10 Ways to Green Your Ramadan

A Green Ramadan is an opportunity to remember and respect our planet which, through the grace of Allah, provides us with the sustenance with which we nourish our bodies and community spirit during a month of fasting. Interacting mindfully with our environment is simply a manifestation of faith. As we refrain from food and drink this blessed Ramadan, let us reaffirm our sense of self-restraint and accountability to the Creator, the Provider of Sustenance.

  1. Eat Local & Organic. How much greenhouse gasses were emitted for that huge box of medjool Saudi dates to reach your house? Shop for local, seasonal produce at local farmer’s markets. Local foods are often more fresh, taste better and help us keep in touch with the seasons. When we eat local foods, we support our local economies and our food has a shorter distance to travel, helping to reduce pollution. If you’re having a potluck, challenge your guests to use ingredients from within 100 miles of their home, from the potatoes and tomatoes, to the garlic and onions.
  2. Use Re-usables. As many plates, cups, napkins, and utensils as possible should be reusable, and if not reusable, compostable and/or recyclable. If you can’t use proper dishes and utensils, use dishwasher-safe, renewable products from Preserve or Bambu that can be found in your local markets. Donate cloth napkins that you’ve made from old clothing or purchased from eco-sites like ReUseIt.com. Explore the possibility of renting dinnerware from a local restaurant. Consider donating to Green Muslims’ IftaRRR initiative, partnering with area masajid to reduce waste generated during Ramadan iftar celebrations. Use beverages in aluminum cans and glass bottles: they are more easily recycled than plastic. Serve foods that can be easily eaten “sunna-style” with the fingers. Using real cutlery and tableware reduces the trash that goes into our landfills.
  3. Serve Products With Less Packaging. Avoid prepared foods that have throw-away plastic spoons, stirrers or bowls. Instead of individual bottles of water, use a pitcher of water. Make sure to recycle what packaging you can, but less packaging means less waste going to landfills.
  4. Make Recycling Easy. Make bins to sort trash visible and readily available. Make an announcement, post signs, and have “recycling ambassadors” make sure items go in the proper bin. Have one bin for food waste that can be taken to a compost bin; the second for recyclables such as glass and aluminum cans; and the third for regular trash.
  5. Go Vegetarian. Vegetables and fruits are always zabiha. At the least, reduce the amount of meat served. High meat consumption is one of the largest contributors to global warming. If you must have meat, have only one meat dish, use meat sparingly, or only as a garnish. In addition, use meat that is not only halal, but organic. When serving seafood, make sure it is sustainably grown. Having at least one vegetarian iftar a week is better for our health and the planet.
  6. Encourage Guests to Travel Green. Give door-prizes or party favors to those who carpool, use public transportation, bike or walk to the iftar. Green gifts like the Green Deen book; a cup of fair-trade, organic coffee from a local coffee shop; freshly baked cookies made from organic flour and rainforest-friendly chocolate; or cloth shopping bags are inexpensive but sustainable ways to make the reward for living gently on the earth more immediate.
  7. Clean Up Green. Use biodegradable cleaning products to wash tableware and napkins and for general cleanup of tables and counters, or make your own from common household products like vinegar and baking soda. For whatever trash you do have — hopefully not much — use biodegradable trash bags. When we use environmentally friendly cleaning products our indoor environment is less toxic and fewer hazardous chemicals are released into the air and waste water streams.
  8. Make Wudhu Like the Prophet. Make it a habit to be more mindful of water consumption this Ramadan. Instead of running the water on full throttle, set the faucet to a trickle and make a thorough wudhu with as little water as possible. Not only does it save on water, but it makes bathroom clean-up easier.
  9. Make the CF Light Bulb Change. Typically during Ramadan we spend a lot more time at our local masajid/mosques or community centers. Donate a compact florescent light bulb to your local masjid or community center so when we burn the midnight oil for those long tarawih prayers or spend those blessed nights in worship, we are using less energy and saving money.
  10. Make Dua. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Ask Allah to assist us in healing our planet and — combining faith with action — help us to be agents of change in making our planet a healthier, sustainable, and more beautiful world-community.

Wherever you find yourself having iftar this Ramadan share with others, through words and actions, how Green Ramadans are better for our planet. Have a goal of making each iftar a zero-waste event.

“The faithful servants of the Beneficent
are those who walk upon the earth gently…”

(Surah Al Furqan 25:63)

Kathryn to Chat with Kojo on Cohousing

Would you like to live in an intentional community where you know and trust your neighbors, share resources, and live more sustainable and green lifestyle? Learn more about Cohousing on Thursday, July 28, Noon – 2 p.m. ET. National Public Radio’s Kojo Nnamdi will interview Kathryn McCamant, co-author of Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities, “an in-depth exploration of a uniquely rewarding type of housing which is perfect for anyone who values their independence but longs for more connection with those around them.”

The Kojo Nnamdi Show streams live at: http://www.wamu.org. Call in ( 1.800.433.8850 ), email ( kojo@wamu.org ), use Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/kojoshow ) or Twitter ( http://twitter.com/kojoshow ). Join the conversation! 

Jack Wilbern of Blueberry Hill Cohousing in Vienna, VA, and Ann Zabaldo, representing Mid Atlantic Cohousing (and resident of Takoma Village Cohousing in DC), will be in the studio providing local commentary on cohousing in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Afterward, share your thoughts about the show.

Imam Zaid on Making Ramadan Green

In this short video Imam Zaid Shakir talks about making our iftars more green during the blessed month of Ramadan. Instead of creating bags of trash from paper plates, disposable napkins, plastic utensils and uneaten food, Imam Zaid encourages us to wash dishes and utensils, use cloth napkins that can be laundered, and compost scraps. How green will your Ramadan be this year?

Imam Zaid Shakir on Green Ramadan from Muslim Life Program on Vimeo.

M. Scott Peck’s Stages of Community-Making

In The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, M. Scott Peck’s has a chapter on the stages of community-making which provides excellent insight as we mindfully make our way towards true community. Here is a quick excerpt:

    The members attempt to be an instant community by being extremely pleasant with one another and avoiding all disagreement. This pretense of community never works.

  2. CHAOS
    In the stage of chaos individual differences are, unlike those in pseudocommunity, right out in the open. Only now, instead of trying to hide or ignore them, the group is attempting to obliterate them. Underlying the attempts to heal and convert is not so much the motive of love as the motive to make everyone normal – and the motive to win, as the members fright over whose norm might prevail.

    Members need to empty themselves of barriers to communication:

    • Prejudices which come in two forms: One is the judgments we make about people without any experience of them whatsoever. Even more common are judgments we make about people on the basis of very brief, limited experience.
    • Ideological and Theological Rigidities and any idea that assumes the status of “the one and only right way”
    • The Need to Heal, Convert, Fix or Solve: Often the most loving thing we can do when a friend is in pain is to share that pain – to be there even when we have nothing to offer except our presence and even when being there is painful to ourselves.
    • The Need to Control: [The] desired outcome – community – cannot be achieved by an authoritarian leader who calls the shots. It must be a creation of the group as a whole.

    Achieving emptiness is is a sacrificial process. Consequently the stage of emptiness in community development is a time of sacrifice. And sacrifice hurts. Such sacrifice hurts because it is a kind of death, the kind of death that is necessary for rebirth. But even when we realize this intellectually, such dying is still a fearsome adventure into the unknown.

    The group has become a community. Where does it go from here? What, then, is its task? The community will frequently fall back into chaos or even pseudocommunity in the process. Over and again it will need to do the agonizing work of reemptying itself.

    When I am with a group of human beings committed to hanging in there through both the agony and the joy of community, I have a dim sense that I am participating in a phenomenon for which there is only one word. I almost hesitate to use it. The word is “glory.”

Excerpted from The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Observe a Green Ramadan with Imam Zaid Shakir

Register online for a free webinar from Imam Zaid Shakir on Observing a Green Ramadan, Monday, July 18, 2011 from 8-9 pm ET. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims worldwide fast from sunrise to sunset. Imam Shakir, the acclaimed American Muslim scholar, spiritual leader and activist will offer a keynote presentation on Muslim teachings about the earth. Also featured are Ibrahim Abdul Matin, author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, and Reem Fahkry, Director of the Science Department at Noble Leadership Academy.

GreenFaith works with houses of worship, religious schools and people of all faiths to help them become better environmental stewards. Learn more at GreenFaith.org and check out Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jewish religious teaching on the environment.