The Green Bishop?

Richard Chartres, the 132nd Bishop of London, is one of the Church of England’s most outspoken members on climate change issues. We recently featured news of his personal attempts to cut his own carbon emissions, but how is his fast progressing? The Guardian recently visited him to see if his home life was as green as he is trying to make the entire church.

Last year Chartres said that flying on holiday or buying a large car were a "symptom of sin". He pledged to avoid flying for a year soon after, because he was criticised in the press for still taking flights for "diocese work" as well as retaining a chauffeur-driven car.

The Church of England is currently running a carbon footprint reduction, which aims to reduce emissions by 60% before 2050. The scheme’s website states, "Creating 'the 40% Church' can start with putting a low-energy light bulb in the vestry or switching off the parish photocopier at night. If we each take responsibility for these little things today, the larger ones will become much easier tomorrow; but unless we take up responsibility ourselves, we cannot expect others to do the same."

Chartres said, "I do encounter pockets of resistance within the church, but I would describe this as unawareness - live, drink, eat, for tomorrow we die. It is said in Genesis - and this is mythological language, of course - that we are here to till and keep, to develop and conserve; that we are people who should be respectful of limits, balance and rhythms." He has become a vegetarian, because on a trip to Mozambique he saw “what an inefficient converter beasts were of grain into protein." He also attempts to eat locally sourced food, which he admits is hard when living in Central London. "I try to eat what's in season and has been locally sourced. But it is very difficult in central London. My wife and I use Borough Market as much as we can. It's a wonderful experience."

He also admits that his self-imposed flying ban hasn’t been easy, "In practical terms, it has produced all sorts of inconveniences for me. I've said I wouldn't fly for a year and I have had to refuse a number of invitations, largely ones by environmental organisations, to attend conferences abroad. The year comes to an end at the beginning of November, but I don't resent it because it's a fast. It has been an incentive and a goad to me. There was a time when my wife and I were wondering about retirement and getting somewhere cheap in Spain, but I don't think I could do recreational flying now. I'm considering ruling it out of my life once my experiment has finished." :: The Guardian

See also :: Hallelujah! Church of England Goes Green :: Church: Good for the Soul, Bad for the Lungs? :: Bishop of London: Contributing to Climate Change is a Sin

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