In January 2020, following the example of other church bodies, our Parochial Church Council committed to a goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2030, as a contribution to the response to the climate crisis. We see this as an essential part of our calling as Christians to be good stewards of God’s creation, and a key challenge of the present times.
We began on this road about a couple of years before, and registered with the Eco Church initiative run by the Christian charity A Rocha (www.arocha.org.uk). This enables churches to audit all their activities to see what contribution they might make in response to climate heating and other environmental problems. There is a system of awards – Bronze, Silver and Gold – to encourage this, and in November 2022 the PCC received a Silver award.
Our neighbours in Stratford Methodist Church (www.stratforduponavonmethodist.org.uk) have achieved a Gold Award, following major refurbishments to their plant and other changes in their life. The Eco Church page on their website gives a history of their journey and is a source of many ideas. We are co-operating closely with them on our own journey.
In 2020 we took a first step in moving to an electricity supplier for the church and Parish Centre which uses 100% renewable sources such as wind and water. However, most of our energy consumption is of gas for heating. This also is now derived from renewable sources (landfill methane), thus effectively achieving zero emissions on the church building and Parish Centre well ahead of our target date. We also plan to improve insulation in both the church and the Parish Centre to reduce the need for heating, and to take any necessary further steps in our other churches (All Saints Luddington and St Helen’s Clifford Chambers) and in the houses that we own.
We are working with the Town Council and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to make our churchyard (a precious and partially-wooded green space) even more environmentally friendly. We are developing a project in this area with our church school, Holy Trinity Primary, and the local Beaver Scouts, and will be looking for other areas of co-operation with them.
With other churches in the town, we have set up regular “Eco Chat” discussions which give opportunities for church members and others to discuss their institutional and personal responses to the climate crisis.
Some of our members are very active through other organisations - such as a community solar farm, other work directly in the energy industry, and work with schools - to combat the crisis and improve public knowledge.
Regular articles in the Trinity Times focus on climate issues, and “eco tips” in our weekly bulletins have challenged our members on their personal responses. Also attached is a list of eco tips from the Diocesan environment adviser, Godfrey Armitage.
Regular services focus from time to time on such issues, particularly through preaching and prayer.
Anyone who wishes to join us in the work, and/or contribute further ideas, should in the first instance contact our Eco Church “champion” Anthony Woollard (firstname.lastname@example.org) or any other member of the PCC’s Eco Church Team, which currently includes representatives of the ministry team plus Mike Warrillow, Lindsay MacDonald, Kevin Bond, Sam Jupe, Tony Guy, Amelia Parkin and Tricia Hall-Matthews, with Lim Ho from the Methodist church as a corresponding member. As we go further down this road, we will need help from others!
Some Personal Lifestyle Planet-friendly tips
How I eat
- Buy more local seasonal produce, especially local fruit and vegetables, to cut food miles
- Buy Fairtrade and organic food where possible
- Buy less, but better quality meat; less from intensive farms, more from organic and naturally grazed animals which help lock more carbon in the soil and use less chemical fertiliser.
- Plan weekly meals more carefully to avoid food waste
- Make your own compost if vegetable matter is left over – and so avoid buying peat for the garden
How I travel
- If it’s less than a mile, can I walk or cycle?
- If it’s less than five miles, can I cycle?
- If I have to drive, can I share a lift?
- Cut CO2 by switching up a gear earlier, sticking to the speed limit and avoiding heavy traffic
- How about offsetting my travel (and all my other CO2 emissions) by offsetting with Climate Stewards (pick up a brochure for details)
How I save energy at home
- Switch off appliances when not in use and turning off lights when not in the room
- Make sure my home is well insulated and draught proofed
- Use energy efficient lightbulbs
- Turn down my heating by even 1 degree
- Instal a low-flow showerhead. Soap up beforehand and use your shower to rinse off.
How I clothe myself
- Avoid buying clothes that go out of fashion quickly (which would mean more carbon is used to make new products and more stuff is sent to landfill to produce greenhouse gases)
- Buy my clothes from reputable companies
- Look for organically produced clothes with the Soil Association or GOTS logo (see https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/fashion-textiles/types-of-certification/)
- Buy products second-hand, giving money to charity while buying products which are often higher quality?
How I avoid waste
- Be a zero-waste hero: cut down on plastic when shopping.
- Take your own coffee cup and avoid non-re-usable cups.
- Reduce your consumption.
- Reuse things where possible.
- Otherwise recycle.
Useful links for reducing your carbon footprint:
Eco Church resources: https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/resources/lifestyle/
Energy Saving Trust: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/top-tips-to-reduce-your-carbon-emissions/
Coventry Diocese Environment Group: https://www.coventry.anglican.org/info-for-parishes/deg/
Google The Soil Association for excellent information.
Support your church’s Eco Church group; let them know if you take on any of these steps.