Catholics from four German dioceses will join their Protestant brothers and sisters this Lent in fasting to save the planet from climate change.

– ‘Klimafasten2020’: “An ‘ethics of enough'”

The “Klimafasten” campaign for Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday February 26 and culminates on Easter Sunday April 12, is an initiative of the Protestant Churches of Germany.

But four Catholic dioceses have also joined the campaign: those of the Archdiocese of Berlin, and the dioceses of Eichstätt, Hildesheim and Rottenburg-Stuttgart.

The organisers of Klimafasten produced a brochure in which they express their and other Christians’ solidarity with the “Fridays for Future” anti-climate change movement.

“An ‘ethics of enough’, which the churches have long been demanding, is becoming increasingly plausible and is urgently needed”, the organisers of Klimafasten explain.

“The climate fasting campaign offers various suggestions for practicing such an ‘ethics of enough'”, they continue, presenting their brochure.

“It is about ensuring that everyone – the present generation as well as future generations – has enough to live on.

“But it is also about ensuring that those who have too much can let that be enough”.

– “Protecting the climate requires renunciation”

Conscious of the discomfort the novelty of a Lenten fast for the climate might produce in some Christians, the promoters of Klimafasten take special care to root their initiative in traditional theology.

“With this Lenten campaign, we place ourselves in the Christian tradition, which commemorates the suffering in the time before Easter and consciously practices renunciation in order to become free for new thoughts and different behavior”, the organisers of the initiative affirm.

“Climate change is causing suffering because it endangers the lives of people, animals and plants.

“Protecting the climate requires renunciation.

“However, it is always a gain if we succeed, alone or in the community, in making life more climate-friendly”.

– Cutting down on power, using the car less, cutting out plastics… practical solutions for real change

The Klimafasten materials contain a series of recommendations for the six weeks of Lent on how to reduce one’s personal impact on the climate.

Reducing one’s ecological footprint (week 1), cutting down on electricity usage (week 2), adopting sustainable grocery shopping and food habits (week 3), being ecologically and economically responsible in the use of electronics (week 4), reducing one’s reliance on cars (week 5), curtailing one’s use of plastics (week 6)… the Klimafasten brochure gives practical advice on how to “fast” from all these things in order to save the Earth.

The Klimafasten campaign culminates in a reflection on Easter, at which point we Christians “are happy that there is someone who gives us strength for change and reminds us that we can become a blessing to our fellow creatures, people, animals and plants”.

The website for the campaign also offers a series of “theological impulses” to guide worship services during Lent, which include the suggestion that worship organisers distribute pens and paper during services so that every church member can write down ‘ideas for a climate-friendly Church”.

Although the Klimafasten project is a Protestant initiative, it is absolutely in line with Pope Francis’ teaching in his encyclical on care for our Common Home, Laudato si’, but also with the post-Amazon Synod apostolic exhortation, Querida Amazonía, that he released February 12.

In that text, the Pope repeated his warning in Laudato si’ against “carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption… pretending that nothing will happen”, even when the very existence of our planet is at stake.

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‘Querida Amazonía’: 7 of the Pope’s most powerful political statements, beyond the Church debates

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Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.