The Arden Marches Churches are registered with A Rocha Eco Church and are working towards Eco Church accreditation. An ‘Eco Group’ has been gathered from across our churches to help us develop in our care for God’s earth by
- better managing the church estate from an ecological perspective
- engaging the wider community through the churches’ grounds and a shared interest in our local environments
- approaching ecological issues through our teaching, worship, mission and discipleship
- supporting one another to increase our environmental awareness and actions.
2021 – time for change
While the pandemic may be at the top of everyone’s minds, the climate emergency remains the biggest threat to the world. Here in the Arden Marches, we are embarking on a journey of exploring together, and committing to change what we can, to contribute to the sustainability of the planet. Each month for the rest of the year, we will be focusing on one area of concern and action, and one member of the Eco Group will lead us in thinking through the concerns, our options, and our response.
June – Biodiversity
Biodiversity – the variety of life
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities…have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. – Romans 1:20
Have you ever encountered a Springtail? Well, just in case you haven’t, they are tiny little creatures that live in the soil and there are an estimated 100,000 individuals in a square metre of soil. There are many different species of springtail, in fact so many that we are not quite sure how many.
Life on earth is a highly intricate and complex mosaic of food chains and ecosystems involving millions of different plants and animals. Every single species plays its own unique part in the production, consumption and decomposition of organic matter on which we are completely dependent. Each occupies its own unique ecological ‘niche’. Plants and animals have co-evolved over thousands of years and are entirely dependent upon each other. The Peacock Butterfly, for example, can only lay its eggs on a Stinging Nettle because that is the food plant of the caterpillar (see photo). Nothing else will do. No nettle, no Peacock Butterfly.
Just to throw in a few statistics, in Warwickshire alone, there are approximately 4,000 different species of fly (7,500 in the UK) 2,240 different species of beetle (4,130 in the UK) and 323 species of spider (700 in the UK). There are 36 species of butterfly recorded in Warwickshire (59 in the UK) and 1,300 species of moth (2,300 in the UK). There are countless vertebrates and invertebrates. There are 150 different grasses in the UK, thousands of flowering plants, lichens, fungi, ferns and algae. There are even over 90 different species of bramble! The variety is endless.
Without doubt human beings are the most dangerous species on earth with the ability to destroy all this by the way we live. We must learn to look at creation as a gift and not as a commodity.
How does your garden or local green space reflect God’s glory? What could you do to encourage biodiversity?
May – Water
‘Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink’ . Will this be the cry for many more people in the next few years? Sea levels are rising, ice shelves are melting, coasts are eroding but available water for drinking, for agriculture and livestock is decreasing. Even in countries with adequate water resources, water scarcity is not uncommon. Although this may be due to a number of factors it is clear that climate change, as well as human factors, are the reasons for the increased lack of drinking water worldwide. Half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025
We have just had one of the driest April’s on record; great for walking but not so good for crops or animals. Water doesn’t seem to be in short supply in the UK today but it is a precious resource we need to conserve and using less water also means that we use less energy. Cleaning waste water is energy intensive as is heating water. How can we restrict our water useage ? Here are some suggestions:
- Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth – this can save 6 litres of water per minute.
- Take a shorter shower. Showers can use anything between 6 and 45 litres per minute.
- Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher
- Install a water butt and water your garden with a watering can rather than a hosepipe. A hosepipe can use as much as 1,000 litres of water an hour.
April – Carbon Footprinting
Our environment focus this month is our Carbon Footprint (the total greenhouse gas – GHG – emissions caused by each individual, event, organization, service, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent). Greenhouse gases can be emitted through the burning of fossil fuels, land clearance and the production and consumption of food, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, transportation, and other services. Knowing our carbon footprint is the first step towards doing something about reducing it.
Mark Herauville writes: “I started Carbon Footprinting and Offsetting about 5 years ago and I’ve got to say if anything it makes me feel like I’m doing something positive! It’s been good for my wellbeing and I thoroughly recommend it, if not just because we should but because it makes you feel better about yourself…. there are lots of sites that you can pick and choose from to best suit you.”
Climate Stewards is a Christian organisation that helps you calculate your footprint and take part in offsetting https://www.climatestewards.org/offset/
February – Lent Plastic Challenge – Starts 17th February
This guide has been reproduced from the Church of England’s 2019 Lent Plastic Challenge. The world has changed a lot since then, and not all the suggestions will be possible in a Covid lockdown and you may need to be creative. On the other hand, the pandemic has increased our reliance on disposable plastics (PPE, cleaning materials etc) and so the need has never been greater to wean ourselves off this unsustainable way of living. Perhaps have a go and see if you can at least manage two of the suggestions per week, and use the Sunday mini-reflections to help you think more deeply about how caring for the earth deepens faith, and how faith worked out in practice means caring better for our world.
Download: Lent Plastic Challenge