Winchester Eco Seminar

Ruth Valerio from Tearfund led the Eco and climate action seminar for Winchester Diocese on 14 January 2020. @acbchurch has produced this edited transcript. Time stamps {00:00} refer to the original recording which is published here by the Diocese of Winchester Environment and available directly at Soundcloud. Headings, emphases, interpolations and editing decisions are entirely the responsibility of the editors not Ruth Valerio.

{12:58}

So this evening, I want to do two very simple things.

  • I want to look biblically and remind us biblically as to why this is something that we should be engaging with as church and give you a bit of an opportunity to be thinking through that biblical material from your own church perspective thinking, is this the kind of thing that you hear about in your church? And how might you be bringing that in?
  • And then we will spend a good amount of time looking at that practical ‘so what’. So then how do we get our churches engaged? And how can we take action and what sort of action should we be taking? How can we respond to the massive challenges that we face?

{13:47}

So I know some of you here will have heard me give this biblical material before and that’s fine. I hope it’s good for you to hear it again and to be reminded and refreshed. But I’m also aware that there are a number of you for whom this might be new. And so I hope this might be helpful exploration around what does the Bible say about caring for the natural world?

{excerpted material}

{14:34}

So I want to look at four reasons why we should be caring for for this environment. I could go through and give you a full biblical theology, but I want to simplify it down to four points, which I hope are all pretty basic, but that together, provide us with a good picture as to what the Bible says.

1. God made this world and loves it

{14:59}

And the first point is the really obvious one that God made this world and he loves it. I say it’s obvious. But sometimes we need reminding. This is where our Bibles start with that fundamental statement that God is the creator of this world.

Now, this isn’t about evolution, or creationism, or any of those sorts of debates, however we think the world came into being. The Bible affirms that God is behind that process. God is the originator of life. God is the creator of this world. And ’Saying Yes to Life ’ {The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2020) goes through Genesis 1. It’s an exploration of Genesis 1, and {of} each chapter. It’s divided into six chapters.

Each chapter looks at one of the days of creation. And then in case you’re wondering if I know that there are actually seven days of creation, the seventh day is the is the conclusion as we head into Easter and resurrection, life and Sabbath Rest and so on.

So over the course of last year, I was immersed in Genesis 1. And in that text and thinking it through biblically and faithfully, and then also contemporary and thinking about the contemporary application as well.

Genesis 1 is just this wonderful poem and wonderful affirmation that God made this world. And sometimes we forget the significance of that and we move too quickly from God as Creator to God as Saviour, and we forget that the two need to be held together.

{16:46}

Genesis 1.31, a verse that I’m sure you’re all very familiar with, that says that God looks at all that he had made and said it is good. Good looked at each of the individual days, so to speak, that he made and at the end of each day he got looks at what he had created and said, it’s good. And then at the end of that creation, he looked at all that he had made and said, it’s Very Good. My, my rather non academic translation of that is that ‘God looked at all that he’d made. And he said, It’s fantastic. I love it. Look at this, look at what I’ve made. This is amazing’.

{17:30}

You know, think about when you’ve made something incredible, you’ve cooked an amazing dish, or you’ve made something I don’t know, whatever it is that you enjoy doing. You’ve written a beautiful piece of poetry or painted something or whatever it is, and you go to, to someone who you care about deeply. And you say, look at this, look at what I’ve made. Isn’t it wonderful? And this is what God is doing.

God looks at all that he’s made, and he says, It’s fantastic. This isn’t a dispassionate God who sort of sits back and says, Oh, yeah, that’s all right that will do for the time being. So I can think of something better. This is a God who looks at what he’s made and he says it’s very good.

And in that little statement, we see blown away 2000 years of bad history of bad theology, that has separated out the earthy, the physical, the material, from the the non physical, the immaterial, the etherial, or however we want to call it spiritual, and has said that this sphere is somehow superior to the earthy physical material, world, sphere, and Genesis 1.31 brings those together and says that ‘matter matters to God’.

David Wilkinson, the astrophysicist, the theologian from from Durham loves saying this ‘matter matters to God’. God looks at what he has made and it is absolutely precious to him. We see this in Colossians 1 with the description of that all things have been made by Jesus and through Jesus and for Jesus, almost as if this world is like a gift from the Father to the Son: beautiful language there. This world is inherently precious and valuable to God.

{19:25}

I was speaking on this at a conference a little while ago, and it was … it was a residential overnight thing. And a woman came up to me the second morning, and she had gone home to she lived nearby because she had a young family. And she said to me that morning before coming back out to the conference, she had been playing she’s had a little toddler. She’d been playing with her son on the floor making you’re playing with Lego.

She’d constructed this amazing house, sort of castle with turrets and that you know, pretty much like what Bishop Tim lives in – this amazing building. And she looked at it and then she looked at her son’s little toddler, and he looked at the, at what she’d made. And he stood up and toddled over and you can imagine, can’t you? Bamm… Knocked to the whole thing over.

She said I was furious that he had done that to what I’d made. And then she said, you know, and and I felt God speak to me and say, yeah. And how do you think I feel about how you treat what I’ve made? And she was actually talking to me with tears in her eyes and for the first time she’d gained a glimpse into how God feels, how much he loves this world, how much he’s invested into it poured himself into it.

Some theologians – I explore this a little bit in ‘Saying Yes to Life. Some theologians talk about going withdrawing God’s self in order to create space for creation to exist. Within that space, the space of the Godhead is beautiful imagery that doesn’t allow us to separate out what God has made from God. Yes, it keeps a distinction, but it shows how closely linked God is to his creation, very invested in it. And if that’s the case, how dare we treat it in the way that we do? If we love God and worship Him and want to want to love him, don’t we therefore want to love and value that which is so precious to him?

2. God created humankind to care for the earth

{23:05}

And secondly, he’s {God’s} created us {with an} incredible privilege. He’s created us to look after it. Genesis 1.26 to 28, the most recent NIV translation of that renders it in this way. ‘God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image in our likeness, so that they may rule over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and the livestock and so on’.

So that‘ …The Old Testament scholar Chris Wright says that it’s almost as if God had it in God’s mind that the final species he created, he would create with the express purpose of looking after everything else that he has made. Doesn’t that turn upside down the way that we have traditionally read Genesis 1, and {the} traditionally understood role as human beings particularly during the the enlightenment and the thinking that came through there. That the the environment is there to serve us, isn’t it? It’s there to make us comfortable. It’s there for us to build ourselves a better life.

{24:16}

But actually, no surprise, everything about the Kingdom of God is upside down. God turns that upside down when we see what has been written there in Genesis 1, that we are there to serve the rest of what God has made We are the final species created to look after his world. And in case you worry about this word ‘to rule over.’ Just remember God’s idea of rulership of monarchy when he talked to his kings, and how he expected his kings to rule.

 Period of audience discussion

{24:51} – {25:22}

All of these words {suggested by the audience} they’re not words that we might think of as, as to do with ruling are they we think of subjugation and oppression and what have you but God’s idea of ruling of ruling This world is about serving her justice, love, compassion, etc etc.

So we have been created to look after what God has made that is our it’s not just our duty not just our role our calling it’s our privilege to do that. … Some theologians see the Genesis 1 ‘The creation of the world’ is being depicted like the creation of a temple. And and if you look at how the physical temple in the Old Testament was created, it reflects that a lot. And there are resonances between between it.

If you go into a temple, you know what you will see right in the middle, don’t you? You will see the image you will see an image of whichever god or goddess is worshipped in that temple. And that, of course, is why God said that there are to be no physical images in his temple because we are the image of God. Other people and the wider natural world should look at us and see God reflected in us. I find that a bit of a challenge. I am to represent God to other people, and to the wider natural world. So we are God’s image bearers, not in a way that leads to oppression but in a way that leads to love and service and servanthood.

3. The world has gone wrong because of us

But the sad reality, of course, is that

{27:08}

Thirdly, this world has gone wrong because of us. And the Bible isn’t shy of talking about that. The Bible, particularly when you look in the Old Testament Prophets, is very clear that environmental degradation is a direct result of human sin. And it’s a direct result result of human sin that is around injustice, and oppression.

Where the people aren’t righteous, where they don’t follow God, where they don’t walk according to His ways. You know that because they don’t practice social justice, and when they don’t practice social justice, one of the results is environmental degradation and there are various passages in the Prophets that hold those three things together really closely mostly.

So the Bible knows that when we don’t follow God, when we don’t look after people, then the land and the wider natural world suffers. And that’s what we see today, isn’t it? …

There are so many issues that we face in our world today. And one of the things that I explore through ‘Saying Yes to Life’ is the idea of a wounded world. Each chapter when we look at the different things that have been created there, we can see sadly, how we’ve messed it up with those whether it’s land, trees, light, whatever it is other creatures, we’ve messed it up.

{28:45}

We live in a wounded world, huge number of different issues, but just three, to highlight for us this evening.

Climate Crisis

The first, obviously is a climate crisis. This picture on your left is a field of chilies field chilli plants from a chap who I spent a day with quite a number of years {ago} now in central Tanzania, in the poorest part of Tanzania. And he was called Daniel and I spent a day with him on on his ‘shamba’ his homestead.

It’s about 12 acres with his wife and his little daughter Daniella, who got very confused with the present that I brought them and thought that my name was ‘calendar’. And she called me ‘Calendar’ all day, which I thought was lovely. So I just let her get on with it.

So we had an amazing day with Daniel who wanted to show me and the colleague I was travelling with, around and show show us the things that he was growing and his plans for the site. He wanted to grow more papaya trees so that he had enough fruit that he could take to market in order to provide the money that he needed for Daniella going to school and the different things that she needed for school.

He was what we would call a subsistence farmer. But actually he was just an incredibly hard working person working his land in order to provide for his family.

We had a beautiful day sat out underneath the mango tree. He got his guitar out. He sang us a love song that he had written for his wife. And then he sang ’10,000 reasons’, you know, the Matt Redman song, I thought, my goodness, I’m thousands of miles away on the floor of the Rift Valley and here I am singing ’10,000 reasons’ underneath the mango tree here and you never know where you’re gonna end up.

It was a beautiful day, but it was so clear that the land was dying. And this was these were his chilli plants. And all the rest of his land looked like that. And Samuel was caught in this perfect storm of local climate change and global climate change. He was experiencing local climate change because of the poverty of the region, which had meant that everybody had to cut down all of the trees in order to provide firewood, to cook their food, so there had been mass deforestation along the floor of the once fertile Rift Valley, in the area of Tanzania that he was living in. And that had changed the microclimate.

I don’t need to go into the science around that with trees and rain and all of that. I know, you know that, that had changed the microclimate. And so there was no rain.

{31:32}

Secondly: Global Climate Crisis

And then he was also suffering the impacts of the global climate. {The}…Global Climate Crisis not caused by the poorest of the poor, but caused by the richest of the rich who, of course, are us sitting in this room and millions of others like us. And we know that through the way we’ve lived in the high amount of energy that we’ve consumed and the carbon dioxide emissions and other gases that we’ve produced, we know that we have caused and are causing and will cause global climate change. And Daniel was caught in the middle of that, and his land was dying. And he’s just one example of millions and millions of people who are suffering the impact of our climate crisis.

{32:21}

Predictions no longer

It’s been really sobering for me actually recently, just looking back over, over notes, speaking notes that I’ve written over the years, because I’ve been speaking on this for 25 years. And I’ve realised that I need to stop talking about predictions because the things that were being predicted many years ago, I’m now talking about as a reality that is happening now as I look in the the headlines, I get the media, I get a report of the headlines every day. And I look at it and I think my goodness, this is what we were saying. We’re seeing it now. This is happening. And if we don’t take action, it will continue to get worse.

{33:06}

So we are caught in a climate crisis that we have to respond to. Accompanying that is an astonishing lack {loss} of biodiversity, which we’re seeing on a huge scale. …I’m sure I don’t need to go into all the details of that with you. But I wanted to put that butterfly up {on screen} rather than the polar bear, to remind us that this isn’t just happening to species thousands of miles away. This is happening to species in our gardens, in the waterways that are near us in the fields that surround the cities that we live in. All around the world and very close to home. We are seeing biodiversity loss at an astonishing rate. And these are all creatures that have been made by God they bear God’s fingerprints as the Greek theologians like to describe it they, they bear the fingerprints of God, and they’re being erased by our actions.

{34:08}

The plastic (polymer) crisis

And then the third crisis that we’re facing is a plastic crisis, isn’t it, and we are drowning in plastic. We have huge problems in the oceans as we know all too well. We are increasingly seeing problems for ourselves.

…You may know there’s now all sorts of research coming out saying that it’s in the food that we’re eating little tiny little micro particles of plastic. It’s thought now there’s now studies showing that we’re now breathing in plastic is so much plastic that it’s in the air that we can’t see. And who knows the impact that that is going to have on us long term.

…Then what we’re also increasingly realising is that plastic isn’t only a problem for marine environments. It’s also a problem for people who are living in poverty. This is something that Tearfund has focused on a lot over the last year or so. And we see as like in this picture {on screen} here from Pakistan, there are whole communities of people just living with their plastic rubbish because they have nowhere to put it. I just want you to imagine where you live for a moment. Imagine your street, your neighbourhood your community. Imagine if you got home tonight and there was a letter from your council saying: ‘We’ve run into financial problems and they can’t do your rubbish recycling collection anymore. It’s now stopping’. What would your street look like after a couple of weeks? What would it look like after six months? What would it look like after a year if you literally had nowhere to put your rubbish?

{35:53}

This is what is happening in poor communities that don’t have the means of proper disposal billions of people. Something like 2 billion people in our world don’t have access to proper waste management. And that’s causing death. It’s causing an increase of diseases such as malarial diseases and diarrheal diseases, it’s causing respiratory problems, because probably you would end up burning {the plastic}, because that’s probably the only way you’d be able to get rid of it.

So our plastic addiction is causing a massive problem. And this {photo} actually is from a recycling hub that we’ve been investing into in the slums in Pakistan. This is one of the areas of work that we’re increasingly doing as Tearfund. and this chap here they’re called the ‘Haryali Hubs’ . For a small fee, house owners can get their rubbish collected, and it gets sorted out and taken off to different places and recycled and reused. Then the very tiny little bit that can’t be reused or recycled in some way then gets properly disposed in a proper way. It provides people I can’t remember his name now, such as this chap, with a livelihood, and it clears up the environment and helps the local neighbourhood with the problems of disease that they’ve been facing. It’s a really good example of where environment and people go together.

{37:22}

We can’t separate out environmental issues from people issues, because we’re so it’s also linked together. You can’t care for the environment without thinking about the people who live in that space. The poorest people who, who use that place and the richest people then who used too much of the world’s resources globally. And you can’t care for people without thinking about the land they live off and the seas they fishing in the air they breathe and so on. So, we are causing problems and the Bible does not shy away from that and is very clear on the link between human sin, the lack of justice and environmental degradation. So therefore we have a responsibility to do something about it. But the good news, finally, is that we don’t do it on our own… We do that as part of God’s plans for salvation.

{38:21}

4. We care for the earth as part of God’s plans for salvation

And the good news that we see in the Bible is that God has a future for his world and for his creation. Some of us may have been brought up with a biblical tradition that said that this world is a temporary resting place, ‘we’re just passing through’ just visitors just visiting this planet, and the world is going to be destroyed and we’ll be spending the rest of our days in heaven somewhere on a cloud, possibly playing a harp. Who knows? There may be other instruments, but that may have been the picture that you have been brought up with. That actually owes more to Victorian hymnology than it does to anything we see in the Bible. The bible is clear are going to be made new. And the word for that is around being renewed being transformed, not destruction. I haven’t got the time to go into the in depth stuff, particularly around II Peter 3 right now, though, and it’s things that I explore, and the different books that are at the table at the back.

{39:90}

But the biblical picture of our future hope is an earthy one. It’s very physical, yes, transformed, absolutely not on a world that will look exactly like this one, there is transformation. Heaven and Earth united together. Perhaps the the best picture really is of Jesus’ post resurrection body where there was continuity and discontinuity. There was continuity in that eventually the disciples did recognise him. Jesus was able to eat and to be touched and yet there was discontinuity. The disciples didn’t recognise him. And he could go through walls or disappear or appear. So there’s continuity and discontinuity and we don’t know exactly what the future holds. But that seems to be the best way of looking at it. If you want to explore that more, Chapter Four of ‘Saying Yes to Life’, where it’s links today for around the creation of the sun, moon and the stars, not the sun, but the stars. I use that chapter as as an opportunity to explore those pictures around eschatology, because a lot of a biblical passages around those sorts of things use pictures of the moon and the stars and so on. So if you want to look more in depth at the biblical material around that to pick up ‘Saying Yes to Life’, and have a look at chapter four.

The picture that we have biblically is that God has a plan. God has a future for this world. It isn’t just going to be discarded and thrown away. And I want to be a part of that future, that very physical, beautiful future that we see in Revelation 21 and 22. Where God dwells with his people. There is no more suffering. There’s no more death. There’s no more sickness. But it’s physical, isn’t it? There’s, there are trees there. There’s a river. It’s a garden city. Not like some of the ‘Garden Cities’ we have here.

A garden city, it’s a beautiful bringing together of so many things in that picture. So we have these bookends of a wonderful world that God has made, and then an amazing, newly created world. That is our future. And our calling is to be a part of that future. And to work today to sa see bits of that future made real today, and to live in the light of that future.

So all of that together gives us that biblical understanding as to as to where the wider world fits in to our calling into what it means to be Christian, what it means to be followers of Jesus. ….

{42:34}

….Where does this sort of teaching feature in your church life? And does it? If not, why not? If, if it does, how often where do you see it? Does it come through in the young people’s work that happens; in your small groups; in your sermons? Is it reflected in your prayers? How does this relate to the church that you’re a part of.?

Five points to be effective churches in the climate crisis

I want to look at these five points with you.

I Teach and speak clearly on climate

Firstly, teach. I hope this might be obvious. I’d love to hear it… what have you been talking about around your Churches and this sort of biblical teaching, how much does it feature in your churches?

{there was extensive discussion about what issues audience members found around this issue in their churches}

{48:47}

II Your money where your heart is…

So secondly, if we start off with teaching, secondly, giving I really believe that where we put our money speaks far more about our values than anything that comes out of our mouths. And we know that don’t we where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is.
if we care about issues around poverty and the wider natural world, then let’s be making sure that our money talks in that regard as well both as churches and as individuals and I would really encourage you to be giving in a regular way to organisations like A Rocha and Tearfund and the other organisations that are out there. All of us I I’m can speak from total experience all, of us depend on others organisations depend on regular giving in order to be able to do the work that we do.

For us at Tearfund by giving regularly you will be helping people such as Daniel, who are caught in such a climate crisis and you will be helping to support the work that we do with churches working to help people like Daniel. So please consider giving to the work of organisations such as A Rocha and Tearfund and Christian aid and so on others who were working in this area.

If you’d like to look at that more from a Tearfund perspective, then there’s this white leaflet at the back that you can have a look at. And we’ll tell you a little bit more about how to give regularly to the work that we do. But wherever you give your money, there is a calling on us as Christians, to be generous, to be using our money to be using the amazing blessing, the financial blessing that so many of us have, in order to bless others.

{50:51}

III Prayer brings change

I am increasingly convinced that prayer brings about change. At Tearfund we see this in a whole number of different areas, right? I’ve got one team in particular, who really who pray, they pray regularly, they asked God to speak to them. Over the years, they’ve been keeping a record of the words that they believe God has said to them. And at the start of each year, they go back and they go through them and they pray over them. And and when I look at them as a team, I can see the blessing that is on them, and I can see how their work is – successful might be the wrong word. I’m not quite sure what the word is effective, because I know that it is soaked in prayer

{51:44}

I recently had the privilege of meeting someone called Christiana Figueres who was a leading climate un negotiator, and she’s the woman who led the negotiations around the Paris Climate agreement that led to the historic Paris agreement at the Paris talks. And she’s the woman who led those through. And she’s not a woman. She’s not a woman, a Christian faith. She may have some sort of faith there. But she’s not a Christian explicitly.

She said to me, were it not for the faith communities or she said, what she said, without the faith communities, there would be no Paris Agreement. And she directly attributed the success of the Paris climate talks to the faith communities, particularly the church. And so the way that we got together built a movement, action and prayer went hand in hand and there was strong prayer that covered the Paris talks with a pilgrimage and then a regular weekly prayer all the way through leading up and then prayers during it and so on.

This year, we have another opportunity to gather together and pray with the Climate change talks that are happening in Glasgow at the end of the year, five years on from Paris. And climate change is increasingly well as in the media is in our public eye like never before, isn’t it? And this year, we know we have got to make a difference and we have got to see the positive action being taken. So Tearfund Christian Aid, CAFOD, and other organisations are joining together, have joined together at the start of this year to mark this year as the year for prayer for the climate. And I would just love you to join in with that. We need a movement of people praying because I believe that prayer will make a difference. You can find out about that just by going online. You can Google or Ecosia if you use that as your search engine ‘Tearfund pray for the climate’ or you can find that as well on other organisations websites too

{53:57}

{Section of anecdote omitted}

IV Speak out

{55:36}

And then fourthly, speak out. And this is around advocacy and campaigning, and calling on governments and businesses to be putting into place policies and practices that work in favour of the world’s poor and the wider natural world, rather than working against. This is a massive area, isn’t it? But when we look at the problem that we face, we know that they are caused by big systemic issues and big systemic systems. And if we’re going to see change, we need to do that final point of the living out in our own lives. But that has to go hand in hand with the big large scale changes as well. Which is why we need to be speaking to our governments, we need to be talking to our MPs we need to be lobbying them.

We need to be out on the streets, we need to be campaigning, we need to be joining in the the different movements that have been springing up over the last year or so. And showing our governments and showing our businesses and giving them permission to make right decisions, telling them that we want them to do this that this isn’t going against the electorate or going against the consumer. But that’s what we want giving them permission to make the right decisions. One of the things we’re doing for Tearfund is running a ‘Rubbish Campaign’. This is the most ‘Rubbish Campaign’ that Tearfund has ever run. And it’s focusing on the plastic. And it’s calling on four companies, Coca Cola, Unilever, Nestle and PepsiCo with some very clear asked well thought through by our policy team, which I won’t go into the details of, but it’s calling on them to make changes to their, to their practices as businesses.

And we’ve been running this through the course of last year and continuing it into this year. We are starting to see the businesses respond to us now. And we’re now in communication with them and starting to see some changes in their practice. But we need to keep up the pressure. And I’d really encourage you at the table at the back. Please pick up one of these {shows a card}, fill it out. Put your name on there, leave it at the back and Then it will get passed back. And it’s all part of building a movement that tells those four big plastic polluting companies that we want them to change. And we want them to do things differently. So standing up, being prepared to put ourselves on the line, speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves, and then also giving a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves. So we aren’t always speaking for them is all a part of advocacy and campaigning. We can be doing that in our churches to we can be getting our churches engaged in these things.

V Live it out

{58:39}

And then finally, live it out in our own lives. I first realised when I was a younger adult, as I was getting passionate about these issues, that I could have an amazing theology, and I could tell government what I wanted them to do, and I could tell business what I wanted them to do. But actually, if I wasn’t living out in my own life and making changes in my own life, then I was a hypocrite. And so I began to think through Okay, actually, what do I need to do in order to live in a way that’s taking care of this amazing world that God has made? Again, hugely complicated, so many different issues. And just when we think we’ve found the right way, then something else comes up that makes you think, Oh, no, I’ve been doing this, or thinking this is the best way actually, now new evidence is shown I need to do something else. I am not standing up here to say that it’s easy.

Four areas to change our lives

But I would boil it down into these four areas, as a way to make it simple to think about

  • the food that we eat,
  • the way that we get around
  • the energy that we use, and
  • the things that we throw away, particularly our plastic.

{59:54}

And if it all feels too much, you might just take one thing from each of those areas. Choose something that you could do to make a difference.

I Food

So when it comes to food, the biggest thing that we could do, the biggest change we can make, as I’m sure by now you probably know is to change your diet so that it’s predominantly grain and vegetable based. It’s not saying that we all have to go vegetarian. It’s not saying that we all have to go vegan, though I know many of you here will want to do that. And that’s brilliant. The main thing is about reducing the amount of meat and dairy that we eat. So turning our diet on its head, so that we predominantly vegetables and grains, and if we decide we do still want to eat meat, then maybe that’s just once or twice a week. And I can see some of your faces, as I’m saying that some of you think again, that’s fine. I’m there already and others of you Oh, you’re joking, aren’t you? But these are some of the steps that we need to make and we can do it gently. You could take one day where you don’t eat any meat and my That feels okay and normal thing go on and do two days and three days and until you’ve got used to it

{1:01:}

II Travel

Travel. Biggest thing we could do here would be to cut down on the amount of flying that we do. And really being prepared to challenge ourselves hard on how easily or how quickly we might get into a plane and fly somewhere. Now I’m preaching this to myself, as well as someone at Tearfund. You can imagine it’s a constant challenge as to how do I decide what trips I should do. And I’ve been really trying to push myself and really trying to practice what I preach and not fly too much. I’ve really restrict the amount of flying that I do. There are some times when I do need to, but it’s something for us as a whole organisation.

Actually, we’re currently going through an exercise where we’re mapping the flights that we took last year and we’re challenging ourselves to look at how much we can reduce this year because we know as much as we need to fly to operate as an organisation, we also need to challenge ourselves to fly less.

So maybe if we fly every year on holiday, might we be prepared to cut that down so that we only fly every other year? Or maybe we might only fly every five years? Or maybe we might be in a situation with no family abroad or anything where we think okay, actually, I could decide I’m not going to fly again because I don’t need to. We’ve inherited a culture that just sees flying as our right and our privilege, haven’t we, and I’m realising I have to, and I’m realising we’re in a new normal, where we can’t continue as we have, and we need to do things differently.

{1:02:52}

III Energy

Then energy, I’ll do these last two more quickly. … Energy switch to a green energy supply if you haven’t done so already, that’s the simplest and most effective thing that you can do in order to make a difference in that area.

IV Waste

And then waste thinking particularly about your plastic, could you make a plastic pledge, never to take a single use plastic water bottle again, unless you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to and you can challenge yourself as to what that situation might be particularly if you’re not flying. So thinking about our single use usage of plastic and cutting that out and might be deciding to carry out a water bottle with us or a keep cup or ditching the, the soap or the liquid soap and buying going back to good old fashioned soap bars, ditching the shampoo and using again, shampoo bars and conditioner and so on. Once you start to look into it and think about it is actually really quite obvious. You begin to realise just how much we’ve been sucked in by our culture. And we just do things without thinking but finding alternatives to the amount of plastic that we use.

{further comments, and winding up}

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