Please join our working group at its quarterly meetings. Here is an overview of our work in 2020 put together by our co-ordinator Nicky Sasman.
Shortly after planning for 2020, we all found ourselves in lockdown, and “practicing what we preached” in terms of reduced consumption, reducing our travel, and eating healthily!
We recognised the need to up our game in 2020, by challenging the status quo, and the COVID-19 pandemic changed the status quo radically for us! Focusing purely on the health of the earth, there have been many environmental benefits to that globally and locally – less pollution; less air pollution; return of wildlife into urban areas; reclaiming streets for people and shift to cycling; reduced carbon emission (especially the main “culprit”, air travel); and reduced consumption (due to lock-downs and a shrinking economy). However, the earth has also suffered from the devastation of livelihoods; increased PPE litter; and recovery plans which do not prioritise “green growth”.
1. WORSHIP / LITURGY
We did manage to squeeze in a memorable service on the theme of “fasting from plastic” at the beginning of Lent, encouraging us to pledge a lifestyle shift in that field (unfortunately, the need for infection control forced us to delay our plastic fast for now). However, Tessa’s interview with Zaynab Sadan of WWF was informative and inspiring!
It was significant that the first onsite service after lockdown was St Francis Day, celebrating our creature companions. Both these services also reinforced our connection with creation, by being held in the church garden.
In the sermon, Robert challenged the Creation Care group to deepen the church's commitment to the environment. He asked if we "truly inhabit this place", as LEARNING about our local environment helps us to KNOW it, and KNOWING it inspires us to LOVE it, and LOVING it inspires to SAVE it. This led to some discussion, resulting in a focus on the Liesbeeck / Black River system. RUC partnered with the Friends of the Liesbeeck (FOL) and A Rocha (Rosebank) in co-hosting a Church in Creation event. It included a short input by Sabelo Memani of FOL, a walk, meditation, and short clean-up. It was well-attended, with 10 RUC members. The Creation Care group, on learning that FOL had had their tools stolen, paid for their replacement with funds raised from previous Sustainable Suppers.
While car-free Sunday could not take place in October, reduced car travel has become a way of life for many. a video was shared in May to encourage people to walk or cycle in response to the pandemic, as recommended by the WHO.
2. MEAT FREE MONDAYS AND THE SUSTAINABLE SUPPER
The Sustainable Supper had to be cancelled. However, a digital recipe book of vegetarian soup recipes was collated, which also acknowledged the ministry of the Masazane Soup kitchen, and was distributed via the church newsletter in September.
The new rain waters system with tanks and pumps is now fully functioning.
The water tanks are fed from the church and the hall roof and used for all our toilets
on the premise and the watering of the garden.
4. LINKAGES TO BROADER CAMPAIGNS
The web browser was tested and promoted through the church newsletter in April. It costs nothing to use, but has a significant, positive environmental impact in that it:
is carbon negative
doesn’t personalize search results
has non-profit principles.
Looking ahead, we agreed that we still need to build bridges with the youth, who are our inspiration. We also should take the opportunity to support external initiatives, eg Church in Creation; SAFCEI; OWL (One web of Life), etc.