In the same week that Birmingham schoolchildren went on strike to demand climate justice, the Church of England - Birmingham received a Bronze Eco Diocese Award; one of only 3 Dioceses in the country to have done so.
Rich Bee from A Rocha presented the award to Bishop David and representatives of our churches that have achieved Eco Church accreditation, whose vital contribution has enabled us to gain this award. In receiving the award, Bishop David acknowledged that - as the school strike would demonstrate - younger generations were providing leadership in this area and inspiring us all to change our individual and collective behaviour in the light of the risks of climate change. Rich Bee also mentioned that although the statistics around climate change are scary there is cause for hope in the willingness of churches to take action and by doing so we demonstrate our values to those around us.
This award is a truly unified, collective effort and we heard many stories of what individual churches have done in order to achieve their Eco Church status; from toilet twinning in Stirchley, to planting trees in Edgbaston to delivering sermon series on Ecotheology in Wythall. St Mary's Wythall further demonstrated the important role that younger generations play in climate justice by describing how the local school where they meet (not a church school) have really got behind their vision for Eco Church and have started recycling as well as setting up an 'Eco Warriors' group.
While we celebrate this significant achievement we would also love to work towards a Silver Eco Diocese Award. If you or your church are interested in finding out more how to get involved, have a look at the Caring for the Environment section on our website, where you can find out more about Eco Church and Eco Diocese accreditation, resources, news, ideas and contact details for Revd Patrick Gerard, the Bishop's Environmental Adviser.