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Shrinking the Footprint
Shrinking the Footprint is the Church of England’s national campaign to reduce the environmental impact, and especially the energy use and carbon footprint, of every church, congregation and church member.
The Diocese of London adopted Shrinking the Footprint in 2006. In 2009, the Church of England established its long term plan, Church and Earth – which the Diocese of London has also adopted.
Within Shrinking the Footprint
- From the Bishop of London gives an introduction to Shrinking the Footprint from Bishop Richard, chair of the national campaign.
- Care for Creation describes the effects of climate change and other environmental impacts. As Christians, who believe God made the world, we are convinced of our duty to care for God’s creation.
- Churches and People explains how to take practical action steps to protect the environment, both within your church community and in your personal life.
- An Interconnected World shows how we should care for each other – especially those affected by climate change and environmental disaster, whether in the UK or overseas.
The Five Marks of Mission
The Five Marks of Mission were established by the worldwide Anglican Communion. Care for the environment is mandated by the Fifth Mark of Mission, 'striving to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth'. It also entails aspects of all the others:
- The Good News of the Kingdom includes the redemption of 'all things' (Col 1:20)
- The teaching of new believers should include communicating the need to care for God's Creation.
- Human need includes the needs of the many people caught up every day in the effects of environmental degradation.
- Unjust structures include the promotion of consumerism, the dominance of economic growth at any price, the accumulation of disproportionate resources by a few.
The Environmental Challenge
The Diocese has been taking its responsibilities towards the environment seriously since at least the 1990s. In 2008, Brian Cuthbertson was appointed the Diocese's first Head of Environmental Challenge, tasked to develop a strategy to reduce the environmental footprint of the Diocese and churches. With the Shrinking the Footprint Steering Group, we have engaged with people across the whole Diocese, and with other stakeholders, in implementing the strategy and pursuing our objectives.
Diocesan Synod receives reports on the environment annually, including on:
- The Environmental Challenge and climate change
- The proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport
- Outcomes from the UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009
- The commitment of Diocesan Schools to the Environmental Challenge
Diocesan Environmental Policy
Diocesan Synod adopted a new policy for the environment in 2010. The policy states that care for God's creation is fundamental to the Christian gospel, and sets out strategic ambitions for the Diocese, clergy and congregations, and church schools – with the spiritual and theological principles which underpin them.
Shrinking the Footprint themes
- Energy and carbon, global warming and climate change
- Conserving water
- Waste and recycling
- Wildlife, ecology and biodiversity
- Food and drink
- Transport and air travel
The Church of England aims to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. We must start by putting our own house in order – planning and managing reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for which the Church in the Diocese is directly responsible.
Route 2050 is the Diocese's long-term plan to reduce the carbon footprint of its buildings and property by these amounts at least – including St Paul’s Cathedral, our 480 churches, all our church schools and houses.
The Diocese of London began by aiming for cuts of 20.12% in our carbon emissions by 2012.
The environment and the calendar
Throughout the year, there is a range of occasions and traditions, within and beyond the Church, by which we celebrate God’s creation and encourage each other to take care of it. Let’s all take part.
Climate change and other dangerous environmental changes are already happening. They will become increasingly severe and threatening, every year and every day we neglect to deal with them with firmness and perseverence.
At a national Shrinking the Footprint meeting on the environment in Lambeth Palace in 2009, a former government minister, the Rt Hon Joan Ruddock MP, said:
"We used to think that climate change was a problem for our grandchildren, then we found out it was a problem for our children, now we realise it is a problem for us."
We want the voice of children and young people to be heard through our deliberations and reflected in our actions concerning the environment, especially climate change. That is why we accord such significance to our 150 church schools, and all their pupils and students. It is their future.
Christians believe the future is also in God's hands, and we are ultimately answerable to God. Church and Earth, and our Diocesan Environmental Policy, contain reflections on how the Church of England and Diocese of London regard our responsibility towards God's creation.
- Carbon Footprint
- Carbon Footprint (travel)
- Operation Noah (ON)
- ON Ash Wednesday Declaration
- Paper Round collection and recycling
- Shrinking the Footprint campaign