Our church put on an evening talk and discussion – “One Small Step” – considering what we could do to protect the environment.
There was coffee and tea and biscuits on arrival, if one wanted them; chairs were set out and on each chair there was a card from Tear Fund and an envelope labelled “Feed the Birds” and two luggage labels – one large and one smaller.
A woman from Tear Fund – Sarah Wiggins – gave a talk, sort of setting out the Biblical reasons why we should try to protect/conserve the environment and giving some suggestions as to what we might do ourselves. It was OK but she was not especially inspiring or passionate, nor did she make any suggestions that were different, which was a little disappointing.
The other side of the card had suggestions for ways to reduce our use of fossil fuels. We were then asked to get into small groups and come up with some things that we might do ourselves and write our “pledges” on the large luggage label to hang on a “tree” and write them on the small label to take home as a reminder.
The card from Tear Fund also had a tear off part to send to the World Bank asking them to spend money for off grid renewable energy supplies in developing countries, which are more appropriate for small communities, not build fossil fuel power stations. We could fill that in too.
The feed back from the discussion tended to focus on moving to a vegetarian or vegan diet as that was something that some people there were passionate about.
We then had some time to look at the displays – pictures in the Foyer (where the talk was held) and stalls in the church. The pictures were quite interesting (to me) as many of them were of the Marsabit area of Kenya, which I have visited and where my friend Rob was Bishop. The area is very dry normally but there was a failure of the rains for several years and this was shown as an example of climate change. In the church there were more suggestions for caring for the environment, an RSPB stall (hence “Feed the Birds”) and a stall giving out these cards about considering changing one’s electricity supplier to one that only uses renewables.
I think there were a few others too, but I didn’t look that closely as I had spent too long looking at the pictures of Marsabit. One might have been about the idea of reducing/eliminating our use of palm oil, as rain forests are being cut down to plant palm plantations, which have much less biodiversity.
After a while we all returned to the foyer, so that we could mark “Earth Hour” – when at 8.30 local time on the 30th March people turn off their lights as some sort of pledge to help protect the environment. We did just that: turned off the lights and looked out at all the other light outside.
Having done that we all went home!
So was it a good/worthwhile evening? Probably not. There wasn’t much to inspire or encourage or anything most people didn’t know. To be honest, I am not sure who it was aimed at: anyone who came probably was interested enough to know what was said and had probably done all they could/intended to. Those who were not interested or didn’t know weren’t there.