It sometimes feels that everything we do has a bad impact on the environment and climate. It’s important to focus on what we can do and don’t give up simply because we can’t afford an electric car or because we love drinking tea and coffee that have high food miles! Don’t beat yourself up if you forget your re-useable mug or if you have to drive instead of taking the bus or walking – think about what you CAN do, when you can and fitting that into your lifestyle – that way intentions become habits.

Almost everything we do has a carbon footprint (i.e. generates carbon emissions that contribute to global warming) or creates waste, but we can all take steps to reduce our impact on the world that God has blessed us with. 

One of the biggest steps to living more sustainably is consuming less and buying only that which we really need. This is not a new principle, but one that we in the 21st century with our disposable incomes and “instantaneous gratification” culture need to re-learn. Kudos to our Grandparents – they had it right – they only ever bought what was needed, reused as much as possible and never wasted unnecessarily. My Gran used to re-use her cling film! It seemed daft at the time but now we know the damage caused by our overuse of single use plastic – she had a point – and it saved her money! 

Living simply can be seen as a spiritual discipline and in many ways, it is consistent not only with how Jesus and the apostles led their lives but also how we can lead a more sustainable lifestyle. So, consider borrowing or buying second hand instead of new, repairing items instead of throwing them out, and eat seasonably using local produce where possible (not only fewer food miles but supports local businesses too). 

Zero waste shops are a great way to cut down on packaging and are another way to support local businesses, reduce food miles and eat seasonably. These shops stock fruit, vegetables, dried cupboard goods, fresh farm produce, toiletries, cleaning, household, and beauty products, and even luxury items like sweets, chocolates, and gifts. 

Supermarkets are reducing single use plastic and require you to use your own bags for fruit and veg and some allow you to bring in your own tubs for fresh fish and meat. Walking to the shops or using a delivery service also helps reduce some greenhouse gas emissions as they save us driving to the shops. 

Bob the builder had his priorities right, reduce, then reuse, then recycle.

Perhaps you are doing some of this already! If so, keep up the good work – every bit matters in reducing our carbon emissions and so limiting climate change.

(Written by Elspeth Pitt)

Check out our Eco tips in next week’s Epistle for some practical ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. 

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