1. Always remember: each of us will be asked
Our parents, Imams and Khateebs regularly remind us that Allah will ask us about all that we say and do. But this includes not only whether or not we performed our prayers on time, fasted in Ramadan or how we behaved in a heated situation. It also refers to how we used the resources Allah blessed us. This is not just confined to money, but our food, drink and shelter as well. Let's remember that the next time we decide to empty a half-eaten plate into the garbage can.
This can be applied to anything from our clothes and food to the words we say and the money we spend.
On clothes, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said: Eat and drink, give charity and wear good clothes as long as these do not involve excess or arrogance (Nasai, Ibn Majah).
On food he said: Two persons' food is enough for three, and three persons' food is enough for four (Bukhari, Muslim).
On water: consider that the Prophet made perfect Wudu five times a day with a small amount of water in a desert city. Remember that next time you're running the water while brushing your teeth.
Add electricity to this list and consider replacing your regular light bulbs with energy-efficient ones. If every family in the United States replaced one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL), it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases. That is the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road.
More garbage means more pollution. Reusing means less garbage, not to mention money saved not having to buy something new. Ask any parent with several childrenwhat a blessing hand-me-down clothing is. In several families, clothes aren't just handed down to siblings, but cousins as well. In this regard, the Prophet said: Wearing old clothes is part of faith (Abu Daud).
Apart from clothing though, consider donating or passing down (or up) all kinds of furniture, textbooks, toys and even things like buttons, which can be recycled into artwork. Starting today, before putting anything in the garbage, try to ask: can this go somewhere other than in the garbage?
If you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
If your home or building does not already have a recycling service, call and find out from your city how you can arrange to have paper, plastic and glass picked up for you. If no such service exists, find out where the nearest drop off points are and once a week, try to at least recycle paper.
Recycling also extends to computers, cell phones, batteries and electronic equipment as well. Find out from your city or do an online search of where you can drop off these items.
By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
5. Walk, bike or run to the Masjid...and everywhere else
Every gallon of gas you save by shortening a trip by car or just not using it keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
6. Plant a tree
Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Just one tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. The Prophet said: if any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
7. Calculate your carbon usage
8. Don't act like the devil's sibling
Waste and a lifestyle characterized by it, is behind many of the environmental problems we face today. Waste is something Allah hates. He says in the Quran: "Lo! the squanderers were ever brothers of the devils and the devil was ever an ingrate to his Lord."
A life free of waste is a life light on the planet and our children tomorow Insha Allah.
9. Develop contentment
The Prophet said: wealth is not in having vast riches, it is in contentment (Bukhari,Muslim). This wise advice, echoed throughout time, will allow us to consume less and develop our inner resources more. Let's start today
Photo Attribution: "Linde von linn" by Stefan Wernli - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Linde_von_linn.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Linde_von_linn.jpg