For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting—of getting by with less. Traditionally, this has meant abstaining from things like eating, drinking, or sex from dawn until sunset. In recent years, these more traditional practices have been supplemented by a desire to get by with fewer resources as well. As part of the focus on moderation, some Muslims are intentionally focusing on their influence on the environment, making a special effort to limit their waste and to treat the earth well. According to Michele Chabin of Religion News Service, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago has published a “Green Ramadan Resource Pack” for its 63 member organizations, encouraging them to incorporate green tips into their Ramadan practices.
Efforts by religious groups to encourage environmental awareness, particularly during special celebrations of the year such as Ramadan, the Christian period of Lent, or the Jewish Passover, are becoming increasingly popular. What is less clear is the extent to which rank and file believers actually follow the advice of their religious leaders and incorporate these practices into their celebrations. Perhaps more importantly, do the green practices some participate in during special holy times of the year end up changing their practices during the rest of the year? This remains to be seen, but the increasing emphasis on environmental awareness among religious groups at least has the potential to create positive change.