These are the kinds of questions we need to start asking ourselves. After we have asked the questions, the next step is to inform ourselves. What happens to garbage? If it goes into landfills, how does that affect the surrounding communities, etc.
After learning about things, then we try to act. We can start with baby steps as does any baby when learning to walk. Starting today I will sort my trash into recyclables and try to put correct stuff into correct bins. Starting today I will try to minimize how much disposable items I use in my house, etc.
The above is by no means intended to be some magical bullet solution. We all should think and inform ourselves and encourage each other in kicking our wasteful habits.
1. Styrofoam garbage: During iftar meals and other dinners at masjid, we have been using a great amount of styrofoam plates and cups. After we eat, take out the garbage and fill up our masjid dump bin. What happens to it from there? Styrofoam is neither re-cyclable (in most places) and neither biodegradable. What should we do to cut down our dependence on this. In poorer countries, iftars are also held at masjids, but they use real dishes and then wash afterwards. So, a whole bunch of community members lent their dishes for us to use on this particular iftar.
2. Source of our meat: Some of us don't care where we buy our meat as long as we can get it cheap and get a lot of it. Some of us, go a step further, and try to buy zabiha meat. But for most of us the concern stops there. Allah has given us the right to eat meat but under certain conditions and regulations. One main condition is not to be inhumane and cruel to the animals. Even during time of slaughter, the Islamic rules stress humaneness and kindness to the animals.
So, what about how the animals were treated before the slaughter? The sad reality is that "modern" meat raising practices (employed by the big companies, for example) are cruel and barbaric. Should we care about that? As Muslims, who want to imbue our lives with the noble ethics of our religion, should we ignore these things? The answer is of course, no. So, what are the alternatives? Alhamdulillah, there are still farms who practice good practices of raising animals. Maybe we cut down on our consumption, just a little. There are many things we can do and look into, but the first step is to realize what's happening and not pretend we don't know it. We, the EcoMasjid group, are not asking anybody to change their habits without thinking. We are asking that we all think and pay attention to these things. So, to highlight this concern, during our iftar we served no meat.
Recylcing Container for CIMIC from Urbana City.
Cutting down food wastage. Telling organizers to make smaller servings.
Another recycling container.
Almost eliminating soda consumption during iftars.
Daily food wastage graph.
Details coming soon. In the meanwhile, here is a picture of uneaten food from people's plates on one evening. Here is another picture
Numbers: throwaway plates saved, food taken to shelters, money saved, etc.
Comments from people.
Proper disposal of computer equipment: about 3 desktops of defunct masjid computer equipment was taken to a business that does proper disposal and recycling of computer parts. In the past, this used to be just thrown in the masjid trash bin.
Getting people who sometimes clean the masjid to clean with regards to the environment. This entails not using too many chemical products, not wasting too many tissues and paper towels, etc.
Pictures of things people throw away freely at masjid: unused tissues, unused paper, slighlty broken furniture, etc.
By linking to these websites, we don't imply that we agree with everything that is written on the following websites. Read but think!