Eco Church

Did you know the Church of England is committed to encouraging us all to care for God’s creation?

We’re proud to have qualified as a Silver award winner in the Eco Church scheme. We hope to continue our progress in working towards the Gold award in the future.

Climate Crisis

These short videos might be useful/of interest. This one explains the climate crisis and this one explains what we can do about it as individuals.

Climate change and the resulting climate crisis affects all of us, but it’s those living in extreme poverty who are both the first and hardest hit. In recent years we’ve seen devastating cyclones across India and Bangladesh, billions of locusts destroying crops in Kenya, droughts, and the first climate change induced famine in Madagascar, leaving more than 1.6 million people in severe food insecurity.

Without urgent action, the World Bank estimates that climate change could push an additional 132 million people into poverty in the next ten years. That’s on top of the health and economic impact of COVID-19, which also threatens to undo hard-won development gains.

With a recent UN climate change report signalling a “code red for humanity,” we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to act.

For the sake of future generations, we need to act practically as well as turn to God in prayer.

A prayer for Environmental Justice

O God, we pray for justice and fairness for those worst hit by our changing climate. We know people living in extreme poverty around the world are worst hit by the climate crisis but have done the least to contribute to it. They also have the fewest resources to implement change. We ask for your mercy O Lord and repent when our blind consumerism has led to the destruction of our common home. Amen.

5 Key Water and Water Waste Facts

Only 1% of the world’s water is safe for us to consume. This highlights just how precious a resource like water is and what wasting any of this 1% could do.

It’s possible for 5 gallons of water to be wasted simply by leaving the tap on when you’re brushing your teeth.

27% of a household’s water is used for showers and baths. Think how much water can then be wasted by constantly taking baths, having very long showers, or more than one shower a day.

Around 3.5 gallons of water is used for a single toilet flush.

Washing machines can use around 40 gallons of water per load.

With heat waves, droughts and a climate crisis, it’s worth noting that a study conducted in 2020 revealed that a single member of a household in the UK could use up to 149 litres of water a day, on average. Consider a household of 5 people, and this number increases up to an average of 523 litres per day.

Wishing you a happy, sustainable summer

Eco Tip – Ditch disposables. Single-use plastic and single-use styrofoam are sourced from fossil fuels and contribute to climate change. Both materials are also known to contain carcinogens that are harmful to human health; this is particularly true when they are used for hot liquids or food, or microwaved. In a season of picnics and busyness, try to remember to ‘BYOC’ (Bring Your Own Container or Cutlery) for your summer snacks instead of buying disposable items. Think reusable lunch boxes or beeswax wraps. Glass jars are another good option as they are non-toxic, don’t hold on to grease or food smells, and can hold liquids well too (but do mind their temperature with hot liquids).

Our responsibility as Christians to act as stewards of this earth

The climate emergency is fundamentally unjust. Those who are least culpable, the global poor and future generations, will be most impacted by it. The World Health Organisation predicts that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 deaths annually from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress. It suggests that children, particularly those living in global poverty, are amongst those most vulnerable.

.As members of the Anglican communion, we have learned how climate change is already impacting the Global South. What we, in this country, perceive as a future threat is for them, a lived reality. We are the Body of Christ; when one suffers, we all suffer. We are called to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. The ecological crisis is a humanitarian one that relates not only to how we relate to the natural world but how we love one another. Against this backdrop, familiar words from our scriptures urge us to act. How can we claim to love our neighbour, hunger and thirst for righteousness, or be good news to the poor yet fail to make addressing climate change a priority?

General Synod have voted  for the whole of the Church of England to achieve net zero carbon by 2030.  The vote recognised that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation and a fundamental injustice.

No Mow May

Did you know?

On a single day in summer, one acre of wildflower meadow can contain 3 million flowers and produce 1 kg of nectar sugar for pollinators.

But since the 1930s, we have lost nearly 7.5 million acres of flower-rich meadows and pastures. Just 1% of our countryside now provides this floral feast for pollinators.

Against this loss, habitats such as lawns have become increasingly important. With 15 million gardens in Britain, our lawns have the potential to become major sources of nectar.

So leave your lawnmower in the shed and let all your lawn grow long, just for the month of May. In this way, smaller plants like clover, daisies, dandelions, selfheal and clover will get a chance to flower and give pollinators a head-start.

Ethical shopping

If you’d like to consider how your shopping can help the environment, the Diocese of Oxford are recommending this guide.

Go Green for Lent

Eco icon. green earth vector image & clipart | Royalty Free

How can we become better at caring for creation and improving our lives and the lives of others through healthy, eco-friendly and sustainable living? 

The Lenten 40-day period before Easter gives us the opportunity to reflect on the practice of fasting and commit to giving up something that brings a real benefit to nature and helps address climate change. Below are some changes you could make that will help the environment. Take time to pray, reflect and consider these options – pick one or two or however many you’d like (you never know the changes might just stick!)

  • Go plastic free. Even if you can’t become totally plastic-free, make it your goal to at least reduce your use of plastic. Read Tom’s month without plastic blog here.
  • Switch off from digital. Explore technology-free times or areas of the house, switching to ‘airplane mode’ for the first hour in the morning and the last hour at night, ‘switch off Sundays’, reaching for your Bible over your device(s) and writing a list of outdoor things that you enjoy. 
  • Boycott fast fashion. Emily reflects on how our clothes can bring us closer to our neighbour and have a lesser impact on nature. Read her blog here.
  • Buy less or second hand. Read here how mum of 2, Nic started with small changes: using Facebook marketplace and ebay more to invest in second hand clothing and toys.
  • Buy local or in bulk. Hannah shares how learning more about our food system has impacted what her and her family choose to consume. Read her blog here.
  • Become zero waste. Slowly try to reduce your waste a bit every week. Consider giving a home-made gift instead of buying a present, upcycling items or looking at your food shop and seeing what items you could buy differently, spending a bit more on loose fruit and veg for example.
  • Spend more time in nature. With weekly themes, these ‘Get Outside in Lent’ outdoor resources profiled in our Eco Church resources will help you connect with God as Creator and celebrate his creation in different ways over the Lenten period. 
  • Invite wildlife into your garden or church green space (with permission!). Read John’s tips on greening our gardens for nature’s benefit here. Where possible, invite and encourage others in your church community to be part of the journey, for example, planting seeds as part of the children’s ministry or getting your church youth group to help build and stock up a hedgehog home.
  • Try a plant-based recipe or diet. Start by cooking yourself vegan or plant-based meals once a week and take it from there. As time goes on, cook more vegan/vegetarian meals and try to eliminate as many animal products from your diet as you can. Explore tasty recipes with Meat Free Monday or read about Kayleigh’s veganuary experience here.
  • Grow your own. Whether you have a garden or sunny windowsill, find out what you can sow and grow on a month-to-month basis here. Read how Vishadhi is using her home-grown food to bless her local community and food bank here.
  • Change your method of transport. How about walking or cycling for repeated errands, choosing one day a week to walk, cycle or take public transport to work where you are able to. Read about how Paul and his wife, Tara are changing the way they travel (and more!) here.
  • Switch to green energyHere is an overview of different suppliers. As you consider who to opt for, compare the supplier charging rates as well as what each company means by ‘green energy’. 
  • Move your money. Could you divest from fossil fuels and support a bank which invests in renewables? ‘Good with Money’ recommends some ethical choices here or for pension investments that help achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN in 2015 there’s ‘Make my Money Matter’.
  • Join the movement for fossil free Churches. Start the conversation in your local church to make a commitment to divest. Speak with your church minister or treasurer, and ask if the issue could be discussed at your next church council or PCC meeting. See the Bright Now campaign website for further information and guidance.
  • Join the Eco Church community. Make a commitment to long term action on the environment in your local community through Eco Church or other greening schemes. If you’re already part of an Eco Church, find out how you can help your church achieve the next award level.

Where do I start?

We are all different: what matters is that you take the first step. So choose a change to make – be gentle on yourself and realistic – but challenge yourself too!

One first action could be to calculate your carbon footprint.  Use Climate Stewards’ carbon footprint calculator and consider one (or two) of the tips on how you can reduce your footprint. For Lent 2022, Climate Stewards have a special challenge to help you reduce your carbon footprint. Find out more about their challenge here.

And finally, we say… enjoy creation! We’ve made a list of ways to enjoy nature here.

Other ideas

There’s a whole page of tips and thoughts on sustainable living you can look at on the Sustainable Lifestyle section of the Church of England website.

Bishop Steven from the Diocese of Oxford wrote an interesting blog post about renewing and repairing the earth and the climate change conference in 2021.

Climate Sunday and COP 26

Through Climate Sunday, more than 2,200 churches, including St. John’s, held climate-focused services, committed to long term action in their community through schemes including Eco Church, and raised their voices to advocate for world leaders to take bold action to address climate change.