For most of my teenage years I would make the monumental sacrifice of giving up chocolate for the seven weeks of Lent. When that wonderful Easter Day arrived, you’d find me eating multiple pain au chocolat, a Lindt bunny, and six cream eggs before we even made it to church.

Over the last few years however, as I’ve learnt more about what it means to be a Christian, I started to feel that giving up chocolate wasn’t quite right for me (however heart-breakingly difficult it was!). I got thinking, what if instead I used Lent to do something that could make a difference to my global neighbours, not just my waistline.  I am very passionate about doing what I can to help our planet and other people, I think as a Christian it’s really important that we do all we can to live a more sustainable lifestyle. So I came up with a few things I could give up for Lent would impact the world.

1. Give Up Beef

The farming of beef is having a detrimental impact on our environment. By giving up red meat for a few weeks and replacing it with delicious vegetarian meals you could be helping to save water reduce pollution and learn how to cook yummy veggie food in the process. To get started, why not read these great tips on becoming a flexitarian?

2. Say No to Plastic

This is a really hard one but it’s something I’ve been trying for a long time. Society unfortunately isn’t designed to be plastic free, but significantly reducing your plastic use over Lent could teach you some easy ways to do it more long term. Also, by going plastic-free we’ll also see just how much we use! Find out more about plastic waste here.

3. Start A Clothes Ban

Buying fewer clothes throughout the year is a great way to help the environment. Take on the challenge this Lent and don’t spend a penny on new clothes! To make it easier, you could host a clothes swap or only buy from charity shops. Long term, it pays to think about our fashion choices, and there are lots of ethical choices out there.  I love a good capsule wardrobe and it’s a great way to have a more ethical wardrobe but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. I’ve been really enjoying seeing the 10X10 clothes challenges on Instagram and thought maybe over lent it would be a fun idea to create a capsule wardrobe for those seven weeks. Start by picking a number of items, say 25, that can all work together and only wear those 25 items for the next seven weeks.

4. Leave the Car at Home

One thing I really want to do more of is leave my car at home. Over Lent you could try using public transport more often, or riding your bike to work, or walking those 15 minutes to the shop instead of jumping in the car. It could make a big difference if we all started only using them when we absolutely had to.

5. Cut your Food Waste

Finally, how about trying to cut down the amount of food we throw away? Overproducing food has big consequences on our environment, and it just shouldn’t happen in a world where others go hungry. This challenge is fun and (relatively!) easy, especially with all the advice you’ll find. Here’s how to set up a food waste kit, here are some tips from people who lived in a time of food rations, and there are a whole load of delicious recipes you can choose from.

So, there are just five ideas I came up with for things to try during Lent. Seven weeks may not seem like a lot but we could all make such a difference in that time by trying one of these ideas. We’d love to hear if you’re giving something up for the seven weeks – tag us on Instagram @WeAreTearfund and let us know.Enjoy your pancakes everyone!