Green for God
St. John’s is among the forerunners in churches in the UK to respond to the call for environmental awareness and to the Bishop of London’s “Shrinking the Footprint” campaign. St John's has been chosen to play a key role in this effort and we will be collaborating very closely with the organisers. We have much to learn along the way but, hopefully, much to share with others later. We propose as our “Mission Statement” the following:
“To love, honour and respect the Creation as God’s gift to all mankind and all living things. As a worshipping community, to seek ways to lighten our demands upon the environment and encourage one another to do the same in our own lives”.
What we have already achieved
We are off to a good start and these are some of the things we have already done:
- Carried out a detailed energy audit of the church - paid for in part by the Diocese of London which chose us as a ground-breaker - and in part by donations from the congregation. Copy at back of church and others available. Comments welcome.
- Opted for our energy supplier’s “green” tariff
- Begun to change to more energy-efficient lighting - electricity is by far the largest part of our carbon footprint.
- Use recycled paper and recycle paper, cartridges, plastic, tins, rechargeable batteries, garden waste, etc.
- Encourage use of "hippos" in water tanks to reduce water consumption
- Provide useful “Eco-tips” in weekly Notices: A list of these can be seen by clicking on the link to the left.
- Junior Church has been running a programme to stimulate interest in children
Here are some of our short and medium-term objectives.
- Switch to an energy supplier using 100% renewable energy sources
- Turn central heating down at least 1 degree to save energy (keep your coat on?)
- Turn off all lights not in use and use motion-sensitive switches in Undercroft
- Install glass doors to offer a warm welcome!
- Carefully consider energy consumption in all building works
Long term goals could include the use of geo-thermal and solar energy, as yet quite experimental and very costly.
We aim to engage parishioners and neighbours in this process through raising awareness and sharing information sensitive to the fact that we as individuals and members of our local communities are all part of one world. We plan to hold focused events open to parishioners, neighbours and members of other churches. We hope to benefit from (and play our part in) the growing concern we now see both nationally and internationally – aware that there is a direct link between issues of climate change and poverty in the poorer parts of the world.
To have a look at the Diocese of London's Shrinking the Footprint environmental campaign, which gives useful information about how you can use less energy, please follow this link:www.london.anglican.org/Shrinking-the-Footprint-Action#information-guidance
We would welcome input and participation! Please contact the parish office for further information.
Please submit your own ecotips, this is an ever expanding list and we need to share ideas of how to preserve our planet and its precious resources.
• Try a windup torch: save batteries
• Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones
• Avoid disposable batteries: Try to buy products that don't require batteries but rely on renewable energy instead. You can now buy all sorts of wind-up or solar-powered gadgets including radios, torches, calculators, phone chargers, toys and garden lights. If you can't avoid batteries, opt for rechargeable ones - they'll save you money in the long run. You can buy solar powered rechargers if you want to reduce your environmental impact even further! • Use a reusable bag when shopping not new plastic bags
• When buying wooden gifts look out for a FSC logo = wood comes from managed forest, protecting world's forests
• Consider sharing everything thing from cars downwards
• Use real nappies – Nearly 3 billion disposable nappies are thrown into landfill sites every year, and they will take centuries to decompose, whereas you can save £400 in a baby’s nappy-life by buying cloth ones.
• Air washing do not use a tumble dryer
• Improve insulation – draught-excluders, heavy curtains, thicker roof/wall insulation
• For sparkling floor tiles: avoid unnecessary cleaning products and try mopping tiled floors with a cup of white vinegar diluted in a gallon of warm water, then rinse.
• Soda water - not just a mixer: Soda water is ideal for removing stains without harmful chemicals. Pour it onto a stain as soon as possible and the fizziness will bubble the staining substance to the surface, where you can blot it away.
• Switch to online billing: save paper by switching to online billing - many utility providers now offer a discount if you go paperless, so you could save money too.
• If you have furniture, curtains, equipment, etc. you no longer need but which is in decent condition, consider giving it away: FreeMesa specialises in facilitating this process for the benefit of the community – and the climate. Look at their clearly-explained website: www.freemesa.org for information. To give away stuff is better than to recycle it. It reuses, or rather “freecycles” your old stuff.
• Packaging: we are all appalled by the increasing amount of packaging, particularly in super markets and their branches. If you can get up the nerve, unwrap goods that you think are over-packaged at the counter and ask the store to dispose of the waste responsibly. It may seem dramatic but it'll get your point across, eventually encouraging stores to stock responsibly packaged (or unpackaged!) alternatives!
• Rust in Peace: rather than using toxic chemical compounds, remove rust and lime scale the natural way by dousing the affected area with white vinegar and then scrubbing off the loosened deposits with a stiff brush.
• Ink stains can spoil clothes - but you can remove them without using chemical detergents. Soak stains with a little milk or rub half a cut tomato on the affected area. Then rinse thoroughly before washing as normal.
• Old-fashioned fireplaces look great but the chimney above can let as much as 40% of the heat out of a room when the fire's not in use. Save cash and energy by fitting a purpose-designed inflatable chimney balloon in unused fireplaces. See www.chimney-balloon.co.uk.
• It’s Curtains! Now the nights are drawing in, draw your curtains. Close them when it gets dark and consider curtain lining to further reduce heat loss through windows. But avoid pulling curtains in front of your radiators – the heat goes straight out the windows!
• Love food hate waste: to discover how to get creative with leftovers, tips for storing and reviving food, and a handy portion planner, visit http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com
• Eat less meat: rearing a kilo of meat requires about 100,000 litres of water, but producing a kilo of wheat takes only 900.
• Buy organic sugar: because conventional sugar beet is the most highly sprayed crop on the planet, but organic crops pollute less and are kinder to wildlife.
• Cooking Tips: put lids on pans and boil gently. A pressure cooker speeds up cooking time, saves energy and maintains goodness. Cook small items like chops under the grill rather than in the oven. Microwave ovens use much less energy than conventional ovens. Cooking with gas rather than electricity is a better use of resources and usually costs less.
• Eat seasonal food: save on transport. September is when fresh British seasonal food reaches its peak. Feast on wild mushrooms, tomatoes, sweetcorn, elderberries and raspberries. December is when Beetroot, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, parsnips and potatoes are in season, while duck, goose, grouse and hare are all good. Apples and chestnuts are also worth a look. So enjoy food at its best!
• Sit boiling: plan ahead and try 'sit boiling' which is great for saving energy in the kitchen. Just boil your veggies, pasta or rice for a few minutes on full heat, remove from the hob but keep covered, and leave to finish cooking in the hot water. You may have to experiment a bit to get the timings right, but once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder why you didn't try it before!
• Bananas etc.: storing fruit with a bit of care can make it last longer and reduce waste. For example, bananas emit ethylene, which encourages fruit to ripen quicker. So store them separately if you don’t want your plums to go mushy, but put them next to an unripe avocado if you plan to make guacamole soon.
• Don’t waste wine: if you don't fancy finishing a bottle of wine, but are reluctant to waste it (or worse, force yourself to drink it?!), pour the leftover wine into an ice cube tray and put in the freezer. Then add a cube or two when you're next cooking, to add a bit of flavour to sauces, gravy, soups - and anything else you can think of.
• Pressure Cookers: forget their old-fashioned image! Pressure cookers are a must-have for any green kitchen - they speed up cooking by a factor of 2, 3 or even 4 - which means they require far less energy than conventional cooking. They're ideal for cooking vegetables, pulses, rice, meat, soups, puddings and more! For recipe ideas, see 'The Green Kitchen' by Richard Ehrlich at http://www.foe.co.uk/shop
• Try to leave warm leftovers on the side to cool down before storing them in the fridge. Putting them inside while still hot will raise the interior temperature - which means the fridge will have to use extra energy cooling everything down again.
• Invest in a new economical pasta cooker which is a large glass cylinder into which you put the pasta, the necessary boiling water and which, sealed, then “cooks” without gas or electricity until the pasta is done. Can also be used to cook vegetables. Slow cookers are also very economical and energy-saving.
• Always do your food shopping on a full tummy – you’ll only buy what you need and what is on your list! The same could apply to clothes shopping!
• Food labels are often misleading: “Made in Britain” may simply mean that the food has been packaged here, but raised elsewhere (particularly pork). Look instead for “Reared in Britain”.
• Better Fish to Fry: the World Wildlife Fund says that as much as 90 per cent of the world's large fish have already been caught. So buying farmed fish might seem like a good idea. But there's a catch - farmed fish are fed on wild-caught species, contributing to overfishing. Look instead for fish approved by the Marine Stewardship Council, assuring sustainably sourced fish.
• Bet you didn’t know this one! Keep bread fresh for longer by placing a slice of potato or apple in the bread bin.
• Bottled water: did you know that to make a gallon of mineral water, two more gallons must be used in purification processes? Give water resources a break and drink tap water instead - a penny buys enough to fill 50 glasses, so it's also much better value than expensive bottled brands.
• Do you know exactly what you can and can't include in your recycling collection? Different councils collect different materials so log onto http://www.recyclenow.com and enter your postcode to get up-to-date information on your council's recycling. You can also read plenty of tips for reducing and reusing all sorts of household waste.
• Glasses: these can be used to help people in the developing world to see. Most UK opticians now act as collection points for old glasses so drop yours off and give them a new lease of life. For more information about spectacle recycling schemes, visit http://www.vao.org.uk or http://www.uniteforsight.org
• Paper: did you know that for every tonne of paper used for recycling, 30,000 litres of water are saved, along with enough electricity to power an average three-bedroom house for one year?! So keep at it (and don’t forget loo paper!) And did you know that shredded paper cannot be recycled? Why not cut or tear off the crucial information (your name/account number) on documents and recycle the rest?
• Energy saving light bulbs are here for good but nobody told us that they contain mercury and must, therefore be “re-cycled” when they do eventually give out. Ryness, Ikea and Currys all take them, as will large Sainsburys by the end of January.
• Batteries: through the council or many local shops.
• Ink cartridges: at your local post office or many high street stores.
• Mobile phone: millions are sent to landfill each year in the UK. To help reduce this toxic legacy, recycle yours and help fundraise for Friends of the Earth. Send it to 'Freepost, ShP Solutions, Lancaster' and mark your envelope 'Friends of the Earth'. We will then get a donation of £3.50 for every working phone received
• Tights: not sure what to do with unwanted tights and stockings? Donate them to the Ethiopia Tights Appeal where they'll be used for women in the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. Don't worry if they have holes or ladders in them, they will still be useful. Find out where to send them, and check out links for further recycling ideas, at http://www.tightsplease.co.uk/index.php?page[cat]=126
• Freecycle: when you want to find a new home for something - whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano, or an old door - you simply post a message. Or, maybe you need something yourself, in which case simply respond to a message. One person's rubbish can be another's treasure - the ideal way to save cash and save the planet! Find out how to join your local network at http://www.freecycle.org/
• If you still have unwanted gifts from Christmas and you can't exchange them, don't throw them away or store them at the back of the cupboard - donate them to your local charity shop!
• Boil only the water need, rather than filling the kettle every time • Use low-energy bulbs: they use about a fifth of the energy of an ordinary bulb and can last up to ten times longer!
• Switch appliances off at the socket TV, Stereo, DVD, Computer, mobile charger, lights: leaving them on stand-by uses 85% as much electricity as when actually watching it – a total waste of energy!
• Turn down thermostat a couple of degrees for water and central heating
• Consider green suppliers of electricity
• Measure your energy – invest in a domestic energy monitor
• Turn lights off – when you're not using them
• Switch to a green energy tariff
• Light without electricity: if you need to brighten a dark area in your home, or are planning an extension, consider light tubes (Solatube or Sunpipes) that draw natural light from a small transparent dome on the roof down a highly reflective pipe into your home. The results can flood a dark corner with light, and they're reasonable value. Source 'How Can I Stop Climate Change?' http://www.foe.co.uk/shop
• Prepare now to save heat this winter: the end of summer is a good time to think about keeping warm in the winter months! While your radiators are switched off, put reflective material behind them - this will ensure heat is reflected back into your room and keep you toasty when the weather gets colder. You can buy radiator reflector foil from DIY stores (avoid those made from PVC), or you can make your own by wrapping tinfoil around cardboard.
• Switch off before your holiday: going on holiday? Unplug as many appliances as possible, to save electricity, before you leave. Even if you switch them off, appliances can still use up energy if they're still plugged in.
• Use low-energy bulbs: they use about a fifth of the energy of an ordinary bulb and can last up to ten times longer!
• Good Energy: London diocese is encouraging its churches and parishioners to switch to Good Energy, the only nationwide provider to supply electricity from 100% renewable sources. Leaflets on domestic and business rates are on the table near the door and you can get information from www.good-energy.co.uk or ring 0845 456 1640.
• If your home's hot water comes from an electric heater, don't forget to switch it off when you go away on holiday. Immersion heaters gobble as much as 9,000 watts every 24 hours, so you could be wasting lots of energy and cash if you leave it running on a timer.
• If you are buying an electrical appliance, look for one marked as Energy Saving Recommended. Such products must meet stringent low-energy standards set by an independent panel, so you'll be able to buy with confidence. For more information, visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for details.
• If you don’t have an old one one lurking around a shelf somewhere, invest in a slow-cooker for delicious meals using little more electricity than a light bulb!
• Install a water butt in your garden
• Install a water meter and control your own use of water
• Take a shower instead of a bath
• Put a water saving device in your toilet cistern
• Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
• Mend dripping taps
• Take a shower rather than a bath – it saves 50 litres of water on average.
• Feed the birds: in winter help our feathered friends so that they survive periods of severe weather and keep in good breeding condition for the spring. For tips on what food to provide, read advice from the experts at RSPB - http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/index.asp
• Don't let rainwater go down the drain: rainwater can easily be collected in water butts and you can save it for watering plants when the weather warms up - plants prefer it to tap water. In the meantime, use it to water indoor plants, wash the car and for other outdoor jobs. Water butts (and diverters to redirect the water from downpipes) are available from DIY stores.
• Water plants more effectively: by converting empty plastic bottles into funnels. Simply remove the bottom from a discarded bottle and bury it neck-down near the base of a plant. Water poured in here will reach the roots directly during dry weather, rather than being lost to evaporation in topsoil. It really works!
• Slime and punishment: stop hungry slugs from gobbling up precious flowers/fruit/vegetables: sprinkle used coffee grounds on plant beds as a non-toxic deterrent. And remove disused pots and containers from the area - slugs often shelter in these during daylight hours.
• Use backed paper for drafting: halves the paper use
• Laptops use significantly less energy than desktop computers and fewer resources are used in their construction. The latest generation of laptops are compact and highly specified, so if you need a new computer consider buying one instead of a desktop machine.
• Walk rather than ride: helps keep you fit and saves oil etc
• Share car journeys to work with a colleague, cycle, or replace those car journeys with public transport at least once a week.
• Get outdoors and make the most of spring: it's a wonderful time of year to enjoy a leisurely ramble or invigorating hike. Good for body and soul alike! Discover thousands of routes at http://www.walking-routes.co.uk/
• Use a climate payback scheme to reduce the impact of any air travel taken
• Concerned about your “carbon trail”? Visit clear-offset.com which contains lots of clear and helpful information about how to calculate and off set your “carbon footprint”.
• Green getaways: if you're thinking of booking a holiday, look out for travel agents that are members of Green Globe 21. Membership means the agent is committed to promoting sustainable travel and accommodation. Visit the Green Globe website for more info.
• Travel light: take one kilo less and save on your carbon emission.
• Travelling: check out the website www.stuffyourrucksack.com and see what you could take to a needy local charity. Even pencils and plasters can be useful.
EcoNews! Hard as it may be to believe, London is the “greenest” of Europe’s major cities, with Paris in 2nd place, followed by Milan, Zurich, Brussels, Stockholm, Geneva, Lyon, Manchester and Turin (according to the European Green Cities Index). So let us take heart!
Interested in getting involved: check out the following ideas!
• Plan for climate change - The new Planning Bill could soon become law but fails to take any account of climate change, despite the fact it will affect all major infrastructure projects such as roads, airports and power stations. There's still time to make a difference though. Consider writing to your MP now or signing Friends of the Earth’s petition. Just click on www.foe.co.uk
• Environmental problems - and ways that you can help to solve them - form part of a fast-moving and sometimes contradictory debate. You can read the press avidly and end up pretty confused! Another alternative is to stay up to date by signing up for Friends of the Earth’s monthly e-newsletter or receive their monthly magazine, “Earthmatters” for a donation of £3 a month.. More information on their website, www.foe.co.uk.
• Double your money: Consider making a year-end gift to Friends of the Earth, during The Big Give. Last year from 7 December, all gifts will be doubled (at no extra cost to you) as part of their online matched fundraising challenge. Just type it in online and choose the charity, check it out for future years.
• Think ethically before investing: visit www.blueandgreentomorrow.com
• You can stop junk mail addressed to you personally by using the Mail Preference Service (MPS) Freepost 29, LON 20771, London W1E 0ZT, tel. no. 0845-7034599.
• You can prevent unaddressed door-to-door deliveries from Royal Mail by registering at Opt-Outs, Royal Mail, Kingsmead House, Oxpens Rd. Oxford OX1 1RX
• When buying: how was the item transported; is it excessively package, check the following website: http://ecolabel.defra.gov.uk.
• For reusable bag ideas check www.morsbags.com
• Think if you can recycle: is it made out of recyclable materials, could someone else use it e.g. via a Charity? Check www.uk.freecycle.org
• Check also www.rbkc.gov.uk/environmentandtransport.aspx
• The Government is currently deciding how much we should cut our climate changing emissions by 2020. It is vital we adopt a 42% target now to avoid harder cuts later, and benefits would include reduced energy bills, more jobs and greater energy security. Please ask your MP to support this target by taking action at www.foe.co.uk
• Reduce your energy consumption, consider getting a Power Down device to switch off your electric equipment in one go, or get a Smart Meter to monitor how much electricity you are using: see www.energysavingtrust.org.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/actonco2
• For creative ideas in small spaces (including window boxes) check Enforonment@rbkc.gov.uk and look at the Greener Streets booklet.
• A greener Local Transport Bill – You can help secure a vital amendment to a new local transport law which requires councils to cut CO2 emissions from transport in their area. Send an email to your MP via the Campaign for Better Transport's website at http://tinyurl.com/637dwo
• Carbon offsetting: if you are going to travel by air in the coming months, you can offset some of the harm to the environment. Although many of the plans are questionable, Friends of the Earth recommends that you search “carbon offsetting” on line to determine the approximate monetary value of your trip. They then suggest the following site: www.cdmgoldstandard.org for making a donation, or that you make an equivalent donation to another charity working in the area of energy conservation or world poverty.
Please click on the link below to see the Green for God leaflet, which details all the efforts being made by St John's in order to be more Green for God.