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Would you turn the heating down for Lent?

Bishop of Salford suggests tackling climate change as an alternative to giving up chocolate

Lots of people give things up at Lent time, many of whom aren’t necessarily religious. Chocolate is a common one but it could just as easily be sweets, coffee, alcohol, meat etc. However, the Bishop of Salford, John Arnold, wants people to abandon traditional penances in favour of lifestyle changes to tackle climate change. See the story here.

He believes that using less energy at Lent could be a really positive way of tackling climate change, including turning the heating down, hanging washing out instead of using a dryer, turning lights off when rooms are not in use and using the bus instead of the car.

So, would you be prepared to give up the heating for the next 40 days? We would imagine that if we asked the same question a couple of weeks ago when we had the unseasonably warm weather for February, people may have been quite prepared to sacrifice heating but the temperature has reverted to a more typical level for this time of year and we all know that March can bring any kind of weather (remember the Beast from the East last year!) so would you do it?

Of course, the true meaning of giving something up for Lent is that you’re making a sacrifice; if it’s not a challenge it defeats the object of doing it. That said, turning the heating down in March/April is not the issue it would be in December so would it be so difficult?

This kind of initiative doesn’t just appeal to those wishing to observe religious traditions, it could be good practice for those who are concerned about the environment. 40 days could be enough time to create new habits that stick such as turning lights off, ensuring the dishwasher is full before using it and not using more heat than we really need. It could also be an annual reminder to start thinking about turning the heating down though remember Lent is actually quite late this year and often starts in February.

If you are thinking about making some positive changes for the good of the environment, you might want to consider doing the following when it comes to the heating:

  • Turn the heating down as far as you can cope with. Employ all the non-energy-using tricks to reserve heat such as wearing layers, keeping doors closed and wrapping up in blankets when sat watching TV, so you can keep energy usage to a minimum
  • Reduce the period of time that you have the heating on. You’ve probably got it set to the same timer you’ve been using all winter but you won’t need it on for as long now. Just reducing it by 30 minutes in the morning and evening will make a difference
  • If you have a smart meter, take note of how much you’re reducing your costs by making these changes. Saving money as well as the environment can be a great motivator to keep it up and make other changes
  • Turn the heating down in increments so it’s less of a shock. Reduce it by a few degrees every week so that by the end of the 40 days, which will be late April, you’ll no doubt find you don’t need it at all. This could also be done with the timer

By focusing your attention on this, it will probably make you aware of other positive changes you can make and give you a real sense of achievement. Plus, if you’re doing this you don’t have to give up chocolate!

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