The East Midlands Synod Environmental Policy March 2020
Approved at the October 2020 Synod Meeting
- Affirmation As the East Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church, we affirm with General Assembly that living lightly on the Earth, caring for God's Creation and protecting the environment are fundamental Gospel commitments, central to our Missional Discipleship.
- Synod acknowledges humankind’s culpability for causing grievous harm to poorer peoples and to Creation in general. Humanity is confronted by two crises of its own making: the climate emergency and the ecological emergency (loss of biodiversity). We commit to work within the wider Church and with partners outside the Church to transform this double injustice.
- Synod recognises the significance and hope of the 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the imperatives of the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5%, the 2019 Food and Agriculture Organisation report on the State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture and looks forward to other scholarly reports and international agreements.
- Synod pledges to shrink the Synod 'carbon footprint' (the total greenhouse gas emissions both (a) from all Synod and church activities and (b) those embodied in materials and equipment acquired, buildings and building work) to net zero. Synod recognises that this is a demanding and collaborative endeavour and commits to providing all practicable assistance to churches and groups of churches, including information about practical measures and potential grants. Individual members will be supported in making corresponding life-style adjustments. The following targets are broadly commensurate with the UK achieving net zero by 2045 and the world by 2055. As a last resort, offsetting through 'Climate Stewards' is permitted for the 2030 target.
2030 target: to reduce the CO2 emissions from all Synod and church activities to net zero.
2040 target: to reduce the total carbon footprint of the Synod (as defined above) to net zero.
The commentary on the environmental policy (available on the Synod website) indicates
how these targets may be achieved by audits and actions such as switching to 100%
renewable electricity and gas.
- Synod pledges to seek to protect biodiversity by all means and to be vigorous in combating the causes of ecological harm. Synod encourages church members to find quality time to enjoy nature as part of their discipleship, to engage with political representatives, and to campaign together with others.
- Synod commits to a systematic audit of Synod buildings and activities and encourages local churches to do likewise. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, possible measures include: elimination of single use plastics and other hard-to-recycle materials, use of eco-friendly cleaning materials, enhancing any church land (applying organic principles), significantly reducing meat, fish, dairy products and unsustainable palm oil in catering and promoting the 5 R's: REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPAIR, RECYCLE.
- Synod pledges to work towards achieving Eco Synod status and to commend Eco church to local congregations. Synod will implement measures to support people in living joyfully, simply and responsibly with respect to God's Creation including: promoting an environmental theology, training preachers and leaders, appointing 'Green Apostles', celebrating 'Time for Creation', undertaking practical projects, producing community artwork celebrating the Creator God and working in collaboration with other denominations, other Faiths and local environmental groups.
8a. Synod recognises young people's desperate concern for the environment,
as evidenced by the global 'Fridays for the Future' campaign on climate change, and
8b. Synod pledges to support and encourage the Youth Exec, along with all committees,
in activities and campaigns to address the climate emergency and the ecological emergency.
7.1 Synod acknowledges with thanks the work of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Group, and of all those who commented on the draft, in developing the Synod Environmental Policy.
7.2. Synod approves and adopts the Synod Environmental Policy and encourages local churches to study and implement the Policy.
7.3. Synod approves and commends the commentary on the Environmental Policy to churches for advice and as a basis for study and asks the JPIC Group to keep this under review and to work to keep this up to date in line with best practice.
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