‘We can do that’

25.10.2007 | Andrew Cameron and Lisa Watts | Briefing 069  

 

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The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Australia recently passed a number of resolutions relating to climate change. One of them ‘requests all organisational units within the Anglican Church of Australia to reduce their environmental footprint through best practice energy use, water use, and waste disposal.’

Similarly, the September meeting of the Sydney Diocesan Synod agreed upon ‘the development and implementation of an environmental policy within each Parish and Diocesan organisation which expresses principles of good environmental stewardship and care’.

But what is the value of such resolutions? In this briefing, we will argue that they are realistic and helpful. We will also consider what makes people sometimes respond cynically or negatively to resolutions such as these.

The climate change debate is now at an interesting point. Most people agree that it is happening. But it remains difficult for people to imagine that their actions can make a difference.

These psychological barriers combine to mean that for many of us, it is simply too emotionally exhausting to think about changing our own life and the life of a church or workplace. But here is why we think it is worth the effort.

Knowing where to start as an organisation, of course, seems daunting. But perhaps that is an artefact of there being so many options for change. Already several organisations are at work to list the ways in which people can start with the ‘low-hanging fruit’—simple changes that will save us money. There is much more work to be done here but we thought we would start the ball rolling with a few simple suggestions:

These are just simple preliminary ideas. Several people who help administer the Sydney Diocese are now thinking about what a more extensive ‘environmental policy’ might look like for churches and organisations; we’ll keep you posted on developments.

Of course adaptation to climate change, and environmental care, are not a church’s ‘core business’. That is to be the community who gathers around Jesus and his word, joyfully inviting others to join in too. But there is no good reason to think that churches cannot act as community leaders in their environmental practices. They are simple expressions of contented thankfulness in the goodness of God—and will go a long way to help and reassure our worried neighbours.

Sources/Further Reading:

Anglican developments:

General synod resolutions: http://www.anglican.org.au/gs2007.cfm?SID=33&SSID=119

Sydney synod resolution: http://www.sds.asn.au/Site/103750.asp?a=a&ph=sy (scroll down to ‘17/07’)

Christian Ministry in a Changing Climate, SIE report to Sydney Synod: http://www.sds.asn.au/Site/103760.asp?ph=sy or http://sie.moore.edu.au/708

Speeches by Darren Mitchell and Karen Sowada of the SIE in support of Sydney resolution: http://sie.moore.edu.au/708

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