Here you can find our regular thoughts on sustainability, known as our Green Feed, for Teddington Parish. These are communicated to subscribers through our emailed News Bulletin.
Attendees at Teddington Parish services and events are advised that we encourage the use of public transport and walking. Travel options are provided here.
UK Heatwave sees Churches offer a place to cool down
The recent extreme heat reminded us again how unprepared the UK is to manage the significant periods of temperature extremes – both hot and cold – with many businesses and schools closing, emergency services overwhelmed, and transport providers warning travellers to stay home.
However, around the UK, churches with thick stone walls and high rooves, remained cooler, so had their doors open, inviting all to seek respite from the heat.
General Synod endorses plans to help the Church reach net zero carbon by 2030
The Church of England’s General Synod has endorsed detailed plans to help the Church reach net zero carbon by 2030. The Route map to Net Zero Carbo by 2030 encourages cathedrals, churches, schools, and theological education institutions to make changes to their day-to-day activities to reduce carbon emissions.
The Routemap was drawn up by members of the Environment Working Group and includes explanations of simple changes which can be made, such as fixing basic insulation gaps or switching lightbulbs.
The Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher, the Church of England’s lead Bishop for the Environment, said: “The 2030 target is hugely ambitious, but the process is as important as the target. This work is central to our story with God and creation, central to our story about God and creation. And I see it as a key part of our obedience to God’s call to be stewards of creation.”
You can read more on the Net zero carbon Routemap here:
On 24th September we will be hosting our first ever Sustainability Festival in the Parish Hall; the theme of the festival is ‘Living Your Sustainable Life.’ In theory, sustainable living aims to reduce personal and societal environmental impact by making positive changes which counteract negative environmental concerns. In practical terms, living a sustainable life means meeting our own needs without taking too much, or without compromising the ability of others to get enough for themselves.
While there is a lot of coverage of these topics these days, and many people make efforts to be more sustainable, the reality is that is very few people truly live the perfect sustainable life – and that’s ok!
The day will see a range of sessions supporting attendees in learning how you could make small tweaks on your own sustainable journeys if you want to. There will be sessions on reducing energy use, gardening, growing and cooking your own food, repairing and reusing items, sustainable communities, and we will hear from local children about some of their amazing projects. We will also be hosting an evening event at a local venue with food, drinks, and music and the weekend will culminate in the Harvest Service on 25th September.
We will be sharing further details soon including how to buy your tickets. Come and join us on the day, we look forward to seeing you.
Various Tips and Advice
ARE THERE FOODS WITH TOO HIGH A CARBON COST? It can take up to 320 litres of water to grow one avocado. Ancient forests have been destroyed to enlarge avocado farms, then add to this the resources needed to pick and transport them across the world, and you have a carbon emission nightmare. Also, bagged salad, grown under LED lights and transported vast distances by trucks is another food with an incredibly high Carbon cost. Particularly if it is then used for garnish, just left at the side of the plate before being thrown away.
CLEANING PRODUCTS TO AVOID: avoid anything containing Sodium Hypochlorite, as If it leaks into bodies of water it can mix with other chemicals and be highly toxic to animals, it also remains in the environment for a long time. Try traditional recipes based on white vinegar or lemon juice instead, or one that is plant based. Also, The Refill Larder has solid blocks to add to water to make a cleaning spray - to either decant into an existing plastic bottle you may have or they also sell glass alternatives.
WILD CHRISTIAN: NATURE AND WASTE. Having signed-up to A Rocha's Wild Christian newsletter we have really been enjoying the content and wanted to share it with you.
ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECT OF EMAILS: (although of course I am sending one now!). Each email has a carbon footprint. It takes electricity to type at your computer to send the email through the network and to store it in an inbox, managed in vast data centres around the world. It can seem like a relatively low impact activity, but the sheer volume of emails we collectively send has a sizeable effect, and the carbon emissions caused by the world’s annual email output are equivalent to having an extra 7 million cars on the road. So, let's start thinking before clicking ‘’send’. And are one- or two-word emails such as ‘’Great’’, ‘’Thank you’’ or ‘’Ok’’ really necessary?
CUT DOWN ON FOOD WASTE. On arrival home with food shopping, take anything that can sweat out of the pesky plastic covering. Once a week, check through your fridge and use older vegetables to make soup, maybe adding some beans, chickpeas or lentils to make a meal. Cook in bulk and freeze extra portions. Also try keeping bread in the freezer and take out what you want when you want it to prevent waste. It’s easier to ‘butter’ when frozen and soon thaws and it can be toasted from frozen.
SHOP LOCAL. Major online retailers have made it easier than ever to buy whatever we want, whenever we want it, and few figures better illustrate the money online spent during the pandemic than the jaw-dropping $6.3BN in profit growth than Amazon made in 2020 compared to 2019. This doesn’t even consider the carbon footprint associated with these “just in time” retail models. Meanwhile, small, local, vendors have been more vulnerable to lockdowns, restrictions, safety concerns and loss of employees, and most cannot compete with mega online vendors and their enormous distribution centres.
As we see life opening up more again in the coming weeks, please consider supporting local vendors where possible. Remember that buying locally supports the community, supports local jobs, and typically results in more thoughtful shopping, which reduces waste from those ill-advised late-night shopping sprees!
One example to consider is that we have chosen to partner with The Open Book in Richmond for our Sustainability Book Club. The Open Book offer generous discounts to anyone buying the book bundles, and we support a local, independent, business in return. If you are interested in hearing more about how you can support local vendors, or in joining the Book Club please contact James: email@example.com
Launch of the Sustainability Book Club- we have launched our Sustainability Book Club and hope you will join us. We will meet once a month to share thoughts on a series of books across the subject of sustainability, bringing interested members of the community together to learn and to discuss a vitally important subject. Our first book will be From What Is to What If: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future we Want by Rob Hopkins, and we have an agreement in place with a local independent bookstore, The Open Book in Richmond, to offer discounted prices on the books we will be reading. If you are interested in hearing more or in joining and ordering your first book, please sign-up at the back of church or contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to our weekly Green Feed. Each week we will suggest ways that you can contribute to our recent sustainability declaration, and take action to combat climate change. This week we ask that you sign up to the Climate Coalition’s ‘The Time is Now’ declaration to help get our voices heard and tell politicians that we want a cleaner, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild a strong economy. For more information please email our Sustainability Group.
This week we would like to suggest that you include issues of climate change and creation care in your prayer life. We all need to work together to bring about change and restore and protect the planet for future generations. We ask that you consider praying for those already suffering from the impacts of the changing climate and for the strength to unite to help make a difference to everyone’s future. For more information please email our Sustainability Group.
This week we begin looking at some practical steps we can all take to help live more sustainably and reduce our contribution to climate change. Our Sustainability Group are looking at energy use in the Church, and we invite you to do the same in your homes and workplaces. Our first step will be to reduce our energy use as far as possible. The most simple measures we can take include switching off lights and unplugging devices whenever we can. We will choose appliances and light bulbs that use the least energy and try to incorporate some solar powered devices. Hopefully we won’t need our heat our homes or the Church at this time of year, but when we do we might be able to turn down thermostat down a little. Although it is very challenging in our Church building, we will also review our insulation to ensure it is the best it can be, and we invite you to do so in your homes too. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
Continuing our theme of reducing the energy we use at Church and in our homes; reducing water consumption is a key part of this. We can be conscious of reducing our water consumption in kitchens and bathrooms, and maybe harvest rainwater in our outside spaces. We can consider saving energy and water in our laundry, washing on shorter cycles or at colder temperatures and line drying clothes in nice weather. Whilst cooking we can also be conscious of the energy we consume; trying not to boil the kettle more than we need and not pre-heat the oven too early. Smart home devices can be very helpful in reducing energy consumption, and smart metering can help us track our use. Every little step we can take will collectively help reduce our impact on climate change. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
For the last two weeks we have looked at ways we can all reduce our energy consumption in Church and at home. Once we have minimised our consumption, we can look at our remaining energy use and ensure it comes from renewable sources through the Big Clean Switch. Some energy suppliers are also taking steps to help reduce fuel poverty, that affects so many households in the UK. Further details can be found at the Fair Energy Campaign. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
The way we travel can have a big impact on our local environment and our contribution to climate change. This week we invite you try to walk or cycle a short journey you would usually take by car or public transport. As well as the environmental benefits we hope you will also experience the benefits for your physical and mental well-being. At Church we will be thinking about our personal journeys and those associated with all our activities, for example reducing unnecessary journeys and deliveries. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
As we approach the summer holidays we are likely to travel further afield. Whist air travel and cruise ships may seem like a distant memory, there are still steps you can take to further reduce the impact of your UK holiday. You may want to look at alternatives to car travel, such as travelling by train. When you arrive at your destination you may also be able to reduce your need to travel by shopping locally and finding destinations on your doorstep. There are many sustainable tourism providers in the UK, which work with their local community to lessen their impact. You may also find it rewarding to get involved in local beach cleans or other local environmental improvement programmes whilst you are there. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
It can be difficult to reduce car journeys, if you can’t walk or cycle then public transport or car sharing can also help reduce the impact of your travel. If you choose to run a car then there are many considerations that can reduce the environmental impact. If you plan to drive in a highly populated area such as Teddington, you should consider buying a petrol car or diesel of the highest emission standard (Euro 6) to reduce the impact on local air quality, our better still look into buying a zero emission electric or plug-in-hybrid car that can be charged at the growing number of on street charging points, or at home if you have access to parking. There are grants available to help with purchasing new cars that are zero emission capable, and incentives through reduced congestion charge, ultra low emission zone and parking charges. Details of your local charging points can be found at www.zap-map.com. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
Choosing to eat locally and seasonally can significantly reduce the environmental impact of food production, transport and waste. It can also taste much better and be better for you as locally grown food can retain it nutritious value much better than food transported long distances. You can all save money and support your local economy by choosing locally grown foods. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
Continuing on theme of food from last weeks Green Feed, you may be interested to learn more about the amazing volunteers who set up the Real Junk Food Project in Twickenham. The project collects unwanted food from local suppliers, from supermarkets to allotments, and redistributes it through a pay-as-you-feel cafe in Twickenham and a food surplus stall in Hampton Hill. This project helps improve access to healthy food, whilst helping to significantly reduce the amount of unwanted food that ends up in landfill sites. Since the project first opened in 2018they have fed 9,997 bellies and saved 58 tonnes of food. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
One issue that is close to the hearts of our sustainability group, is trying to reduce unnecessary pollution from idling vehicle engines. This issue has also been raised by the children of St Mary’s and St Peter’s school, who have noticed this happening at their school gates. The school Eco Team are keen to spread the word amongst the school community and ask people to switch off their engines when stationary. Leaving engines running while stationary causes unnecessary air pollution, and is also illegal. Combating this is particularly important in locations where there are high numbers of idling vehicle engines an people being exposed, such as outside schools and hospitals, and by bus stops. Richmond Council are collaborating with councils across London through Idling Action. Their website has lots of helpful information, including myth-busting and how you can volunteer to help tackle engine idling. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
You have may heard the term Circular Economy. This is the concept that everything should be kept within the economy, as opposed to being made, used and disposed of. A circular economy is based upon reusing, sharing, repairing, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system. This helps minimise the use of resources and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.
One of the ways that we can help move towards a circular economy is by reducing our consumption of single use packaging. Here in Teddington we are lucky to have the RefIll Larder on the High Street where you can buy a range of food and other products such as laundry liquid without packaging. Other high street shops such as chemists and opticians often take back hard to reduce packaging, such as tablet and contact lenses packaging. For more information please contact our Sustainability Group.
This week the Sustainability Group would love to hear from you. The Climate Crisis can often feel so huge that the small steps seem unimportant. But if everyone was to take just a small step in the same direction, the impact would be magnified. Every step we take, no matter how small, really does matter. Especially if your actions inspire others to do the same. So if you have taken steps to live more sustainably, or you have pledged to make a change for the better, then we want to hear about it. Please share your thoughts with one of the group, or send us an email at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
In the introduction to his book, “From What Is to What If” the author Rob Hoskins takes readers on a journey through his day. He talks about his morning routine, waking in a house built as part of a sustainable construction initiative, walking his kids to school with a stop at the communal gardens to check on the food crops or to pick fruit. From there he cycles to work, with time out in the middle of the day to volunteer on community projects. The day ends with community-led sports and art clubs for children supported by residents in conjunction with the schools, and other activities such as Neighbourhood Assembly, an opportunity for residents to meet and to discuss local projects. The day is idyllic, except, that it isn’t real. Hoskins has written a vision of his perfect day. This got me thinking about what my perfect sustainable day would look like. I’ll share this next week, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear you. What would your day look like? Are you living it already? In which case, please let us know.
Last week I mentioned author Rob Hoskins sharing a description of a sustainable day in the introduction to his book “From What Is to What If.” Here is my own version. I’d wake early as the sun is rising and make breakfast for my family, made with local produce purchased at the cooperative market and with fruit we’ve grown in our garden. After breakfast I’d walk my son to school. The walk would be filled with noises of other families walking or cycling, but no cars, since the local council have made roads in the middle of the town car-free between 7-10am during the week to make the journey safer for families. We pass children playing in the streets, lots of laughing and talking while we pass under the many trees that have been planted along the roads in the area. One day each week we’d leave early to spend an hour tending to the community garden, grabbing an apple from the baskets of fruit hanging on the UV street lights along the road for people to share. After I’ve dropped my son at school, I’d walk to the Parish Hall which has setup communal workspaces, washing some of the plates from the free breakfast that’s provided to those who need it and wiping tables as I go – this the simple “price” residents pay for access to the space. Once a week, I’d walk back to school at lunch time to assist the teachers with the school’s community project of choice – this term the class is helping with the upkeep of the green boxes that have been installed on bus stops around the town. At the end of the day, I’d pick my son up from school, making use of the traffic free zones that also operate from 3-6pm, stopping so that he can play a game of rounders with friends or draw chalk pictures on one of the designate walls in the area. One evening a week, we go back to the Parish Hall for a community evening. This week is games night, with attendees bringing along their favourite games to teach others. Local products are available for sale on tables around the hall, meaning we go home in the evening tired but happy, and with tomorrow’s breakfast and dinner set. What would your perfect sustainable day look like? Please share your ideas with us here.
On 9 August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, released Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, the first of its three-part Sixth Assessment Report. This is the biggest update on the state of climate science since the 5th Assessment Report in 2014.
The AR6 assessment will consist of three separate reports and The Physical Science Basis is the first detailing how greenhouse gases are causing unprecedented damage to the Earth’s climatic system. The report considers five scenarios from best-case to worst case depending on future emission.
A link to the full report is here and there is much to consider but three key points are:
The report concludes that the outlook is dire, but that it is still possible to take action to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis. It also notes that every degree of warming matters, so it’s essential that reductions in emissions must happen now.
Responses to the release of the IPCC reports are:
Following this latest IPCC Assessment report, the Sustainability Action Group would love to hear from you. The Climate Crisis can often feel so huge that the small steps seem unimportant. But if everyone was to take just a small step in the same direction, the impact would be magnified. Every step we take, no matter how small, really does matter. Especially if your actions inspire others to do the same. So, if you have taken steps to live more sustainably, or you have pledged to make a change for the better, then we want to hear about it. To let us know, to share your thoughts and to ask questions, please get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have Yourselves a Very Merry – Green - Christmas
We hope that you will be celebrating Hope, Peace, Love and Joy with loved ones this festive season.
While many of us will be looking forward to a special Christmas, it can sadly be a boon for waste with an extra 30% of rubbish produced and discarded over those few days, compared with the rest of the year, and an estimated 54 million platefuls of food wasted in the UK over the holidays. As such, we’d like to share with you some ideas from Richmond Council on how you can consider the environment during this season, without sacrificing any of your traditions: https://www.richmond.gov.uk/news/press_office/campaigns_and_events/climate_emergency/easy_ways_to_act_on_climate_change_this_december
The Sustainability Action Group would like to wish you and your families a blessed (and environmentally friendly!) Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
A Sustainable Resolution
A New Year is a time for New Year’s resolutions, and why not try adding a sustainable resolution to your list this year? While it’s tempting to try to make sweeping changes, several small changes that you can stick to, when multiplied by many other small acts by many people, are ultimately much more impactful. You could aim to use public transport one day a week instead of driving, swapping a toiletry product with an environmentally friendly alternative, or endeavour to repair and re-use one items of clothing instead of buying new. These are just a few ideas and there are many options to try, and below are some suggestions: