Diocesan Environmental Policy
The Environmental Policy of the Diocese of London was adopted by Diocesan Synod on 11 March 2010. See also Church and Earth.
Diocesan Environmental Policy
- We affirm that care for God’s creation is a foundational biblical command and a gospel imperative; it is central to Christian Mission. We will embrace, respect and cherish the natural world as God made it, in all its aspects. We recognise our shared plight as part of a creation which is ‘groaning in travail’; and we acknowledge in humility and penitence the burden laid upon it by our human depredations. Yet we rejoice in the vision, and gladly take up the challenge, which flows from the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who ‘made peace between earth and heaven through his blood shed on the Cross’, and so enabled the whole creation to be redeemed and reconciled to God, to be ‘liberated from its bondage to decay’ and ‘brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God’. We are called in His name to repair and make whole what has been tragically sundered and marred, to be His agents of transformation and redemption (Romans 8, 20-22; Colossians 1, 20).
- The ‘Fifth Mark of Mission’ (Anglican Consultative Council, Cardiff, 1990) is ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’, along with the other four – ‘To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom … , to teach … new believers, respond to human need … , to seek to transform unjust structures …’ should therefore permeate the one holistic Mission of the Church. We will take our environmental impact and use of resources fully into account in our work, worship, study, education, preaching, training, outreach, pastoral care, travel, administration, projects and programmes. We will embrace more and more a spirit of Christian joy and fullness of life – taking delight in frugality, cultivating simplicity with celebration, moving with the rhythms of the week and of the seasons, invoking the Spirit of Life in Christ in our worship, in the Eucharist, and in transforming prayer.
- We will strive to adapt our own lives, to the point where we may become fully sustainable in all we do, in harmony with the natural world which God created. We will encourage all church members to consider their impact on the environment, in their individual and family lives. We will seek to increase the awareness of environmental issues in our communities, both urban and rural, throughout the Diocese, and in the wider world.
- The national ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign aims to reduce the Church of England’s emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Under the London Challenge 2012, “we will implement the Church of England policy on shrinking our environmental footprint and will play a full part in the debate on ecological matters”. We are committed to an interim reduction of 20.12% in GHG emissions by 2012.
- The Diocese has appointed a full-time Head of Environmental Challenge (HEC), whose role includes that of Diocesan Environment Officer. Seeking to implement the aims and objectives of this policy, the HEC shall work with synods and councils at diocesan, area and deanery level, with parishes and with other staff; with the diocesan Shrinking the Footprint Steering Group, with other working groups and also the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC). The HEC shall collaborate with the National Church and other appropriate agencies, in particular in implementing the national Seven-Year Plan ‘Church and Earth 2009-2016’; and shall obtain such current information as is necessary to inform all action in pursuit of the aims of this policy, communicating it to relevant persons and bodies, together with appropriate advice and guidance.
- We recognise that many people in our deaneries and parishes are already engaged in protecting and conserving the environment. We will seek to support this work, and develop it into a network of environmental champions, promoting sharing and cooperation within this network; and collaborating with other groups within the Christian Church, as well as other faiths and secular bodies that actively share our concern for the environment.
- We will strive to avoid wasting resources. We will conserve energy as far as possible, and obtain it where feasible from renewable sources. We will seek to conserve water. We will seek to obtain materials, goods and services from renewable sources – and when worn out to adapt and re-use them where possible; when we have to dispose of them we will endeavour to do so in a non-damaging way. We will consider the environmental implications of our food, where and how it is grown, transported and sold – manifesting practical love for our neighbours at home and overseas who labour to produce the food which we enjoy; not wasting it; whilst taking due care of our bodies as temples of God’s Holy Spirit.
- We will undertake audits of the use and handling of energy, water and waste, and emissions of GHGs, in relation to all diocesan and parochial premises and property; and of the care of wildlife and biodiversity in and around our churchyards. The results of these audits shall inform efforts to reduce our negative impact and resources use. We will promote and assist efforts to install appropriate renewable energy technologies on diocesan and church property. Together with the DAC, we will assist and advise upon any measures to mitigate the impact of a changing climate on the fabric, contents and continued appropriate use of our buildings.
- We will seek all appropriate and necessary funding, by means of grants as well as parish giving and other sources, for alterations to property to reduce its GHG footprint and environmental impact. Such alterations shall be carried out, and finance expended, in a professional, economical and efficient manner.
- We recognise that, living in the UK and the developed world, we have made a greater contribution than other parts of the world to GHG emissions, and to damaging environmental impacts from these and other causes. We acknowledge that it is unjust that the people of many of those places are the very ones who most suffer the adverse consequences. We accept responsibility to do our utmost to soften these impacts and the suffering which they cause. We will encourage participation in the national Climate Justice Fund for adaptation schemes in developing countries. We will seek to develop awareness of the environment of twinned parishes and dioceses in the non-developed and developing worlds.
- We will encourage parishes and church members, in addition to all feasible efforts to reduce their GHG emissions, and after making proper contribution to adaptation funding, to offset all remaining emissions through a sound and appropriate scheme. We will endeavour to do the same at diocesan level, so far as financially supportable.
- At least every five years, we will review our aims and targets, and this policy, according to national and international information and standards, based on the best available scientific evidence. We will comply with all applicable statutory requirements. We will seek to match our performance to the highest relevant non-mandatory standards.
- We accept our responsibility towards those who come after us; and our God-ordained responsibilities as humans to other living creatures. We also recognise that the efforts we commit to will have to be sustained by our successors after we are gone; and we will seek to promote the generational change to make this possible.
- We recognise that, due to human actions, the threat of damaging change to the climate and our environment is present and it is serious; and that it may have very troubling effects on our communities which we seek to serve. We will strive to be the ‘salt of the earth and the light of the world’ in mediating comfort, help and stability to our neighbours and communities, our city, our nation and our world. In all we do in relation to the natural world, we will seek the guidance, strength and protection, as well as the forgiveness when we fall short, of God our Creator and Jesus Christ our Saviour.