Climate Sunday 2021
What we can do
If you arrive here at this page, I am assuming you don't need convincing of the Mission mandate of caring for creation. What follows are some thoughts and practical steps, beyond the crucial steps of studying scripture and prayer, that we can take to respond to the Climate Crisis. More thoughts will be added, so keep coming back for more!
1- Be Informed
2- Waste Not
I remember looking at my mountain of recycling and thinking "well done! All this waste not going to landfill!" Well, that my be true, but I had forgotten that recycling should come way down the priority list. In fact, recycling is actually a bit misleading- it should be called down-cycling, because most recycling actually returns as a lower value product, and also requires energy and produces waste of it's own.
Firstly, we need to Reduce. One easy way is to look through your average recycling (and general rubbish!) just before collection day and see what makes up most of it. Is there a way you can reduce these items- yoghurt pots for instance- instead of buying multipacks, buy a larger pot. It still produces waste, but far less! Or you could make your own...
You may also send a lot of food waste away in those green containers. Well, it's better than landfill but not as good as 1) Not making so much waste and 2) composting what you can. Writing a rough menu for the week can help with limiting waste, and having a compost heap in your garden/yard is also fantastic. My grandad lived in a small terrace house in South Wales. He had a tiny yard, and yet he made his own compost in the old drum of a washing machine. It was great for the potted plants he grew, and great for wildlife. Even if you are not a gardener, a small compost heap supports all manner of creatures. I have two resident toads and a slow worm in mine!! And lots of slugs and creepies for them to eat. Resources exist online to help, for example- https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-compost-your-waste
Secondly we should Reuse. This may mean learning repair skills (like sewing!) And being proud of clothes that you have patched and repaired. On a bigger scale, there is a drive (pardon the pun) to get folk to replace their polluting cars with newer greener vehicles. What they don't mention is that an enormous amount of energy and resources go into making a car, and for many people it makes more environmental sense to keep an old car going and use it less, than to scrap it and buy a newer cleaner vehicle. In 2009 the Institute for Fiscal Studies criticised such a scrappage scheme, commenting that "this is not a strong environmental measure. While new cars have lower emissions per mile, they may be driven more and there are environmental costs associated with their production" . So keep your car well maintained, and use it less. And when the time does come to replace it, look for a greener alternative.
At this point it's worth reminding us all to be compassionate to ourselves, and remember that at different phases of our lives it may be easier to make changes. Don't try and compare yourselves with other people- just take the steps you can take.
3- There is Power....
According to the global footprint network, shelter (where we live, and the power we use to live comfortably there) makes up the biggest proportion of my carbon footprint. Have a go at their calculator, and see if you are the same. https://www.footprintnetwork.org. Heating our homes, powering our devices, cooking, staying cool (if we have A/C), all impact upon creation.
While the actual detail of what uses the most gas/electricity can be complicated, the best advice is- less is best. Less time in the shower, for instance. One city was so worried about its water usage that they commissioned a "shower song" which ran for just a few minutes, and challenged residents to finish their showers in the time it takes for the song to finish. They also built an online street level map to show which areas used the most water. Amazingly people changed their habits, and it worked....Anyhow, we don't need a song, just a shower timer. There are so many ways in which we can use less electricity and less gas and less water. I tried using a timer, and now it has become a habit. Sometimes we just need to be creative and be willing to make changes to our habits. What are we willing to give up?