Church goes green

By Andy Mackie

Homemade irrigation in Bangladesh

Over 250 church congregations throughout Scotland have accepted the challenge to become more eco-friendly and combat climate change.

The church launched its Response to Climate Change in 2007 after a speech at the 2006 general assembly by Bishop Michael Baroi from the Church of Bangladesh. Adrian Shaw, climate officer for the Church of Scotland recalls the speech as: “A defining moment where we realised how our actions in the developed world were causing problems that developing countries were bearing the brunt of.”

As part of this response the church challenged communities to sign up and become ‘Eco-congregations’ in order to combat the problem. Shaw describes what being an ‘Eco-congregation’ entails: “We set a target that each congregation should attempt to cut greenhouse emissions, both in the church and at home, by 5% a year. This is in line with the Scottish Governments policy to reduce Scotland’s greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050.”

While the current figure of 250 is according to Shaw “A drop in the ocean,” when compared to the 4000 plus congregations of all denominations in Scotland the figure is rising on a monthly basis.

In addition to the attempts to cut greenhouse emissions in Scotland, the church has part funded the work of James Pender in Bangladesh for the past three years. Pender has recently published a report on climate change and its impacts on Bangladesh. The report highlights innovations such as a makeshift crop irrigation system made from a plastic bottle, pictured, as a reminder of how rudimentary much of technology still is in the country.

Shaw commented: “James has carried out some fantastic work in Bangladesh and is due back in Scotland to report back to the church in November. We look forward to hearing of the challenges facing Bangladesh and what assistance can be provided.”