Thursday, 2 December 2010

Shrinking the Carbon Footprint

Our diocese has recently produced a very practical little booklet Caring for God's Earth  temporarily out of action - please use links at foot of post for further information (07.01.11)

Apparently, the Church of England leaves a larger carbon footprint than one of the leading UK supermarkets and we, in the Ripon and Leeds area, are committed to trying to do something about this. The booklet outlines five areas in which the local church can make a difference
  • Energy use at church and home
  • Buildings
  • Transport and travel
  • Purchasing and supplies
  • Theology and worship
If you're like me, you perhaps worry about what you can realisitcally do. I have a job that depends heavily on driving long distances every day. I use a very small diesel fuelled car which does a huge milage to the gallon; it would be far more convenient (especially in the snow!) to drive a four by four but my fuel consumption would triple. We all have to make such decisions and  sometimes we are dicouraged by feeling that our contribution is a mere drop in the ocean '..but the ocean would be diminshed without that drop'.

 I have to admit that it took me some time to become convinced that global warming is a real threat. The thing that did it for me was a visit to the Alternative Technology Centre near Machynlleth where I was introduced to the Transition Movement   This is a global movement, based on wide ranging, reputable reaseach, that seeks to identify possible future scenarios resulting from climate change and peak oil issues and to discover positive solutions. It seems to me to be a locally driven and intelligent response to the begining of the end of the Oil Age and it encompasses food, water, transport, 'social capital', health care and more.

Edward P. Echlin (an echological theologian who is an Honary Research Fellow at the Universtity College of Trinity and All Saints, Leeds) has recently published Climate and Christ; A Prophetic Alternative the Columba Press 2010. This builds on his earlier work The Cosmic Circle: Jesus and Ecology, Columba Press 2004 which looks at the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth as a source of inspiration for ecological and environmental concerns (an angle that was new to me) and then relates the suffering creation to the cosmic significance of the cross and resurrection. In a sense this earlier book gives the theological framework for Climate and Christ which I found more applied and therefore more directly useful in thinking about my own response to climate change. Echlin quotes a Chinese proverb

'If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end upwhere we are headed.'

So how can the churches help to open the gates to new paths of living without so much oil dependency?

Middlesmoor Church
Well a good start might be to read the diocesan booklet and get your PCC discussing it. And then, thinking about our own daily bread is a good place to make an impact - all of us can examine what we eat and follow the 'LOAF' principles - Locally produced, Organically grown, Animal friendly and Fairly traded. Or you might like to look at one of these websites and take some action:  (a conservation charity for churchyards and burial grounds)

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