I have sitting on my desk a document called an, “Ecological Audit for Local Churches.” It gives advice on how one should asses the Church facilities, looking at our use of paper, possibilities for conserving energy, directions to environment-friendly cleaning products and advice on the use of glass and china for food and drink, rather than disposable items - making the point that, “Breaking the habits of a ‘disposable culture’ is a vital step in creating a sustainable society. It goes on to talk of community projects that the Church should involve itself in, and that we should pursue a detailed Church and Community audit. It speaks too of the need for regular preaching and teaching on environmental issues. It asks questions about how much we recycle and whether or not we are embracing car-sharing amongst those going to church.
Then it starts to examine how we are lobbying politicians, opening our eyes to the natural world, encouraging us to plant trees and leave part of the church grounds for wildlife, and supporting campaigns that apply pressure on governments to embrace green projects. It asks questions about the Church’s ethical investments, and presses us to consider the debt that poor countries owe the rich, as well as pouring scorn on the greed of Western consumers which are destroying the environment of the poor. It concludes with considering the theological implications of how we live and urges us to read the signs of the times in terms of the ecological change that is affecting the planet.
All we may say is the message that is coming to us in these days of climate change and the seeking of a carbon neutral economy.
And the date on the, “Ecological Audit for Local Churches” is June 1990. Thirty-one years ago. I found it at the bottom of a box of old Church papers and booklets.