Religions have taught and encouraged a zero-waste lifestyle for a long time ago. Basically, every religion teaches us how to behave well towards others and the earth in its entirety. Implementing a zero-waste lifestyle is also a virtue that should be shared to all people. Then, how do each of these religions see zero waste?
Now, Indonesian Muslims are celebrating Ramadan. Unfortunately, during Ramadan the amount of waste that we produce increases. As mentioned in the previous article, waste in Ramadan increased by 20%, particularly food waste and single-use plastic. Of course, this contradicts Islamic teaching.
The Islamic perspective on food waste is conveyed in Al-An’am verse 141, “And He, it is who causes gardens to grow, (both) trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different (kinds of) food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of (each of) its fruit when it yields and gives its due (zakāh) on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.”
Based on this verse, Allah forbids Muslims from excessive consumption because it can cause waste. Therefore, the Qur’an encourages humans to consume food based on the season, and share it with those who can’t afford it to prevent leftovers.
Consuming seasonal food provides many benefits for the environment and humans. Seasonal food contain higher nutrients for health and growth. The food obtained is also fresher and has minimal use of preservatives and pesticides. Local farmers also benefit from a large number of purchases by the local community. For the environment, this practice will reduce large-scale agricultural land clearing that can threaten the ecosystem. Food transportation that can produce carbon is also reduced by this local food consumption lifestyle.
Christian teachings, both Catholic and Protestant, teach their people to preserve the environment through Proverbs 3:19-22, “(19) By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place. (20) by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. (21) My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion.”
The verse explains that God has given many blessings to humans through the environment that has been arranged to support human life. Therefore, humans must be grateful for all the blessings given and be humble. Reducing the amount of food waste is an expression of gratitude for spiritually responsible service. Besides environmental sustainability, the main point to be aimed is to share the love with those who lack food.
Buddhism also teaches a zero-waste lifestyle by applying mindful consumption. Mindful consumption applies to a point of the Aryan Eightfold Path to eliminate suffering or complaints in life and achieve enlightenment. The point is mindfulness or right awareness. This point teaches the followers not to be greedy and anxious about world affairs. Here, people are taught to focus on paying attention and being aware of their body, mind, feelings, and mental.
Mindful consumption is a behavior in which we are really aware of our need for an item and consider the environmental sustainability aspects. Applying this habit, we will practice carefully considering the goods we will consume, starting from the production process, the benefits, to the impact. This habit is well applied to reduce the waste that we produce.
Hindus glorify the philosophy of life Tri Hita Karana in everyday life. This value aims to maintain balance and harmony in the relationship between humans and nature, as well as humans and God. Similar to other teachings, Hinduism also highly upholds environmental sustainability. In the holy book, Hyang Widhi (God) explains, “Humans should not pollute and stop polluting the atmosphere, vegetation, rivers, water sources, and wilderness because all of these are protectors of numerous natural resources.” (Rgweda, III. 51.5).
Hindus are ordered to use all the natural sources only to meet needs, not desires. It has a purpose for humans to maintain the balance of nature so that they can live happily on earth and can reach heaven. This principle is also the basis for implementing a zero-waste lifestyle. Maintaining sustainable production and consumption requires us to be able to map our consumption and production needs according to needs to prevent waste.
The good teachings brought by each religion must be implemented properly by its people. Protecting nature by adopting a zero-waste lifestyle is part of #WorshipWithoutWaste as a form of loyalty and gratitude to God Almighty.