Most Muslim youth today are growing up at a time of unprecedented awareness around green issues in the United States. Protecting the planet has become part of school curriculums, youth group programs, even much of the media they consume.
This offers an excellent opportunity to not only share the Islamic perspective about this, but also, to engage young Muslims in projects that will help them do their part to protect the earth, a trust from Allah. Here are seven ideas that can help start that process.
1. Juma/Jama’ah Tarawih/ carpool
In the United States, single occupant commuting is around 75%, according to census data. A small car emits around .59 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile, a medium car around 1.1 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile, and an SUV/4 wheel emits around 1.57 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile.
Now add the Juma/Jama’ah(congregational)/Tarawih prayer nightmare we experience every week and Ramadan, and we’ve got too many cars cluttering our Masjid and Islamic center parking lots that could easily be decreased if we carpooled.
With the help of the Masjid youth, start up a carpooling program. And the first people to approach about this is other young Muslims, who may be more responsive to the green message than older Muslims.
2. Mosque Community Garden
If you’ve got even a small patch of space around the Masjid, use it to start a community garden. With the help of local youth, plant vegetables and fruits. Then, once they’re ready, contact the nearest food pantry to drop off the donation for the hungry.
You can also use this as an opportunity to beautify the area outside the Masjid by planting flowers near the entrances.
3. Make them in charge of setting up recycling at the Masjid
Who hasn’t seen those countless fliers and ads floating around the entrance or shoes section of the Masjid? After an event has passed, they need to be disposed of by recycling, but does your mosque have the blue bins to get rid of them the green way?
If your Masjid still doesn’t have a recycling project in place, enlist the help of the mosque’s youth to set it up. Put them in charge of fundraising for it if necessary, and contacting your city, town, or village to arrange for bins to be placed all around the mosque, and the recycling truck to come by to pick it all up.
They can also make the Masjid part of this program to earn some profit for its green efforts.
4. Green posters around the Islamic center
Have them develop posters to hang all around the Masjid or Islamic center quoting verses of the Quran and Hadith about the need to, for example, not waste resources, save water, and plant trees.
5. Cut fundraising dinner waste
Who hasn’t seen it? A whole plate of food, minus a few bites, tossed in the garbage at a dinner for a good cause. Involve the youth in this novel idea: at your next dinner, make them in charge of collecting plates and tossing the waste in a bin(s). Then, in front of everyone at the hall, weigh the amount of food wasted on a large scale to show exactly how many pounds were wasted. Engage the audience in a short discussion on how this can be cut to zero.
6. Discuss the book Green Deen in a youth group meeting or Halaqa
Even better, invite the author to come speak in your community.
7. Host a school supply swap
Before the school year begins, host a school supply swap, in which students can bring their extra school supplies and trade them for things they need with other students. This not only saves money, but cuts down time and gas wasted on buying new notebooks, pencils, schoolbags, etc.
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