S&L – Issue 5
Salt and Light
Five Leaf Church Greening Initiative Newsletter
We believe that Creation Care is a core Christian responsibility”
The aim of this Newsletter is to provide a supportive and informative link between individuals and groups that share a care and Christian responsibility for our environment. You are on this newsletter list because you have expressed an interest in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards program or have communicated with the National Coordinator – Jessica Morthorpe.
Letter from the Editor
Update on Five Leaf
Doom and Gloom
A Stirring of Hope
Monthly Action Tips
Quotes of the month
Websites to visit
Letter from the Editor:
Greetings everyone, I hope this newsletter finds you all well.
It is an exciting time for the Five Leaf Eco-Awards at the moment. With a new church signing up to the program, the drawing of the winner of the Green Bible in the Church Greening Story drive, and I am booked into several speaking engagements over the next few months. More information in the Update on Five Leaf.
Also in this issue: My top ten tips for reducing your environmental impact and saving money at home and church, why we don‟ act on climate change, Cane Toad fences proving successful and some
exciting new resources available.
National Church Project Coordinator
Five Leaf Eco-Awards
Update on Five Leaf
– Kippax Uniting Church has signed up to be part of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards pilot. This exciting new addition to the program officially launches the Canberra pilot program and it is hoped more churches in the area will join soon.
– On the 29
th of July Kippax UnitingCare receive a donation of a Solar Panel System. See http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/solar_mission_shines_light_on_holt_community_centre/004184/
– Jessica will be speaking after lunch at the Uniting Church Canberra Presbytery meeting on the 15
th of August to be held Kippax Uniting Church in Holt, Canberra.
Winners of the Green Bible!
The results for the green bible competition are in! Thankyou to all of the churches who participated, you all made a wonderful contribution! The lucky recipients of the green bible after an anonymous prize draw are St Luke‟s Uniting Church in Highton! Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your well earned prize!
St Luke’s UCA, Highton.
Greening story. June 2009.
St Luke‟s commitment to lessening the environmental footprint of their church began in 2007 when they employed the services of Joel Meadows to conduct an energy, water and transport audit of their property. After the audit was received in February 2008 it was made available to all members of the congregation and inspired the improvements that have since been made.
Listed below are some of the changes completed;
1. The floor heating in the Worship Centre was replaced with three gas heaters which significantly reduced the electricity usage.
2. An emphasis has been placed on turning off appliances immediately after use.
3. Replacing radiant wall heaters in the hall with two gas space heaters and with split cycle air conditioners in the kitchen and meeting room.
4. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
5. Removing tubes from security lights (from 2 to 1 fluorescent tube)
6. Disconnecting the hot water service in the toilet.
The congregation at St Luke‟ have a goal to try and reduce their CO2 emissions every year by setting a CO2 reduction target for the next 12 months. In 2008 they reduced their emissions by 22% and they are aiming for a 10% reduction in 2009.
The St Luke‟ Environmental Group meet regularly to discuss environmental issues, engage with a guest speaker, write letters to politicians and plan activities in the local community (such as tree planting). They have also spread the conservation message through the Pastoral Connections Team and holding four public forums on environmental themes. However, they are not done yet and are investigating solar panels, rain water tanks and other measures to further reduce their electricity and water consumption.
Day of Prayer on Climate Change on October 4th
A key aim is to pray for God‟ will to be done during the decisive Copenhagen COP 15 talks this December. Christians of all denominations are joining together to express their concerns over the seriousness and urgency of our global situation.
Resources have been prepared to make running such a day easy including:
*Information for organizers
*Sample magazine and newssheet inserts
*Prayers – full content
Sunday October 4th is suggested as the day of prayer (though individual churches will be free to make their own arrangements and dates). This date is St Francis Day and the final Sunday of the Time for Creation (September 1st – October 4th). It will also be harvest festival in many churches. The time of prayer could be from 12 noon to 6 pm and will encourage people to „top‟in a busy world and take time out in prayer and meditation. People may want to combine this with a time of fasting. People will be welcome to come for as short or long a time as they wish.
This event is based out of the UK, but it would be great if people in Australia also join in.
Doom and Gloom
The psychology of climate change: why we do nothing
Tom Levitt 12th August, 2009
Well-publicised simple steps like using energy-saving light bulbs may be making it more difficult to prepare people for the bigger changes needed to tackle climate change, argue psychologists
Upwards of 75 per cent of the general public, going by recent polls in the US and UK, say climate change is an important issue. But few of us are doing much to actually tackle the problem and reduce our own emissions. It is a conundrum that we are, perhaps belatedly, realising should be seen as a psychological one. Anxiety and helplessness, argues a
report published last week by the American Psychological Association, rather than ambivalence or apathy are the biggest barriers to individuals taking action. The report says that unlike other environmental problems like river pollution or GM food, people do not see climate change as an immediate threat. ‟hat is unique about current global climate change is the role of human behaviour,‟said report chair Janet Swim, of Pennsylvania State University. „e must look at the reasons people are not acting in order to understand how to get people to act.‟The report identified some key barriers, including:
– Research has shown that uncertainty over climate change reduces the frequency of “green” behaviour.
– Evidence shows that most people don‟ believe the risk messages of scientists or government officials.
– People routinely compare their actions with those of others and derive subjective and descriptive norms from their observations about what is the “proper” course of action. i.e. Al Gore‟ large residence has been used as a justification for inaction.
– A study of more than 3,000 people in 18 countries showed that many people believe environmental conditions will worsen in 25 years. While this may be true, this thinking could lead people to believe that changes can be made later.
Lack of Control
– People believe their actions would be too small to make a difference and choose to do nothing.
Perceived behavioural control
– Because climate change is a global problem, many individuals understandably believe that they can do nothing about it. This is the well-known collective action problem.
– Ingrained behaviours are extremely resistant to permanent change while others change slowly.
The report says psychology has already been used by government and campaign groups to tackle these barriers. For example, people are more likely to use energy-efficient appliances if they are provided with immediate energy-use feedback. Devices that show people how much energy and money they‟e
conserving can yield energy savings of up to 12 per cent. „ehavioural feedback links the cost of energy use more closely to behaviour by showing the costs immediately or daily rather than in an electric bill that comes a month later,‟said Swim. However, there are potential shortcomings with this approach.
Big changes WWF change strategist Dr Tom Crompton points out that appeals to self-interest such as the recent Act on CO2 TV campaign will not necessarily translate to the bigger changes people need to make. „t may be the most effective way of engaging people on this simple energy saving action but not as a basis for escalating up to more ambitious changes,‟he said. „he evidence is that people pre-occupied with saving money or buying things to look cool tend to be more resistant to adapting the big changes needed.‟WWF has produced a number of reports over the past few years looking at psychological barriers to tackling climate change. Dr Crompton said there needed to be a shift away from short-term campaigning. „he environmental movement has for too long focused on the policy response, without considering the social and psychological barriers.
„olicy is critical but if we are going to contemplate the scale of policy intervention needed we are going to have to address the way we work round with these barriers,‟he said.
Apathy Among the research currently been done, Renee Lertzman from the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, is looking at the unconscious motivations behind many people‟ responses to climate change. She has argued previously in the Ecologist that people may simply be paralysed by the size of the problem. „f people don‟ recycle I am not going to assume they don‟ care about the environment. There is not a simple causal relationship. In fact it could be if there is a sense of inevitability or powerlessness then recycling is not going to make any sense to them,‟she said. „f a psychologist was confronted with the same situation with a patient they wouldn‟ shout or bombard them with all kinds of facts about their damaging or destructive behaviour. „hey would actively try to work out ways to mobilise their ability to respond constructively,‟she said. Lertzman said more participant-led models such as the Transition Town movement where people were encouraged to bring there own ideas rather than being lectured at, were more likely to succeed. „e need to find a way to communicate these issues with people in an honest and realistic way that doesn‟ trigger anxiety.‟
Do not dispair. If you’re starting to feel helpless, don‟ forget the success of individuals like Rob Hopkins, who started the
Transition Town movement, and other local heroes profiled in the Ecologist over the past few years. Individuals can make a difference. If you‟e looking for a campaign to join, try any or all of the following:
Transition Town movement
Read about more campaigns
What campaigners need to know about human nature It’s all in the mind – Rupert Sheldrake The myth of apathy – Renee Lertzman 350.org – the ultimate climate change campaign? WWF – Strategies for Change
A Stirring of Hope
Cane toad fence proves effective
By Gina Marich
The coordinator of Frog Watch says a new fencing method has yielded success in reducing cane toads in Darwin, and may see the pest disappear from ecologically important areas around the city.
Graeme Sawyer, who is also the Lord Mayor of Darwin, says Aboriginal rangers around the Top End are starting to adopt the method.
“Particularly as you get further south in the NT towards the fringes of the cane toad area they become a lot more vulnerable and a lot easier to get rid of.
“And if you put a small fence around those areas and shut the cane toads off the water for a week then you’ll probably destroy the entire cane toad population in that area.”
Exciting Posters Available
There are many small changes to our lifestyles that we can make that lessen our impact on the environment and save us money; things ranging from water use to heating and refrigeration. This month there are twelve groovy posters with ten great tips which would be a great addition to your notice board at church. If you‟e interested please email Jessica at
but be quick because due to the limited stock it is first come first served!
Gungahlin’s Treasures Booklet Released
For those in Canberra…
The ACT Conservation Council has put together an awesome booklet about the cultural and natural heritage of the Gungahlin area. With colour photographs, maps, information, a flora and fauna guide and a range of great places to visit this guide is a must have resource. quick because due to the limited stock it is first come first served!
New Five Leaf Resource
Recently Jessica gave a speech at Christ Church Kensington with some great tips for lessening your footprint. This resource has been created following the speech.
Ten Tips for
Reducing Your Impact on the Environment
and Saving Money
at Home or Church
by Jessica Morthorpe, founder of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards
The world is in trouble, we know that. The ecological crisis is upon us. Species are rapidly
becoming extinct, forests are disappearing at the rate of football fields per second and global warming looms over our heads threatening run away climate change. These environmental issues are a problem for anyone living on the earth, both human and animal alike, but it is particularly a problem, I believe, for Christians. Why do I say this? Well, as we have seen in Psalm 24, the earth and all her creatures belong to the Lord. We were placed in the Garden of Eden by the Lord to tend and care for it (Gen 2:15). Hence I believe fighting the ecological crisis is core Christian work. We should adopt God‟ creatures as our neighbours and care for them and their habitats.
I believe that if we do that, if all Christians and churches get together, we can provide real hope and meaning to the environmental movement. That is why I started the Five Leaf Eco-Awards, to help churches become more involved in this life and death issue just as they were involved in the abolition of slavery, civil rights, and women‟ right to vote. With the power of prayer, dedication and the presence of God, anything is possible.
So what can you do, at home, to reduce your impact on the environment and stop us needing three earths to support everyone at an Australian standard of living? I have collected ten tips to help you in your journey. And it is important to remember that it is a journey, you can‟ reduce your footprint to nothing tomorrow and it is not a good idea to turn this into another type of legalism. I know how hard it can be to change some of these behaviours, and like all sins, if you try to do it on your own you probably won‟ succeed. Pray, ask God for help, and if you can, get together with other people on the journey who can support you and keep you accountable, motivated and educated.
Tip No 1: Make sure you aren’t eating yourself out of earth and home.
This is a massive topic, but to summarize very briefly:
1) Try having a meat free day once or twice a week. According to the Australian Conservation Foundation animal products make up the biggest part of the average person‟ eco footprint – 34% to be exact. Meat, particularly beef, has a very high environmental impact, using much water and land to produce it, and creating significant greenhouse pollution. In fact if you reduce your intake by one 150g serve of red meat each week, you’ll save 10,000 litres of water and 300kg of greenhouse pollution in a year.
2) Choose the following:
Sustainable seafood (80% of the world‟ fish stocks are depleted, 60% of Australian seafood is imported, visit the Australian Marine Conservation Society‟ website
http://www.amcs.org.au/ and get informed about which species are sustainable and non-sustainable choices)
3) Grow your own
4) Think about how you are storing food – Turn your fridge and freezer up to 4 degrees
celcius and -15 degrees celcius to save 10% for every degree you change.
Tip No 2: Change your light globes and turn lights and appliances off when you aren’t using them.
Lighting the average home produces about three quarters of a tonne of greenhouse gases each year. Changing inefficient incandescent light globes to more efficient models is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to reduce your energy at home or in your church. Which replacement globes are best will depend on your situation, but switching can save you up to $110 per year in the average household.
Also, don‟ forget to turn your lights, and anything else you aren‟ using off, or better yet unplug your appliances to prevent phantom energy loss.
Appliances on standby can account for 10% of your electricity. If you switch off just one appliance at the wall you could save 45 kg of greenhouse gas each year.
Tip 3: Look at your heating and cooling, and insulate!
Make sure your heating and cooling methods are efficient.
Turn your heating down to 18 degrees celcius in winter and airconditioning to 24 degrees celcius in summer. This will save you $90 a year.
Use smaller spaces, and warm or cool yourself not the room – with jumpers, clothing or a glass of water. This can save you another $90 a year. Using a quilt, hot water bottle and warm PJ‟ instead of a heater at night can save you $150 per year on your heating bill.
Also, remember to insulate, insulate, insulate – especially rooves, walls and windows. Make use of the government insulation rebates currently available. Installing your home with draft sealers can save up to 15% of your power bill and insulating hot water pipes can save $20.
Tip 4: Green your electricity supply
If you can, invest in renewable energy sources such as solar panels. Alternatively invest in a GreenPower program for your energy use. The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change has a deal with Jackgreen energy where your church will receive $35 if you switch your home to their GreenPower program. For more information see their website at:
Tip 5: Mend, swap and vintage your clothes
Producing clothes has a significant environmental impact, using much water, energy and land. The amount of water used in the production and transport of clothes bought by an average Australian household each year is 150,000 litres – buying second hand clothes or repairing old clothes could save much of this water. Cotton in particular requires a lot of water and often also uses a lot of chemicals. On average worldwide, every new T-shirt made takes about 1.5 kilograms of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to produce.
Washing clothes also uses a lot of water, energy and chemicals. Remember to do your washing in cold water; it can save you $50 a year.
Tip 6: Save water in the shower
To save water always have a four minute or a dry shower (only turn the water on when you are rinsing). Use a water saving showerhead to save $50 a year. Also put an aerator in your taps to
save 10% of your hot water bill.
Tip 7: Recycle
To learn what you can and can‟ recycle in your area visit the recycling near you website
Tip 8: Compost
Methane, a gas produced by rotting organic matter in landfill, is 25 times more potent than CO2 at warming. By composting you can reduce your methane emissions and have a better garden!
Tip 9: Use recycled paper, print both sides and think before printing.
Tip 10: Share with your community
Think of all the things you can share– for example books, tools, cars, lawnmowers and skills such as sewing and cooking. The more you share the less you will have to buy and the smaller your ecological footprint.
In total the actions I have outlined can potentially save the average household more than $500 a year or 30% off their power bill.
Five More Important Tips:
Educate yourself – read magazines, websites and books on environmental themes. Become aware of the issues and what you can do about them.
Travel Earth consciously
a. Walk, take public transport, ride a bike or work from home.
b. Drive efficiently and smoothly and keep your car in good condition. Just having the correct tyre pressure can save 10% on your fuel consumption! A well-serviced car can save you – and the environment – heaps!
c. Carpool- sharing a car to church or work can reduce your the impact of your travel and your costs by 75%. If you are not comfortable carpooling with strangers why not arrange a carpooling group through your church?
d. Reduce Air travel. If you are travelling for work see if you can have a video conference instead. If you are going on holidays consider a location closer to home. If you have to fly offset the carbon emissions with a reputable program.
Lead by example to others. The easiest way to convince others to care for the environment is to model the correct behavior for them. Show them it is possible, easy, and expected. According to Mahatma Ghandi „e the change you want to see in the world‟
Get involved in the environmental projects already happening. You don‟ need to re-invent the wheel. There are lots of environmental groups around doing all sorts of projects. Find out what is happening in your area and get involved.
5. Remember offsetting emissions should always be your last option.
It is good to calculate the emissions you are creating, and good to want to do something about it, but offsetting should always be your last option. Offsetting before you have made all the
behavior changes you can to reduce your emissions is kind of missing the point!
Monthly Action Tips
Organise a ‘Season of Creation’ for your church in September
Celebrate God‟ Creation this September…
In the seasons of Advent, Epiphany, Lent and Easter we celebrate the life of Christ. In the season of Pentecost we celebrate the Holy Spirit. Now, in the season of Creation, we have an opportunity to celebrate God, the Creator.
For four Sundays in September, prior to St Francis of Assisi Day, we join in celebrating with Christ the wonders of creation.
Founded by Normal Habel, the Season of Creation site provides readings, liturgies, Bible studies, sermons, children‟ addresses, worship guidelines and everything you need to participate. Visit
Illegal Logging is Stealing
The Justice and International Mission Unit is campaigning for a ban on illegally imported timber and wood products. We have recently produced a postcard asking the Australian Government to take action. If you would like to sign a card or order multiple postcards for your church please contact: Cath James 9251 5279 or
email@example.com You can also go to: http://www.justact.org.au/action-36-illegal-logging-is-stealing/
The following reflection is from a series Jessica wrote for her church newsletter during their Season of Creation celebrations. The full list of reflections can be found at
Our own little worlds
Most people don‟ think about the cosmos often. We live our lives in our tiny little worlds made up of our work, our home, our friends and the local grocery store. Seeing the world in such a limited way makes it easy to harm the earth because we don‟ see the damage. When we buy cheap coffee we don‟ see the people who suffer growing and picking it, and we don‟ see the rainforest cut down to get the land it is growing on. It can be useful to remember that ultimately the cosmos is a closed system. As they say, when you pick a flower, a polar bear sneezes.
What little things do you do that might have a big impact on the planet?
I am studying a couple of courses in conservation biology at the moment and there is an issue that keeps coming up. I want to run away from it because it is uncomfortable, but it raises some important questions. See, the fact is, with habitat loss, climate change and other environmental issues it is inevitable that we will lose more species to extinction. I want to think we can save them all, but realistically, with limited resources we can‟. So how should we make the decisions about which species we will invest in saving and which we won‟? Do we employ a triage method and only save those we think we can save, or do we use some sort of value system to decide which species are important? What impact should being a Christian have on our thinking/decisions about this issue?
To respond to this question visit the Church Greening and Christian Environmentalism group on Facebook at
Quotes of the month
“I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organisation. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.”
Covey, Stephen R.
“When the solution is simple, God is answering.”
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.”
Cree, Indian proverb
Websites to Visit:
Please feel free to pass this newletter on to any individual or group who may be interested.