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Shrinking the Footprint: Churches and people

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‘Think Global, Act Local’ is an apt and popular slogan. Although much of the environmental debate is on a global scale, there are many practical ways for people and organisations to contribute to the effort.

So far, over 300 churches in the Diocese have taken part in one environment-related project or another. Every church is urged to play a full part in the effort to lessen our environmental impact. Everyone needs to play their part if we are to achieve our shared goals.

  • The environment should form part of every church’s Mission Action Plan, reflecting the Diocese’s aims while taking account of local needs and circumstances;
  • Each church is encouraged to designate an individual, or a group of members, as Parish Environmental Champions.

We owe a debt to the energy and dedication of these champions. A group is even better than one individual. Their pooled time and efforts will be greater; the challenge to care for God’s creation should be shared; it’s easier for a group to draw in more people.

Eco Church

Every church in the Diocese is encouraged to sign up to Eco Church, the nationwide Christian environmental awards scheme, and to take action towards gaining an Eco Church award.

Participation in Eco Church helps to build environmmental concern into every aspect of the church’s worship and mission.

Parish annual returns

Since 2007, churches in the Diocese have been encouraged to measure their energy use. Figures for energy consumption have been requested as part of Parish Annual Returns.

The Diocese is now using the national Energy Footprinting Tool, part of Parish Annual Returns. This system also calculates a church’s carbon footprint and benchmarks it against neutral standards, awarding A++ to G grades for energy and carbon efficiency according to a church’s size and activities.

This information is very useful in implementing our ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ effort. Not only does it measure our progress in helping tackle climate change; it also promotes energy security, and helps us reduce costs.

Three basic steps

Once we have measured our energy use and carbon footprint, we need to take steps to reduce them, by:

  • Replacing lightbulbs with low energy models (usually LEDs)
  • Reviewing our heating system, and its settings
  • Switching to a green energy supplier.

Most of our churches have already taken some or all of these actions.

Going further

Churches are encouraged to take part in the Diocese’s Climate Action Programme with projects to improve the energy and carbon efficiency of its buildings in a manner appropriate to its particular circumstances, to build environmental concern into all its maintenance and development plans.

Examples of such projects include Solar Panels.

It is also vital that we are as economical as we can be in our use of water and that we recycle regularly and effectively.

Walking the talk

The lessons we learn in church should be taken home with us to our everyday lives – whether that be at work, school or college, in our free time or on holiday.

There are so many ways for individuals and families to reduce our environmental impact and help tackle climate change – while still enjoying ‘fullness of life’.

This includes our shopping habits, the food we eat and how we travel.

Links

Head of Environment and Sustainability.

Eco Church
Mission Action Plans
Parish Environmental Champions.

Measuring energy use
Parish Annual Returns.

Lighting and energy use
Heating and energy use
Green Energy Suppliers.

Climate Action Programme
Climate Action Projects
Generating your own energy
Solar panels
Climate Action Finance.

Conserving water in church and home
Waste collection and recycling
Food and drink
Transport and travel.

A Rocha UK
Green Christian.

Environment and Sustainability, front page.

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