Make an Eco Commitment for Lent
06 March 2019 IN: Parish News
Across the diocese, parishes, churches and individuals are making changes to their lifestyles, shopping choices, diets and modes of transport in pursuit of becoming an Eco Church.
Being an Eco Diocese means more than simply getting a nice plaque to put on our church wall, however. We are compelled to protect the environment we live in by God; care of God’s creation is a vital part of our lives as Christians.
If you would like to help your church become an Eco Church then there are several commitments you can make as an individual – and can encourage others around you to try.
The season of Lent gives us the perfect opportunity to try something that might seem too challenging if there was no end in sight. Why not use Lent to try and create habit-forming changes to your impact on the environment this year?
Go vegetarian or vegan
Did you know that the international livestock sector accounts for 15% of global greenhouse emissions, which is roughly the equivalent of all the exhaust emissions from every car, train and aircraft across the world?
The diocese has recently switched all of its catering to vegetarian for meetings at Church House. Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. If you can’t face going fully vegetarian, you could cut down on the amount of meat you eat by having one or more meat-free days every week instead.
In the video below Archdeacon Karen shows us how we can eat less meat, russelling up an easy vegan recipe.
Almost 2 million plastic bags are used every minute, the amount of bubble wrap produced annually could wrap around the equator ten times and a plastic bottle takes 450 years to biodegrade.
It might not be possible to entirely avoid plastic in our lives, as many plastics serve a useful and long-lasting purpose, but we can make some choices to eliminate single-use plastics. Try carrying a reusable shopping bag, travel mug or steel water bottle, making your own lunch rather than buying packets of sandwiches, and switching to glass milk bottles from a local grocer.
The average number of miles that our food travels has doubled over the last 30 years. Since 1992, the amount of food flown overseas has increased by 140%.
95% of the fruit and 50% of the vegetables we consume in the UK are imported. Whilst only 1% of food is transported by air, it accounts for 11% of carbon emissions.
Source only ingredients that come from within a 100-mile radius of your home. Not only is this an environmentally sound choice but it also supports the local economy, regional producers and your high street. An added challenge is expanding that criterion to other aspects of your life, such as clothes and household accessories.
Ditch the car
People in Greater Manchester make around 250 million car journeys of less than one kilometre each year – the equivalent of a 15-minute walk or a five-minute bike ride. If you can reduce your miles in the car and make a journey by foot, on bike or on public transport, you are helping to cut down on air pollution and making a positive choice for your own health.
Revd Grace Thomas explains in the video below why she and her husband got rid of one of their cars.
Pray for our planet
If human beings are the ‘priesthood of creation,’ then we have a duty to pray for the whole earth, not just our fellow human beings. The early church of Britain and Ireland would be puzzled with our modern-day quest to become ‘eco-friendly’ in our prayers. In their minds, creation was not a separate issue. To talk of ‘the environment’ as an isolated concept would have been strange.
Rather than adding bolt-on references to the environment, let us revisit the roots of prayer – where creator and creation become connected.