Scientists are clear about the impact our western lifestyles are having on the environment and climate change. At St Martin’s we are responding by thinking more deeply about our environmental footprint and our role as stewards of God’s beautiful world.
We are taking steps to become an Eco Church. Eco Church is an initiative by A Rocha (more details below) and is an award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. The scheme challenges us to make change in five areas:
- The efficiency of our buildings – How do we heat them? Are they properly insulated?
- The use we make of our graveyard to encourage wildlife
- Our teaching and preaching so that we can become better informed about environmental issues
- Our engagement with others in our community to share with and learn from others
- Our personal carbon footprint – What changes can we make to the way we live?
St Martin has achieved the Bronze level. We’d love you to join us as we journey towards Silver.
A Rocha is an international Christian organization engaging communities in nature conservation which carries out community-based conservation projects as its response to the global crisis of biodiversity loss.
Here are a selection of sources of information on environmental issues. The challenges ahead look like they are going to need a lot of faith and courage: we continue to work and pray for peace and justice in the world.
As well as A Rocha’s Eco Church initiative, there are other faith groups taking action:
- The Diocese of Guildford has a section on the environment, with ideas about what churches, as communities, can do, as well as suggestions for individual actions. https://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/making-disciples/improving-church-buildings/the-environment
- The Church of England has a section on their website, too, laying out the Church of England’s environment programme, led by a bishop – https://www.churchofengland.org/about/environment-and-climate-change
- Operation Noah has a strapline ‘Faith-motivated. Science-informed. Hope-inspired.’ https://operationnoah.org/
- Christian Climate Action is a group which carries out acts of witness and non-violent direct action, taking inspiration from Jesus’s response to injustice – https://christianclimateaction.org/ . Recently they have worked closely with Extinction Rebellion (XR).
- The Climate Coalition is a group linking up and working with many national organisations, for example, the National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, Triodos Bank, Oxfam, and Tearfund. It has a distinct section recognising the action of faith groups. https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/faith-members
- And just a reminder of how to find A Rocha, an international faith/climate organisation – https://www.arocha.org/en/
Locally – Epsom and Surrey (and beyond)
- Sustainable Epsom and Ewell – our partner at the first Eco Fair at church has plenty of interesting and useful local information and a good long list of links on all sorts of eco subjects, and how we can make changes. www. Sus tbc and Facebook @SustainableEpsomEwell.
- Knepp Estate – a former struggling arable farm south of Horsham in West Sussex, now following a plan of ‘rewilding’, which is bringing back variety and numbers of birds, insects and plants not seen for a while in the British countryside. There are public footpaths through the site, and the estate offers ‘safaris’ and camping and glamping. The free-roaming animals provide low-intervention and lower carbon meat. https://knepp.co.uk/home
Nationally and internationally
There are many examples of national and international organisations, of course. Here are just a few which may be less well-known:
- World Land Trust – protecting land and consequently animals around the world, and planting trees, with Sir David Attenborough as one of their patrons – https://www.worldlandtrust.org/
- Doughnut Economics – a new model of ‘economics for the 21st century’ described by Kate Raworth, looking at social and planetary boundaries, and the concept of ‘enough, sufficient’, which towns and cities can use to improve life for their residents – https://www.kateraworth.com/
- Great Green Wall Africa – an initiative to build a green belt of trees across Africa to combat the growing desert – https://www.greatgreenwall.org/
- Drawdown – https://www.drawdown.org/
- Water Bear – films – https://www.waterbear.com/
- IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, drawing together science from around the world – https://www.ipcc.ch/