We believe God made the earth and everything in it and appointed us to be good stewards of it. He wants us to has asked us to look after the planet including the flora and fauna and to trade fairly with one another.
Clearly human beings, including us, have ignored this in many ways, so we want to do whatever we can towards redressing this.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. Proverbs 12:10
We also aim to deal fairly with companies and individuals with whom we trade.
Do not defraud or rob your neighbour. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. Leviticus 19:13
If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. Leviticus 25:14
What we are doing
Paper is printed double-sided whenever possible. We hire a school hall for our large Sunday meetings which means we don't have a large building standing empty for the rest of the week. Instead we have our own smaller building which is an adequate size for all our other small meetings. To reduce mileage any remote trustees use Skype for most meetings rather than travelling.
Preference is given to re-using items where possible. We use china mugs/cups in our own building. We reuse any scrap paper before recycling it. We send all our toners for refilling using a specialist service.
We have a fortnightly collection from our office/community venue in the High Street which handles most recyclables (paper, cans, plastic packaging) and food waste for composting. We hire a school hall for Sunday meetings and do not have access to china cups so are forced to use disposable cardboard cups. These are not recycled by our local authority kerbside collection, so we take them to a specialist recycling bin in the car park near Gillingham library.
Since 2007 we have been a Fairtrade church. This means that we have committed to use Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar at all our church gatherings and events and give other Fairtrade products priority whenever possible.
When using supermarkets preference goes to those with higher ethical standards such as Lidl and Waitrose. We put together hygiene and cleaning packs to help those in crisis and try to include recycled products where possible.
We have partnered with Climate Stewards to offset all fuel used by the church and people travelling on church business. This includes gas, electricity, car fuel and airline travel. In the year ending 5 April 2018:
- 6,000 miles were travelled by car
- 9,500 miles each way by aeroplane for a guest speaker
- 12,000 kWh of gas at our office building
- 1,785 kWh of electricity at our office building
- This resulted in a total of around 7.5 tons of CO2 emissions
- We made an offset payment of £200 to Climate Stewards. They use this money to create positive projects in developing countries which provide work counteracting the effects of climate change.
Room for improvement
Energy. We are tied into contracts but when they are due for renewal we will be changing to a green energy supplier.
Cleaning. We don’t use environmentally-friendly cleaning products but are moving over the eco-friendly versions.
Reduce. We seem to use a lot of paper.
Reuse. We still use paper cups on a Sunday morning as the use of china cups is not practical.
We encourage all those who attend GCC to adopt similar approaches in their own homes. Most of what is above can be adopted in the home; here are some other ideas:
- Reduce the amount of meat we eat (we’d need three Earths for everyone to be able to eat meat every day)
- Look at what’s in your rubbish and see if you can change what you buy to lessen what’s not recycled
- Hang washing up to dry rather than use a tumble dryer
- Use natural cleaning products rather than bio-hazardous chemical ones
We’re conscious there’s always more to be done so if you have any suggestions for next steps we’d be pleased to hear them.