Articles of interest

Eco-Church

As I expect you’ve heard by now, St Michael’s has recently signed up to Eco-Church.  Eco-Church is run by A Rocha which is a Christian environmental charity.  We fill in an on-line eco-survey about how we are looking after God’s earth in different areas of our lives, and are given points towards an Eco-Church award.  The survey takes you through five key areas of church life:

  • Worship and teaching
  • Management of church buildings
  • Management of church land
  • Community and global engagement
  • Lifestyle

The results of the survey will help us to identify areas where we can improve, and Eco-Church has resources available to give us advice and support to work towards a bronze
award, and then move up to a silver and hopefully a gold award.  We will soon be in a position to publish the results of the survey, it’s currently being filled in.

We are also applying to the Diocese for an energy audit to be carried out which should help
us to reduce our energy usage
which should reduce our carbon footprint and save us money.

If you have ideas, would like to know more about Eco Church, or would like to get involved,
please speak to me.

Claire Stagg
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Eco-Church Bulletin on Plastic Pollution

What is plastic pollution?

Plastic pollution is any plastic that ends up in the environment – from bottles and bags to less obvious sources like teabags and clothes.

In the past 100 years humans have produced a lot of plastic.  It's cheap, strong, light and versatile.  So it's not surprising we're using tons of the stuff.  All of it eventually ends up in the ground, in the sea and even in the air.
(
www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment/2019/04/microplastics-are-raining-down-sky)

Our plastic waste has invaded the highest mountains and deepest oceans.  No-one knows how long it will take to disappear – but at least hundreds of years.

Visit the Money Saving Expert website for ways to reduce your plastic usage and save money.
(www.moneysavingexpert.com/team-blog/2018/01/13-ways-use-less-plastic-save-cash)

Please speak to Claire Stagg if you have ideas or would like to know more about Eco-Church.
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Suggestion for Lent - Lower Meat Diet

One suggestion for Lent that helps with Climate Change could be to move towards a lower meat diet.

Traditionally, one of the key disciplines of Lent was to give up meat for all fast days (all days from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday except for Sundays.)  I love meat and eat lots.  I am never going to become a vegetarian.  Today however, many people who quite happily enjoy meat are trying to eat less meat, especially beef and lamb, to help counteract global warming.  Two of the biggest ways we can help are reducing meat consumption and cutting down on air travel (Ouch, I also like travel!)  26% of all world emissions responsible for climate change come from food production;  and 58% of that comes from meat production.

There are lots of other ways to help reduce emissions but starting them all at the same time is tough!  One option for Lent is to reduce meat consumption quite a lot this Lent as a discipline, and then keep a part of this reduction going after Lent.  We might also try to find some enjoyable meat-free options to use sometimes, after Lent is over.

Different people will find different levels and approaches to try.  Those cooking for others may find it easier to give up meat for a light lunch or for tea than for the main meal of the day when the family is there.  Above all don’t waste meat!  Possibilities for Lent include:

  • Only eating meat in Lent on Sundays.
  • Only eating meat once a day in Lent.
  • Giving up meat on Fridays in Lent – (at least for part of the day).

This can be combined with options like:

  • Not buying flown-in or out-of-season fruit and vegetables (Shipped-in bananas and apples etc are not nearly so bad.)
  • Reducing Lamb & Beef, which are the worse culprits for CO2 and methane.

Below I give a list that is illustrative of roughly how much CO2 / methane is produced by various foods, so you can make your own decisions.  In general:

  • Lamb and beef are the worse by far.
  • Pork, turkey and chicken are less than half as bad.
  • Cheese, eggs and milk produce less CO2 than chicken, turkey and pork.
  • Vegetable foods are best from this point of view.

Apart from the methane cows produce, the reason people are burning the Amazon forest is to clear it to produce cows for beef burgers.  Meat also diverts land from producing food that poor can afford like maize, beans and rice.

CO2 equivalents produced by some common protein-rich foods

This list below is ILLUSTRATIVE rather than precise.  Each sheep, cow and lentil produce a different amount of CO2 and methane.  (Together the effect is measured as “CO2 equivalent = CO2e”).  There are also different ways of calculating a figure.  More details for different foods and an idea of the range can be found at
www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46459714.  You can use it to work out something that works for you.

Food

Average small 'healthy' serving

Average CO2e per small serving

CO2e in a year if eaten once per week

Beef

75 gm = 1 small beef burger

7,726 gm

401 kilos

Lamb

75 gm

4,334 gm

225 kilos

Farmed Prawns

5 king prawns

3,441 gm

178 kilos

Farmed Fish

140 gm = one fillet

1,871 gm

97 kilos

Pork

75 gm = 3 rashers bacon

1,797 gm

93 kilos

Chicken

75 gm = small breast

1,361 gm

70 kilos

Cheese

30 gm covers two crackers

964 gm

50 kilos

Milk

200 ml = one glass

627 gm

32 kilos

Eggs

2 eggs

553 gm

28 kilos

Tofu

100 gm

159 gm

8 kilos

Beans

150 gm = third of a tin

99 gm

5 kilos

Peas

80 gm

16 gm

0.8 kilos

Nuts

handful

14 gm

0.7 kilos

Other low CO2 proteins include peanut butter, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils.

Enjoyable or quick & easy recipe suggestions, please

How about sending suggestions for enjoyable or easy low-CO2 meals to the magazine?  For quick & easy light lunches, I recommend peanut butter sandwiches (perhaps with a slice of onion) and toast croutons on baked beans cooked with herbs & garlic to taste.  I am sure others can suggest delicious or quick low-CO2 meals to enjoy.

In the middle ages to eat like a king was to eat meat three times a week.  This level of meat-eating would be much better for our health, for those on a tight budget, and for the environment.  I will never ever reach down to that kingly level of meat-eating of 3 times a week.  But I can reduce meat consumption – and find things to enjoy – even in Lent.

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