The Church and the Environment
As stewards of the Earth it is important for us to care for creation.
It is estimated that current carbon emissions must be cut worldwide by 80% just to restore the world's balance. How much we participate in meeting this challenge now will lead to consequences felt by our children and grandchildren.
Individuals and institutions must all play their part. We are committed to a carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050.
2017: Nearing the end of the Environmental Working Group's first three year plan a report has been produced detailing some of the work so far. New Creationtide resources produced. Successful Green Church Awards celebrated the fantastic work taking place in churches across the country. 24 Hours of Reality featured a short film on the Church of England's work.
2016: Eco Church Award scheme launched by A Rocha with support from Shrinking the Footprint. Providing a toolkit and process for greening your church. StF partnered with Tearfund and Christian Aid to support the Big Church Switch. Diocesan Environment Officers network increased to have a member in every diocese but two. Successful Churchyard tree conferences held and grants developed for Ancient Yews. Synod environment group started.
2015: A focus on the Paris climate summit COP21 with an updated Lambeth declaration signed by leaders of all the main religious groups in the UK. Shrinking the Footprint co-ordinated the Pilgrimage to Paris with help from Tearfund and Christian Aid. Pilgrims walked from London to Paris where they took part in a ceremony handing over the signatures of over 1 million people of faith calling for climate action. Environmental Working Group launched.
2014: Shrinking the Footprint has hosted a number of events helping to increase awareness of the links between climate change and faith. In May Shrinking the Footprint co-hosted a talk with the UN Executive Secretary for climate change, Christina Figures. Training for clergy has been developed, with a conference on Building Performance being held in October. As well, Shrinking the Footprint with the Diocese of Lichfield has launched the Environmental Engagement programme to support and inspire parish-based initiatives. As we focus on the run up to the Paris 2015 climate talks we continue to encourage engagement and work towards our own carbon reduction targets. Our focus into the New Year will be on the top 10% of energy consumers and how we can reduce their energy bills and lower emissions. The film Nurture in His Name was produced.
2013: Lighting guidance was developed. It explores different types of light bulbs from traditional incandescent bulbs and halogen lamps, compact florescent lamps (CFLs) and LED light bulbs. This guidance helps churches to understand light bulbs and how energy can be saved - reducing carbon and reducing financial costs. A report on energy use across the Church was produced, enabling buildings to compare their energy use to the national average as well as providing an indication of the total carbon footprint. This will enable us to monitor progress towards the 2050 target of reducing carbon emissions by 80%.
2012: A heating conference and guidance note, ‘Heating Without the Hot Air’, guidance on choosing the right heating system was produced. It includes renewable options as well as fossil fuels and compares the carbon emissions and efficiency as well as the capital cost and running cost for different fuel types. In addition it explores a range of heat emitters and comments on their suitability and the impact on the building.
2011-2013: Shrinking the Footprint launched its national energy audit at the end of 2011.The aim was to understand energy use in the broad range of church buildings and to provide a benchmark for our current carbon footprint of energy use. More than 400 buildings are using the sMeasure tool, to collectively monitor energy use. Helping them save energy costs and reduce carbon. The tool is free and easy to use.
2009: The Church published Church and Earth 2009 - 2016. The Church of England's Seven Year Plan on climate change and the environment.
2008: General Synod debated and voted to endorse the recommendations as set out in Climate Change and Human Security: Challenging an Environment of Injustice (a document drawn up the Mission and Public Affairs Division).
2006: The Church launched Shrinking the Footprint.
2005: General Synod (the Church of England's Parliament) debated Sharing God's Planet (a report from the Church's Mission and Public Affairs Council) and called upon the whole Church to engage with the issues of climate change and energy use at every level in the Church.