'Switch homes, churches to electricity from renewable sources'
A new initiative responding to the Christian community’s concern around climate change will see thousands of people across the UK encouraged to switch their homes and churches to electricity from renewable sources
Launched on Ash Wednesday, the Big Church Switch, facilitated by Christian Aid and Tearfund, will start inviting hundreds of thousands of Christians to switch energy suppliers, to urge their churches to follow suit, and to celebrate those churches and individuals who have already made the switch.
The project will pool the buying power of thousands of individuals and use that combined consumer force to leverage green deals with energy providers. Power stations generate around one-quarter of all the UK’s emissions of the gases that cause climate change: shifting to electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar will send a strong signal to governments and businesses that churches are prepared to lead the way and that renewables rather than fossil fuels are the future.
A new website www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk will provide information for people considering making the switch, to make the process as easy as possible.
Christian Aid’s Head of Advocacy Laura Taylor is a member of Epsom Baptist Church in Surrey. She said: 'The public want clean energy and are willing to take action themselves by switching suppliers.
'But to make the big shift to a low carbon future happen, individuals and communities can only do so much before it’s up to the Government to change the whole system and drive the energy market to 100 per cent clean energy. So today we’re saying to the Government: we’re switching to low carbon energy, now you must switch the country’s energy from fossil fuels to renewables.
She added, 'The congregation at my own local church, Epsom Baptist Church, wanted warm actions not just warm words, so we are going to put our faith into action by switching as part of this movement. I encourage every church to join the campaign.'
Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, who leads on environmental issues for the Church of England, said, “The Big Church Switch is a simple, practical, good idea. It supports the move to renewable energy.
'If Lent is about renewing our lives in response to the love of God here is a way to follow. You can do it, and so will I.'
Ben Niblett, Tearfund Senior Campaigner said: 'Tearfund are excited about the Big Church Switch. The UK church has a vital role in overcoming poverty and inequality in a way which doesn’t cost the earth and lasts for generations to come. Switching is a great way for Christians to love our neighbours and show the government we want more action on climate change, like investment in clean, renewable energy.
'Christians care about our neighbours in the UK and around the world being hit by climate change - we're seeing more floods, more droughts, and more people going hungry - so we think this will strike a chord.''
For more information about the Big Church Switch, visit www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk.