Thursday, 20 August 2009

Greenness is next to Godliness, says Kirk

Published Date: 20 August 2009
By craig brown
THE Kirk has urged worshippers to find more environmentally friendly ways to get to services, to reduce congestion and their carbon footprint.
A report by the Energy Savings Trust, commissioned by the Church of Scotland, has said cycling, walking, bus and car-sharing should be considered as travelling to Sunday worship "generates significant volumes of traffic".The report says that, in addition to helping the environment, "reducing car travel to church could result in less congestion, improved health and wellbeing for members, reduced transport costs".It aims to encourage congregations to formulate their own eco-friendly travel plans and make the most of the green options open to them.Adrian Shaw, climate change officer for the Church of Scotland, said that the move was part of a wider attempt to help congregations understand the challenge of climate change."What we have been trying to do is help congregations to move from being concerned to actively making a difference. Most are aware that it is a serious issue, but few know what to do – very few know what the size of the carbon footprint created by the church is." The report accepts that the elderly and parents with young children may have mobility issues, especially in the Highlands, and that travel plans should take into account public safety, time pressures and availability and reliability of public transport.A recent pilot project at Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen found that, in a year, travel to church was responsible for more than 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, mainly from the congregation's cars. Mike Thornton, Scottish director of the Energy Savings Trust, said such reports were increasingly popular with businesses and organisations keen to boost their green credentials. "Each travel plan is tailored specifically to the organisation. In the case of the Kirk, we had to look at the general level because there are so many congregations, each with their specific issues." The report was funded by the Scottish Government.Louis Kinsey, minister of St Columba's Church, Aberdeen, said: "Whilst some folk do need to travel to church on Sundays, as well as at other times, I know I could use my own car far less than I do in connection with my ministry and work."