Over 5,500 British churches have decided to convert to renewable energy in order to fight climate change. The churches include some of the UK’s most famous cathedrals, reports The Guardian this morning. They also include not just Church of England places of worship, but also Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Quaker and Salvation Army congregations. All the buildings are aiming for 100 percent renewable electricity and faith leaders expect the numbers to increase.
Courtesy of Andrew Dunn
A total of fifteen Anglican cathedrals have signed up to green electricity tariffs thus far, including Salisbury Cathedral, which has the tallest spire in the UK, Southwark, St Albans, Liverpool, Coventry and York Minster.
Climate change is “one of the great moral challenges of our time” said faith leaders, adding that it hurts the poor first. The average annual church electricity bill is currently around £1,000, but British churches have now diverted more than £5 million from fossil fuels to clean energy. The Church of England’s procurement group, Parish Buying, has driven the number of cathedrals converting to 100 percent clean energy, while other churches have followed via the Big Church Switch campaign, run by Christian Aid, Tearfund and the Church of England’s environment programme. Parish churches can sign up to the programme with the national church buying group, 2buy2, which utilises combined buying power to negotiate the cheapest possible tariffs.
“It’s fantastic to see churches doing their bit to ensure they reduce their impact on the environment” said the Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam. “Climate change is an enormous injustice and is hurting the poor first and worst. Switching to responsible sources of electricity may seem like a small thing on its own, but when joined together it can make a real difference.”
Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and current chair of Christian Aid, added that churches are part of a global network and so are often very aware of the plight of “brothers and sisters suffering from droughts, floods and extreme weather around the world”.