Resource: Faith in a changing climate (USPG)

Canterbury Diocese Statement on the Environment and Action Plan November 2015

In September 2015 ahead of the Paris UN Climate talks later this month World Leaders committed themselves to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. As Canterbury Diocese we want to align ourselves with these Global Goals for sustainable development which could get these things done, in all countries, for all people. If the Goals are going to have any chance of working, we all need to know about them. We encourage all our churches to join in with their TELL EVERYONE campaign.

As Christians we live by a creation mandate to be good stewards of God’s world: Genesis 1:26-31 and celebrate with the Psalmist that “The Earth is the Lord’s”.

The Christian charity Operation Noah sums up a Christian response to climate change as needing to be Faith-motivated, Science-informed and Hope-inspired. As a diocese we hold on to this three dimensional approach to engagement with environment issues.

God’s creation is a gift and we have a duty to care for it and the wellbeing of all creation matters to God. We must repent for the damage we have done to the earth.        We also believe that climate change is about justice, because the poor of the world – those who have done the least to cause it – are already suffering the devastating consequences of climate change. Acting on climate change is about loving our neighbours: that means those in other countries and future generations.

Science is crucial to an informed faith. It does not answer the moral or spiritual questions but it helps us understand the issues we need to deal with. For Christians, science is a way of understanding what we can of God’s creation, through using experimental methods and drawing inferences from these to the best explanations we can find.

Climate change is one of the biggest issues confronting humanity. So how do we sustain hope in the midst of fear and denial? Hope in God motivates us to take action that can lead to transformation. By God’s power at work within us, God is able to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine.

The Church of England has a national environmental campaign called Shrinking the Footprint. In addition to campaigning, they share resources and stimulate action. As the Diocese of Canterbury we wholly align ourselves to play our part in shaping our lives collectively and personally. We encourage all our members to sign the Lambeth Declaration on line ahead of the November Summit through the Shrinking the Footprint website.

This statement today launches a living action plan. The plan contains actions relevant for our Diocesan life, PCC church life, schools and for us as individuals. Some of these have targets, others have resources or good ideas. A series of meetings across the year and across the diocese have shaped these actions and they will be revised and kept up to date every six months by an open meeting.

So: we would like to commit ourselves today to living lives individually and collectively by:


Ways to do your bit to help the environment:


Buildings, energy and water
  • Water Energy Calculator. Find out how make your household more energy efficient.
  • Perhaps switch your household to a green supplier. Ecotricity and Green Energy are just two examples of green suppliers that could be suited to you.
  • Take a shower in less than 3 minutes and save water.
  • Be more conscious when gardening and install water butts to collect rain water for watering plants.
  • Be more conscious of your household heating habits eg thermostats at 18 degrees – do you need to increase the temperature or can you put on an extra layer? For example a jumper, a winter vest, slippers. Pursue the green energy deals for home insulation www.kent.gov.uk/warmhomes
Land and green space
  • Be aware of local footpaths – take a pair of secateurs with you to keep the path clear.
  • Be eco-friendly when lighting up your garden with solar outdoor lighting.
  • Grow your own food – Install a herb patch of your own, Incredible Edible can help you get started.
  • Tend to your wildlife that sits on your doorstep. Place out bird feed, plant flowers for the bees and make an Insect Hotel.
  • As a community be aware of where and how you source your food. Initiate/support projects such as Incredible Edible and shop regionally/seasonally.
  • pamwarhurst

    Pam Warhurst – Founder of Incredible Edible

Meetings, hospitality, food and waste
  • Join Freecycle and think about rehousing your old goods.
  • Ensure you are making the most of your rubbish – conduct a bin inventory or follow The Rubbish Diet.
  • Be conscious of what you eat; is your diet predominantly meat? Think about reducing your meat intake and introducing meat as a treat rather than a staple in your diet.
  • Hold a Christmas Open-house for your street in December and get to know your neighbours.
  • Follow the LOAF principle with your food: Local, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fairtrade.
Local and global communities
Worship, liturgy, theology and teaching
  • Get outside – engage with the environment and environmental projects.
  • Encourage local churches and other Christians to do more.
  • Using Ruth Valeria’s Environment Bible study guide (CWR), either on your own or in your church small group, learn more about what the Bible says about caring for the whole creation.
  • Create opportunities to worship God outdoors for example you can go for prayer walks or sit with a local Forest Group.
  • Find inspiration for ideas around environmentally-themed prayers, liturgies and sermons that you can pass on to your church minister at ecochurch.arocha.org.uk.
  • Presentation by Dr. Ruth Valerio – Creation and Theology
  • All Creatures Great and Small –  A talk by Rt Rev Richard Llewelyn on the Churches’ relationship to animals



Buildings, energy and water
  • Review the fuels you use, is it the most environmentally friendly that you can use? Seek inspiration from Operation Noah on how you can make your church more eco-friendly.
  • Eco Church.
  • Review your heating method- do you have double glazing to make your heating efficient? If your heating method efficient and environmentally friendly? Share with others on your experience and knowledge.
  • Review the type of lighting that you use, think of using LED lighting.
  • Review the use of solar panels as a renewable source of energy. For inspiration and examples of good practice and successful installations on listed buildings see Churchcare.
Land and green space
  • Become a part of the God’s Acre.
  • Create water collection and drinking points for birds and wildlife.
  • Compost
  • Create a wild flower meadow in little-used areas.
  • Build an Insect Hotel.
Meetings, hospitality, food and waste
  • Hospitality – Generosity + Ethically! Be conscious of your waste, ensure that you are hospitable however ethically aware – do not over cater for meetings.
  • Be conscious of your carbon footprint – what transport routes are you using? Can you car share or take public transport?
  • Be conscious of your recycling – do you need paper copies of notes for your meeting? If you do are you recycling these? Conduct a bin inventory or follow The Rubbish Diet.
  • Think about whether your materials are ethically sourced, perhaps you should look into only using Fair Trade  products?
Local and global communities
  • Create an ‘Events Board’ to raise awareness in the local communities of current environmental issues.
  • Invite someone to share their stories for example – create a special ‘Creation Sunday’ Service with a guest speaker.
Worship, liturgy, theology and teaching


Church groups

Buildings, energy and water


Land and green space
  • Allotment Schemes.
  • Community Orchards.
  • Community composting schemes.
  • Creating community areas for communal use.
Meetings, hospitality, food and waste
  • Be conscious with your hospitality – share meals!
  • Follow the LOAF principle with your food: Local, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fairtrade.
  • Be conscious of your waste, perhaps take part in a Rubbish Diet.
  • Discuss environmental issues.
Local and global communities


Worship, liturgy, theology and teaching




Land and green spaces
  • School food production – gardening projects. Install a veg patch of your own, Rocket Gardens can help you get started.
  • Encourage the children to conduct Wildlife Audits. Perhaps set-up an Insect Hotel.
  • Enter Britain In Bloom School.
  • Walk to school days.
  • Create and post posters for information like ‘don’t little’, ‘pick up dog poo’, ‘don’t drop bubble gum’.
Meetings, hospitality, food and waste
  • Be conscious of where you source your food – is it local? Is it fresh?
  • Paper- recycle
  • Follow the LOAF principle with your food: Local, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fairtrade.
  • Grow your own – Support projects such as Incredible Edible.
  • Composting
Local and global communities


Worship, liturgy, theology and teaching




Buildings, energy and water

The diocese needs to adopt the national standards for environmental considerations when improving parsonage housing.

The diocese will undertake an energy rating for all of its parsonages and feed this information in to inform its decision making on improvements and on which properties to retain.

The diocese will respond sympathetically to home owners pursuing energy/water saving projects within their homes subject to agreement.

Land and green space
  • Encourage churches to enter X in bloom competitions and engae with local school schools in their environment projects.
  • Be aware that the Green Pilgrimage Network can add value to our parishes/areas and give opportunities for greater use.
  • The incredible edible and other community allotment/garden projects can use spare land creatively.
  • Organising a deanery ramble perhaps to clear waterways, paths, litter pick etc. Be mindful of the need for green space when taking decisions about grass, concrete, grasscrete etc.
Meetings, hospitality, food and waste
  • Plan to have meeting at places which are accessible by public transport and by people with disabilities including either where there is a loop system or owning a loop system which can be taken from place to place. And use places that provide Fairtrade tea and coffee. Consider a Transport plan/car sharing and make this known to members discourage solo car journeys.
  • Consider working with others to become a Fairtrade village/town.
  • Be conscious of your material usage – make ethical and bulk purchase. If you have surplus think of supporting organisations such as Fare Share.
  • Paper – go email.
  • Promote toilet twinning in churches that have them.
Local and global communities

We are exploring conversation with our Indian Ocean link province to understand how we can best support them.

We will continue to support Christin Aid and their work.

We will look to understand how we can best help with the refugee crisis.

Worship, liturgy, theology and teaching

Resources from the Faith and the Environment Forum 2018