Thursday, November 30, 2006

Church and enviromental issues...

Had an interesting chat about enviromental issues yesterday. In an area like Nelson the church taking a position on enviromental issues is throught with danger, and so largely we remain silent - or even promote a position that may be counter to popular 'green' thinking. Take a recent issue of coal minning in Westport, with the desire to open up a new coal face meant the removal of an endangered colony of giant snails. I was asked to sign a petition to prevent this happening but refused on grounds to do so would put people's livelyhoods at risk (many of whom are part of the parish in Westport) and I believed and still do that the local mines willingness to remove and relocate the habitat was a win/win.
In our region we rely heavily on the enviroment for business and people's livelyhood, what is under the ground - eg coal, gold and what is above the ground, forestry, vineyards and what is in the sea... Being an enviromentalist then is not just about protest, but respect for other people's right to work also. While I would love to see the Church take a stand on many enviromental issues - and i think we have a responsibility - the issues are never so simple in a region like ours.

In saying that there is still much we could and should be doing, in the case of the westport snails (which i know sounds like a joke) I believe we should be encouraging the mine for there willingness to relocate. I believe we should also be doing some of the following..
  • Undertake an environmental/energy audit
  • Install heat conservation measures and change lighting to low-energy sources
  • Promote sustainable transport, e.g. through provision of secure cycle-storage facilities and car sharing
  • Make/purchase and install bird feeding stations in church grounds
  • Establish a recycling programme for church consumables such as paper
  • Initiate a policy at church of using washable crockery and cutlery and environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • Switch to green electricity
  • Establish a wildlife garden
  • Establish and maintain an Environmental Notice Board
  • Install a compost pit for waste flowers and other organic material
  • Advertise or provide clear signage of church policy and why it has been initiated

Next year during the Easter Holidays we are planning a Youth Camp with a bit of a twist, as part of it we will be doing service projects, but a focus of them will be on how we can be better stewards in our congregational and community life.


Tim said...

30-Hour Famine is a great event my youth group does every day to increase awareness of environmental issues in Africa and raise funds to support World Vision's mission effort there.

michael said...

Here in NZ we do the 40 hour famine - we have amjor event for that in march - with expectations of around 200 kids in a slum village for the weekend. But we felt we need to do more - thanks for dropping by again Tim - i appreciate your thoughts