Commemorating a Green Holy Week

Wandering is zen but traveling from one area to another demands a huge carbon footprint. This is why I always try to make my trips simple and on-a-budget: camp instead of staying in hotels, hike, bike or commute, no or less waste, etc.
Aside from the golden rule "leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time," here are some simple tips from the pollution-watchdog EcoWaste Coalition on how to commemorate Lent while taking caring our environment:

1. No littering please. Ensure that nothing is wasted nor littered as you accomplish your vows to the Most High. Remember: “Do not defile the land in which you live and in the midst of which I dwell.” (Numbers 35: 34)

2. Shun disposables. Avoid single-use items such as plastic bags, water bottles and beverage cups as you perform your Lenten plans.

3. Power down. Drive less to cut fossil fuel use and slash greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and climate change. Walk, cycle or take the public transportation. For planned “Visita Iglesia” (church visitations), consider doing your pilgrimage online at

4. Call off expensive, non-essential long distance trips and consider giving the money saved to the “Alay-Kapwa” program ( or to your favorite charitable causes.

5. If you are planning a family or “barkada” (circle of friends) outing to the mountain, lake or the sea, please abide by the eco-creed "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time."

6. Say no to plastic carry bags. Cut your consumption of wasteful plastic bags by bringing your own “bayong” or reusable shopping bags.

7. Save trees. Bring your own handkerchief or towel to limit the use of disposable tissue while you battle the heat during the “Via Crucis” (stations of the cross), penitential services and liturgical celebrations.

8. Go for tobacco-free and alcohol-free “Pabasa” (chant reading of the Passion of Christ). Keep the “pabasa” a healthy neighborhood spiritual affair by making the “kubol” (makeshift structure) and its immediate vicinity a “no smoking, no drinking” zone.

9. Say no to “Styro.” Choose reusable over disposable cups, plates and cutlery for meals and drinks served to "pabasa" readers; offer native “kakanin” or vegetarian meals served with plain water, throat-soothing "salabat" (ginger tea), "buko" juice, a natural isotonic beverage, or melon "palamig" (coolers).

10. Avoid overdoing the "carrozas" (floats) for the Good Friday “Santo Entierro” (holy burial) procession, enhancing them only with biodegradable stuff like sampaguita and other natural flowers and plants.

11. Go for simple, eco-friendly Easter "Salubong" sans firecrackers and confetti to commemorate the heavenly encounter between the risen Christ and “Mater Dolorosa” (sorrowing mother). Paper and plastic confetti can be substituted with petals and leaves, which can be composted after the event.

12. If you are planning to do Easter egg hunt, only use natural ingredients or dyes to color the eggs. Promote a healthy and balanced diet by not giving kids junk food treats.

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