More than 100 trees given to bishops as a symbol of the Church’s environmental commitments
22 September 2021
Bishops have received trees which they can plant in their local area as a symbol of the Church’s commitment to the environment.
The mix of native hazel and hornbeam trees will be an outward symbol of the bishops’ commitment to “pray, speak out and take action” on climate justice.
The saplings are being presented by Bishop Graham at an environmental breakfast – a green-focused morning meeting between senior members of the clergy during the College of Bishops.
The meeting coincides with the Great Big Green Week – a nationwide celebration of action on climate change.
Forestry England has provided the 103 bishops with the trees which will form part of the Queen’s Green Canopy. The royal project invites people from across the United Kingdom to plant a tree to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee next year.
Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich and lead Bishop on the Environment for the Church of England, said: “I am extremely grateful to Forestry England for enabling me to provide a gift of a native hazel or hornbeam tree to every bishop in the Church of England.
“These will be planted across our 42 dioceses to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy.
“They will also be symbols of our joint commitment to pray, speak out and take action to ensure that we work together in our communities for climate justice in Jesus’s name.”
The meeting of bishops to discuss matters including environmental concerns comes just months ahead of COP26.
Bishop Graham joined with other faith leaders on September 20 to demand climate action ahead of the meeting in Glasgow. The Archbishop of Canterbury the Pope, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, have also recently put out a rare shared statement on the importance of climate change.
Mike Seddon, Forestry England Chief Executive, said: “I’m delighted Forestry England is gifting these broadleaf trees to every bishop to plant and care for in their diocese, as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy tree planting initiative.
“As they mature, these beautiful native hornbeam and hazel trees will absorb and store carbon and be enjoyed by people for years to come. And as we collectively face the twin crises of climate emergency and biodiversity loss, it is heartening to work closely with the Church of England and see the leadership and ministry they are providing in responding to these enormous challenges within their communities and across the land they manage.
“As England’s largest land manager, we are focusing on expanding the nation’s forests by planting resilient new woodlands, well-adapted to the changing climate conditions we now expect, and ensuring they are places for wildlife to flourish and people to connect with the natural world.”
- The Church of England has committed to becoming carbon net-zero by 2030, and has already clarified the scope and definition of the target.
- The Church Commissioners have planted over five million trees in the last two years – three million in the US and two million in the UK. Independently certified as being a sustainable producer of timberland, the Commissioners were recently recognised for their sustainable management of Welsh Forestry.
- Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 296 million visits per year and is England’s largest land manager.
- The trees being given by Forestry England to the Church of England bishops have been grown by Cheviot Trees, one of Europe’s largest producers of cell grown plants and trees.