My Environmental Dream

Last month the PCC at St Mary’s Saffron Walden signed up for the journey to become an ECO church. It needs to be a journey that challenges us all.

At a recent conference the speaker, Rupert Read, said, ‘This civilization is over. It will be over in one of two possible ways. Either we make an intelligent transition to a new form of sustainable civilization, in tune with our environment; or we end with an environmental collapse followed by social and economic disasters.’


It is a stark choice and so far, we have made little progress in choosing the right one. Globally, we are still sending more warming gases up into the atmosphere at the rate of 37.1 billion tonnes per year. 2018 was the highest ever.


However, the destination that I dream of is an attractive one. In ten years time all of us will be running our cars on sunshine. Gliding down the roads smoothly and silently, powered by the solar panels on our homes. When a petrol driven car goes by we will wrinkle our noses at the stench and complain with righteous indignation as we do now if someone lights a cigarette indoors.


Our gas boilers will have been replaced by air source or ground source heat pumps. The coziest bathroom I ever luxuriated in was in a Landmark Trust folly, heated by a ground-source heat pump. It was wonderful! Our fuel bills will be massively cheaper and no longer will we be sending billions of dollars to dynastic families in the Middle East to fuel their conflicts. 


We will be flying less because rail travel will be so much better and cheaper, with comfortable and romantic night sleepers taking us to our Mediterranean holidays. 


And best of all, we will be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and feel that we ended up as reasonably good ancestors, bequeathing them a planet that they can enjoy as much as we have.


That is my dream. But we really need another Martin Luther King to inspire us all to realize it. 


Meanwhile it is worth doing what we can on three levels:


  1. Take personal responsibility: for our carbon footprints, for our use of plastics, for our role in the supply chains of everything we buy: are we supporting ethical, humane, non-polluting companies with our purchases?
  2. Act Locally: get involved in local groups and movements to make Saffron Walden as green and sustainable as we can, halting the decline in biodiversity and reducing air pollution.
  3. Influence nationally and internationally: we are privileged to life in a democratic country with freedom of speech and association. Let’s put that freedom to good use!