We are challenged by Pope Francis to look at the impact of our lives on the earth – our common home – not only individually, but globally; by calling to account those societies to which we belong.
The Diocese of East Anglia is one of those societies and must be held to account for the contribution it makes to the global environmental crisis as well as being challenged to change its behaviour accordingly. The crunch comes when we recognise that “we” are the diocese and the collective responsibility for change is “ours”, the engagement and contribution of each of us is the only thing that will make a difference.
Surprisingly, the major carbon contribution of diocesan “activities” comes not from heating and lighting our buildings, but from transportation emissions from cars; but how do we measure this, and how do we develop a sustainable way of reducing or eliminating this impact on our environment?
The Diocesan Environment Group has been exploring ways of determining our carbon output, reducing it, and developing a strategy to facilitate us becoming measurably carbon neutral by a fixed date.
An exciting opportunity has been discovered where the Diocese might work with the Climate Change Department in the School of International Development (SID) at the University of East Anglia. Probably the largest concentration of researchers in the UK working on change and development, SID is an interdisciplinary group including natural scientists such as biologists and ecologists, geographers, and social scientists including ecological economists and political scientists.
The research of the SID examines a range of climate change issues at international, regional, national and local levels.
For us to determine an accurate figure for the carbon output of the Diocese involves some serious number crunching, then to take that information and develop both a plan and a timeline for its reduction to zero and this needs skills which we do not currently possess.
With adequate funding we might be able to engage a PhD student to conduct research providing the Diocese with accurate information and an achievable plan to really make a difference to the future of our planet.
Would you know of a funding source we might approach? Would you be willing to provide the estimated cost of £6,000 for a year’s funding?
A collaboration between the church and a major university would be an exciting first on carbon reduction; East Anglia – University and Diocese – collaborating for the climate! Could you make it happen? Contact Fr Paul Maddison to discuss further: firstname.lastname@example.org