Eco Church – into the future

 1 August 2021 |

As I write today, parts of the USA and Canada are experiencing a terrific and terrifying heatwave. Temperatures close to 50C have been experienced in what people are saying is unbearable heat, not to mention the fires and the damage this weather has done to the fruit and vegetable harvests. Usually that part of the world gets high temperatures in late July and through August, but it has never been this hot in June. People are dying; it was reported on the BBC that in British Columbia there were 486 deaths registered over five days compared with an average of 165 in normal times. Volunteers are roaming the pathways giving out water and food to people on the streets. Despite what some politicians are saying, we are moving inexorably into a period of the world’s history that is rightly being called an ecological emergency: global warming as we have never experienced and soon it will be too late to reverse in any meaningful way.

We are all aware of course of this trend and most of us try hard to recycle stuff but it is obvious we should be doing very much more. The pandemic has shown that when we want to, we can change our behaviour very quickly so perhaps now is the time to make some fundamental changes to our lifestyles to preserve the world as we know it. So, perhaps too, we should be lobbying our local authorities to do much more than they have been doing. And we should be making it clear to government that they should be developing green plans to return us to normal and not assume we just go back to pre-covid times. I am sure none of us would enjoy temperatures in the 50s. At Redhill we have begun to think about what we can do in all areas of church life to play our part; we plan to tell our church building users that everyone can share the responsibility.

At the last meeting of church representatives in the cluster group, Marsh Green explained how they changed to become an Eco Church. It was an ‘all-congregation’ project – everyone had a part to play! The western world has been using up natural assets for a few centuries, starving other parts of the world of rich resources. Now before us even, they are struggling with pollution, water shortage and in some cases flooding. They pay the price while we enjoy the benefits.

None of this is new of course. We have known for years what our way of life is doing to the planet. But how long should it be before we start making a difference and can truly celebrate God’s creation in meaningful ways?