Thursday, November 29, 2007

Green Dinner Guidelines

We know you've been dying in anticipation, but fret no longer...round #2 of our fun green muslim dinners is right around the corner insha'Allah. In preparation for the dinner, we'd like offer the following principles:

BEFORE the dinner: Start with a prayer. Say bismillah and make your intention. Shop mindfully and be conscious of where your food is coming from.

Try to buy locally and look for produce that is in season. Not only is going to farmers markets really fun, but it cuts down on the environmental 'impact' of your meal. The average meal travels thousands of miles before it ends up on our plates. Producing, packaging and transporting food all consume energy and result in carbon emissions, which contribute to global climate change (From GWIPL). Be aware that not everything sold at farmers markets is organic, but the produce is usually in season and fresher than produce found in grocery stores. Check this link for a list of farmer's markets in the area and here for a list of seasonal items for our area.

Look for organic and fair trade products. Among the many reasons for choosing organic, at the root of it (pun intended), organic produce just tastes better and is better for you. Furthermore, fair trade standards ensure that the products meet certain social and environmental standards. Producers use environmentally sustainable production practices and are paid a fair price for their goods, which provides a livable income.

For great organic produce and groceries, check out MOM's, a local chain (and my favorite place to shop) with several locations in Maryland and one in Alexandria. There's also Root's Market in Olney, MD, Whole Foods Markets, and Trader Joe's. For zabiha meat, I only know of two butchers that sell 'organic'. (I'm not sure what constitutes 'organic') Their meat is generally pretty good and better than most places - Mediterranean Halal in Vienna and Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church.

"If you eat well, you will automatically eat less" - Dr. Jeanette Hablullah

GETTING TO the dinner: Try to reduce the 'SOV' syndrome - that is, Single Occupant Vehicle use. Not only does the growth in vehicle miles traveled consistently exceed population growth (that is - per person, we drive more every year), but single occupancy vehicle use has also increased over the last 40 years, putting more cars on the roads, especially during peak periods. These factors make transportation the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for over two-thirds of our fossil fuel use. For our dinners, we try to select locations that are public-transportation friendly, and we encourage attendees to carpool if coming from non-Metro accessible locations.

DURING and AFTER the dinner: Cut down on waste. Try to use recycled or reusable products and recycle or compost as much of the waste as possible.

Learn something new. These dinners are a way for us to support, inspire and learn from each other. At future dinners, we hope to include discussions on an issue/topic; think of it as "food for thought."

And most importantly, remember your original intention. Start and end with a prayer.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I am a green muslim because...

I feel closest to my Creator when immersed in nature. Sitting at the ocean's shore or standing at the edge of a mountain peak or listening to the birds that praise Allah in early hours of the day, these all remind you of the majesty of Allah.

I believe that we have an amanah (trust, responsibility) to protect and to serve all of creation.

I love the stories from the seerah that speak of the love of creation for the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the love of the Prophet for all of creation. Seeing a tree reminds me of the tree that stood, supporting the roof of the masjid of the Nabi, and cried out when the Prophet (sas) neglected to put his hand on it when giving his sermon, standing on the minbar instead.

I believe policy decisions are made with an underlying value paradigm. And that some of our current values need to be re-aligned to protect the environment and improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable.

I am a green muslim because I want to create positive change within my community. As Muslims, we should be asking ourselves - what is our responsibility as caretakers (khalifa) of the earth? How can our care and concern for creation (including humans) transform our relationship with each other and with our Creator? How are our values the same or different from the dominant paradigm and how can this change our situation? We need to start a dialog within our community about the environment and related issues - sustainability, development, conservation, justice, equality, etc. This blog and this group, I hope, is the first step insha'Allah (God willing).

"Be careful about this Earth because she is your mother. Be careful about your mother because she will complain about [the oppression of her] by all of you."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My niyyah ...

My name is Nadia Janjua. I am an artist and an architect. My niyyah for being involved with Green Muslims is to learn more about how to be respectful to the earth, to society, to ourselves and to each other through exploring the concept and reality of sustainability in a holistic manner. Whether it's what we put in our body, what we plant in the ground, a space we create for ourselves, an item we purchase from a store, what we teach our youth, or what we choose to act upon, the events and significance of our everyday lives and actions are incredibly linked to a broader societal and even global reality. I'd like to be able to view the consequences of my actions as they impact the scale of my own life, and the greater scale of global society. I also hope to share this experience and what I learn with other fellow humans inshaAllah.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Green Muslim Dinner-Iftar I: October 5, 2007; Arlington, VA

16 adult attendees; 4 child attendees

"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Religion and the Environment": November 12, 2007; GWU

Chet Pritchett

Mohamad Chakaki

Lindsay Savoye

"Going Green & Organic" - A Workshop by Dr. Jeanette Hablullah, N.D.: October 27, 2007; Beltsville Library, MD

Psychotic Chickens: "You are what you eat"

Dr. Jeanette's message: If you breed animals in an unnatural manner, if you feed it something it's not meant to be fed, you are also eating something that really shouldn't be going into your body, you are are forcing your body to jive with something that doesn't belong there, and you're taking on the nature of that which you eat.

Dr. Jeanette Hablullah, N.D.

Ayanna Miranda,. EIT

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why Green Muslims? My niyyah in this...

Salaam! My name is Mohamad. I live and work in Washington, DC, stirring things up here in the nation's capital–like any good social ecologist would–both socially and environmentally.

I joined the DC Green Muslims group for several reasons: social, environmental and economic... but mostly because I believe that the Muslim imperative to bring religious meaning and spirituality to all parts of life also applies to our connection to nature (this includes people, too!).

This connection to nature is inherent to Islam. It is part of our fitra, our true nature. So instead of asking what it is in our past that inspires us to be environmentally conscious (i.e. "green"), the question should be what has left us environmentally unconscious? i.e. in a state of ghafla.