Get involved in climate action through your church!

First published 16th May 2023

Climate change is a local issue

It’s easy to sit back and think “how does the climate crisis affect me?” It’s important to note that even though we live in a region that is relatively unaffected by severe weather, we are seeing the effects of the climate crisis in the South West.

This January, a pub in Hanham was submerged underwater as the river Avon burst its banks after a spell of heavy rain (top image). Similarly, farmers in Somerset found their fields flooded and livelihoods put at risk from flooding in the region (bottom image). Last summer, Bristol, Somerset, South Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire had been moved to drought status following some of the ‘driest conditions in 90 years’ according to the Environment Agency.

These are just a few instances of climate disasters on your doorstep. This is why it's so important to act now! Here are some ways you can make a positive difference.

Image of pub in Hanham inundated in water from the river. Image of farm flooded with water with big machinery pumping water out.

   The Old Lock and Weir is near to the River Avon (BBC News, 2023)                                         Farmers have lost grass seed and corn to feed the cattle (BBC News, 2023)

Get involved in climate action

Recently, a large group of churchgoers from our diocese, including the Bishop’s Chaplain, David Stephenson, attended a 4-day climate protest, ‘The Big One’. They stood proudly, alongside thousands of campaigners and 70 charities, to demand that the Government act now to stop investment in fossil fuel extraction.

Pippa White from Hazelnut Community Farm joined thousands of Christian campaigners marching from the service in St James, Waterloo to the Shell Headquarters where protestors were refused entry to deliver a letter calling on Shell to halt all new fossil fuel extraction. She said:

"Protest is important, there is great solidarity in gathering with others from other faiths and none, all of whom are urging us to learn to live differently and for governments to take this seriously.

"English professor and philosopher Timothy Morton calls climate change, global warming and the epic bio-diversity loss a hyper object. It means something that is too big for us as a species to really comprehend. Many of us are in the denial space that it's not that bad, and we'll find our way out of this through technology. I swing in and out of that space!

"This is really hard, and we're not even on the frontlines. Those least culpable and least able to deal with it are. I come away feeling that protest is good, but needs to grow to be heard, and that as Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, says, our world needs climate action on all fronts, everything, everywhere, all at once."

Photo showing crowd of protesters with placards reading 'Climate justice for the poorest'.


Hazelnut Community Farm will be joining Highgrove Church in Sea Mills to present at A Rocha UK’s Act for Nature event on Saturday 24 June. Highgrove and Hazelnut’s focus is promoting biodiversity and campaigning for nature which is an important part of protecting our planet.

Is climate a Christian issue?

Perhaps the simplest response to this would be, yes. Genesis 2:15 highlights that the Lord God placed humans in the garden to work it and keep it, and as stewards of the Earth we are tasked with extending our care.

God loves his creation, and calls us to care for it, to attend to its flourishing and add to its abundance and in that, we too flourish and enter into God’s joy.

Bishop Vivienne Faull recently expressed her support of the recent climate action, saying:

“The ongoing investment in fossil fuels is continuing to cause devastating damage to the climate and ecosystems on which we all depend. It is up to us as Stewards of the Earth, to tell the truth and act now in the face of catastrophic climate and ecological breakdown.

“We are inspired by the example of Jesus Christ to challenge the powers that dictate the unjust devastation of the Earth, as well as continuing to examine and change our own priorities and that of our churches.”

Register for EcoChurch

If you want to take part in local climate action, you can get involved in the A Rocha UK’s EcoChurch project.

EcoChurch is A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. A Rocha UK is a Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world, both as a response to the biblical mandate to care for the earth, and as a demonstration of the Christian hope for God’s world.

St Mary’s Marshfield have been working towards the EcoChurch award scheme by transforming their churchyard into a space for biodiversity. They have a ‘Swift Hotel’ in the church tower, which was installed in response to the declining swift population due to lack of nesting sites. Additionally, they have set up two beehives in their churchyard to increase the diversity of wildflowers in the area. Their dedicated Community Payback workers have spruced up their eight compost bins, and local people can request their own bag of compost! St Mary’s also has plans to take part in the Diocese of Bristol’s decarbonisation scheme.

For more inspiration, visit the A Rocha UK’s EcoChurch website, or register to join the award scheme!

What are we doing?

You may be aware that the Church of England has pledged to reach Carbon Net Zero by 2030. We are striving towards an Eco Diocese award, which means that we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and embedding environmental issues into our mission.

Aside from this, the Diocese of Bristol is taking the lead, with our own Carbon Net Zero scheme, as part of the ‘Transforming Church.Together’ strategy. We are in the process of planning and rolling out energy audits across our churches, properties, schools, and community spaces. In addition, we are looking at solar panel installation, heating system changes and decarbonisation works.

We want to support our churches to become spaces that sustain the planet and communities they serve. Please get in touch with our property and environment team here at the diocese if you have any questions:

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