Why are we doing this?
Many members of the congregation of St Margaret’s and the Parish of Holy Cross are concerned about climate change. And we should be. According to the latest research (Mark Howden, Climate Change Institute, ANU), even if countries achieve the emission reductions promised in the “Paris Agreement” the average global temperature rise is predicted to reach nearly 3°C. (He compares that to a total of 5°C that historically made the difference between an ice age and what we think of as “normal” conditions). For Australia this means more days above 40°C, more drought, more heat stress, more fires and importantly, less water for everyone.
This is truly a climate emergency. And as in many an emergency before, all over the nation and the world, church communities like ours will respond by helping out those in need: the people that are affected by drought, those losing their homes to fires, to flood and rising sea levels. But let’s not wait until more disasters happen. We need to take up our role as stewards of God’s creation.
The motivation for our action in this area is because we believe in God, the source of all that is good, true and beautiful, who made our world and continually sustains and renews it. We believe that our love for God should be shown by loving and respectful relationships with all of God’s creation and with each other. Our very life and creativity is grounded in these relationships.
We grieve that our world has been damaged because humanity has related out of selfishness rather than love towards creation and each other. In acting to restore our beautiful world, we follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ who has “reconciled all things in heaven and earth to God” (Colossians 1.20), and calls us to the transformation of our minds and hearts so that we may be effective signs of God’s love in, and for the world.
As Christian churches in North Canberra, both St Margaret’s Uniting Church and Holy Cross Anglican Church share a common calling to embody and enact God’s Kingdom of justice and peace (including justice for creation) at the heart of our local community.
This calling finds its expression in our shared commitment:
- To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation, and
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth
Our churches’ joint Carbon Action Project is a visible and practical expression of our Gospel commitment in these areas.
What is the Carbon Action Project?
The actions proposed to be taken during this project are:
- Discern and articulate the vision for the project and to develop a set of worship/theological resources.
- Make the Holy Cross/St Margaret’s site carbon neutral: This will involve steps such as carrying out a carbon audit; identifying ways to reduce carbon emissions and energy use; evaluating the costs of the reductions as compared to the benefits and recommending a timetable for implementation.
- Assist families within St Margaret’s and Holy Cross to become carbon neutral: listen to congregational members to hear what they are doing already to reduce energy use and carbon emissions; provide guiding resources (e.g. a carbon calculator) to help families develop their own climate change action plan, either written materials or through workshops; assist with implementation as needed; collect, compile and share information on a regular basis.
- Engage young people and families in the community in addressing issues of climate anxiety: encourage young people to become involved in the project; solicit their views in creating action plans for families and for the congregations.
- Run this project as a pilot project with appropriate documentation and evaluation, so that it could be of use to other communities in the Canberra Region Presbytery, the Canberra Goulburn Diocese, the general Canberra community and beyond.
- Communicate and celebrate this project: it will be important to celebrate achievements in various stages of this project as well as at its conclusion with public worship/celebration events.