In 2020, while many peoples’ attention has understandably been focused on the immediate challenges of Covid-19, climate change hasn’t slowed down. Instead, the impact of this year has been likened to turning off the taps briefly in an already full bath – the bath is still full and will soon overflow.
For Climate Stewards, Covid presents the ultimate paradox – we were delighted to see carbon emissions plummeting as the world stopped travelling and shopping for unnecessary stuff, but without income from offsetting we can’t continue to support our wonderful partners.
At Climate Stewards, we believe that creation care (including taking action on climate change) should be a normal part of Christian discipleship. Following Jesus’s command to love our neighbour means seeing how our actions impact our global neighbours facing crop failure, floods and droughts caused by climate change; our future neighbours who will see much harsher impacts of climate change; and our non-human neighbours facing extinction as a result of climate change and land use change.
This year we have seen more and more mission agencies come to us for advice and help in calculating and reducing their carbon footprint. This has often been prompted by questions from younger people interested in their work but concerned about the impact on the environment.
Climate Stewards’ strapline is ‘Reduce what you can, offset the rest’. 360Carbon is our online tool for churches to measure their carbon footprint from different activities – energy, travel, food, waste, water and other expenditure. It is free to use and works for all church denominations. We’re currently working on a similar calculator for use by mission organisations, NGOs and small businesses, due to be launched early in 2021.
Offsetting income funds our partner projects in Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Peru and Mexico - planting indigenous trees with churches, schools and smallholder farmers, as well as providing clean cookstoves, water filters and fire-less cookers to poor households.
People are often surprised to find that it doesn’t cost the earth to offset, but that it’s a great way of compensating for our impact on God’s earth and His creatures, and helping our poorest global neighbours adapt to the impacts of climate change.
You can find out more at www.climatestewards.org.