Drop excessive packaging, stores told

16 February 2012

From the UK to Australia, hundreds of churches around the world will be cutting carbon for Lent this year (Wednesday, 22 February – 7 April).
Tearfund’s Carbon Fast provides daily actions throughout Lent to help people reduce their carbon emissions. This year the aid agency is throwing down the gauntlet to supermarkets by urging them to ditch excessive packaging on selected products.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, said, 'The Carbon Fast is "Lent with a difference". It encourages ordinary people like me to think harder about how we treat a planet which has limited resources and is in danger of irrevocable climate change. Removing a light bulb may be easy on day one but asking my supermarket to reduce its packaging on day 28 requires more demanding action. It’s the kind of challenge I hope a lot of us will take on - and keep on after Lent is over.'
Other actions include having a zero spend weekend, converting your car to run on chip fat or investigating electric cars and booking a ‘staycation’ holiday or short break.
The aid agency estimates that sticking to the Fast for a year could save seven tonnes of  CO2, the equivalent of a return trip to New Zealand for two.
Churches in the US, Brazil, South Africa, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand and the Netherlands will also be taking part in the Fast.
Tearfund highlights that our lives may not be impacted severely by climate change yet, but in developing countries the devastating human and economic costs of a changing climate are already being felt.
Last year parts of East Africa were hit by the worst drought in 60 years. Plus, parts of England were also officially in drought following a dry spring, the agency said.
Sandra and Anthony Herbert have a mixed farm in Leicestershire and are taking part in this year’s Fast: 'British farmers are on the frontline when it comes to climate change in the UK. Last year’s drought had a massive impact on some farmers whilst others had to contend with floods. Committing to a 40 day Carbon Fast won’t be easy, but it will not just be about giving up things but and acting positively as well.
'We have visited farmers in the developing world and know what their struggles are; this will also be a very real way of identifying with them.'
The forty day period before Easter in the Christian calendar is traditionally marked by fasting from food and, more commonly these days, vices such as drinking alcohol and guilty pleasures like chocolate are sacrificed.
'Carbon Fast is now in its fifth year and continues to be a great way for people to reflect on and pray about what it means to care for the earth and the people who depend on it as God commanded,' Tearfund’s Head of Campaigns, Ben Niblett concluded.

Notes to editors

For interviews with the Bishop of Oxford, Sandra and Anthony Herbert or Ben Niblett please contact Tearfund’s Esther Williams on 07595 202 438,, the Tearfund Media Team on 0208 943 7792. To find out more about the Carbon Fast see
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty.
Carbon Fast actions include:
7 March – Book a no-fly holiday or short break and make the most of the countryside (staycation)
10 March – Convert your car to run on chip fat/waste cooking oil or investigate electric cars.
16 March – Buy nothing today or this coming weekend.
26 March – Meat free Monday or if veggie do it for a whole month.
28 March – Work from home, or find another way to decrease energy use during the day.
2nd April ‘big switch Monday.’Make the switch to a green energy supplier.
7 April – No power day (power down), that means no electricity, no gas, hot water or no TV, no radio and no phone.


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