The Church of England, not being sure whether God is asleep at the switch or not, has put out some suggestions for its members on how to save the planet. According to the CofE Web site:
A new guide from the Church of England offers church leaders a template for a year-long programme of practical action to reduce their congregations’ carbon footprints, as energy prices head upwards. The book, Don’t Stop at the Lights, has already won praise from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London among others.
Don’t Stop at the Lights, launched today by Church House Publishing, includes sermon ideas and extensive bible study notes drawing on ancient theological themes which aim to reconnect the church to the natural world and the roots of its faith. It inspires priests to make churches beacons in their community, offering case studies linked to the Church’s year including:
- setting up a decorations swap shop during Advent for people to exchange unwanted decorations;
- using Lent as an opportunity to carry out a complete internal environmental audit and to set targets, beginning on Ash Wednesday;
- re-establishing the tradition of beating the bounds at Rogationtide to help refocus congregations on God’s gifts and the role of the Church in preserving justice and extending charity;
- limiting the number of nights that the church is floodlit and then inviting members of the congregation and wider community to ‘sponsor’ an evening’s illumination in memory of a loved one or to mark an anniversary
Former Church of England environment adviser Claire Foster and David Shreeve, a current adviser to the Church and director of The Conservation Foundation, have written the book to help enable churches to take climate change seriously as a core Christian concern.
Right. I’m certain that having a Christmas decoration exchange will “make churches beacons in their community,” and “enable churches to take climate change seriously as a core Christian concern.” And having someone “sponsor” a night’s church lighting will…do what exactly?
Look, I’m all for conservation, recycling, and stuff like that as part of a lifestyle of responsible Christian stewardship. But anyone who thinks that suggestions like these are going to make a difference must have air-conditioning in their skull.
Suggestions like these are from the school that says that millions of inconsequential actions add up to something important. While that may sometimes be the case (voting in a national election comes to mind), this isn’t one of them. Even hundreds of millions of actions in line with these notions would have an infinitesimal impact on the global environment. One wonders whether those who came up with ideas like these have any idea just how enormous, and enormously complicated, the planetary climate system is, if they think that any of this is going to matter, no matter how often it’s done.