A sustainable lifestyle?
At Billingsley and indeed throughout our benefice, we are privileged to live and worship in a rural setting, where we live in close proximity to the natural world. Many find comfort and sustenance from being alongside nature; some may even call this spirituality! From a Christian perspective, we recognise the world as God’s creation (albeit most of us would see God operating within the boundaries of the laws of science, starting with the “Big Bang” and proceeding by evolution). We are called to care and nurture the world, not to selfishly exploit it. As a result, we should try to live in as environmentally-friendly ways as possible. What this means in practice depends on individual circumstances; rural isolation means that most of us depend on cars! But we can at least periodically examine our lives, perhaps once a year, to see if we are doing all that we can. Below are some ideas; I am aware I need to apply some to my own life!
Every month, if you check the Highley Forum, available for download on every parish website within the benefice, you will find tips for more environmentally friendly living, written by Alistair McNaughton from Highley.
When you go shopping, select Fairtrade or other ethically-sourced goods if you can. Grow your own vegetables (if I can manage this, anyone can…). Look out for marks that show high standards of animal welfare such as Red Tractor (see https://www.fwi.co.uk/news/red-tractor-the-pros-and-cons-of-farm-assurance-schemes for a rounded view of this). Support our local producers; mixed arable and livestock farming has always been the bedrock of local agriculture, because of the soils.
Is it possible to share a car when you travel? Billingsley Church is awkwardly sited along a busy main road, but I do give people lifts when I go to do services (and of course, some people can walk!). Think about cycling! We have refreshment facilities in the church. Are there other ways you can reduce car use?
We have a council recycling scheme that makes it easy to recycle; please use it! Can you reuse items such as bags? Do you need that many bags in the first place? Recycle, re-use, reduce.
How energy efficient are you? Simply turning the TV or computer off rather than having it on stand-by makes a difference. Smart energy meters make it easy to track consumption. You can check on websites to work out your own carbon footprint, perhaps once a year (e.g. https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/ )
Do you invest your money ethically? Google “ethical banking UK” and do your own research!
Assistant Curate, Severn Valley Benefice