Exploring the gospel principles of earth stewardship


I have a hard time with resolutions for the entire year; those have never worked well for me. (See related post here.) But I have already settled on my fast for Lent.

I love observing Lent. It is a different kind of fasting that Mormons do every first weekend of the month. It is a sustained abstinence from some luxury. It is long enough to reset unwanted patterns of behavior, and there is a great sense of support, of a shared experience, as Christians throughout the world are fasting as well. That camaraderie makes it easier.

In the past, I’ve given up meats or sweets. In either case, I am choosing to be less wasteful and more thankful. For the last two years, I ate neither. But this year, I want focus on my behavior more than my diet, although I’ll likely not eat meat as well. Note: I probably ought to give up everything fried; that would cut out fries and chips which I noticed I ate more during the last Lent, perhaps to compensate for lack of meaty savory things and desserts.

This year I want to not drive my car for all of Lent.

That sounds reasonable, right? We deliberately bought a house close to downtown in a very walkable city. We are less than three miles away from everything we need to get to: work (1 mile), grocery stores (.5 miles, .9 miles, 2 miles), library (1 mile), school (Claire’s school is the farthest at about 3 miles and one big hill from our house, Jacob is 1.5 miles), church (2 blocks), restaurants (1 block to the closest, .3 miles to the center of downtown), the Home Depot (seriously, with the home repairs and small renovations, I end up going there about once a week), and the Frontrunner station (about 1 mile).

So why do I even drive the car? I am an American living in a western city. It is culturally ingrained in us out here that cars are how we get around, and pedestrians and bicyclists are nothing more than an inconvenience for which we must occasionally slow down. And I have to admit that I’m lazy. I was doing really well at riding the bike and hauling my five year old and books and groceries around in the trailer. But then I allowed myself to be defeated by goatheads, the lovely little local weeds that produce copious amounts of tire puncturing stickers. The chariot’s tires have been flat since Election day.

I really hate patching inner tubes.

But today I’m going to do it. I’ll patch up the tires. I’ll even fix up the kids’ bikes. I think I may also have to get a fender for my bike because it’s wet and wintery now, and after one ride in the rain with the subsequent stripe up my freezing cold back, I never want to do that again.

So there is it: my Lent resolution. I will not drive my car. My car will not be driven. I will not bum rides off of others. I will walk, I will ride my bike, and if I want to go farther afield, I will take the train. And my family is coming with me.

What will you do this year? Do you make New Year’s Resolution related to your stewardship and use of resources? Or are you like me, preparing for Lent? If you share your goals here, we can follow up in the coming months and encourage each other as we endeavor to do improve ourselves and do good in the world around us.

In October we went on the annual pumpkin patch ride organized by the Provo Bike Collective. My daughter is in the center, my husband to the right with my son in the the trailer.

  • […] are your resolutions for the new year? Or, if you would like to think ahead on a more modest scale, what do you intend to do for Lent? Be the first to like. Like […]

  • davedd233 says:

    I will grow more of my own food, eat less meat, and purchase more ecologically responsible products.

    • ReaderRachel says:

      That sounds like a great plan. I found I do well in making actual changes like you’ve listed when I do them as a series of small gradual shifts over a long period of time. That way it never feels onerous and the changes can be sustainable.

  • Michaelann Gardner says:

    Get Slime! Its a tire sealant that defeats even goatheads. I love it. I haven’t patched a tire since I started using it last summer. You can get it from any bike shop.

  • Peter says:

    Rachel has more gumption than I do. Lent is a dauntingly long period, so I’ll resolve merely to go a single week without using a private car. Other earth stewardship-related resolutions are to eat meat more sparingly, and to avoid entirely any fish not on the Monterey Bay Aquarium recommended list. I also resolve to support our city library and local bookstore by ordering books from them, rather than from Amazon.

  • […] result of the complementary shortcomings of laziness and poor planning. That’s why I chose to give up my car for Lent. It has been a surprisingly pleasant […]