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RECAP: New Year’s Green Resolutions Event, Part 2

In our last post, we recapped Green Muslims’ first-ever New Year’s Green Resolutions event. We have so much to share from the event that we’re back with more highlights from our inspiring speakers Majeedah Al-Farooq and Faizan Mujeebuddin. Please see our previous post for more information on their backgrounds.

Majeedah’s Top Tips for Green Living

  • Focus on the little things you can change instead of attempting a massive rehaul! For example, hang your laundry to dry outside and be mindful of not taking long showers.
  • Recycling is good—but reducing consumption is even better. Ever notice how much paper, plastic, and Styrofoam you end up with after ordering take out or shopping online? Container lids, plastic bags, napkins, disposable utensils, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, etc. Majeedah’s solution to cut waste is to cook more meals, plan ahead for shopping needs, and shop in bulk in order to reduce packaging waste.
  • Think of a second use for what you’ve already used. Buy condiments that come in glass jars, which you can later use to pack your lunch. Cooking chicken for dinner? Turn the leftover into broth. Cutting up vegetables? Compost the scraps—it isn’t complicated and Majeedah does it in a rubber tub she and her husband repurposed. “I built the simplest DIY compost bin I could find on Google. It wasn’t hard to make and it isn’t hard to upkeep,” she emphasized. “And if you don’t need the compost, just ask around—lots of people would love your homemade fertilizer.”
  • Teach your family about protecting the earth. “Your kids will get tired of you telling them the same thing over and over—that’s why I expose them to museums and documentaries so they can learn from other credible sources.”
  • Pro tip: don’t be afraid to try reusable diapers and menstrual products. “I once calculated that the average baby uses 2,500 diapers before they are potty trained. That was reason enough for me to switch to cloth diapers—and I’ve never looked back, not even after raising 5 boys!”

Faizan’s Top Tips for Green Living

  • Go outside to find peace. Faizan noticed that many people view being outdoors as a hardship. “Once you spend enough time outside, you realize that being outdoors actually cuts stress and anxiety from your life.” Faizan feels relaxed when he is casually observing nature: “Have you ever felt amazed at how different your favorite outdoor spot is when it’s below freezing or above freezing, or raining versus dry?” His description of upside down icicles, or ice spikes, inspired many attendees to experience the outdoors during winter.
  • Rely on others to inspire you to go outside. Faizan says he has found inspiration from people who share their love for the outdoors on Instagram and other social media, such as Ambreen Tariq’s @BrownPeopleCamping Instagram account. Faizan says to let children and your social circle inspire you to go outside more as well.
  • Properly plan for any hike. On any hike, Faizan always takes a waterproof bag, two liters of water, comfortable shoes, and a paper map. “Do not rely on your phone!” he warns. “Service can be spotty in the wilderness, and your phone battery won’t last forever.” He also encourages people to plan their hike ahead of time and inform at least one other person about those plans before heading out on the trail.

How does your faith influence your green lifestyle?
Faizan: He is inspired by stories of how the Prophet Muhammad SAW sought refuge in nature to contemplate about society and it was there that the Prophet received revelations from God. Faizan also draws inspiration from Quranic verses that explain how natural phenomena serve as guidance in the outdoors. “The sun and moon separate day and night; mountains can be used as landmarks; stars can guide you at night when you can’t see landmarks. I read these verses as a child, and when I started spending more time in nature, I realized that I actually did rely on those things [to find my way].”

Majeedah: She believes that protecting the earth is part of her worship of God. Being green is a lifestyle for her—she is constantly analyzing how to make religious practices greener—from her trip to Hajj, to attending community picnics sponsored by her local mosque, and iftar during Ramadan. Throughout all of these experiences and more, Majeedah asks herself how she can reduce waste and be more eco-friendly.

Favorite places in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area to hike?
Faizan:
1. White Oak Canyon & Peter’s Run
2. Stony Man to Panorama (Appalachian Trail)
3. Veach Gap Trail (George Washington National Forest) (7 mile total)

Majeedah: Scott’s Run. It’s a  beginner trail in Mclean, VA that I take a lot of women groups to.

RECAP: New Year’s Green Resolution Event, Part 1

On February 4, 2017, Green Muslims held its inaugural New Year’s Green Resolutions event at All Souls Church Unitarian in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington DC. In the spirit of the new year, people from different faith backgrounds gathered to learn and share how to make their daily habits more eco-friendly. The event commenced with a fireside chat during which the speakers (bios below) shared tips on preserving and enjoying the planet. This was followed by interactive breakout sessions that allowed attendees to brainstorm and share their green resolutions to inspire others.The event concluded with a raffle, where attendees had the chance to win green giveaways worth over $100 that will help them get a headstart with going green(er) in 2017. 

 

Sharing green tips: Speaker panel

Ambreen Tariq, the Director of Communications at Green Muslims and also the the founder of the digital initiative @BrownPeopleCamping, moderated the panel. She gave opening remarks about how excited the Green Muslims family is to start the year off with such an empowering event aimed at connecting community members and helping us all set aspirational but achievable goals to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. “The idea of living a green life can be daunting for most of us. But the truth is that a few, small, incremental changes in our personal lives can add up to big changes for the environment.”   

Majeedah Al-Farooq is a creative expert in living green on a budget and a nutrition practitioner. She and her husband are the proud parents of five growing boys. To feed and nurture her family on a budget, Majeedah turns to inspiration from her humble roots and takes pride in how she developed her green lifestyle hand-in-hand with having a low income. “Because we didn’t have a lot of money when I was a child, we bought our produce seasonally from vegetable carts. We didn’t buy more than we needed, and we thought about how to repurpose what we already had. We hung our clothes on a clothesline to dry.”

Faizan Mujeebuddin is an outdoors enthusiast and a hike leader for the Sierra Club Potomac Region. Faizan’s love for the outdoors began at a young age when he and his brothers joined their mosque’s Boy Scout Troop. Growing up in an immigrant family, Faizan quickly observed that people who looked like him and his family did not spend much time enjoying the outdoors. He begged his parents to take him hiking, fishing, and camping. When they finally did, it was always with a cultural twist which he grew to appreciate. “I remember cooking kebabs or over an open fire for dinner, instead of eating hotdogs and marshmallows like other campers. It became a cultural exchange–they taught us their customs, and we taught them ours.”

Making green resolutions: Small group breakouts

After learning about our speakers’ inspiring practices, the attendees were split up into breakout groups where they had a chance to reflect on the issues discussed, share green-living tips and resources with each other, and commit to personal green resolutions for the year. It was inspiring to witness how people began bonding with each other over shared resolutions and  how passionately they committed to the following goals:

  1. Go outside more! People resolved to enjoy more outdoors activities on a regular basis such as attempting their first overnight hike, organizing more hikes as social outings, doing yoga outside, and biking instead of driving. 
  2. Conscious meal planning. Many people confessed how they rely on take-out food, packaged meals, and frozen dinners in their busy lifestyles. Acknowledging how those choices are often unhealthy and not environmentally friendly, many people resolved to cook at home more, plan meals that use seasonal and local produce, and shop in bulk to reduce waste from packaging. Those who weren’t ready to give up take-out food just yet, resolved to forgo the disposable utensils and plates that restaurants offer.
  3. Reduce waste. Most people shared concerns about how to reduce waste in their daily lives and committed to practices like using glass jars to store bulk items (Whole Foods lets you pre-measure your jars so you don’t have to pay for the weight of the jar); committing to composting; using reusable grocery bags and water bottles; and being more conscious about their recycling practices.

Supporting green resolutions

We ended the event with a green swag raffle to help our attendees kickstart their new year’s resolutions.  Prizes included the new reusable Green Muslims water bottle, energy efficient light bulbs (donated by a generous attendee and friend of Green Muslims) and 365 homeline products.  

Three lucky winners walked away with the new reusable Green Muslims water bottles–and many more took a water bottle home after purchasing one for $10. And every person who attended walked away with a Whole Foods coupon book with over $100 in savings.

This event was a beautiful start to the new year! We are grateful for the support of our partners and for everyone who came out and participated. In fact, we learned so much for our attendees that we couldn’t fit it all into one blog post! So please stay tuned for part two of the recap blog where we will share more tips, resources, and feedback from our New Year’s Green Resolutions event.

 

This event was made possible through the support of Green Souls and Young Souls of All Souls Church Unitarian and generous donations from Whole Foods Market on P Street.

Special thanks to our long-time partner Interfaith Power and Light (MD. DC.NoVA) for raising awareness about the DC carbon pricing campaign at our event and bringing useful resources. Learn more about the campaign here!