The earth is a gift from Allah, and one we are entrusted to protect and preserve.
Indeed, Prophet Muhammadﷺ said:
“The Earth is sweet and green and verily Allah ﷻ has made you stewards of it” –
Hadith | Muslim
This February, Islamic Relief UK are joining The Climate Coalition’s ‘Show the Love’ campaign in celebration of our precious earth and support of its protection against climate change.
The Climate Coalition (TCC) is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to fighting climate change. Along with over 100 organisations that make up the TCC, Islamic Relief UK has participated in key campaign moments, such as the ‘Show the Love’ campaign, the ‘Great Big Green Week’ and the ‘Time Is Now’ mass lobbies.
So, what are some real ways we can show our love for the earth this month and all year round?
Here are ten tips from us to help get you started:
1. Reduce plastic consumption and waste
It is estimated that a mammoth 91% of this plastic isn’t recycled, and with plastic taking over 400 years to degrade, our plastic consumption is simply killing our beloved earth. Entire ecosystems are affected by plastic waste, which will impact the human food supply and the special order of life. In order to combat this, it is essential we reduce the demand for single-use plastics, here’s how:
- When out shopping, bring your own bags and choose fabric above plastic or paper
- Always carry a reusable water bottle and coffee flask to save you money and extra waste
- Ditch the plastic straw for good and if you really can’t do without it, opt for a sleek reusable steel one instead
- Say no to disposable cutlery and invest in reusable cutlery – maybe even a spork!
- When eating out at restaurants, bring your own take-out containers for left-overs
- Make your own soap and cleaning products – they’re so simple to make, and you can save on money and exposure to toxic chemicals.
In order to combat plastic waste, the most effective thing we can do is consider ‘the four Rs’ and make them a habit. Starting with: Recycling unwanted clothes not only saves space at home but the environment too.
REDUCE: We must question if what we’re about to purchase is something we need or want, and if we want it, how often we make these purchases. Also, does this product have to have plastic packaging, or can we buy it loose?
REUSE: Can this item be used again?
RECOVER: Can we be creative and fix this item? Or all-together find a new use for it?
Finally, RECYCLE: Do we have recycling bins at home and at work? Are we aware of our local recycling centre?
2. Pedal Power or Foot Patrol
One simple way to be more environmentally friendly is being selective with modes of transport and ditching our cars for short journeys. Globally in 2020, passenger cars produced approximately three billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. By choosing to walk or ride your bike instead, you are helping to reduce significant carbon emissions. Walking and cycling are great forms of your recommended daily exercise as well – you’re showing love for the earth but your bodies too!
3. Opt For a Staycation
Carbon dioxide is harming the earth – it’s a fact. Going on flights overseas is a part of our daily lifestyles now, but it produces extortionate amounts of co2! One way to reduce your co2 footprint is to limit how many flights you take each year and instead, substitute one or two for a staycation. Have a holiday without it being at the expense of the earth and enjoy all the beautiful spots the earth has to offer, right here in the UK. There are some real hidden gems that you can enjoy and it’s likely to be a cheaper option too! Check out some staycation ideas here, and get to planning your next break in the UK.
4. Use Your Voice and Lobby Your MP
Another great way to ‘show the love’ this February and beyond is by becoming an advocate against climate change. COP26 is over, but you can still use your voice and ensure MPs are doing all they can to fulfil commitments and keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees. Lobbying your MP is way easier than you may think! Simply locate your local MP and write to them to keep the momentum going on progress against climate change. Click here to let your MP know that we need action now, to protect all that we love from climate change.
5. Strike Up a Conversation
Inspiring others is easy and powerful. Raising awareness about going green is incredibly important for the sake of the earth and talking to your friends and family about what we can do to tackle climate change is a great place to start. When it comes to Allah’s (SWT) wonderful creation, what do you love that you want to protect from climate change? What lessons can we take from the Qur’an and the Sunnah to preserve the natural environment? Some tips are:
- Reaching out to your local mosque committee and Imam to encourage them to get involved and raise funds or awareness
- Suggesting making a regular Friday khutbah (sermon) on climate change
- Asking the local madrasah (Islamic school) to run some fun educational activities for local children – there are lots of ways you can involve people in the climate conversation!
6. Forget Fast Fashion
Our fashion should never come at the cost of other humans or of the earth, and yet the clothes that we wear are having a detrimental impact. The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and this number has doubled since the year 2000, and a devastating 100 billion items of clothing are being produced annually. Put simply, we cannot truly love the earth if the clothes we choose to put on our bodies are harming it. However, there is a way around this when it comes to fashion:
- Make thrifting your best friend! There are now so many good-quality thrifting options available, and even mainstream stores now have their own second-hand section. Your local charity shop, sites like Depop or Vinted and even luxury item retailers specialise in pre-loved clothes or accessories.
- You can also have a clothes swap with friends and family or create your own clothes all-together by purchasing fabric and sewing them yourself.
7. Reduce Dairy
Every day in the UK, approximately 165 million cups of tea are consumed, and the favourite combination is milk, with no sugar. Coffee comes in second place at 95 million cups, and with figures like that, one can only imagine what impact milk and dairy products are having on the planet… There are 270 million dairy cows across the world, and for every litre of milk produced, 3kg of greenhouse gases go into the atmosphere, and unfortunately, methane is the main by-product, which is alarmingly 34 times more potent than co2. However, there is a way to help the planet’s air quality without giving up our beloved cuppa’, and that is to reduce the demand for animal dairy and switch to plant-based alternatives. Fortunately for us, there are lots of options to choose from, so next time you are purchasing milk, why not opt for oat, soya, almond or if you’re being experimental hemp or flax? There are many to try, all with their unique and delicious taste.
8. Cut Down on Meat
Much like cutting down diary can help the planet, so can reducing our meat consumption. Meat accounts for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gasses, which is a huge figure! One way we can reduce these co2 emissions is by cutting out or cutting down on meat and having more vegetarian meals. Going meat-free will not only reduce carbon emissions, but it will also save water, help stop deforestation for agricultural land and importantly protect our animals. We all know the difficulty of getting started, so why not join in on Islamic Relief’s meat-free fortnight sponsored challenge where you go meat-free for two weeks in Ramadan, and the money raised goes back to sustainable livelihoods projects. Ramadan is a time of reflection, and a time for people to strengthen their relationship with Allah and transform harmful habits. At Islamic Relief, we believe that this applies to our relationship with the earth too. Find out more information on the challenge here, and if you wish to take part in the 2022 meat-free fortnight challenge, please email email@example.com!
9. Plant A Seed
The earth is indeed a beautiful place, with many landscapes that are beloved to so many of us, and ones we want to protect from climate change. Showing love for the earth isn’t just about omitting harmful acts, but it can also be about what you can contribute! One way in which you can add to the earths beauty as well as combat climate change, is by planting more seeds, be it trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables, or other plants. Since plants remove co2 from the atmosphere – the more the better! Islamic guidance also reinforces the importance of planting seeds.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ once said:
“If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it.”
Hadith | Al-Albani
Planting seeds and gardening is something we all should be getting involved in.
10. Make A Prayer
This is probably one of the most simple and powerful acts we can do as Muslims. When you are reading salah or making du’a for loved ones, please remember the earth in your conversations with Allah (SWT). As Muslims, we believe in hope, and understand that it is through our united efforts and sincere du’a that we can help protect the planet from climate change and its impact. Let’s reach out to Allah (SWT) to support and guide us to help make the world a safer, greener space. Without the support of Allah ﷻ nothing is possible, but with Allah’s grace, everything is possible!
We really have been blessed with a beautiful planet, so let’s work to make as much difference as we can this month. #ShowTheLove, and don’t forget to show us your hard work in the process! Make sure you tag us and use hashtags #ShowTheLove and #LoveAllahsCreation.
Join us in telling the world; We love Allah’s Creation – climate change has to stop!