MSA Green Week: Friday, Feb. 15th

We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s workshop and dinner. For our last daily challenge, MSA’s Green Week team is focusing on transportation.

Tips:

  • Carpool | Two people carpooling lessens the impact of a trip by half, three people carpooling lessens it by two-thirds, and so on.
  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator if possible. It’s good for your body and the environment.
  • Try more environmentally friendly commutes to school or work. The No Impact Week guide ranks them in order of harmful impact on the environment
    1. Walking (nature’s transport)
    2. Bicycling
    3. Other non-motorized transportation
    4. Public transportation (bus first, train/subway second)
    5. Multiple-occupancy car
    6. Single-occupancy car

Islamic inspiration

  • The Prophet (peace be upon him) declared, “The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily Allah (SWT), be he exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves” (Muslim).
  • The prophet (pbuh) said, “Prevention of damage and corruption before it occurs is better than treatment after it occurs […] The averting of harm takes precedence over the acquisition of benefits” (Majallat al-Akham al-Adliya).

MSA Green Week: Wednesday, Feb. 13th

For Day Three of Green Week, we’re drawing our challenges from the same Green Muslims No Impact Week guide that we used yesterday. Today, though, we’re shifting our focus from what goes out to what comes in. In other words, today our Daily Challenge deals with food. Try some of these the next time you plan your meals and go shopping.

Tips:

  • Eat local food | How many miles did your food travel to reach you? Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your food-miles and eating locally. Imported perishable foods can have an especially high impact on the environment considering that they have to be refrigerated along the way as well.
    • Visit the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown (315 Detroit Street) on Saturdays between 8 AM and 3 PM, January through April.
  • Eat organic and avoid pesticides in produce | The more organic your diet is, the fewer harmful effects there are on your body and the environment.
  • Eat completely Halal | If you eat meat, try something that’s both raised and slaughtered in a Halal manner. In addition to finding (for example) meat that is slaughtered Halal, find meat that was raised in a cruelty-free manner.
  • Don’t eat in excess | Maintain a diet that doesn’t require that you take more than what you need from nature. It’s better for both your body and the environment.

Islamic inspirations for the day:

  • “O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer; eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters” (31:5).
  • “O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, Lawful and good, and do not follow the footsteps of the evil one, for he is to you an avowed enemy” (2:168).

MSA Green Week: Tuesday, Feb. 12th

Welcome to day two of MSA’s Green Week! Our challenge today, adapted from the No Impact Week guide by Green Muslims DC, is called “No Waste.” The plan is evident from the title: try generating zero waste today. Find ways to reuse or recycle anything that would otherwise go to waste, including items that normally go into trash cans. The idea is to get your creative juices flowing as you think of ways to keep items in use for as long as you can. No matter how much you can reduce your waste by, remember to collect your recyclables and bring them to 4448 East Hall this Thursday!

To help keep you motivated, here’s an Islamic inspiration. Later, we’ll post some facts we can all use to think about our consumption habits.

“But waste not in excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters” (6:141), (7:31).

MSA Green Week: Monday, Feb. 11th

February 11th marks the start of MSA’s Green Week, a project organized by our Green Muslims Team. Check out the flyer below for a list of the week’s events. In addition to uploading the usual announcements and creative content by MSA-ers, we’ll be tweeting and posting to the blog throughout the week with challenges, daily themes, and Islamic inspirations. Today we leave you with this interview (featuring Kristiane Backer, the brains behind the “Inspired by Muhammed” campaign) and details about a special challenge. This week, we encourage our readers in MSA to collect their empty pop cans and bottles and bring them to East Hall on Thursday–the proceeds from recycling them will go to our Relay for Life team, who really appreciates the support.

Green Week Flyer

MSA-er of the Month September 2012: Hanan Yahya

The Muslim Students’ Association isn’t much of an association without the students. MSA-ers routinely go above and beyond the call of duty to plan and execute events and campaigns, share their great ideas, and generally help other members of the community. In recognition of so many contributions, each month an outstanding member is nominated as MSA-er of the Month. The MSA-er of the Month for September 2012 is Hanan Yahya.

Hanan Yahya, a first-year sister at Michigan, was nominated for her involvement in Outreach Committee’s events, including New Student Orientation and Mass Meeting. Having come to Ann Arbor over the summer to attend MSA’s Ramadan Iftar events, she was familiar with the Green Muslims project and went out of her way to help make sure that food and dishes were disposed of properly the evening of Mass Meeting. Now that she’s seen her options Hanan plans on double majoring in International Studies and Political Science, but she knew as early as her high school years that MSA was the first club she would join once she reached campus. After graduation, Hanan hopes to spend time helping community organizations and local partnerships in Southwest Detroit, where she would especially like to assist the youth and the elderly.

Green Muslims Forum Thursday, September 13th

“Halal is about what we can eat. Beyond Halal is about what we should eat.” – BeyondHalal

Join us this Thursday for an evening full of insight regarding the ways MSA can be eco-friendly. Brother Nuri Friedlander, who is the co-founder of beyondhalal.com and the Muslim Chaplain of Harvard University, will be delivering an address on what it means to be an environmentally conscious Muslim. Come learn some cool new tips on going green!

There will be a Q/A session and refreshments following Brother Friedlander’s remarks.

For more information and to RSVP (not mandatory), please visit our event page on Facebook.

Green Muslims Tips for 08/13/2012

This year the MSA began its partnership with Green Muslims, a national organization that provides support for organizations like ours in committing ourselves to the Islamic ideal of environmental stewardship. What follows is a set of tips provided by Green Muslims on how to go green this Ramadan. Try to apply these for the coming week and observe what a difference small steps can make.

For it is He who has brought into being
gardens-[both] the cultivated ones and those
growing wild -and the date-palm, and fields
bearing multiform produce, and the olive
tree, and the pomegranate: [all] resembling
one another and yet so different! Eat of their
fruit when it comes to fruition, and give
[unto the poor] their due on harvest day. And
do not waste [God’s bounties]: verily, He
does not love the wasteful!”
-Quran 6:142
***

Challenge Yourself: Don’t waste a single
morsel of food this week. Anything you
cannot eat, compost. Don’t allow any of
your leftovers go to waste. Consider inviting
friends over for a “leftar” where you eat only
leftovers for iftar.

Reflect: Being mindful of food waste helps
us to be more in tune with the focus of
Ramadan. Think of those less fortunate, and
how what you throw away, could be feeding
others.

-As we enter the final week of this blessed month, we should pay special attention to this advice. College students in particular stand to benefit from the ability to stretch food.

“And you see the mountains and
think them solid but they are
fleeting like clouds – the creation of
God who has well completed the
creation of everything.
-Quran 27:88
***
Challenge Yourself: If you don’t
already, make a commitment to
recycle. See how many things that
you throw away, could be re-used.
Just as the ayat says, the most solid
things are fleeting. Our most basic
energy sources are drying up and
we are left to consider how
wasteful we really are.
Reflect: Allah created us as the
caretakers of this Earth. What are
you personally doing to fulfill this
trust?

-Thankfully, Ann Arbor and the University have taken major steps towards making recycling easy. What can you do to make sure that recycling is easy at home?

“None of you truly believes until he
wishes for his brother what he
wishes for himself.”
-Hadith
***
Challenge Yourself: Start a new
tradition of planning your Eid
celebrations to include a service
project. Incorporate service,
volunteerism, and community
support in your annual tradition.
Reflect: Find ways to connect more
with the idea behind Zakat-ul-Fitr.
Servicing and supporting our
closest community in need should
be more than dropping a few
dollars in a box at the Eid prayer.
What are ways you connect with
your Zakat?

-Especially during Ramadan, Muslims are supposed to act in ways that improve the lives of their brothers and sisters in humanity. Find a project you believe will have a positive impact, then do your best to make sure it becomes a success.

“…and Allah is the best of Planners”
-Quran 3:54
***
Challenge Yourself: Bad planning and
disorganization often lead to multiple
trips, impulse buying, and wasted
energy. Make a to-do list. Plan your
week so that you can run all your
errands on the same day. Organize
your time and define your actual
needs before setting out for the day.
Reflect: Setting aside time to think
about your plans helps you reflect on
the actuality of what you do in any
given day. What are your patterns?
Are you happy with what is on your
to-do list?

-Islamic philosophies can guide us to a heightened mindfulness of our resources. Too often, though, we forget about time, one of the most precious resources we’ve been given.

“Do not turn your knowledge into
ignorance or your conviction into
doubt. When you gain knowledge,
act upon it and when you acquire
conviction, proceed.”
-Nahjul Balagha
***
Challenge Yourself: Going forward,
try to continue the more
environmentally friendly habits
you have started this Ramadan.
Take the knowledge you have
gained and turn it into conviction.
Reflect on this past month during
these last few days and plan out a
path going forward. What habits
have had a true impact on you?
What changes have you made to
your spirit, your community, your
practice?

-Actions are hollow without the proper intentions behind them, and a good set of beliefs can help us align our intentions with where we want them to be. Spend some time reflecting and sort through the advice you’ve picked up lately. What gems are worth following, and what will lead you astray? When you’re satisfied with your results, internalize them and let them guide your intentions.

To get in touch with the MSA’s Green Muslims Initiative staff, email greenmuslims@umich.edu.

Green Muslims Tips for 08/06/2012

This year the MSA began its partnership with Green Muslims, a national organization that provides support for organizations like ours in committing ourselves to the Islamic ideal of environmental stewardship. What follows is a set of tips provided by Green Muslims on how to go green this Ramadan. Try to apply these for the coming week and observe what a difference small steps can make.

“One of the arts of appreciating
nature is developing our knowledge of
the names and characteristics of
things; the other, companion art, is
knowing how to keep quiet and pay
attention, both within and without.”
–The Book of Nature
***
Challenge yourself: Spend a day
out of doors, in nature. Leave your
phone at home. Listen to the
rhythm of the Earth. Pay attention
to the sounds of the forest, the
waterfront, the field, the hillside.
Do you know the names of the
flora and fauna around you? Make
a goal to look up and learn the
name of a flower, tree, or plant.
Reflect within. Notice the patterns
of the day. Are you comfortable
with quiet? Are you able to sit still?

-An undertaking like the Green Muslims Initiative is far less meaningful without reflection. Spend some time unplugged at a nature park, and make it a point to think of the beauty of God’s creations.

“Have they, then never considered
the earth – how much of every noble
kind (of life) We have caused to grow
upon it?”
– Quran, 26:7
***
A step forward or back tracking?
Ramadan should be a time of
instilling good habits, both spiritually
and literally, in your daily practice.
Challenge Yourself: At every iftar
this week, BYOD – Bring your own
dishes, instead of adding to the
landfill, start a sustainable trend in
your community!
Reflect on your Ramadan Footprint.
How much leftover food do you
waste? How many Styrofoam cups
of chai do you idly toss in the trash?
Calculate your carbon footprint at:

http://www.conservation.org

-This one is especially relevant considering the MSA’s upcoming BYOPlate Iftar at the Rackham building.

“Don’t you see how God has
created the seven heavens in
harmony and made the moon a
light in their midst and made the
sun a glorious lamp?”
-Quran 71:15-16
***
Reflect on the sunnah of rising at
Fajr and sleeping right after Isha
and the effects of this practice on
our energy consumption.
Challenge Yourself: Take
advantage of the long, bright days,
and keep your electricity and
energy usage to a minimum. See
how long you can go without
turning on a light before Maghrib
prayer.

-Here’s a fun and rewarding challenge that’s worth some effort. Try to cut back on electricity usage. Another tip: before you leave the house/apartment, remember to adjust your thermostat’s settings. Your wallet will thank you.

“It is He who sends down water from the
skies, and brings out of it everything that
grows, the green foliage, the grain lying
close, the date palm trees with clusters of
dates, and the gardens of grapes, and of
olives and pomegranates, so similar yet so
unlike. Look at the fruits, how they appear
on the trees, and they ripen. In all these are
signs for those who believe.”
-Quran 6:99
***
Challenge Yourself: The consumption of
meat in the US is at an all-time high and the
environmental ramifications are
devastating. Acres of rainforests have been
destroyed to feed these habits, to name
only one effect. Try extending your fast, and
avoiding meat during your iftar this week.
Reflect: Just as you reflect on how you feel
while fasting all day, reflect on how you feel
without meat in your diet.

-Cows and other ruminants produce methane, a greenhouse gas roughly 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, as a by-product of their digestive processes; combined, they account for about a third of America’s agricultural emissions. Consider changing your diet around to lower your personal impact.

“In the name of Allah and there is no
power save with Allah. Praise be to Allah
who made this means of transport
subservient to us, what we (by ourselves)
could never have accomplished.”
-Travel Dua
***
Challenge Yourself: Set up a Jumuah or
Tarawih car-pool for the week. Make sure
no fewer than 4 people are riding with
you as you make your way towards these
forms of worship.
Reflect: What is your daily energy use,
when it comes to transportation? If you
drive, could you share the ride? If you
share the ride, could you bike? What’s
one habit you could change that would
take you a step closer to a more
sustainable method of transportation?

-On campus, MSA-ers have plenty of resources to help us move from place to place without leaving a large footprint. Back home, though, options like regular buses can be hard to come by. Make the extra effort to travel by car only when necessary, and to consolidate your trips.

Green Muslims Presents: BYOP Iftar

Assalamu Alaikum,

“O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.” – 

- (Quran 31:5)

Please join us for the last MSA iftar of the summer this Thursday at 8:40pm in Rackham. There will be deliciously catered free food as usual, but here’s the catch- your ticket to this iftar is the plate you bring!
 
As you may know, Green Muslims was just launched as a long-term, comprehensive MSA project. In an effort to steadily build our way to becoming a more ethical and environmentally conscious community, we hope to start right away by taking small steps to reduce our waste. At this iftar, please bring a reusable plate with you and we’ll provide biodegradable cups and utensils. In addition, we’ll have recycling bins, composts bins and tupperware so that nothing goes to waste.
 
Asking you to bring your own plate to a campus event might sound absurd, but what’s really absurd is that Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, plates, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times. Unlike most other kinds of paper materials, paper plates that are contaminated with food residue aren’t usually recyclable and often end up in landfills. Currently, plastic accounts for approximately 10-12% of all generated waste, most of which is landfilled. Simply dumping plastics in landfills does not solve the problem- the chemicals in these plastic materials often sink into nearby land and contaminate our ground water, making it toxic and hazardous to the ground water community’s biodiversity. 
 

In a groundbreaking report called “Plastics, the environment and human health,” by the scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Science, the lead editor of the report, Richard Thompson, concluded that plastics, if used wisely, “have the potential to reduce mankind’s footprint on the Earth.”

In the long run, we hope to always hold zero-trash events so that doing so becomes intuitive, but it takes practice and learning to get there. We can start with small steps now so that we can reach this goal in the near future, inshaAllah. So please do your part and bring a plate to this iftar! And don’t worry- we’ll be happy to wash them for you after dinner so that you can take it home clean! If you feel like any of these ideas could work in your own community or at your hometown mosque, feel free to take it there, too!

Go Blue. Live Green.

The Green Muslims Team

Have any tips for cutting down during Ramadan? Feel free to share them by adding your comments below!

A Letter from the Chairs of Green Muslims

Assalamu Alaikum Fellow Muslim Wolverines,

Ramadan Mubarak! From the Green Muslims team (AKA the GM team) we hope you’ve all been enjoying your summer and Ramadan so far. If you haven’t already, you’ll probably soon be headed to a few big iftars this month with lots of food, people, foam cups, plastic plates, plastic spoons, plastic knives, plastic forks…oh my! Then every night at taraweeh prayers, you may be running into some amos and aunties practically taking a shower in the bathroom while making wudu.

This environmental negligence is a big problem in our communities, yet is one that is treated like a marginal issue when it comes to discussion and, more importantly, to action.

And like many other problems our community faces, the MSA is here to help! Brothers and sisters, ladies and gents, wasteful wudu-making aunties and uncles, we present to you: *Drumroll Please*

The Green Muslims Initiative!

Beginning this fall, the MSA at Michigan is making green living a priority, and we are taking steps to becoming a more environmentally friendly organization. The GM team is doing a lot of planning and brainstorming now so that when the school year comes around, we can hit the ground running and adopt measures to be more environmentally conscious at all of our events and activities. Yes, that also means there will be more recycling bins available in your Tower Plaza apartment and lots of great tips to live a more simple and sustainable life. You can even look forward to green socials, dinners, halaqas and more insha’Allah!

It’s time that we step up our game and accept a responsibility that Allah (SWT) has assigned to us. He has entrusted this conduct upon us, for “it is He who appointed you as khalifas (vicegerents) on this earth” [6:167]. “And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that there are Signs indeed for those who reflect” [45:13].

The GM team is super excited to engage our community in a wide variety of green activities and projects to help fulfill our obligations and responsibilities as conscious and active Muslims. Look out for some fun blog posts during Ramadan that will give you tips on how to start going green today!

We need your help and would love to hear from you! If you would like to get involved, please contact us at greenmuslims@umich.edu with any ideas, thoughts or questions.

Go Blue! Live Green!

Wasalams,

Green Muslims Chairs
Tesneem Alkiek & Mustafa Mohammed