Mother Teresa was once asked, “Isn’t what you are doing to serve the poor just a drop in the ocean?” “Yes,” she replied. “It is. But many drops make a different ocean.”
We might think that on our own we can’t make much of a difference. Certainly there are many issues around Climate Change and Social Justice that require a great deal of effort from Governments and Industry. We can campaign for such change, with the distinctive voice of faith.
Individually, we each also have our part to play; every one of us, making small changes, can together make a big difference. Remember the three pledges each person in the Diocese is encouraged to make; that’s over 40,000 people together making over 120,000 changes! If you are reflecting on your pledges, or searching for fresh ideas, then hopefully these are helpful – choose those you are passionate about, and enjoy the journey!
Each of us can pray and as Catholics it is a vital response to the Climate Crisis.
A natural moment of Laudato Si’ prayer is grace before meals – recognising that our food and drink is the gift of God, and as a way of honouring those who have picked, mixed, prepared and cooked the ingredients.
For longer times of prayer, the reflective prayers focused on Laudato Si’, including those written by Pope Francis, can be found here
Rewilding, seed-bombs, hotels for bugs, water for birds and hedgehogs …
Whether you have a garden or a window box, you can give nature a hand. Use the websites below to choose plants that help bees and butterflies, learn how to build hotels for bugs, understand what to do to help hedgehogs thrive, and when to put out extra water for the birds. For families with children and for those who love seeing their garden or local park alive with the wonders of nature, the tips on these sites will help wildlife to flourish and bring great colour and vibrancy.
The RSPB offers great information about understanding birds, with resources for families and schools; there are also ten RSPB reserves across Essex and East London; find your nearest ones here.
The Woodland Trust have a tremendous website, and they do wonderful work preserving and creating woodlands. They have some special pages on how to build a bug hotel
To help hedgehogs, have a look at the passionate work of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. If you are feeling ambitious, use information from the Wildlife Trusts to build a hedgehog house, to help this increasingly endangered creature.
Seed bombs are a brilliant springtime activity, to easily create a colourful patch of garden with bee- and insect-attracting flowers. Find out how to make a seed bomb here.
If there are other websites you would like to recommend, please do email us at [email protected] and we will gladly add them here. Activities such as making seed bombs can also be done together as a parish, or a group of families.
Eat a more plant-based diet
Methane gas is a by-product of meat production; it also contributes to climate change. To become vegetarian, or vegan, even for two or three days a week, is both healthy for you and good for the planet.
When out shopping – for anything you are buying – have a look at the label and see the miles the food has travelled. The very best things are seasonal fruit and vegetables, locally grown.
If you can’t find local products in your supermarket, email them about it – or add it to your social media, tagging them in. This is what causes things to change!
When you make changes to your diet, especially if becoming vegan, be sure to make changes gradually and take advice about iron and other mineral supplements.
You’ll find excellent professional advice from the NHS and from the BBC Good Food Guide – this also includes links to many tasty recipes!
In your flat or house
There are some things that are so simple and easy. They cost nothing, save you money and save energy and water:
Turn off lights when you leave the room;
Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth;
Only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle;
Turn the heating down by one degree;
Completely power off TVs, computers and other appliances, rather than leaving them on standby.
If you are renting a house or flat you may need the permission of the landlord, but this should also be quite easy: change light bulbs to LED. Check your fittings will take LED bulbs (almost all will, but you will need care with dimmable bulbs). LED lights use far less energy than any alternatives. https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/lighting/
If you own your home, there is even more you can do…
Reduce energy use, check your insulation, consider your energy sources
If you own your own home you are probably paying significant energy costs. As with so much Laudato Si’ inspiration, doing what is good for the planet, God’s creation and for the poorest people in it, is also good for us. The ideas here will save you money and help the air we all breathe to be cleaner and clearer. Some are quick, some will take time and initial expenditure, but will then save a great deal of money and energy.
Intentionally, we are not recommending any commercial providers here. Instead, for each of the areas mentioned, we advise you to look at the website of the Energy Saving Trust where you will find excellent, up to date, impartial information. This will help you in asking the questions you need answered when you contact a commercial supplier.
Add insulation to your home. Adding insulation, especially in the loft/roof cavity as well as in walls, will significantly reduce the energy needed to heat your home. You might also find there are grants available to help with this, especially if you are a pensioner or on low income. Ask your local Council. https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/energy-at-home/reducing-home-heat-loss/
Seek electricity and gas suppliers that use renewable sources. Ask your existing energy supplier where they source their energy – some may offer you a mix of more renewable sources. There are also suppliers who only use renewables (wind or solar power, mainly).
When your boiler is near the end of its life, look for alternatives. Solar panels, air or ground source heating, or biomass boilers are all possible, though they will work differently in different settings, and the cost of installation may be too much for you (though again, grants may be possible – have a look at https://www.gov.uk/domestic-renewable-heat-incentive). Technology here is moving quickly and prices are falling all the time, so if your boiler is due for renewal, do check alternatives.
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