But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Our planet is facing a dramatic change in climate, which according to scientists the world over is a result of human action over the last 150 years, predominantly through the burning of fossil fuels to create energy.
To stop 'runaway' climate change, we must limit the increase in global heating, currently being experienced, to 1.5°C. Climate change is already affecting our weather and in turn our natural world, which will affect all our lives if it remains unchecked.
The solution is to stop producing greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide and switch to a net zero carbon lifestyle. That means reducing the energy we use in our buildings; switching to renewable energy supply; travelling more sustainably; changing our diet to reduce meat consumption and investing in the restoration of our forests and peatlands.
A Christian Responsibility
Responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God's creation, in our own lives and in the life of our churches.
The Church of England has set new targets for all areas of church work to become ‘net zero carbon' by 2030 and has embarked on an environment programme to put in place the actions needed to achieve this target - across all Diocese. Amazing work is already taking place in churches across the country but the support of every parish is needed if it is to be successful.
Net Zero Carbon
Being net zero carbon means eliminating as many carbon emissions as possible and offsetting those that cannot be completely eliminated by investing in projects that actively remove carbon from the atmosphere - primarily reforestation.
To see the scale of the task we face we need to know our current carbon footprint* and then take appropriate actions to miminise it.
* A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
An Eco Church
The carbon footprint for the parish will include the carbon emissions associated with its buildings and the activities related to the work of its churches.
As part of the parish environmental policy we will determine what our carbon footprint actually is and what actions can be taken to minimise it, whilst working towards the A Rocha Eco Church standard.
A Personal Commitment
The average annual carbon footprint for someone living in the UK is 10 tonnes of CO2e, more than double the global average.
If the limit of 1.5°C increase in global heating is to be realised everyone must contribute - at home, at work, in the way we travel, the products and services we buy, in all aspects of life. As stewards of our environment it is our responsibility to protect it by learning to live in sustainable ways, which care for the future of our natural world.
You can act now by taking these 10 Environment Pledges and by finding out more about climate change and what you can do to reach a 'net zero carbon' lifestyle.
"Reducing the causes of climate change is essential to the life of faith. It is a way to love our neighbour and to steward the gift of creation."
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury