5th Church’s Green news of 2020

Hello and welcome to our 5th ENews of 2020,
For those of you who are new to our ENews – We aim to send you information and events that may be of interest to you, all in one email rather than many throughout each month, one part being general information and updates, the second being news of events / dates for your diary and the other part being links to useful websites. 
If you are a minister or administrator of a church and prefer to nominate a Green Champion to be your church’s point of contact then please let us know who that person might be…. and of course if you want to unsubscribe at any time simply reply to this email and let us know.

General info and updates
  • The Bible is full of stories about God’s intention to restore everything – to bring beauty out of brokenness. The coronavirus crisis has held up a mirror to our world, revealing brokenness and inequality that had been previously hidden and as churches and communities adapt to find new ways to be a light in the darkness, many are beginning to wonder what life might look like afterwards. Tearfund believe we now have a unique opportunity to build a better reality together. And this film The World Rebooted introduces what could be different and invites us all to join the conversation.
  • This June The Wildlife Trusts are offering thousands of people (adults and children) the opportunity to take part in their annual nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, doing one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.You’ll get a free, downloadable pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, plus lots of ideas to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!). For extra ‘bonus’ items, keep an eye on your emails for additional fun activities, from instructions for baking hedgehog cupcakes to a beginner’s guide to wildlife photography. To get involved, just tell them who’s taking part. If you are a childminder and want to take part with your children – the schools pack will be best suited to you.
  • A rising international force of rebel botanists armed with chalk has taken up street graffiti to highlight the names and importance of the diverse but downtrodden flora (aka weeds) growing in the cracks of paths and walls in towns and cities across Europe. The idea of naming wild plants wherever they go – which began in France – has gone viral, with people chalking and sharing their images on social media. We think this is a great idea, but please note, crazy maybe but it is apparently illegal in the UK, so we are not suggesting you actually do it. To read more see here
  • On the same topic – a bit late in the month to announce perhaps, but better late than never – Plantlife UK‘s campaign ‘Every Flower Counts’ is encouraging us to not mow our grass for the month of May and to spread the word using the hashtag #NoMowMay in a bid to allow more insects, including bees to access the wildflowers growing amongst the grass. They even suggest making a #ScareMow to display; could be a fun family activity …. for more information of how and why to take part see here
  • As many of us are currently spending a lot more time at home Greenpeace decided to create a handy little guide to hopefully inspire us all – entitled Eat, Grow, Upcycle. It is full of hints and tips on greening our homes during lockdown with creative projects to boost our wellbeing such as ideas on how to grow vegetables from store-bought produce and advice on how to make houseplants from food waste. They have even included some delicious vegan recipes! Inside the guide you’ll find innovative ways to reinvent your wardrobe, make eco-friendly cleaning products and transform old packaging into useful household items – all without spending a penny! To get your pack click here
  • Albert to the rescue During a period of self-isolation, Baptist minister Richard Littledale wrote a child-friendly book about social distancing. He explains more – “Albert the Mouse is a little character I invented a few years ago. He is now in the process of telling six children’s bible stories for Lion Hudson. The first two Albert and the big boat’(Noah) and Albert and the Slingshot (David and Goliath) came out in January. In mid-March I had to self-isolate for two weeks, as I was showing some symptoms which suggested it was wise to do so.  Thankfully the symptoms are all gone now. In the second week, my friend at Lion suggested that I might like to write another book in the time I had, and I quipped that I could always write ‘Albert does social distancing’. The idea simply wouldn’t go away. The next day, he contacted illustrator Heather Heyworth. She was keen to ‘do her bit’ to help as well – and Lion signed off on the project. Just over a month later Albert does social distancing was launched. It is a free, downloadable PDF book which explains in a child-friendly way why we need to isolate. There is even an interactive page at the end. It has been formatted for A4, so that parents can download and print it at home if they would like to.
  • Is now a good time to take stock of our churches’ carbon footprint? A Rocha UK and the Church of England have launched a new free collaborative, web-based tool which enables all churches to measure their carbon footprint from different activities – energy, travel, food, waste, water and other expenditure. 360carbon was commissioned, based on a pilot project carried out by Leeds Diocese in 2018. It has been funded by a private donor and built by Climate Stewards’ Adrian Frost. The test version was launched earlier in the year, and most glitches have now been resolved, but some may still remain – please let them know if you find any! They would also very much welcome other feedback, questions and ideas for improvement. 360carbon is free to use and is designed to work for all church denominations. It will soon be linked from the Eco Church website so that churches are asked to use it to measure their carbon footprint as part of their qualification for an award. As many of you will know, the Anglican church’s Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) is now part of the Parish Returns system; from this spring, Anglican churches are being asked to report on their energy use from heating and lighting annually. This will enable churches to understand their energy efficiency and reduce their own carbon emissions year on year – no more excuses not to look at it.
Some good news
  • On 9th May, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced funding for walking and cycling, to include emergency funds for immediate use in response to the covid-19 crisis, see here. Climate Action Plymouth hope and expect that Plymouth City Council will receive its share of these funds and make good use of them. They are urging everyone in Plymouth and environs to contact their councillor to ask what funds are being received and how they are to be used, and to give their views on what can be done to make their area and/or Plymouth City Centre safer and more convenient for pedestrians and cyclists.They have prepared a template letter (attached), that you can customise to send to your local councillors.  To find who your local councillors are and how to contact them, go to this link If you would like to know what cycling routes already have or are being carried out/planned in Plymouth, you can find them here.The Transport Secretary’s initiative has given us a small window of opportunity to bring about some of the changes needed to create a safer, healthier, more people-friendly Plymouth. Please add your voice: together we cannot be ignored!
    To learn more about Climate Action Plymouth, please see their Facebook page or email 
  • Last month we heard the news that Shared Interest has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.  This prestigious accolade is given when a product or service is deemed a commercially successful way of benefitting society, the environment, and economy.  Her Majesty the Queen makes the Awards on the advice of the Prime Minister. Many of you will already know that this is the third time Shared Interest has been awarded within this category, previously recognised in 2008 and 2013.  It means they are able to use the world-renowned Queen’s Award emblem on all of their communication materials for a period of five years.  This is more than simply a logo, it is a badge of honour and symbol of pride that the organisation is achieving its mission, and fulfilling its role in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals
    The Award is a symbol of the hard work and dedication of every single person involved in the organisation.  This is a double celebration for Shared Interest as it was also their 30th birthday last month – the organisation was founded on 25th April 1990 by the inspirational Grameen Bank, who subsequently received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Some not quite such good news
  • The human cost of the climate crisis will hit harder, wider and sooner than previously believed, according to a study that shows a billion people will either be displaced or forced to endure insufferable heat for every additional 1C rise in the global temperature. In a worst-case scenario of accelerating emissions, areas currently home to a third of the world’s population will be as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara within 50 years, the paper warns. Even in the most optimistic outlook, 1.2 billion people will fall outside the comfortable “climate niche” in which humans have thrived for at least 6,000 years. To read more click here
Upcoming (virtual) events / dates for your diary 

If you are hosting any relevant events you would like us to help publicise please let me know in time for inclusion in the ENews
  • Tuesday 26th May 7.30 pm via Zoom – Plymouth Christian Action will be meeting every alternate Tuesday until 21st July, for the meeting ID and more information please contact Michael Shaw
  • Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020. via Zoom 6:30-8:00pm Plymouth Green and Science Book Club AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 TREES  by Jonathan Drori With guest expert, Robin Lock, Head of Biomes and Glasshouses at the Eden Project With thanks to Professor John Summerscales, who is hosting this meeting  https://plymouth.zoom.us/j/797184107 Meeting ID: 797 184 107 For more information e-mail Alan Ramage
  • Wednesday, 24th June, 2020 via Zoom 7:00pm to 8.30pm: Plymouth Christian Eco/Community Book Club “SAY YES TO LIFE” by Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at Tearfund Ruth will be taking part in the Zoom meeting to discuss her book.Chairperson: Michael Shaw, Minister at Devonport Baptist Church Please register for the meeting at here. Then on Monday, 22nd June, Michael will e-mail you the Zoom meeting ID. This measure is to keep the meeting secure. Ruth Valerio imaginatively draws on the Days of Creation (Genesis 1) as she relates themes of light, water, the seasons, other creatures, humankind, Sabbath rest and resurrection hope to matters of environmental, ethical and social concern. For further information please contact: Alan Ramage
Information links
We will aim to only send you information once about a particular website or organisation that maybe of interest to some of you; you are then invited to subscribe yourself so that we do not duplicate information which can be off-putting
Here’s another link to the Carbon 360 website (mentioned above) developed by Climate Stewards with Arocha and the Church of England – it’s free to use and will give every church the chance to look at their carbon footprint, enabling us all to improve our church’s carbon usage.
I’ll leave you with a video clip entitled The Great Realisation  – worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already…..
As always, please do let us know any hints and tips you have to share with others, and any relevant events for us to publicise.
on behalf of PCGA steering committee
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