A New Year

One meme doing the rounds on social media in late December 2020 was: “I’m going to stay up on New Year’s Eve this year. Not to see the new year in, but to make sure this one leaves.

For many, 2020 was a very tough year with isolation, financial hardship, illness and enormously sad losses. However, there were some positives too and it is those I want to look at here.

Many people have reconnected with the outside world, because when the first lockdown only allowed us to leave the house once a day for exercise, going out became much more valuable to us.  We became more aware of the calming and restorative properties of God’s natural world.  Many people did litter picks around their local areas, feeling a sense of responsibility for the areas that wasn’t there before when we simply rushed through.  Many got to know their neighbours as we clapped for the NHS on a Thursday night.  Less travelling about also had wider environmental benefits for our planet, with air pollution dropping massively and with fewer cars, people felt safe to walk or cycle instead.  Locally, the views from Bluebell Hill stretched to the Weald of Kent, in Kathmandu people could see Mount Everest, 200km away, for the first time in decades!

View from Bluebell Hill

View from Bluebell Hill summer 2020

Earth Overshoot Day (see a previous Eco Church blog here: https://www.stlukes.org.uk/2017/09/earth-overshoot-day/) has been getting earlier and earlier as we use our annual share of the planet’s resources more quickly each year.  Due to an almost global lockdown, it actually bucked the trend and moved a little later in 2020 https://www.overshootday.org/about/.

A severe lockdown is not a sustainable lifestyle though, but there are some smaller changes we may have started in 2020 that we can continue.  For example, we can consider whether a journey is really necessary and use our new skills in video conferencing instead of travelling miles, and for hours, for relatively short meetings.  Many companies have had to adapt to enable employees to work from home during 2020 so after Covid-19 we can continue occasional home working to save so many long, tiring and polluting commutes.  We can appreciate being outside and take actions to look after our natural environment.  Many of us tried growing our own fruit and veg more seriously than ever before during 2020, enjoying the exercise, satisfaction and taste benefits it brought, so why not continue this year.  There are many other such actions which we could undertake.

It is not just about our individual actions though; we also need to pray for our world and campaign on the larger issues, including in Nov 2021 COP26 on Climate Change.  It can be hard to know where to start though, so there are many useful resources listed below.

May God bless you, and our planet through you, in this new year.

 

Tearfund’s One Voice emails are helpful prayer prompts (contact info@tearfund.org and ask to be signed up).  The latest has a prayer exercise for this new year: https://www.tearfund.org/~/media/email/onevoice/archive/2021/January/ONEVOICE010121.pdf

Tearfund offer climate prayer pointers via Whatsapp. Sign up here: https://www.tearfund.org/campaigns/prayer-for-the-climate

The UK hosts the UN climate change Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26) in Nov 2021 which is an excellent opportunity for change.  Christian Aid are organising a prayer chain for climate justice: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/prayer-chain

A Climate Emergency Toolkit has been put together for Christians around the world to take action against the climate crisis. https://www.climateemergencytoolkit.com

The Canterbury Diocese send occasional environmental emails full of information and resources. Sign up here and select “All things bright and beautiful”: https://www.canterburydiocese.org/newsletters

 

By Alison Riggs, St Luke’s Environment Officer

Web Master