LONDON (AFP) — Two senior Church of England bishops called Tuesday for Britons to cut back on carbon, rather than the more traditional chocolate and alcohol, for the Christian period of Lent this year.
The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, and Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, have teamed up with aid agency Tearfund to invite the public to take part in a "carbon fast" for the next 40 days.
During Lent, which starts Wednesday and lasts until Easter, Christians are supposed to fast and pray. In the bishops' green drive, those taking part can choose how they reduce their carbon footprint on a daily basis.
"For example, on the first day, people can take out one of their light bulbs and whenever they go to turn that light on, and it doesn't work, they can remember why they are fasting from carbon -- to help the poor of the world.
"At the end of the fast they can replace it with an energy-saving light bulb," Jones -- who is vice-president of Tearfund -- explained.
Other activities include avoiding plastic bags and insulating the house.
The bishops and Tearfund said they had launched carbon fast because of the urgent need to cut emissions and protect poor communities, who are already being affected by climate change and will be the worst hit in the future.
"There's a moral imperative on those of us who emit more than our fair share of carbon to rein in our consumption," Jones said.
Chartres added: "We all have a pivotal role to play in tackling the stark reality of climate change.
"Now is the time for individual and collective action in addressing the unsustainable way in which we are exploiting the earth's resources."
The drive is supported by other Church leaders and scientists including the Church of England's most senior cleric and leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
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