Church of Scotland takes climate challenge to the world stage

By agency reporter
November 2, 2009

The Church of Scotland takes its climate change message onto the world stage tomorrow (3 November 2009), as officials prepare to address Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Church representatives are using the Alliance of Religions and Conservation event at Windsor Castle as an opportunity to voice the Kirk’s concerns to a global audience.

The Rt Rev Bill Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has long backed the view that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to people everywhere, particularly to the poor of the earth.

Mr Hewitt is sending a statement of support, as church figures urge world leaders to accept the urgent need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases if dangerous and irreversible climate change is to be avoided, ahead of a December’s global summit in Copenhagen.

In May 2009, the Kirk (Presbyterian, and Scotland's largest Christian denomination) called on all of its Presbyteries to produce a plan setting out how they will measure energy consumption in their church buildings, ascertain their carbon footprint and achieve a year-on-year reduction of five per cent of that figure.

It has also decided to employ a climate change officer for three years, beginning on Tuesday, as it seeks to become a vehicle for positive environmental action in communities across Scotland.

Churches throughout the country are working both to reduce their carbon footprint and to be catalysts for change in their communities.

Church of Scotland officials are encouraging congregations to join the ecumenical Eco-Congregation Scotland scheme, with more than 200 churches already signed up. Members pledge to take better stewardship of God’s creation and to stimulate grassroots activity in their area.

More radical changes include parts of a refurbished church in Perthshire being made out of old Wellington boots, yoghurt pots and mobile phones, and a minister in Papa Westray powering his car by recycled chip fat oil from his local take-away outlet.

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