Dr Peter Brotherton, Diocesan Environmental Officer writes 

The Church has been a radical body in respect of environmental issues, which is not how we usually think of the Church of England. The General Synod passed a motion for the Church to become carbon net zero by 2030. It was recognised that it was important to meet this commitment and the Church’s contribution was significant. Temperatures are rising globally with the last seven years being the hottest ever recorded. The distribution is not felt evenly across the world with some parts warming faster than others. 

Aligned with climate crisis is the crisis in nature with more and more species becoming extinct. There has been a huge change in the abundance of nature with the growing loss of forestation globally. Humans have captured so much of the planet’s resources which livestock taking 60%, humans 36% and animals only 4%. Species losses are global with so many species in decline now and one plant per country was currently being lost every two years. This information should challenge and equip us to act in hope rather than cause fear. There are many things to celebrate such as otters returning to Ferry Meadows in Peterborough after many years. But we can change the situation. There is a strong biblical basis for this and care for creation is central in the principles for the Church and should be evident throughout our worship and teaching. 

What might a zero carbon church look like? Heating makes up the majority of church energy use, with us often heating our roofs better than our congregation and measures to change this hold huge potential. Both of our Bishops and Archdeacons are heavily committed to the environmental agenda and wanted to implement the strategy. The environmental policy is to encourage churches and not command them. Guidance and support are available on particular initiatives. As a church what we spent our money on is our central way of showing our actions in relation to environmental issues. We can support and encourage our MPs to be bold with regard to environmental issues. It is important that the Church has a voice in environmental matters, particularly with regard to involving young people. 

Making the changes necessary to become carbon neutral is daunting to churches, so PCCs should start with the easy stuff; the sooner we begin the better.