Surge in climate change effort by churches and people
Brian Cuthbertson, our Head of Environment and Sustainability, outlines six ways we can get involved in the fight against climate change.
Tackling climate change is a vital part of our duty to Care for God’s Creation. In a recent address to faith leaders on 4th February, ahead of the Glasgow conference on climate change in November 2021, the Archbishop of Canterbury said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the world to look at how we have been living. We have been confronted by our behaviour: by our sin; our greed; our human fragility; our exploitation of the environment and encroachment on the natural world. For many this uncertainty is new. But many more around the world have been living with uncertainty for decades as the grim, real and present consequence of climate change. To think it is a problem of the future rather than a scourge of the present is the blind perspective of the privileged. We look around and see that Mozambique has been hit again by tropical storms. In Nigeria, desertification has contributed indirectly to conflict between people competing for dwindling resources. Floods and cyclones have devastated crops in Melanesia, risking poverty and food insecurity.
But the pandemic has also revealed our capacity for change; the opportunities for repentance; the potential for hope amidst suffering. We have learnt much about our interconnectedness, and our need for one another. It has been a revelation to many of us: we cannot go on as we have been.”
Read the Archbishop’s full speech here.
So, in response to this global emergency – at least equal to Coronavirus and potentially unstoppable once it gets out of hand – the Church of England, other Christian churches and people are promoting and taking part in a range of vital initiatives. Here are six:
1) Eco Church
Has your churches signed up yet? Nearly 80 churches in the London Diocese are now taking part in this Christian environmental awards scheme. 27 of our churches have won awards. Read more then visit Eco Church’s website.
In spite of the pandemic, more churches in the Diocese signed up to Eco Church in 2020 than any year since 2016 when the campaign was launched.
2) Creation Care for families and people
Alongside our efforts as Church, the actions of individual people at home and work and play can make a vital contribution. Now the new Creationcare scheme helps us direct our efforts in a focussed and productive way. See also the scheme’s YouTube channel.
Creation Care provides ideas for 7 areas of household life:
- Worship and prayer
- Community and global engagement.
Awards are available to recognise progress. As with Eco Church, an award is marked by a certificate. Participating churches may present these certificates during services. Or you can print off your certificate at home.
3) Climate Sunday
Climate Sunday was announced in June 2020.
The campaign is run by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and will culminate in a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5th September 2021. However, your church is encouraged to plan its own Climate Sunday any time before then. Register your Climate Sunday on the Climate Sunday campaign website.
A Climate Sunday poster has been mailed to clergy, and can be downloaded here.
4) Practical Path to Net Zero
Early in 2020, the Church of England and Diocese of London established a target of reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2030.
There is now a self-guided checklist which allows churches to review their buildings against the Practical Path to Net Zero Carbon. There are two versions; one for printing and one for completing on screen. See the following Church of England web pages:
To support the efforts of everyone towards dealing with the Climate Emergency, the Climate Emergency Toolkit has been created by the Christian charity Tearfund. This highlights three themes:
Our own actions in response to the climate emergency are essential.
However we can’t stop there: this huge crisis will only be addressed if we keep up the pressure for action at every level. We can Increase our impact by partnering with local communities and speaking up for the scale of change we need.
Churches and other organisations can use their influence upwards, outwards, alongside, together.
To find out how, visit the Climate Emergency Toolkit website; download the full toolkit for more details on each step and the tools you’ll need along the way.
6) Eco Champions
Caring for God’s Creation forms part of the Compassionate Communities theme in our long term 2030 Vision for the Diocese. Among our ambitions under Compassionate Communities, we want to establish a network of Eco Champions or groups. We think there is a particular role for deaneries and deanery chapters in coordinating this network. Could you help spread the word around your deanery, encouraging your churches to appoint Parish Champions?
Anyone who wants to help Care for God’s Creation can become an Eco Champion. If you are interested in becoming a champion yourself, or in helping form a group, contact one of the following:
For more information and suggestions, visit what it means to be an Eco Champion
To read more