Caring for God's Creation
The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.
Our dedicated and enthusiastic environmental team challenge us to be more informed about the impact of our lifestyles on creation. Their program of activities engage the whole church in this important issue.
LENT PLASTIC CHALLENGE
For Anglicans Lent is the time when we remember the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, facing challenge and temptation. It is a time when we reflect on God’s purpose for our life. This is a challenge to give up single-use plastics - to reduce the actions which damage God’s Creation. Over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since the 1950’s. Just 9% was recycled.
‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the Earth.’
The 5th Mark of Mission.
ACB Environment Team
The ACB Environment Team meet on a regular basis to discuss and share ideas about how we as a church community can care for the Earth. Our purpose is based on the biblical truth that ‘The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it’ (Psalm 24:1). The Lord our God has entrusted us with the stewardship of creation and our aim is to awaken individuals’ desires to safeguard creation and sustain and renew all life on the earth.
We aspire to promote environmental issues in the Chaplaincy and to actively challenge the Chaplain, Church Council and congregation with environmental concerns. We seek to advise Church Council on environmental issues concerning church activities, church building and outreach activities as well as keeping them informed of legislation and current thinking about good practice. We also aim to encourage individuals to take responsibility for their own personal impact on the environment.
Furthermore, we are also an interface to the Diocesan Environmental Officer, receiving and disseminating information as necessary, as well as responding to requests to feedback information about our own Chaplaincy.
Last but not least, we desire to be an open and interactive team, welcoming ideas, suggestions and proposals from all members of the ACB community to create a truly representative pool of knowledge. Only together can we act as God’s agents, loving creation as God does. We’d love to hear from you.
Why Care about Climate Change?
As members of the World Council of Churches, we, the Anglican Church, are committed to seeking justice and peace for all. But what is the connection between these goals and climate change?
The influence of humans on climate change (also known as global warming) is now widely acknowledged (1), but the consequences still tend to be seen as a distant threat, a perception reinforced by pictures of glaciers and polar bears rather than people. To redress the balance, a report by the Global Humanitarian Forum (2) testifies to the impact of climate change on humans, particularly amongst the world`s poorest groups.
Climate change increases poverty and hunger through a vicious cycle of lower crop yields and consequently reduced income, leaving fewer resources for investment in the following year. Globally, an estimated 12 million additional people have already been pushed into poverty by climate change, that is one and a half times the entire population of Switzerland, and this figure is expected to double by 2030. To quote Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam, “It is a matter of social justice. If we care about injustice and inequality, we must care about climate change. Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities….”
Climate change also displaces people. Whether due to desertification, rising sea levels or weather-related disasters, families who lose their homes and land are forced to join the 26 million already existing “climate displaced people”(2) . In the words of one woman forced to flee her home in West Bengal ““I still remember that fateful day, when I lost everything. …I suddenly noticed that my sheep were all drifting in the river. ...Slowly the entire island got submerged”. Migration then exacerbates other factors, such as water scarcity, leading to social instability and even violent conflict (3).
The world map reflecting the death rate related to climate change shows developing nations suffer almost the entire health burden, mainly malaria and diarrheal disease, associated with global warming (2). The contrast with the equivalent map reflecting carbon emissions (the main cause of global warming) speaks for itself; as far as climate change is concerned, the world’s poor really are the “most vulnerable yet least responsible”(2) .
Are we, as individuals and as a church, prepared to accept this?
Tip: To calculate your own or family`s carbon footprint, and to get personalised tips on how to reduce it, look here (in German) or (in English). It can be fun to do as a family, so get the kids involved too!
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis – Summary for Policymakers (AR5 WG1) LINK
- Global Humanitarian Forum (Geneva). Human Impact Report Climate Change. 2009. LINK
- The Economist. “Too Hot to Handle” June 2nd 2018