incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs. Bingo, no electricity wasted!
12. Lighten up With Renewable Energy
Now this one is more longterm, but you could always find out different ways to install renewable energy systems and learn how to power your home or mosque with renewable energy.
13. Plant or Expand Your Garden
Try to plant more trees/plants and less grass at home or the mosque. Start to grow your own vegetables/fruits in your lawn, instead of just grass (which requires a lot of water for upkeep). Besides, plants give comfort, joy and pleasure to the human spirit, and remember that planting a tree is a charity.
14. Deliver Green Sermons
The Imam or Ustadh and Ustadhah should give at least one khutbah or ta’lim on the Islamic imperative to conserve and protect our environment. Suggest this to your masjid board encourage them to follow through.
15. Share These Tips With Others
The more widely these changes happen, the more barakah will be in our Ramadan as a community. Not to mention, you will get barakah for helping people become more environmentally aware too.