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Church gives back to environment for Lent

United Church of Chapel Hill focused on reducing carbon usage for lent this year.

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — When you hear about people fasting for Lent they probably give up a food or drink or maybe smoking.

While some people give up a food or drink for lent, United Church of Chapel Hill decided this year to do something good for the environment – reduce carbon usage.

The church went on a 40-day carbon fast for Lent, by cutting down on the greenhouse gases produced when burning fossil fuels.

Church member Rich Leber reuses collected rainwater and is adding insulation to his home to reduce the amount of heat he needs.

Leber also has switched to LED lighting, which uses tiny amounts of energy.

The church has put in compact fluorescent lighting and is installing a computer-controlled heating and cooling system.

Each week of Lent the church focused on getting members to cut consumption from different sources of carbon emissions.

“We now walk to the grocery store, walk or bike to church,” Leber said.

Pastor Richard Edens says that the carbon fast is a way to serve God by saving the planet.

“God has given us stewardship over the earth; that’s the very first commandment we were given, and I think it’s our opportunity to see it’s not about stewardship to exploit but a stewardship to honor,” Edens said.

United Church of Chapel Hill went on the carbon fast for the first time last year. Members calculated that they had reduced their consumption by 25 percent.


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