Sustainability as an expression of Christian discipleship
At the very beginning of the bible, we find God creating a world that God calls ‘very good’, with flourishing plants and animals. God then appoints the human creature as caretaker or steward of this good creation, with the inference being that the human steward is meant to keep the creation good. We at Tuggeranong Uniting believe that this can reasonably interpreted as not poisoning or polluting it, giving due care to the natural needs of domestic food animals, and preserving the habitat of wild animals. This is further reinforced in Genesis 8, where God makes the same covenant with animals as humans, promising never to destroy the earth again.
It is a sad truth that in our modern, civilised world, we have changed natural farming practice to intensive farming practice, we have allowed synthetic created chemicals to poison our air and our waterways, we have destroyed natural habitats so animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, indigenous peoples have been driven off their land to satisfy large corporations requiring mono crops, and we have allowed the over-fishing of many species. With the increase of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we are changing the climate of our planet, threatening the homelands of many people and the extinction of many animals.
Right now we have so many good reasons, as Christians and stewards of the planet, to live sustainably. Our planet cannot indefinitely sustain our continued use of its resources. Sustainable living, which includes growing our own food, buying locally-produced produce, reducing our consumption of goods, reducing our waste by reusing, recycling and buying less, is one big way we can help our planet.
We believe that if we all lived sustainably, our world and our future could change immensely. This has led to many of us making the choice to try and walk lightly on our fragile earth as part of our discipleship.
We would be delighted to talk further with you about how you can be part of the solution and what we can all do to reduce our footprint.
As part of the Uniting Church in Australia, we will continue to advocate for good environmental policies that preserve Australia’s beautiful, natural capital. You can read our policy here:
Read the Uniting Church of Australia’s Statement of Climate Change
The resolution supporting this policy with action is here:
Read The Uniting Church Resolution
Climate Change Action
The science is clear. The burning of fossil fuels over the past 200 years has added billions of tonnes of ‘greenhouse gases’ to the earth’s atmosphere and to the oceans, causing a rapid warming of the planet. Over 1 degree of warming has already been experienced, 2 degrees is pretty much locked in as a result of emissions already in the atmosphere, and the world is currently on track for 3 or 4 degrees of warming by the end of this century unless emissions are halved by 2030 and reach zero by 2050 at the absolute latest.
4 degrees of warming would give us a planet that humans have never seen before. It would result in constant extreme weather events, areas of the planet being too hot to inhabit, loss of agriculture in many areas, 2 metres or more of sea level rise, the flooding of many densely populated areas, famine, the breakdown of many societies, and millions and millions of refugees.
No generation would ever want to leave a legacy like this to their children and grandchildren, and here at Tuggeranong we are acutely aware of the danger. In following Jesus’ call to love and serve others, we seek to live sustainably ourselves and to join in the call for action across our nation to reduce emissions and to assist those who are already being impacted.
Our congregation participates in the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change group, and members of the congregation are active participants in groups like 350.org, the Stop Adani campaign, the Lock the Gate alliance, and the School Climate Strike. We also have members who actively lobby politicians and businesses, and who write submissions to parliamentary enquiries.
Our Church’s Commitments
Tuggeranong Uniting church strives to take practical action to protect our environment and reduce the impacts of climate change whenever possible. With this in mind we have taken the following steps to make our church as environmentally friendly as possible:
- We purchase all our toilet paper and tissues from Who Gives a Crap, an Australian-based social enterprise company. Who gives a Crap sells ethically and environmentally friendly toilet paper made from recycled waste paper. They also donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need in developing countries. For more info or to shop please visit: au.whogivesacrap.org
- We limit the use of single use plastics as much as possible. We do not purchase plastic straws, plates or cutlery.
- We use recycled office paper and minimise printing by using digital filing whenever practical.
- We promote sustainability through our Spring Fair every year by holding stalls with information about sustainability and holding workshops on topics such as making beeswax wraps, composting, worm farming, and minimising waste.
- We partner with See-Change, a grass-roots sustainability organisation based in Canberra. See-Change are focused on making beneficial changes to our Society, Environment and Economy in order to live more sustainably.
- We have a neighborhood Garden on the church property to promote the use of healthy, locally grown produce, therefore reducing the need for transport and packaging of fresh food, as well as minimising the use of pesticides and other chemicals.