UK church group seeks transport alternatives
A church campaign group in the south west of England has produced a new report asking Christians to think seriously about the practical, moral and theological issues involved in their use of transportation.
ëOn Your Bike!' has been published by the South West Churches Transport Group (SWCTG) for reflection, discussion and action. As the title suggests, it is critical of over-dependence on car use.
The report points out that building stable communities and relationships between people is more difficult in a society where commuting is the norm.
SWCTG spokesperson Martin Goss, a long-time environmental campaigner who is also a social responsibility adviser for the Anglican Diocese of Exeter, told the Express & Echo newspaper this week that sustainability was a key issue in transport policy.
'Vehicles with single occupants are effectively damaging the environment and ours society,' declared Mr Goss.
The question of transport is one of a range of concerns for Britain's increasing number of environmentally conscious congregations. Eco-Congregation is an official ecumenical project for churches in Britain and Ireland which provides free resources, support, an audit, a DIY course and an award scheme.
The network aims to help churches to consider environmental issues in the context of their Christian life and mission and to take positive action.
Eco-Congregation was originally developed by an environmental charity on behalf of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). It is now overseen by CTBI and delivered by a partnership of organisations, including The Arthur Rank Centre in England.
In the US moral and theological issues surrounding the use of gas-guzzling vehicles has been picked up both by the ecumenical National Council of Churches USA and by the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) and ëCreation Care' magazine.
A campaign was launched some months ago across the United States under the banner ëWhat Would Jesus Drive?'
'Pollution from vehicles has a major impact on human health and the rest of God's creation', says the EEN. 'It contributes significantly to the threat of global warming. Our reliance on imported oil also threatens peace and security.'
In Britain and Ireland the Environmental Issues Network (EIN) of CTBI seeks to act as a co-ordinating point for the environmental work of most of the mainstream UK churches and a number of para-church organisations. It is associated with the European Christian Environmental Network.