Scots churchgoers urged to act on their carbon footprints

By agency reporter
August 21, 2009

Car-sharing, taking the bus, cycling and walking to church are some of the ways Christians could be reducing their carbon footprints, says a new report from the Church of Scotland.

The Energy Savings Trust has been commissioned by the Kirk, Scotland's largest Presbyterian denomination.

It urges congregations to examine the environmental impact of travel patterns and proposes a groundbreaking initiative to reduce unnecessary car use by parishioners.

The report argues that reducing car travel to church could result in less congestion, improved health and wellbeing for members and reduced transport costs, as well as helping the environment.

Currently, it is estimated that 27 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK are transport related.

The report says places of worship play a very important role within local communities and often generate significant volumes of traffic.

However, it accepts that elderly members and parents with young children may have particular mobility issues, but travel plans will take into account public safety, time pressures and the availability and reliability of public transport.

A pilot project was successfully undertaken at Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen which found that in a year, travel to church was responsible for over 40 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, mainly from the congregation’s cars.

The Church of Scotland has been among those backing the Eco-Congregation Scotland movement and the 2009 Kirk General Assembly agreed every church must achieve a five per cent year-on-year carbon footprint reduction.

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