The Nativity was carbon neutral, says Welsh church leader

By staff writers
25 Dec 2007

As church leaders throughout Britain put the final rhetorical flourishes on their Christmas messages this morning, a Welsh Christian figurehead is focussing on the practical side of the gospel message of hope - respect for creation through recycling.

In calling on people to think of the environment this festive season by recycling leftover food and unwanted Christmas presents, the Rev John Owen, head of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, said "the nativity had a minimal effect on the environment".

In his commitment to the "carbon neutral" status of the original scene of Christ's birth in modest circumstances, Mr Owen said it was appropriate that everyone marking Christmas should remember their "duty to the planet".

The Moderator of Presbyterian Church of Wales for 2007-08 also welcomed the Bali agreement on tackling climate change signed by world leaders, reports the BBC.

He commented: "Yet this does not mean that we as individuals should rely on our governments to save the planet. Rather, we should redouble our efforts to take action and campaign against climate change."

Adds the Welsh church leader: "Over the festive period, when we focus on celebrating Jesus's coming, we should remember our duty towards our planet by recycling and trying to avoid food waste."

He went on: "Even unwanted presents can be recycled and put to good use through, for example, charity shops and freecycle schemes."

Mr Owen, who comes from Ruthin in Denbighshire, said he wanted to remind people in Wales that "people in developing countries suffer because we draw excessively on the world's resources".

One of the elders of the Church is Sir John Houghton, the former head of the Meteorological Office and member of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who now lives in Aberdyfi, Gwynedd.

Houghton and the IPCC team shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore for their work on tackling climate change and the threat of human-assisted global warming.

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