What can I do about the Climate Emergency? Parts 1&2

This is the first in a series of articles I’m writing for Exeter Cathedral’s monthly News, on the changes we can make in our own lives, and how we can encourage governments and business to make necessary structural changes. We have til the end of 2020 to ‘save the planet’. So that’s 14 months.

All articles in the series »

After an excellent impassioned talks from Jess Nicholls and Tim Gorringe at September’s Holy Ground, the plaintive question went up: “So what can I do?”

Well, continuing to fiddle while the Earth burns or recycling a bit just won’t do. This is our life-support system we’re destroying. Loving God does not mean trashing the glorious gift that is our home. Loving our neighbour does not mean destroying their life-support system too.

So what can I/you/we do? Here’s two things to start you off…

1. Calculate your environmental footprint

How many planets does it take to resource your lifestyle? WWF has a simple questionnaire at footprint.wwf.org.uk. Repeat annually. Celebrate progress in achieving the target!

2. Do nothing! Take a Sabbath

Much of our activity and spending leads to carbon emissions. So slow down and stop. Stop flying unless it’s absolutely necessary.* Cycle or walk instead of driving. Stop and smell the roses. Spend time with your family and/or explore your own neighbourhood instead. Stand and stare. Stop shopping for new stuff: buy second-hand clothes and support charity; join a library; share tools and gadgets within your local community – there are loads of websites that help you connect. Buying less means you need to earn less, so perhaps you could work a bit less too. Repeat.

More next month.

* The carbon footprint of a single passenger on a return flight from Exeter to Naples is 0.3 tonnes, the same as the average Tanzanian’s total annual carbon footprint. Heathrow to New York return is 0.7 tonnes. Each person’s annual sustainable carbon budget is less than 1.2 tonnes. Sources: icao.int/environmental-protection/CarbonOffset/ and nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00325-4.