“The Earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” Psalm 24:1
Jesus came to bring Good News to the poor and told his followers to love one another. Environmental degradation and climate change caused by the rich world’s over-exploitation of the earth’s resources are despoiling Creation and making life difficult, if not impossible, for many people. in all this, it is the poor who have done least damage who are suffering most. For many Christians care for the environment is as much a justice issue as a conservation one.
A Net Zero Carbon Church
At the February meeting of the General Synod an amended motion in response to the global climate emergency was passed challenging the Church of England to work towards reaching net zero emissions by 2030.
The wording of the motion as passed by General Synod was this:
That this Synod, recognising that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s
creation, and a fundamental injustice, and following the call of the Anglican
Communion in ACC Resolutions A17.05 and A17.06;
(a) call upon all parts of the Church of England, including parishes, BMOs [Bishop
Mission Orders], education institutions, dioceses, cathedrals, and the NCIs [National
Church Institutions], to work to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and
urgently examine what would be required to reach net zero emissions by 2030 in
order that a plan of action can be drawn up to achieve that target;
(b) request reports on progress from the Environment Working Group and the NCI’s
every three years beginning in 2022 and;
(c) call on each Diocesan Synod, and cathedral Chapter, to address progress toward
net zero emissions every three years
Initial Diocesan Response
With the Covid-19 crisis hitting us in March, our priorities as a diocese have been in responding to the immediate need and challenges of the pandemic. However, work has been going on at diocesan officer level which has involved engaging with national colleagues on how best to respond to this very challenging motion.
1) Designated Revd David McCoulough, Director of Partnerships and Mission as diocesan lead.
2)Established a Caring for Creation Steering Group, that will meet termly with a strategic focus. (Diocesan Bishop, Dean, CEO and diocesan lead.)
3) Established a Caring for Creation Working Group that will help shape our response and implementation of strategy.
Diocesan Action Plan
This is a work in progress. At the heart of this is integrating our Caring for Creation work with the diocesan priorities of Growing Disciples Wider, Younger Deeper. The Steering Group has identified likely streams of work which include :
How do we agree and raise awareness of diocesan baseline carbon footprint ?
How to become an Eco- Church/ Eco-Diocese?
How to engage church schools? How to engage children, young people and families in our churches?
To outline proposals for Clergy Housing/Jubilee House/other diocesan owned buildings
The Revd David McCoulough