It was fascinating at our annual Synod which finished late Saturday afternoon just past to have two motions debated which related to climate change. This post is not about the course or character of the debate, save for observing one thing which was said which underlined the great challenge of doing anything significant about climate change. (I accept that every little thing counts; and this post is not an argument against doing all that we can. It is a post about the challenge of making significant change.)
For instance, from a proponent of bike, bus, scooter and like means of travel, including walking, came the critique of electric cars that they actually achieve little change to the environment, though they may make those who use such vehicles feel personally better about the crisis we are in.
Now, it is not appropriate for me to work out how you could use bus and bike more, but it is appropriate for me to consider a question such as, Accepting that replacing my car* with an electric car is mere "greenwashing," could I use our bus network more for my travel around the Diocese and around our major city, Christchurch?
The short answer is definitely, Yes.
The longer answer is a significant change in the way my diary runs. Visits to a number of parishes outside of Christchurch would require me bussing down to them on a Saturday, taking a good chunk of the daytime, and possibly not returning until Monday. (Compared with, say a day return car trip on a Sunday, or a late Saturday afternoon/evening trip to and then return from the parish Sunday afternoon.)
Another part of the longer answer is, Yes, in respect of a number of conversations through working week days, I could hold them by Zoom; but there is a diminishment of ministry encounter, person to person, and I would worry about the health of my relationships with people I only speak to via Zoom; which could be mitigated by some bus travel!
Put a bit more simply: there is significant change possible re climate change if there is significant change of life - of allocation of time, of planning for travel taking a considerably longer time than is possible when a handy car is used.
Should I do it? Can I do it? What if our clergy and parishioners do not readily fit in to my revised schedule of life? (And, would I make demands on them and their motor cars to fit that schedule?)
Such questions are the questions we all should be asking in respect of significant change to our lifestyles!
PS for those keen to keep discussion about the shape of current Anglicanism, next week's post likely will resume that discussion from the past few posts.
*I happen to drive a hybrid diocesan car which is much appreciated re fuel economy, but which I accept makes little difference to reducing carbon emissions.