Resource to help parishes tackle climate change

Friday December 5th 2014

The Ven Andrew Orr, Chairperson of Eco-Congregation Ireland, pictured at the launch of Eco-Congregation Ireland's new climate change resource with Emeritus Prof John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth.

The Ven Andrew Orr, Chairperson of Eco-Congregation Ireland, pictured at the launch of Eco-Congregation Ireland’s new climate change resource with Emeritus Prof John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth.

Eco-Congregation Ireland (ECI) hopes that its new resource – Climate Change – Can I Make a Difference? – will encourage Christians throughout Ireland to become more eco-aware and eco-active at church and at home.

The resource, which is free to download from the ECI website, includes some of the latest data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 5th assessment report as well as a comprehensive theological response to climate change, prayers for the environment and advice on how to reduce one’s carbon footprint – as an individual and as a congregation.

Launching the resource at a climate justice event ECI co-hosted with Carrigaline Union on November 7, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Emeritus Prof John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth said: “The resource provides a valuable perspective on the nature and impacts of climate change in an Irish context. On a practical level it highlights the connection between local action and global consequences.

“It also demonstrates that the problem of climate change can only be tackled if ethical principles are coupled with scientific knowledge to inform and motivate policy makers. The disconnect between the science and the politics of national interest have bedevilled attempts to tackle our greenhouse gas emissions and the authors of the report are to be congratulated on highlighting these vital linkages.”

The resource includes quotes from Mary Robinson as well as environmentalists Gavin Harte and Éanna Ní Lamhna, Anglican priest and BBC television presenter Rev Peter Owen-Jones, Alex Hill of the Met Office, Columban eco-theologian Fr Seán McDonagh, Monsignor Dermot Lane, President of the Mater Dei Institute, and Bishop David Atkinson, former Bishop of Thetford – all of whom have spoken at events ECI has organised in recent years.

“We hope this resource will encourage Christians in Ireland to incorporate eco-friendly habits into their lives – as churches, communities and as individuals – as they come to terms with the reality of climate change and how our carbon-guzzling lifestyles are already impacting the lives of many people living in developing countries,” said ECI Chairperson, the Ven Andrew Orr.

ECI, a project of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting, encourages churches to adopt an eco-friendly approach to worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, youth and children’s work, community outreach and contact with the developing world. It makes awards to parishes that have undertaken steps to ‘green’ their parishes. The most recent award was made to Carrigaline Union at the recent climate justice event.

The parish promotes recycling, composting and Fairtrade and the use of delph rather than disposable crockery and cutlery. In recent years bee-friendly hedging and fruit trees have been planted and the rectory garden is now used for growing vegetables as well as hosting parish picnics and barbecues. Creation-themed services are held several times a year and the parish includes eco tips in its weekly pewsheet and contributes a ‘Green Matters’ section to the Cork, Cloyne and Ross diocesan magazine.

The parish was delighted to receive the award. “Over the past two years, by making practical changes in our parish life, we have tried, as a community, to live more lightly on the earth and it means a lot to us to have our efforts recognised in this way by an organisation like Eco-Congregation Ireland,” said Rev Elaine Murray, Rector of Carrigaline Union.

“We feel that this award is only the beginning: we hope to continue to adjust our individual lives and the life of our congregation. We can continue to learn so much from the online resources available through Eco-Congregation and from other parishes who are also on this journey. We would heartily recommend the Eco-Congregation website’s many resources, if you feel that this is something that might benefit you and your church congregation.”

For further information – and to download Climate Change – Can I Make a Difference? – see

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