In September 2019, in the light of the climate and loss of biodiversity crises, Christ Church launched an “Eco -Group”, with the aim of examining our own responsibilities in this area. By working towards the A Rocha Eco-Church awards, we are looking at all aspects of church life, from the way we use our buildings and grounds to the worship and teaching and our individual lifestyles. Through regular input into Church meeting and items in our monthly magazine, Comment, these issues are kept in the foreground of our thinking. The most recent four articles in Comment can be found below.

Stop Press - JUNE 2023 - We have now been awarded the A Rocha Bronze Award -  Certificate here


Item from July/August 2024


As we continue with our efforts to make our church grounds more wildlife-friendly, an update as to what we have achieved so far and what we are planning might be helpful.

Last year we trialled a “Pictorial Meadow Mix” in the front garden beds, which looked good and gave us flowers good for pollinating insects throughout the summer and into November.  It was nice to receive a number of appreciative comments during the summer from passers-by.  This year we have extended two of the beds slightly, while leaving the central bed for spring bulbs, the roses and some summer planting.  The germination of the meadow mix seeds has been slow and disappointingly patchy this year – presumably something to do with the weather – but the beds are now beginning to flower so we hope for a good show as the season progresses.

We observed No Mow May and have been pleased to see butterflies amongst the flowers that some might think of as weeds!  We are making sure that the grass is never cut too short, allowing it to provide a habitat for small invertebrates and some low-growing plants.  There are a number of bird boxes.  The new crab apple tree that was sadly vandalised last year is producing some regrowth, but we will have to wait and see if it can flourish. Unfortunately a couple of bird feeders installed on the trees in the front garden quickly just disappeared.  Do we try again?

Anyone passing along Tacket Street will have heard the swift calls intended to encourage migrating swifts – a species on the “red list” as their numbers are threatened - to make use of the swift boxes installed on the schoolrooms building, but it doesn’t seem as if any swifts have yet taken up the invitation.

In the back garden the rear section is being left wild, to allow nature some space.  We are following advice from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust on the management of this wild area and it will be cut back in August, once any flowers have set seed.

A major step forward on our progress towards being an “Eco-Church” has been the installation of PV panels on the roof of the schoolrooms building.  Even in a less than sunny early summer they are generating electricity well. If the church is not using electricity generated during the day it will be stored in the battery and used later as we need it.  A win for the church and the planet.


Item from May 2024

Back in the autumn I mentioned at a Church Meeting that a group of young people from Portugal were bringing a case before the European Court of Human Rights.  They were hoping to compel 32 European countries to rapidly escalate their emissions reductions on the grounds that their current policies to combat climate change are inadequate and in breach of their human rights obligations; that the harm that climate change is causing, and will continue to cause, to the mental and physical health of those young people and to their wellbeing, is a clear violation of their human rights.

We have been waiting to hear the result of this, which is that this case was not accepted by the court, but only on the technicality that it should have been brought before the court in their own country first.

However, a landmark decision was reached in April in a similar case, brought by a large group of older Swiss women, when the court said that Switzerland’s failure to do enough to cut its national greenhouse gas emissions was a clear violation of their human rights.  It is the first time the court has ruled on a climate change related matter.  It was a near unanimous decision by 17 judges from many different countries and perspectives, the only dissenting voice being, interestingly, the judge from the UK.

Although the judgment applies directly only to Switzerland, it has clear implications for other states within the Council of Europe that have not set sufficiently ambitious emission reduction targets and opens the possibility of many similar cases being put before the court.  Governments will have no option but to take notice and, where necessary, work harder on their emissions reductions policies and actions.  It is a significant moment.

Meanwhile, we hear that temperatures globally have exceeded previous records in every one of the last 10 months (June 23 to March 24).  Some of this will have been contributed to by the El Nino effect, which occurs naturally every few years, but as these record-breaking temperatures continue, scientists fear that global warming and the changes in the earth’s climate that result, are happening even faster than expected.  Sadly, a mass coral-reef bleaching event this year is set to be the worst on record.

Scientists have been predicting that climate breakdown is likely to cause more intense periods of rain in the UK and that has certainly been the case this winter. UK farmers are now saying that food production will be significantly down as so much land has been under water.  Crops planted in the autumn have been flooded and spring planting has been much delayed. This is likely to result in increased prices and some shortages.  Food shortages globally would be one of the most worrying aspects of any future climate chaos.

Let us pray that it doesn’t have to take judgements from the ECHR to motivate governments to put a greater priority on tackling climate issues.


Can you really make paper from sugar-cane?

Well, yes you can and the church has taken the decision to use it as its usual paper, because of its eco-friendly credentials.  It is made entirely from the waste-product from sugar production, which would otherwise just be disposed of, usually burnt, causing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

4 billion trees - which grow relatively slowly - are cut down annually to satisfy the world’s need for paper, while sugar cane grows quickly and there is a new crop every year.  As long as there is a demand for sugar it will never run out.  Producing sugar-cane paper uses less energy than that made from wood as there are fewer steps in the process.  The paper is entirely biodegradable and recyclable and can go in your compost or recycling bin. Cost-wise, it is no more expensive that conventional paper.  What, as they say, is not to like?

If you are interested in buying this for your own use, it is called Ledesma Nat and can be obtained from Choice Stationery.  (



Item from April 2024

So how did we do?

Many thanks to those who have shared the results of their Carbon Footprint surveys.  Overall, from the responses I’ve had – and this is a very unscientifically rigorous analysis! – we seem to be roughly average for the UK or a little below.  Maybe anyone who has discovered their footprint is high is keeping quiet about it! However, doing these surveys does throw up a number of issues, which suggest that results are bound to be somewhat approximate.  We should not dismiss them though; they give us an indication of where we are and plenty of food for thought.

The first issue is that the different surveys vary in the questions they ask and the amount of detail required.  But we also discovered that different organisations come up with different figures for the UK average, making it difficult to judge how our own performance compares with others.  As an example, the Open University puts the UK average footprint at 14.60 (tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year) while the WWF calculates it to be 8.8.  With a personal footprint of, let’s say, 10 tonnes, one could feel quite smug having done the OU survey, rather less so doing the WWF one.

Most of the responses were to do with how difficult it is, in practice, to make many of the life-style changes we may ideally like to do, given the way our society is set up.  Finding mainly locally grown food is difficult.  Fully insulating our homes or installing a heat pump might be too expensive for many.  Advice from some organisations can seem impractical; one example that was given is the suggestion that, if booking a taxi, we might ask for an electric one.  On the different, but related question of avoiding plastic packaging, this sometimes feels all but impossible.

Globally, the average carbon footprint has been estimated at around 4 tonnes, but to avoid the worst effects of climate change it needs to reduce to around 2 tonnes.  So, whatever the exact results we have come up with for ourselves  -and acknowledging that as individuals we can’t solve the climate and biodiversity crises alone and much of the responsibility lies with companies and governments - we all need to do what we can to tread more lightly on this planet.  Kate Helleur


Item from March 2024

The custom of giving up something pleasurable for Lent goes back a long way and many people still like to follow it. Others choose to take on a new challenge, so, for those people, here are some creation-friendly ideas. How about choosing one a week – something new for you - for the remaining weeks of Lent?

  • Swap your plastic bottles of shower gel and shampoo for blocks of soap and shampoo
  • Use re-useable bags to buy loose fruit and veg in the supermarket
  • Go through your cupboards/freezer and make a meal out of some foods which need to be used up
  • Time your shower and try to keep it under 4 minutes
  • Repair an item of clothing
  • Walk or cycle to somewhere you would normally drive to
  • Refill your bottles of washing up liquid and other household cleaning products (at the Fairtrade Shop)
  • Use the bus or the train
  • Increase the number of vegetarian or vegan meals you eat by at least one per week
  • Recycle your plastic bags and plastic film at the supermarket
  • Calculate your carbon footprint
  • Go for a walk in a green space and see how many different wild flowers you can see/identify.
  • Check your electricity consumption and think how you could reduce it
  • Buy something for the Foodbank
  • Buy a new fairtrade product or other ethically sourced product
  • Use a lower temperature on the washing machine or dishwasher
  • Avoid bottled water
  • Measure the water you need for your cup of tea and don’t fill the kettle more than that.
  • Turn down the heat; wear more clothes!
  • Find a use for something that you were going to throw away





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