Breathe deeply and start small
David Attenborough’s latest film ‘A Life on Our Planet’ paints a grim picture of what our world will become within the next 100 years if we do not start addressing climate change right now.
There is a lot of work ahead but, as with anything that feels too big to tackle, the wisest approach is to take a deep breath and start small!
Here are some tips on what we all can do in our churches:
How much energy does your church use and how much carbon does it produce?
The Energy Footprint Tool is available through the Church of England website (www.DofN.org/climate-change) and will re-open in March 2021. You will need your energy bills to use this tool. In return, it will tell you how energy efficient the building is and give you tips on how to improve it.
Discuss the environment at home, with friends and family. And why not read the Revd Canon Susanna Gunner’s brilliant set of booklets, available on the diocesan website in the Mission Hub. Perhaps you could discuss Susanna’s booklet ‘Nature’ at your next PCC meeting (www.DofN.org/connect-booklets).
Unite in action and prayer. Try to include prayers for the environment into regular worship, think of climate change and its effects during Harvest, explore the prayers of St Francis or the Benedicite in the Prayer Book together.
You may like to have a Climate Sunday or weekend bringing the local community together. More information is available here: ctbi.org.uk/climate-sunday. You could work with your local school, parish or town council and think of shared goals and initiatives.
Small changes can be implemented to start making a difference, consider:
- switch to a greener electricity supply by asking for electricity from 100% green sources (or net zero carbon) when you renew;
- use LED lightbulbs;
- could you use solar panels or heat pumps? (not all churches can)
- use reusable or compostable cups;
- avoid or reduce the use of oasis or plastic in flower arrangements and look to phase these out completely when you can;
- recycle your candle stubs; and
- wild part of your graveyard.
Sign up to Eco Church and undertake its survey to see how you are progressing. Participating churches receive awards for declaring a commitment to being ‘green’ and making very small changes (see: ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/how-eco-churchworks). There is also a Norfolk EcoChurches support group on Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/NorfolkEcoChurch). The diocese is doing its bit too; aiming to become an Eco Diocese under the same scheme.
Let us pray and let us do this together. It may feel overwhelming but think of the mustard seed from the Gospels: the most wonderful things grow from the smallest seed!
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