Eco-Church

ECO-CHURCH

ECO-CHURCH GROUP

Part of our vision is to serve God in His world – and we think that stewarding the planet well is a key part of that.

We have a road map to move to carbon neutral within the next year and a recently formed Eco-Church Group who lead on the changes we need to make to live sustainably as individuals and as a church family.

What We Are Doing

A Rocha Award Scheme

St Oswald’s participates in the A Rocha award scheme which equips us to express our care for God’s world through:

  • our worship and teaching;
  • making our church buildings eco-friendly;
  • our care for our local environment and wildlife;
  • our participation in local, national and global campaigns;
  • and in our encouragement of church members to live greener lives.

We currently hold a Silver Eco-Church award and are aiming for gold, and to be carbon neutral, by the end of 2024.

Find out more about the awards scheme here.

Towards a carbon zero church

Over the next few months we will be:

  • Installing an air-air heat exchange scheme to replace our existing gas heating system
  • Fitting solar panels on our south roof. These should generate 18,000kWhr per annum making us a net energy generator
  • Adding roof insulation to minimise heat loss
  • Double glazing most of our windows

Our care for creation also includes:

  • Regular prayer and worship for God’s creation and our stewardship of the Earth
  • We are a Fair Trade Church and use eco-friendly products whenever possible
  • Encouraging re-use, recycling, repair and refurbishing in all aspects of our church and community life
  • Supporting local flora and fauna through bird and hedgehog boxes
  • Engaging all ages of the church community in prayer walks, cycle rides and litter picks
  • Encouraging engagement with nature through participation in initiatives such as the Great British Garden Bird Watch and the Big Butterfly Count

 

Discover what ‘net zero’ means in this video from the National Grid:

What Can You Do?

Are you and your family living an eco-friendly lifestyle?
We encourage church members to take the Creation Care household audit – find out where your household is on their eco-journey and get ideas for next steps towards living greener.

Click on the short video on the left for a brief introduction to the Creation Care scheme and how you can use it to take the next steps to taking better care of God’s creation. 

Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint (and hopefully save some money too):

  1. Turn off electrical items when not in use – Leaving your electricals on standby uses unnecessary energy – turn them off at the wall when you’ve finished using them, and you could see your bill going down.
  2. Buy energy-efficient products – When you replace household appliances, check the energy efficiency rating of your new items. Efficient items are better for the planet and will be cheaper to run.
  3. Eat less meat – Being careful with what you’re consuming is at the heart of being more environmentally friendly, and cutting down on the amount of meat you eat can have a huge impact.
  4. Don’t waste food – Waste not, want not. Did you know that 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every year? This isn’t just a huge waste of food and money, it adds to the amount of CO2 and methane being created in landfills.
  5. Recycle everything – You can recycle almost everything, from batteries to paper to crisp packets to cars. Before you throw it away, take a minute to find out if you could recycle it instead. 
  6. Use LED light builbs – Not only do LED light bulbs last longer than conventional bulbs, they’re far more efficient too! This means that you’ll be using less power and having to replace your light bulbs less frequently – everyone’s a winner.

More ideas on how we can all improve our stewardship of God’s world are available here.

Include the environment in your prayers
The route to net zero and the care of creation are one of the prayer themes for Coventry Diocese during April.

Please pray for:

  • Scope for our churches to contribute to net zero by 2030
  • Understanding of the environmental impact of our church buildings
  • Building hope for environmental recovery (e.g. through rewilding)
  • The reconciliation of conservation efforts with established farming practices
  • Local environmental initiatives in the Rugby area such as the new Rugby Eco-Hub and the growth of Repair Cafes

Earth Day 2024 – Monday 22 April
The first ‘Earth Day’ was held in 1970 and as since grown and evolved to highlight our responsibility to safeguard our planet and to fight for a brighter future.

This year, the theme will be Planet vs. Plastics, with a call to advocate for widespread awareness on the health risk of plastics, rapidly phase out all single use plastics, urgently push for a strong UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, and demand an end to fast fashion. Details are available here.

The Arthur Rank Centre has prepared a flyer for Earth Day highlighting our responsibilities as Christians, considering the challenges of industrial farming methods, which have led to over-farming and over-working the soil. Download this flyer here.

Another thought-provoking essay, LIberated from Death to Life’ on our responsibilities and stewardship of the Earth by Michael Fitzpatrick, published in the webzine ‘Journey with Jesus’ on 14 April may be read here.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Many thanks to all who participated in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch from 26-28 January 2024. The results are now available, the top 5 birds being:

1. House sparrow
2. Blue tit
3. Sparrow
4. Woodpigeon
5. Blackbird

Full results are available on the Big Garden Birdwatch website.

The Big Plastic Count
Thanks also to everyone who took part in ‘The Big Plastic Count’ in March.

From the survey, it is estimated that UK households are throwing away 1.7 billion pieces of plastic each week – per person, this is second only to the United States.

Only 17% of plastic waste in the UK is recycled.

The full results of the survey are available here.

Some images of our 13 April litter pick

Caring for God’s Creation Locally
Join us as we work to highlight issues of litter in our local community.

  • Our next Litter Pick will be on Saturday 1 June. We’ll meet at St Oswald’s Church at 9.30am and will return for tea/coffee at 11.00am. All welcome (under 16s must be accompanied by a parent / guardian).
  • Help to keep our community clean and litter-free. We organise regular litter-picks in the area around the church – watch the video from our 16 March Lent Litter Pick by Peter Warren (left). This was part of the National ‘Great British Spring Clean‘ organised by Keep Britain Tidy.
  • Download the Keep Britain Tidy ‘Beginner’s Guide To Litter Picking‘ for suggestions on how you can safely arrange your own litter pick.
  • If we all pick up one piece of litter whenever we go to the shops or to church we will have a significant impact on litter in our local area. Advice from Rugby Borough Council on safely collecting litter is available here
  • Report any large items of rubbish for collection by the council here. Please note that you will require a Rugby Borough Council online account – it is easy to sign up here.

Did you know…

  • More than 2 million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK every day
  • Almost 48% of people admit to dropping litter.
  • The amount of litter dropped each year in the UK has increased by 500% since the 1960s.
  • 7 out of every 10 items of discarded litter is food packaging or wrappers.
  • Around 122 tons of cigarette butts and cigarette-related litter is dropped every day across the UK.
  • 3m pieces of rubbish are dropped on UK roads every weekend. 1/3 of motorists admit to littering while they are driving.
  • Cleaning up litter from the streets of Britain costs taxpayers around £500 million. That does not include the amount it costs to clean up parks and other public spaces.
  • Orange peel and banana skins take up to 2 years to biodegrade, cigarette butts take to 2 years, plastic bags take 10-20 years and plastic bottles can last forever.
  • 500,000 items of litter make their way into the sea from UK rivers every year, impacting on marine life.

A Rocha 2024 Eco-Calendar

Download the A Rocha eco-tips calendar which gives tips for simple actions that can be taken each month to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

For more practical ways to enjoy, nurture and defend nature, sign up for the A Rocha UK Wild Christian newsletter.

Further Information

Fairtrade Foundation
Reduce Reuse Recycle – practical advice on greener living
Repair Cafe – provides expert help on repairing broken gadgets rather than recyling or, worse still, sending to landfill