Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Cities Impact on Climate Change

A new report has been released by the UN on the impact our urban environments have on climate change.  More than 50% of the world population now lives in urban community.  (Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
While rural Yorkshire seems remote from city life "Consumption is carried out at an individual level; energy consumption is also an individual choice. This is why local governments and communities can a big role, even when their national governments do not accept or acknowledge the challenges." 

Here in the Diocese of York we have a big role to play.   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12881779

Monday, 28 March 2011

Hedge Planting @ Stamford Bridge

It was really good to be able to go along and support the community at Stamford Bridge on Sunday with their hedge planting - this was part of an ongoing effort loccaly to enhance the habitats in the churchyard.  Nearly 400 young plants were planted in a variety of species.  Watering was undertaken using water stored in butts collected from the chancel roof!

Many thanks for the invitation to come and help plant and for the tea and buscuits served through the afternoon!

Graham Andrews
Archbishop's Advisor for the Environment

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Carbon Offsetting

We hope this period looking at energy has been helpful to you, and you’ve got some ideas on how you might be able to save energy at home and in the church.

Once you’ve tried to reduce your carbon footprint, might you think about offsetting the remainder? The Diocese is working with the Carbon Footprint UK Tree Planting Scheme to plant trees in areas across the Diocese to offset our mileage and other emissions from 2011.

While offsetting will not solve our carbon problems completely, it does give us a breathing pace to put longer term changes in place. We would love our parishes to contribute their offset into this fund. If you’re interested, read more here.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Funding for Energy Saving Projects

It’s all very well having great ideas on insulating your church, or getting a new boiler for the church hall, but these things cost money.

The Energy Saving Trust has a list of organisations that giving funding to energy saving projects here. Some of these projects are for domestic buildings and others are for charities.

EDF Energy has a Green Fund that has awarded £4.6m to 260 community projects across the UK since 2001, including a recent £27,000 grant to a church in Teesside to install solar panels on its roof. They awards grants to organisations to help cover the cost of renewable energy technology that can be used to produce green energy from the sun, wind, water, wood and other renewable sources. You can read more here.

Eleanor Course

Friday, 25 March 2011

Green Shoots in the Budget?

Introduction of a carbon price. This is a radical announcement and reinforces the Government’s ambition to be the greenest in UK history; however, the price must be set at a level that drives green innovation and the starting rate does appear too low.

Our Agents, Smiths Gore, "welcome any announcement that gives greater certainty to green investment, including the tripling of the Government finance for the Green Investment Bank. Delaying the Bank’s right to borrow money to 2015 is negative and will be criticised by the renewables industry, which will have wanted greater potential for expansion. "

Perhaps not?

Could your church be more energy efficient?

When parish finances are tight, it’s important that you don’t pay more than you need to for your utilities. And by reducing what you pay on your energy bills, you’ll also be helping our planet. But let’s not miss a trick – most of the church’s energy is consumed in our own homes, not at church on Sundays!

Shrinking the Footprint is the Church of England’s national environmental campaign - the Church of England is committed to a Carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050. The Shrinking the Footprint has lots of advice on how you can asses your church’s current Carbon Footprint, use energy more efficiently in your building, and even switch to green energy.

The Carbon Trust has also published advice on how to ‘control and reduce energy consumption in heritage and cultural buildings’ which you can download here.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Were you inspired by yesterday’s video of St Edward the Confessor Church, Dringhouses, York, reducing their carbon footprint by 10% in 6 months?

Could your church make a commitment to be more eco-friendly?  If you think you could, why not invite your PCC to get involved with Eco-congregation. 

Eco-congregation helps churches begin to address environmental issues in all that they do.  They always address environmental issues within a Christian context, and look not only at practical ways of helping the environment, but also on worship, teaching, and mission.   You can find out more here.

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Energy Week : Diocesan House

Here at Diocesan House we are turning off the office lights over lunchtime.  We hope this is an effective and simple way to help cut our energy costs and reduce our carbon footprint.

Green Streets with St Edward the Confessor Church, York

St Edward the Confessor Church, Dringhouses, York, took part in a project to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% in 6 months.  They got involved with the Green Streets Project, which was set up by the Stockholm Institute at the University of York, to see if community teams, working together, would have more of an impact reducing their carbon footprints than individuals on their own. 

Find out how they got on in this interview with Peter Burgess of St Edward the Confessor Church.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Saving Energy at Home

Most of the church’s energy is consumed in our own homes, not at church on Sundays! What can you do as an individual or as a family to save energy in your home?

The Energy Saving Trust has some great ideas and tips on how you can stop wasting energy (saving you money and helping our planet).

If you’ve got children, you could check out the section on energy saving kids, to your kids to start saving energy day-to-day.

Eleanor Course

Monday, 21 March 2011

Climate Justice

Stand up and shout! Making changes to your energy consumption not only saves you bills at home or in church, it helps saves lives across the planet. And we want you to stand up and shout about this.

Saving energy is a matter of justice for the world’s poorest. If we had a minute’s silence for every person who lost their life to climate change, we’d be silent for more than 200 days.

Climate Justice Fund is the Church of England’s national environmental fund, run in partnership with Tearfund, and it’s all about building a movement for climate justice action. Visit their website and see how you can pray, give or campaign to help people affected by climate change.

Eleanor Course

Photo: Geoff Crawford/Tearfund

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Climate Week

21st March sees the beginning of Climate Week, a new national occasion for everyone wanting to do their bit to combat climate change. You can visit their website here for lots of ideas on what to do, and we particularly like these two ways to get involved.

You can sign up for the Climate Week Challenge, which will be revealed on the Monday morning. It's free for everyone, designed for teams of four to six, and no preparation is required – a table to work at is all each team needs. There are six age categories, with different levels of sophistication expected from the entries, but everyone – from primary pupils to senior managers – will be given the same core challenge.

We also like the sound of the Climate Week Pub Quiz, which includes some questions from the team who do QI! (That's the BBC TV show, not your Quinquennial Inspection, obviously!) Is this something your church could run in a pub near you, or at a church social evening?

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Focus on Energy

From 19th to 27th March we're looking at energy as part of the Year of the Environment. You can read a bit more about how you can save energy as an individual or as a church, and what the team at Diocesan House and Bishopthorpe will be doing to save energy here.

We’ll be posting ideas and stories on our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts through this period – we hope you find them useful.

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling has written collects for the Year of the Environment – here’s the collect for energy. Could you pray this throughout our period of focusing on energy?
Lord, you have given us the means to increase our skills and knowledge.
But as science has developed, we use vast amounts of energy,
and humanity will do anything to secure sources of energy.
Our insatiable demands are fuelling global warming and giving rise to climate change.
Help us to recognise the damage and the danger;
give us true repentance so that we might change our hearts and minds,
generosity and humility to alter the way we live,
to lessen our dependence on finite resources,
to reduce the pollution that we all have a part in causing,
and to hand on a better environment to future generations,
to do whatever is in our power to save the earth and live sustainably,
that our actions may be in accord with our words
and our lives may reflect your glory, our Creator;
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Along with the terrible news coming from Japan and New Zealand over the last few days and weeks, there has been a lot of talk in the media about the earthquakes and tsunamis being "1 in so many year" events.

These comparisons of probability are useful - they give an idea of magnitude.  But they can also make us complacent - the temptation now is to think we won't get any more events like that for a long time; "we have had the 1 in 100 year" event.

But that's not how the maths works.  If you have a dice - where 1 is a small event and 6 is a big event - you throw it and get a six; we all know that it doesn't mean you won't get a 6 in the next few throws.  You may, indeed, get one on the very next throw of the dice (and the next).  All measurements of probability are entirely the same.  Each time you throw the dice the probability of throwing another 6 remains the same - 1 in 6.

In recent years we have had flood damage in many parts of our diocese.  Not least in Hull during 2007.  Of course part of the flooding was caused by the "1 in 150 year magnitude" rainfall.  But much of the damage was exacerbated by poorly maintained drainage and water course systems.  The "1 in 150 year" event (which the Hull rainfall was described as) could happen again tomorrow - but are we any more prepared for it?

As we think about our environment are we still keeping our eyes on the ball and continuing to invest - as individuals and local authorities - in maintaining the many systems that can alleviate the effects of natural disaster?

Graham Andrews

Bird Box at York Minster

We've had this photo from Rebecca Thompson, Superintendent of Works at York Minster.  They've put their Diocesan bird box up at the Centre for School Visits!

Eleanor Course

Friday, 11 March 2011

The Price of Petrol

There has been much in the press regarding the price of fuel for cars - I drive a diesel 1.7 automatic - and with the current crisis in Libya and the Coalition Government aiming to reduce the country's deficit we can probably expect the trend to continue.

Many sources of information regarding fuel economy and driving styles reccomend:
  • Slower driving speeds,
  • Reducing acceleration speeds and not revving the engine,
  • Carrying less weight, and;
  • Only filling the tank half full (as this further reduces the weight you are carrying in the vehicle).
Of the four, I have been aiming to keep my driving speeds down for some time - not that I have ever been a "Boy Racer" and in an automatic I tend not to rev away nor do I aim always to be at the front of the queue - overtaking is not my thing.

I have now decided to try out carrying less fuel on board (partly as I just feel stung by sixty quid if I fill up the tank) and so from today I am only going to put £30 of fuel into the car (roughly half a tank) and I have reset all the gauges in my car which to date read:
  • Projected Range:  254 miles
  • Average Speed:  35 mph
  • Average Consumption: 39.2 mpg
Lets see how it goes - I will report back.

Graham Andrews

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Archbishop launches ‘Springwatch’ at Bishopthorpe

As part of his Year of the Environment celebrations, the Archbishop of York today has invited people to view online how his Palace Gardens look all year round.

The section entitled ‘Springwatch at Bishopthorpe Gardens’, can be viewed online at http://www.archbishopofyork.org/3152

Springwatch is the first of four seasonal updates about the flora and fauna habitats within Bishopthorpe Palace.  It is hoped that this resource will not only appeal to gardening enthusiasts and ‘twitchers’ but all those with a general interest in the environment.

Written by the Head Gardener, the first section (focusing on Spring) talks about the prevalence of scillas, snowdrops, wood aconites and daffodils. It looks at the tasks of pruning, lifting herbaceous shrubs, and tree-planting.

A project to plant Tansy along the banks of the River Ouse to encourage the Tansy Beetle also gets a mention.

At the start of the year, the Archbishop sent a bird nesting box to every church and church school in the Diocese and it is revealed that a dozen nest boxes have also been set up at Bishopthorpe for robins, blue and great tits, tawny owls and tree creepers.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Get growing this Spring with a new garden community

A new national community growing project, supported by Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environmental campaign, and endorsed by a BBC Gardening expert, aims to bring people together locally to help each other grow fruit and vegetables in their own gardens.

Grow Zones has been created to address the challenges facing a new grower with local teams sharing skills, tools and produce to eliminate food miles. A resource kit has been developed to help a facilitator and team get organised and growing without necessarily having any expert knowledge.

BBC Gardening presenter Alys Fowler said: “At last, an easy to use guide on how to get a community group up and running. This is a brilliant resource for anyone who wants to gather some like-minded people together to get gardening. Now all you have to do is get out there and garden!”

David Shreeve, the Church of England’s national environment adviser, said: “Churches and faith groups are ideally placed to establish Grow Zones. Many younger families have the enthusiasm whilst older people often have the gardens which they would welcome some help with and so here's an excellent way to bring congregations together. Grow Zones not only provide practical opportunities, but can produce a very real sense of community with all ages sharing in a 'real-life good life'.”

Grow Zones is a national project supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme. It was started by EarthAbbey (www.earthabbey.com) and piloted in Bristol through the Revd Chris Sunderland, a priest in Bristol Diocese.

Chris Sunderland said: “The Grow Zones Kit has been developed to help teams get organised and growing without necessarily having any expert knowledge. At the beginning the project was a way to get people growing their own food but it has proved to be an amazing friendship and community forming project too. It seems easier for people to make friends over shared work.”

Eleanor Course

Friday, 4 March 2011

Environment art exhibition

As part of the Year of the Environment, we’d like you to get creative and enter our competition to exhibit your art at York Minster and in churches around the Diocese.

We’re holding a Big Environment Celebration at York Minster on Saturday 28th May, and as part of this celebration, we want to exhibit art from churches across the Diocese on the theme of ‘God’s Creation’.   The exhibition will be staying at the Minster for a fortnight and then travelling to six churches across the Diocese for a week each. 

So, how can you enter?  We’d like you to create an artwork in whatever medium you like, whether you are an adult, child or an art group.  The theme will be ‘God’s Creation’, but if you want to focus on something more specific, you could think about on one of the six themes we're focussing on over the year - energy, biodiversity, water, transport, purchasing, and waste and recycling.

Once you’ve created your artwork, take a photo (or several photos if it’s a sculpture) and send it to Eleanor Course at eleanor.course@yorkdiocese.org or by post to Diocesan House by 26 April.  The competition will be judged by the Dean of York, the Very Revd Keith Jones; art lecturer Viola Jones; and the Minster's Collections Manager, Vicky Harrison.  So get creative!

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Archbishop Sentamu supports Fairtrade Fortnight - do you?

'Fairtrade Fortnight' runs from 28th February-13th March and the Archbishop of York is calling for people to support it by organising events and buying Fairtrade produce.

Since the launch of the first Fairtrade label in 1988, the Fairtrade Foundation has been seeking to transform trading structures and practices to help the poor and disadvantaged all over the world.  The Foundation's focus is on helping farmers and workers improve the quality of their lives and take more control over their futures.

Each year, Fairtrade Fortnight encourages people to buy produce that has been produced fairly.  The campaign for 2011 is asking the nation ‘to show off about buying Fairtrade’, which offers 7.5 million people in the developing world a more secure future.

The Archbishop encouraged all to get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight by saying:

"I encourage anyone who is organising an event during Fairtrade Fortnight. Remember your contribution and commitment can help make a difference to those suffering in poverty around the globe.

"Fairtrade is not about charity, it is about justice. It is about people getting fair pay for the produce and products of their labours, no matter where they live in the world.

"Please join me in buying Fairtrade produce where you can – this small act makes such a big difference in the fight against global poverty."