In 2020, St Mary's Cathedral applied for, and was awarded a silver award by Eco Congregation. While we had only applied for a bronze award, this was a reflection of the great progress our community had made over the short time we had been working towards the concept. We owe much to Anne Backhouse and Provost John for their leadership.
The emphasis of the application was on climate change and how far we collectively can go to eliminate our effects on the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In particular, we received a Silver Award for:
Our One World Shop, and our involvement with the Fair Trade movement;
Our work to encourage divestment from fossil fuels;
Investigating means of reducing the Cathedral's carbon footprint, primarily from heating;
Our monthly congregational eco-tips.
Our work, under the direction of Jo Hargreaves, to reshape our grounds to better support wildlife and to provide a space for engaging with nature in a Christian way.
While this is a good start, at St Mary's we are determined to go further. While the current state of the environment can induce fatalism, this only prevents positive action; and positive action is what eco-congregations are about.
Perhaps the most important part of this is what we all do personally as Christians. Our own example to others acts like a good virus. Looked at this way, the influence of only one person can be great, passing the message of an ecologically-aware life on to hundreds and thousands by this epidemic effect. Not only can we make our own contribution by living a greener life, but we can show others why and how we are doing it.