Eco-Church update

Peter Johnstone and I went to ‘The Big Green’ environmental event recently held at Exeter Cathedral which had displays, discussions and workshops with a keynote opening address by Rt Rev Nick Holtam, lead Anglican bishop for the Environment. Amongst the several hundred attending were Martin Nicholls who helped lead the closing worship, and  daughter Jess, who led one of the workshops – on Direct Action.

Peter writes, “A morning talk was about the work of an organisation called Climate Stewards, who provide data on their website,, concerning energy production in this country and its use by industry. There are pages where you can enter data about your own personal energy use and your own travel. A realistic value for your CO2 production will be calculated – your ‘Carbon Footprint’.

The Church of England aims to be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030 through ‘offsetting’ CO2 production with ‘carbon capture’. Tree planting by ‘partners’ in the tropics, where trees grow faster, will help towards achieving this.

An agricultural advisor with 40 years experience in many countries spoke about how developing countries can be encouraged to use ‘conservation agriculture’ (minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover with organic material, crop rotation). In Britain the NFU has a target ‘net zero’ by 2040 – by reducing greenhouse gases: from burning fuel and ploughing (CO2), from artificial fertilisers (Nitrogen oxides) and from livestock (methane) – and by tree planting.”

My own impressions coming away from the event?
• It will be a huge task to resolve the climate change/ environment crisis BUT
• There’s a huge desire from many quarters to put things right and action has at least now started in earnest AND
• There is hope – God has not given up on us!

In early March we held the second meeting of the Exmouth Churches Environment Group at Glenorchy, chaired by Martin Nicholls. We agreed to hold an open-air event for the churches at Point-in-View in late spring or early summer. However, the coronavirus means that it is likely to be pushed back until later in the year.

Geoff Smith