Germans leave their cars at home in Lenten 'auto fast'
8 April 2009
By Anli Serfontein
Trier, Germany, 8 April (ENI)--Almost 2000 people in
south-western Germany and Luxembourg have taken part in a church-sponsored
Lenten car-fasting action during which time they abstain from using their cars,
while opting instead for alternative transport.
Instead they walked, cycled, used public transport, or if
all else failed, they opted for car sharing when travelling.
"In one's car, one is always alone, but in the bus
one meets friends and acquaintances with whom one can talk," said Marga
Kranz, at a 1April meeting of participants. Others said they arrived at work
more relaxed after cycling or using public transport.
Lent, the annual Christian season of penitence before the
feast commemorating the resurrection of Jesus, is a period of self-denial and
preparation for Easter and it has fallen in 2009 from 25 February to 11 April.
In southwestern Germany and in neighbouring Luxembourg
the action was supported by Roman Catholic dioceses and Protestant churches.
The car-fasting action that also takes place in other
parts of Germany during the Lenten period is aimed at encouraging people to
change their mobility patterns while thinking of the environmental, social and
health effects of their actions.
People who could not do without their cars because of an
insufficient public transport infrastructure, especially in rural areas, were
asked to make a donation to a firewood-saving, low-carbon dioxide-emission
stove project in Tanzania.
The project in the east African nation is aimed at
reducing by 50 percent the chopping of firewood and carbon dioxide emissions at
the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak.
"We are destroying our environment because of greed, need or because of ignorance," said Simon Mmakasa of Smecao, a Tanzanian partner of Bread for the World, a German Protestant development and aid agency. [304 words]
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