Unitarian Universalists across the continent are expanding Earth Day’s 40th anniversary on April 22, 2010 to last 40 days. They are committing to small and large daily actions over the 40 days for the sake of the Earth and all who live here. We eat every day, giving us a new opportunity, time and time again, both to shape the lives of the those who grow, process, and transport our food and to determine how the world’s natural resources are used. Our personal choices affect many aspects of global environmental justice.
Several of us at from Advocacy and Witness and the Washington Center have decided to take on the challenge and will report back throughout the 40 days about our experiences.
Please join us! Write your comments at the end of this post with your own commitments, or log into Facebook and search for the “40/40/40 For the Earth!” group “40/40/40 For the Earth!” group. Learn more information about the 40/40/40 Campaign.
I’ve decided (gulp!) to give up refined sugar for 40 days. First of all, because it doesn’t benefit me in any way. But, more importantly, I’ve read enough about the conditions of sugarcane workers to know that neither they, nor the land where sugars are mass produced, are getting a bit of sweetness from its production. I’m going to blog about this as I go, and I’ll share more with you as I learn more.
For the next forty days, and hopefully for the rest of my life, I will only eat meat that comes from farms with sustainable and humane practices, preferably located near where I live. I want to know exactly where my meat is coming from and be assured that the animals I’m eating have not been pumped full of antibiotics and chemicals or lived under the conditions of factory farming, which is inhumane not only to the animals but also the workers involved. Sometime during or after the forty days, I will probably expand these criteria to all animal products that I consume, but for now, I’ll start with meat.
Rowan Van Ness
I’m going to say grace before each meal and be more mindful about and grateful for my food and the journey it takes from field to the table. I’m curious to see how taking a few moments each day to recognize all of the people; the sun, rain, and soil; the spirit of life—all involved in getting me the food I eat every day—changes my relationship with food and decisions around what I eat.
My Earth Day commitment is to 40 days of “intentional gardening”. Every year in mid-April, like many people, I’m excited to be getting my hands dirty in the soil that will nurture the most delicious food I’ll eat this summer. But, every year after the initial excitement has worn off… caring for the plants and seedlings often starts to feel like a chore. Over the next 40 days I’m committing to only entering the garden prayerfully and with joy and not leaving the garden until I’m centered and at peace (to some degree). I hope that this will have a positive impact on my relationship to the food I eat.
I am going to only drinking fair trade coffee. I think that will be challenging but not too challenging!
I’m taking on the challenge of eating only local food, defining “local” as food grown in MA, VT, NH, and RI. Rather than eating food imported from elsewhere (realizing all the energy – human, chemical – involved), I want to subsist on food that essentially has a lower carbon footprint, when traveling from the field to my mouth. I want to see how challenging it is to eat only food I can buy at farmer’s markets and local grocers and am interested in the impact on: my health and eating decisions, my relationship with my community, and the effect on regional industry.
We usually begin our family dinner with a moment of silence. For the 40 days we will verbalize our gratitude and name the sources of our food and give thanks for the efforts and sacrifices that have brought it to our table.
I commit to not eating a meal in front of a TV or computer monitor in the room for 40 days so that I can pay more attention to the food.