5 Simple Steps To Sustainability: For Churches
By Dave Lazonby, Assistant Pastor at Newton Mearns Baptist Church
Sometimes the climate crisis makes me want to go “off grid”. It seems like the only sustainable option is a hermit-like existence where I forage for berries in the woods! But while this might salve my conscience, it wouldn’t make much of a dent in global carbon emissions. Whatever changes I might make individually, we live in community, and change needs to happen at a wider level.
Which is why church is so important when it comes to change. The church of Jesus Christ is both the largest voluntary association in the world (nearly 1 in 3 people belong to it!) and has local expressions in almost every corner of the globe.
So we are perfectly poised to respond to the current climate crisis in a way others can’t.
Here at Newton Mearns Baptist, we have planted an orchard in our church grounds and have also installed a bike rack to encourage people to cycle to church.
So, what can we do as a church?
- Provide a lasting motivation for action Science can tell us what is happening, but not how we should respond. The moral questions of loving our global neighbours and caring for God’s good creation are ones we can and should address as church.
- Nudge one another into action A large number of people making a relatively small change can have a huge impact. Imagine if everyone who could walk to church did walk to church? Or if we all changed to an eco-electricity tariff on mass?
- Take corporate actions What we do in our buildings and when we are together matters too. We can ditch disposable cups, install bike racks and LED lights, perhaps even solar panels. As we do we witness to the God who made this good earth.
- Equip the church scattered Through teachers and nurses, business people and shop workers we have influence in retail and education and elsewhere. Equip people to address the complex challenges of caring for God’s creation in their work!
- Support the church globally It matters that we have brothers and sisters in drought-ridden Ethiopia and low-lying Bangladesh. Giving and praying to support change on the ground for those in our world most vulnerable to climate change is part of being the global body of Christ.