Carbon-crunching for Christ
Marcus Zipperlen, Diocesan Creation Care and Sustainability Officer, suggests ways in which we can all contribute to care of creation
In the last edition of Pobl Dewi we looked at how the Church in Wales is responding to the climate emergency by planning to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero over coming years. Yet the church is people, you and I, before it is buildings and canon law, so let’s look at what changes we can make in our own daily lives to care better for creation, focusing on energy, transport, and food.
First, energy: swap your electricity supplier to one that uses 100% renewable energy. It is very simple and won’t necessarily cost you more. In church, we use Good Energy; at home I use Bulb, and there are others, such as Octopus or Ecotricity, and even green tariffs from conventional providers. Some supply gas as well. If your costs were to go up (and ours at home actually went down) these could be balanced by using energy more efficiently through, for example, turning your heating thermostat down by one degree, turning appliances off at the wall and not leaving them on stand-by, boiling only the water you need in a kettle and by changing to LED light bulbs.
Secondly, transport, which in Britain accounts for 34% of household emissions. Most of these will likely come from car journeys, and the best way to reduce them is to drive less. Try and walk (or cycle) occasionally, which is anyway better for your mental and physical health, or share lifts with others. Why not buy an e-bike and take the sting out of peddling up our Welsh hills? They are an amazing new technology and will make you feel better about yourself and the world, guaranteed. And when you do drive, reduce your speed. Driving at 50mph uses 25-30% less fuel than driving at 70mph and is far safer for everybody.
Lastly, food. One thing that would not only be good for our planet’s health but also our own would be to eat less meat and dairy. The production of these typically generates far higher carbon emissions than plant-based foods. That said, Welsh pasture-fed cows and sheep are much more sustainably produced than livestock reared on imported grains, as happens elsewhere in the world. So, it is quite possible to reduce carbon emissions by eating less meat and dairy and still support the local community if, when we do buy, we buy local from the butcher or Welsh milk producer. A better choice all round.