Introducing the new Sustainability Field Worker

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.

Blessings
John Allen


Rod Oram reduces his carbon footprint

Photovoltaic and Solar Water Heating panels on roof

“We are seeking to make our 70-year-old house a net zero energy one, that is, it generates as much energy as it uses. And we’re determined to do this in a cost effective way.
To that end we installed solar water heating in 2008, which reduced our electricity consumption by one-third. The savings paid off the investment in five years.
In 2013 we installed double-glazing, LED lighting in our main living areas, and a new roof that is thermally highly efficient. We also installed 5.5 kW of photovoltaic panels on the roof at a cost $22,000.
The PVs generated 3 MW h of electricity in their first seven months, most of which was during the winter. With summer coming up, we will generate more. So over the course of the first 12 months we think we will generate more energy than we use. Moreover we’ve switched from gas to electric heating, thereby reducing our carbon footprint further.”

You can read more about what Rod is doing to reduce his transportation carbon footprint in the Climate Change section.

Divestment in the Auckland Diocese

The Diocesan Climate Change Action Group worked with members of St Paul’s Symonds St to compose a fossil fuel divestment motion for the 2013 Auckland Diocese Synod. The motion was moved by the Rev’d Mathew Newton of St Paul’s and seconded by Dr. Adrienne Puckey on behalf of the DCCAG.

“Taking drawingpin2money out of the fossil fuel industry is a bold move. It sends a strong signal about the urgency of tackling climate change and about the church’s commitment to standing with the poor and vulnerable who will be hit first and hardest by climate change.”  [The Rev’d Matthew Newton]

The motion was debated and passed by the Auckland Synod on 7 Sept 2013, the first Diocese in New Zealand to pass such a motion. Subsequently, four other Anglican Dioceses considered the case for divestment at their Synod meetings and all four voted likewise to divest: Waiapu, Wellington, Waikato & Taranaki, and Dunedin.

Prior to the 2013 Auckland Synod a Fossil Fuel Forum was co-hosted by the DCCAG and St Paul’s Symonds Street. View presentations from the Forum [here].

New Zealand Anglican Fossil Fuel Divestment

scientists uplift canister from sea ice
Credit: Flickr NASA/Kathryn Hansen

The story so far.

divestmentmotiongeneralsynodIn May 2014 the province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia became the first province in the worldwide Anglican Communion to pledge to divest from fossil fuels. This historic vote came as a culmination of work that began as part of the global ‘Go Fossil Free’ divestment campaign launched by the leading international grassroots climate NGO, 350.org. Recognition of the power of divestment was echoed in April 2013 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he issued a call for churches to cut their financial ties with the fossil fuel industry, saying:

The divestment movement played a key role in helping liberate South Africa. The corporations understood the logic of money even when they weren’t swayed by the dictates of morality. Climate change is a deeply moral issue too, of course. Here in Africa we see the dreadful suffering of people from worsening drought, from rising food prices, from floods, even though they’ve done nothing to cause the situation. Once again we can join together as a world and put pressure where it counts. ¹

And in September 2014 the Archbishop called for an end of the fossil fuel era. See “Sources” below for a link to the video of Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaking, in which he says:

We are on the cusp of a global transition to a new safe energy economy, a transition that unites people in common purpose, advances collective wellbeing and ensures the survival of our species. ²

Links related to the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia becoming the first Province in the worldwide Anglican Communion to pledge to divest from fossil fuels.

350.org article “Five Key Factors in the Anglican Church of NZ and Polynesia’s Vote to Divest”.

Anglican Taonga news article about the General Synod pledge to divest.

Anglican News article “ANZP first Province to agree to divest from fossil fuel shares”.

Further information and links.

drawingpin2“We believe that tackling climate change isn’t just about what is wrong but also about what is right. Our vision is for an alternative future that is not dependent on fossil fuels, a future based on solutions not problems. We believe that a fossil free future is a brighter future.”

[from Operation Noah’s Bright Now Fossil Free Churches campaign website]

Go Fossil Free international website.

Greenfaith’s Divest and Reinvest resource page.

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change website Fossil Free page.

For more go to the Media and Links sections of this website.

Sources:

¹ Desmond Tutu, “Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Divestment”, video published online 26th April 2013. Website: http://youtu.be/SR-xBzs09D8

² Desmond Tutu, “Archbishop calls for end of fossil fuel era”, video published online 18th September 2014. Website: http://www.tutu.org.za/archbishop-tutu-calls-for-end-of-fossil-fuel-era-18-september-2014

Source for NASA photo of sea ice patterns http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/6151061573/sizes/l/in/photostream/

On July 12, 2011, crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy retrieved a canister dropped by parachute from a C-130, which brought supplies for some mid-mission fixes. The ICESCAPE mission, or “Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment,” is NASA’s two-year shipborne investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean’s chemistry and ecosystems. The bulk of the research took place in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in summer 2010 and 2011. Credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen