As we enter Creationtide, the Revd Dr Chrichton Limbert – Edmonton Area Creation Care Lead – reminds us that sustainable living can start with three simple words. 

We are coming to the end of a summer where the headlines have been dominated by unprecedented weather events. There have been floods in China and Slovenia, wildfires in Canada and Hawaii, heatwaves in Arizona and South Korea, all causing dramatic loss of life and places to live.  Thousands of penguins died when Antarctic ice broke up too soon, while Germany was having hailstorms.  The climate crisis is real and appears to worsening by the day.

It has reached the stage where we as Christians should not be trying to talk people into joining us in caring for creation, but asking them what reasons do they have for not doing it!  It is very clear in scripture – caring for creation is fundamental to our faith.  Right at the very beginning, in Genesis, the garden of Eden is given to Adam “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

In the 5 Marks of Mission we are told…“To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”

This is something we must and should be doing anyway, but faced with the terrible headlines it can all seem too much for anything small we do to make any difference.  It is useful to go back to basics and remember how and why one of the earliest small steps started out – the re-useable jute shopping bag.

Carrying and using the same shopping bag everyday is making a positive statement, and is a reminder, about our love for the planet.

The key message of this simple bag was first invented in the 1970s and fundamentally the central message of all climate care initiatives can be found within it – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle.  The modern 3R’s.

It is important that they are taken in that order.  We all know what they mean – Reduce use of the natural resources – (there is not an endless supply) both by using less of everything and generating less waste.  This is everything from using less energy and keeping the heat we have made, to printing less using re-cycled paper, as well as reducing impact by caring for the land and wildlife, and so many other things.

Reusing comes in with simple things like re-usable cups and sharing or finding new owners for things that have still have value.

Finally, Recycling what we cannot avoid or reuse.  Recycling is good but not using natural resources in the first place is better.   All of which applies to the humble shopping bag – its raw material was grown and it will avoid the use of large amounts of plastics and other packaging, it will be reused many times and ultimately will compost back to earth.

On your journey of trying to reduce climate change through personal actions or larger organised schemes, regularly test all that you do against the simple message of can we reduce, can we reuse and can we recycle.  But do it for the love of God and to promote justice for all people across the globe.

God truly love us – he sent his son to die for us – and has blessed us with a wonderful creation including all of our Sisters and Brothers, that we are an integrated part of.  We say “thank you” to God by looking after it – all of it!


The Revd Dr Chrichton Limbert was a studio director for BBC news and current affairs, before being ordained in 2012. He has been Vicar of Christ Church Southgate since September 2015.

To explore resources around caring for God’s creation, visit our Compassionate Communities website