08 July 2021

Promoting environmental activism in Northampton District

Hello, my name is Lydia Barratt, and I am the Green Champion for the Northampton District. I am employed part time by the Young Leaders scheme, which is a scheme specific to our district that employs 16-23 year olds to undertake projects in either their Circuits or the whole District. I have worked with Howard Warrener our District Carbon Reduction Officer, and James Appleby our Voluntary Green Champion, to promote green activity within our District as we work towards our bronze eco District award as part of the Arocha Eco Church scheme. We need to have 10% of our churches with an award.

A key part to getting churches to register onto the scheme is helping them realise the urgency of the current climate situation. One of the ways I have been doing this is writing Eco club resources to educate churches on matters such as plastic pollution. The notion of the Eco Club was developed before COVID-19, but the aim has remained the same; to make an inclusive and accessible resource to help people find out more. The resource provides information as well as practical tips and recommendations. So far, the Eco Clubs have been well received and have sparked great conversations online.

Young people are hugely important in encouraging churches to reduce their negative impact on the planet. The climate crisis provides a great opportunity to bring together people of all ages because it such a huge problem to tackle and really does require everybody in order to overcome it. This is why it has been important for me within my role to inspire young people to take leadership roles within their own churches. I ran a session for the Youth Zoom Network, a District wide group that meet fortnightly on Zoom,  in which we discussed how the pandemic has affected the climate both positively and negatively. I have also visited a primary school to talk about plastic pollution and the children made plastic pledges and tied them to a fishing net.

Plastic pledges made by primary school children at a recent session on plastic pollution

Another way we have encouraged churches is through running an Eco Church in Northampton District event. We had over 70 people meet on zoom from all across our District to celebrate what different churches and Circuits across the District are doing in relation to Eco Church. In addition, everyone looked forward with hope for the future and shared ideas around what action we can take. We had 5 workshops each focusing on the 5 categories of the Eco Church scheme: Management of Church land, Management of Church buildings, Worship and teaching, Community and global engagement and lifestyle. After the event, we had a surge in churches register on the scheme.

Read the latest news on how the Church is responding to the climate crisis and other environmental concerns here. You may like to find out about our coalition of young people across the globe coming together to campaign for Climate Justice 4 All here

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