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Surrey Bishops declare climate emergency and pledge 7 climate-care commitments

Date: 12 August 2019

Bishop's climate emergency to-do listThe Bishops of Guildford and Dorking, Andrew Watson and Jo Bailey Wells, have joined forces with other organisations in declaring a climate emergency today and pledged to follow ​seven climate-care commitments.

Bishop Andrew encouraged all Christians to join in making these commitments, saying: 

“Transformation is needed in all our lives, and in industries and establishments across the world, to keep the rise in temperature of the planet to less than two degrees Celsius. As Christians we need lift our voices to join with the growing environmental movement - to tell the truth about the climate catastrophe, to repent of the behaviours that has caused this emergency, and to prioritise this ministry as an act of sacrificial love to all people, including those yet to be born.”  

Bishop Andrew and Bishop Jo’s climate-care commitments are to: 

  • Switch to a clean energy provider 
  • Use cars less – committing to car-share, cycle or walk at least once every week 
  • Cut down on meat, especially red meat
  • Grow as much fruit and veg as possible 
  • Reuse all plastic bags and avoid disposable products 
  • Use heating as sparingly as possible and never to use a tumble dryer  
  • Give regularly to charitable organisations that strive to safeguard God’s creation 

The Diocese of Guildford is working with its partners to raise awareness of current and emerging issues affecting the communities across the region. One of its key partners, Surrey County Council, has recently declared a climate emergency in the county and ​the diocese is joining them in making this a priority. As well as this partnership, the Diocese of Guildford is helping to facilitate a conference – 12 years to save the planet – with the University of Surrey and the South East England Faith Forum on 16 September. It will be an opportunity to share perspectives about climate change from a number of different faiths, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Buddhist and the role of people of faith in reducing climate change.  

The Diocese of Guildford prides itself on being a steward of God’s wonderful creation, having been only the second diocese to receive a bronze Eco Diocese award from A Rocha UK. This award is a demonstration of the diocese’s commitment to caring for God’s earth in five key areas of church life: worship and teaching, management of church buildings, management of church land, community/global engagement and lifestyle. 

Bishop Andrew encourages all churches in the diocese to join the 48 churches currently registered to be Eco-Churches: 

“In this diocese, we are committed to being part of the transformation of our world, recognising the urgency required to transition to a net zero-carbon way of life. We have worked with A Rocha to achieve the Bronze Eco-Diocese award, and I encourage all of our churches to become Eco-Churches. We will endeavour to achieve the Silver Eco-Diocese award as soon as we can, and hopefully in time for a visit by our Archbishop in March next year." 

Hannah Mayo from Holy Trinity Church in Westcott, has written a blog about her church’s journey to becoming an Eco-Church – encouraging others to follow suit. More information can be found on the diocesan website cofeguildford.org.uk/eco-church.

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