Environmental Leads Updates

First some information in response to queries received about Diocesan banking, installing solar panels on church roofs, and the potential for installing an Electric Vehicle charging point in church car parks.

Just Money: much work is being done in many Catholic Dioceses to withdraw church investments from funding fossil fuel companies. Hallam Diocese was a pioneer in this action, having withdrawn investments from Shell and BP by early 2021 and committing to extending its existing ethical investment policy accordingly.

Should we all be examining our conscience further and questioning what activities our bank accounts are financing? In these times of terrible destruction of life and creation through warfare, should we look more deeply into our banking arrangements?

A quote from the Just Money Movement –https://justmoney.org.uk/ 

Who does your bank lend to? Is it financing fossil fuels? Does it invest in arms companies? Does it pay its fair share of tax? Does it treat its employees well? If you bank with one of the major high street banks your money may be supporting companies and industries that don’t align with your values. The good news is that there are banks working for positive social and environmental change. Choosing a more ethical bank account or engaging with your current bank on an issue you care about could be a step your church takes to steward its resources for the common good.   

We must pray for courage to face up to this question as individuals, as churches and as a diocese. 

In his recent exhortation Laudate Deum, Pope Francis has effectively said it is time to stop procrastinating and act on the grave threat posed by climate change. 

Church energy provision.

Hallam Diocese has a contract arranged through the Inter Diocesan Fuel Management Scheme, which sources electricity from renewable resources, and seeks  with varying success to source gas in the same way. The Diocese has encouraged all parishes to join in this scheme, and the majority have done so.

Some churches have considered increasing their access to renewable energy by installing solar panels on the roof. So far this has remained at the investigation stage – discussing the possibility with local firms – and none has proceeded yet. This is an idea with interesting potential however, and the secretary to the Trustees (Ed Whitaker) says the diocese would be supportive of any church wishing to take it forward.

Installing an electric vehicle charging point in a church car park. The provision of electric vehicle charging points is still quite haphazard in the UK (Ireland has a much more coherent and reliable system). However the need for a network of charging points is increasing, and there is developing interest in the idea of churches providing access to charging. Some Catholic Dioceses have been working on this and we are following up any information coming through on their experience. 

Meanwhile the Church of England produced a briefing document on the process in October this year. It is attached with this email.

COP 28

This year’s COP (United Nations’ Climate Change Conference of Parties) – is being held in Dubai. It will begin on 30th November for 2 weeks of critical talks with world leaders about tackling climate change and taking stock of the progress of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Pope Francis will attend for three days and Cafod has produced an extensive position paper on the dire need for action in support of the most vulnerable countries already suffering from climate change (link attached). Bishop John Arnold, lead for the environment for the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, has written to Rishi Sunak appealing to him to take further climate action and better champion existing action taking place across civil society. 

Green Christian offer the opportunity for daily prayer at 8am during the Conference:

And finally a prayer from Cafod:

God of blessings,
the universe sings of your glory.
Deepen our gratitude for all you have made
and awaken in us a renewed commitment
to care for the earth and each other.

Inspire world leaders at COP28,
with openness to listen to those most affected by climate change
and with courage to act urgently and wisely,
so that our common home may be healed and restored  
and all people, and generations to come, may delight in it.