church of the wild


It’s odd that some of the most fervent climate-change deniers are people who profess to be those of strong faith (right-wing evangelical Christians in particular – Trump supporters for instance). The evidence is there.

Dr John Cook (a former astrophysicist whose free online cause to understand the science has been taken by over 40,000 people) says the short answer of how much of climate change is caused by humans is ‘all of it’. He writes:

Scientists’ best estimate is that roughly 100% of warming since the mid-20th Century is caused by human activity. The main producers of greenhouse gases are electricity generation and transport. Current research finds that if humans weren’t around, the climate would actually be cooling slightly. To avoid the worst impacts, we need to stop burning fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy. Dr John Cook

So why on earth do we have MPs still obsessed by economic growth and fossil fuels? One big contract was recently awarded by Rishi Sunak’s government. He is Hindu, most of his Cabinet are Christians. If they are people of faith, why are they destroying our planet? In the USA, many Christians act like Donald Trump is the second coming of Christ, even though he’s a loose cannon who denies climate change and wants more fossil fuels to ‘make America great again’.

One religious leader who is taking climate change seriously is Pope Francis. Also a fan of animal welfare (hence why he took his Papal name after St Francis of Assisi), he appears to be on the side of environmentalists, promoting simple living. But the Catholic church itself does not fare so well (The Vatican even takes $30,000 a month in rent from McDonald’s – a company that has huge criticism for policies on environment and animal welfare). When he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Fr Bergoglio (as he was then known) frequently took the bus. He’s known to cook his own meals, wears normal clothes, and lives in a small apartment (refusing the grand palace rooms).

Do other religions protect the planet? You would think so, but not always the case. Surprisingly, India’s holy Ganges river is one of the most polluted in the world. Even street dogs have turned blue, from drinking and bathing in water that suffers toxic run-off from dye used for the western denim jeans industry.

Yorkshire’s Stanbrook Abbey has solar panels, rainwater harvesting and a sedum (living) roof. Green Sisters is a wonderful book about ‘eco-nuns’ who drive around in electric cars, and replace manicured gardens to  grow free food for parishioners. The best line comes from Mother Superior ‘anyone who saw the Divine in a potato, could never turn it into Pringles!’

Sr Dorothy Stang was an American nun, who lived with tribes in the South American forest, campaigning to keep their homes from loggers. She was eventually murdered by two men, apparently praying for their  forgiveness as she died.

how local churches can help save the planet

Eco Churches lets you earn a certificate by growing local food and installing solar panels. As churches tend to be older buildings, you’ll likely save a fortune  on bills. Make church gardens safe for pets (know indoor plants to avoid and don’t face indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows).

The site has free books on green energy, wildlife-friendly lighting, boilers, secondary-glazing, heating, recycling and managing closed churchyards. Some inspiration from member churches on what they’ve done:

  1. Creating non-profit pop-up cafes
  2. Adopting an unused red phone box as a book exchange point
  3. Building & maintaining a wildlife-friendly community garden
  4. Building seating and tables from donated wooden pallets
  5. Hosting Climate Sundays (download free mass services & ideas)
  6. 360 Carbon is a free carbon calculator for places of worship.

JustMoney Movement has a free guide for churches to switch to greener banks and campaigns for a Wealth Tax of 1% to 2% on those with assets over £10 million (which could raise £50 billion). An annual wealth tax of up to 5% on the world’s billionaires and multi-millionaires could raise enough money to lift 2 billion people out of poverty. Also download an ethical buying guide for churches.

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