Coronavirus: Practicing Green Ramadan? Here’s what you can do during the month

This year’s Ramadan is very different due to Covid-19 global pandemic and the social isolation/regulation. Restaurants, cafes and other eateries have been ordered to only open delivery services or shut their doors and mosques have advised Muslims to pray at home to maintain physical and social distancing practices. But amidst this crisis situation, Muslims can practice eco-friendly lifestyles, because this is the time! 

During this time, our fasting ritual might be synonymous with sharing more, shopping more or getting more gifts. In the Holy Month, we are always close to producing extra waste as well as making life more complicated than before.

In fact, Ramadan, which is derived from an Arabic word, ramada or ar-ramad, means burning or drought, like tribes in the desert who have to endure hunger and thirst in hot weather. The Muslims believe that if they perform worship and also fast in the month of Ramadan, their sins will be forgiven. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset for 29 or 30 days during Ramadan. Shortly before the evening prayer is the time when we reflect on a full day of fasting. Day after day, Muslims continue to improve the quality of their fast, hoping that their worship will be accepted.

Coronavirus: Practicing Green Ramadan? Here’s what you can do during the month

It has become a habit for Muslims to store food for preparation during fasting. It may be that we devour more food in the fasting month than on other days, and even many people who actually gain weight during Ramadan. This excessive dining actually contradicts with the essence of fasting itself. For some people, breaking the fast often turns into a celebration party for the completion of the fast. Truly, the purpose of fasting is to restrain the carnality.

The Covid-19 outbreak has restricted our access which we deserve to interpret from a positive side. Ramadan in 2020 means no communal gatherings in mosques for tarawih night prayers and no large iftar (breaking the fast) dinners with family and friends in restaurants or cafes. These may seem disheartening but it’s the ideal time for reflection. So, what should we do in Ramadan this year to be better than last year?

We can start the Green Ramadan movement, carry out Ramadan fasting that is more environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and nurturing around as taught by the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Green Ramadan is an opportunity for us to remember and appreciate God's creation, which has provided a variety of needs for our lives.

Let’s think about zero waste lifestyle. It’s not solely about garbage but sustainability in simple practice. Living zero waste is living a simple life in return, we all do more to make life sustainable. Ramadan toward sustainability, and it starts from you. How to do it?

Buy the Right Thing

The world’s population is estimated to reach 9,3 billion by 2050. It is conceivable that the pace of consumption growth will have an impact on the ecological footprint and threaten biodiversity. Without efforts to reduce exploitation of natural resources and excessive consumption, Indonesia will surely face scarcity of natural resources and environmental degradation. 

We are all in an uncertain situation so everything must be full of careful calculations, especially in shopping needs. Frugality is a wise step. Buying unnecessary items is just a waste of natural resources, increasing waste and spendthrift. Don’t create disaster above disaster. 

Referring to the WWF-Indonesia #BeliYangBaik (buy the right thing) campaign, buy the right thing can be started with three simple steps, namely getting to know: searching the information and understanding about the product background before consuming it, asking: ask the seller to present the product that is environmentally friendly and sustainable and invites: invites more people to adopt a green lifestyle in everyday life.

Make Your Own Food

Coronavirus: Practicing Green Ramadan? Here’s what you can do during the month

Last year, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition noted that Indonesia disposed of the second largest food waste after Saudi Arabian. amounting to 300 kilograms per person per year. While Parongpong Waste Management, a recycling center in West Java, told the ABC if the data they obtained showed that in Jakarta itself there were an additional 200 tons of waste during Ramadan. Most garbage was a combination of food leftovers and food packaging. Stay at home regulation also brings complicated impacts, causing increasing food delivery services that also create food packaging and plastic waste. 

By cooking your own food, you can create some fun and easy get together with family and also help to reduce the waste, with notes: bring your own shopping bags to the market and carefully choose products that are environmentally friendly. If you are forced to order online food delivery, choose a restaurant that has implemented an environmentally friendly business.

Buy Local Products

In this pandemic situation buying imported products is not a solution. Appreciating natural local products, in addition being able to get goods at affordable prices also contributes to national food security, raising the economy circularly and maintaining biodiversity. Moreover, consuming natural local ingredients besides being good for increasing body immunity is also good for the earth because it reduces chemical content.

Start Implementing Urban Farming

Take advantage of free time in this holy month by learning urban farming such as hydroponic, in addition to worship. Try from the simplest methods to cultivate your own vegetables and fruits, you can develop local plant cultivation and realize food self-sufficiency. From this activity, you can learn new local seeds or rare local plants, such as menteng or gandaria, that you perhaps only know as the streets names in the city. 

Buy Durable Goods

Buying durable goods helps reduce the frequency of our shopping. And, be diligent in caring and maintain our personal belongings to extend the useful life of these products. For example, you can consider the impacts of fast fashion that makes shopping more affordable but it comes at an environmental cost. The fashion industry produces 10 percent of all humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the ocean with microplastic. 

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.