Ramadan is a great opportunity for each of us to take another step towards spiritual enlightenment. In addition, it is also a time to enjoy spiritual communion with others. 

One of the best traditions of Ramadan has to be the Iftar that is shared by friends and family. Who does not enjoy breaking fast in a warm, inviting atmosphere – and the food helps too. In fact food seems to become a primary focus during Ramadan.

Regardless of whether we agree or disagree about the subject of food. Regardless of if we believe it should or should not be a focal point, we must agree that the great bio-diversity of this planet is responsible for the bounty we are able to receive and share with others. 

During this Ramadan why not take an opportunity to remember and respect this planet and the generous bio-diversity that is responsible for our sustenance by having an Eco-Iftar. 

Below are a few suggestions on how to have an Iftar that is ecologically and environmentally responsible.  

  • Buy local and buy organic. When you choose to buy your foods stuffs from local organic farmers and local vendors you are helping the earth. Local organic farms utilize sustainable and environmentally friendly principals which help the soil to retain its value and in turn ensures the food is nutritionally viable. Buying local food stuffs that are close to the consumer means there is less energy used in picking, storing, and, transporting the food. To find a local farmer, farmer’s markets, or co-ops visit Local Harvest.org.
  • Use the good stuff. Instead of opting for disposable paper and plastic plates and utensils use actual dishes. Using real-to-the-touch dishes helps in reducing what goes into the local landfill. If there is a need to use disposable goods opt for the biodegradable kind. Check out Recycline and Bambu products which are available at local supermarkets and superstores. I prefer Bambu since it looks so Zen.
  • Go vegetarian. It may seem that in many Muslim cultures being a carnivore is about as necessary as breathing. However, for just one Iftar how about trying out a vegetarian menu. Besides being good for you, eating a veggie based diet is better for the planet. Consuming veggies helps in reducing pressure on land and resources that are traditionally used for meat production. Read more.
  • Recycle. During the Iftar why not set up a recycling station so that everyone can be part of the fun!
  • Educate. Take the opportunity to educate the people around you about what our planet is undergoing and provide them with a list of things they can do (much like this list) to help save their patch of earth. Not only will it make you look good it will give you a chance to explain why there is no meat on the Iftar menu.
  • Say a prayer. Since spirituality is a huge part of Ramadan why not say a heartfelt prayer for the healing of our planet. Say it out loud with others or just whisper it to yourself. Either way it will be heard.

Happy Fasting!

Author: Anila Muhammad

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