In Thoughts

In 2018, the year the World Wildlife Fund and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported alarming rates of wildlife population decline, unbelievable biodiversity loss, worrying climate change rates and intense pressure put on ecosystems by humans. Our Church decided to make Education for Sustainability a focus of our way forward for the next 2 years. This is a commitment by the community to acknowledge the urgent need for preserving and cherishing the earth, to inspire each other and take practical action.
One tool we use to help us do this is A Rocha UK’s Eco Church project. A survey helps us look in detail at our worship, buildings, community and global engagement and lifestyles. We are delighted that in February 2019 the United Church in Winchester achieved the Eco Church bronze award. We did this by switching energy provider to renewable energy, using fair trade products in our coffee bar, including a regular sustainability feature in our church magazine, YOURS, developing and running ‘Sustainability at Church?’ House group material, using recycled paper in the office, making a plan to reduce our carbon footprint … (the list goes on). Well done everyone!
Over the next few months we will be working towards the silver Eco Church award, by reducing our energy use, making greener choices about the way we use and live in our buildings, learning more about environmental issues and the interconnectedness of things, discovering God’s love through worship and faith that is mindful of the home God has given us.
Education for Sustainability is a process rather than an end point target. Each of us has a part to play in what that process looks like – good ideas, creativity and challenge will emerge. We expect to be transformed through the process, both as a community operating in a modern thriving city, and as individuals making daily choices that impact the earth. Just as we expect to be transformed by God’s love. This is about finding constructive, rather than destructive ways of living.
Although some changes we make towards a more sustainable way of living may not even be noticeable -for example the lights coming on when we use a room, no matter which supplier we use- choices are being made out of a desire to live with integrity to what we believe and value; to live in good conscience that our impact on our fellow humans across the world (who grow our food and make our clothes and who are also trying to work out how to live in a changing climate), and our impact on the earth itself is as gentle as it can be. We know we are not the only ones who want to do this.
Jo Crocker