Homo Sapiens have lived on Earth for around 10,000 generations***, yet since the industrial revolution (1760-1830), just ten to twelve generations ago, we have been the cause of much lasting damage to the earth.
We have degraded the world’s soils to the point that all it could be gone within three generations.We watched species loss occurring at an ever-accelerating rate – from 100 times the natural rate, to between 1,000 and 10,000 times in my lifetime.We have sat on our hands for two generations, and done nothing to mitigate the drivers of global warming that is now changing our climate.
For over forty years we have known that avoiding disastrous climate change requires breaking fossil fuel’s hold on our economy and our way of life.And we have done so little.
Cherishing our Earth has become something we give too little attention to.
This came up at the Auckland Diocese annual synod earlier this month. Amongst the presentation was one by journalist Rod Oram, a member of the Anglican Climate Action Network.
His topic was our christian roles in this time of climate change.
One of Rod’s slides was a quote from American environmental lawyer and advocate Gus Speth.
In this season of creation, we acknowledge the issues that humankind’s activities on this earth have caused. It is time we took action.On these and other related issues.
How relevant is the quote and how right is the sentiment?What do you think?
*** assuming a 20-year cycle from birth to procreation
Cherished Earth is a climate justice initiative of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland. This is about connecting faith with caring for creation and is the practical outworking of a commitment by the Anglican Bishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, to take action on climate change.
The initiative has its origins in 2007 when a group of lay Anglican members formed the Diocesan Climate Change Action Group. The goal is to help the Diocese’s churches and members move towards a more sustainable and carbon-neutral lifestyle.
Since 2007, the Action Group have conducted workshops around the Diocese and achieved the major goal of divesting the Church’s investments from fossil fuel industries.
In 2012, a part-time Sustainability Field Worker was appointed to implement a sustainability programme among the churches of the Diocese. Yvonne Thompson provided a service that, through on-site building assessments and energy audits, assisted a number of parishes to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and so reduce costs as well as carbon emissions.
The appointment of a new Sustainability Field Worker (see the adjacent box) in 2016 sees this work continuing alongside some new sustainability and carbon emission mitigation initiatives.
The first of these initiatives is around sustainability in our food supply. A programme establishing communal gardens or food forests in participating parishes will commence in early spring. This will be complimented by waste minimisation actions (various composting methods) that any household can do.
A climate change mitigation initiative being developed is an on-line carbon footprint calculator designed to assist parishioners assess their personal contribution to global warming and compare that against national benchmarks.
Many more initiatives are in the gestation stage, along with an innovative means of funding them, that all go to give a practical expression of our faith in the context of caring for creation.
Please check out our progress and let us know your thoughts at our blog site www.cherished-earth.org.nz or contact me direct using the contact form below.
In 2012 The DCCAG sought Diocesan Synod and Council for the appointment of a part-time Sustainability Field Worker, charged with implementing a sustainability programme among the churches of the Diocese.
Yvonne Thompson is the Sustainability Field Worker for the Anglican Diocese of Auckland. Along with her faith based convictions and background in architecture, she is an accredited practitioner with the New Zealand Green Building Council.
For more details see the Contacts section of this website.
You can find stories from parishes and ministry units in which the Sustainability Field Worker has worked by going to the Sustainability Newsbites section of the website.