Green Choices Options for greening personal lifestyles

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Green Choices Options for greening personal lifestyles ...

Module 10 green choices

    Information and suggestions to green personal lifestyles


Lifestyle or style for life?

    ? Introduction 1 ? A Christian ecological lifestyle 1

     Story from Callander Kirk in Perthshire 2 ? How green is my life? calculating your environmental „footprint‟ 2


    ? Heating, lighting and electrical goods 3

     Story from Holy Trinity Church in Cookham 4

     Renewable Energy 4 ? Water 5 ? Waste: paper, glass, plastic, high-tech equipment, metal,

     clothes and cloth, organic waste 6

     Stories from churches 9 ? Laundry 10 ? Nappies 10

Garden 11


    ? General guidelines 13 ? Food 13

     Story from Barnstaple Parish Church 13 ? Appliances 14 ? Green Guide Online 14 ? Choosing green 14

Personal finance

    ? Bank or Building Society accounts 15 ? Savings 15 ? Giving 15

Journeys 16

    Holidays 17

    Christian environmental organisations 18

    Christmas 20

    Workplace 21

    End of life 21

    Stories from churches 22

    Further Resources 22

    A directory of useful organisations 23

    About Eco-Congregation 25


Module 10 green choices

    Lifestyle or style for life


The 1990s years witnessed an explosion of interest in lifestyle issues that continues

    today. Make-over and consumer programmes have blossomed on television, giving

    advice on every aspect of personal lifestyle from cooking, health and personal

    finance to changing rooms and gardens. Together with the flourishing lifestyle

    magazine market, the message broadcast is that living is about the three „c‟s:

    choosing, changing and consuming.

Against this consumer-orientated approach there is a pressing need for the people in

    the richer nations to change their lifestyle. Current consumption is:

    1. unsustainable, because there is a limit to the resources available on earth and

    the earth‟s capacity to absorb our waste products

    2. devastating our environment. Scientists are virtually unanimous in this view.

    For example, The Global Environment Outlook 2002 (GEO 3) report, published

    by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) gives an overview of the

    state of the planet, highlighting the problems caused by the wasteful and invasive

    consumer society, coupled with continuing population growth, which are

    threatening to destroy the resources on which human life is based.

    3. out of balance, because only a small proportion of the world‟s current population

    consume a large proportion of the resources and generate a large proportion of

    the pollution. It is estimated that, if everyone in the world lived the lifestyle of the

    average European, we would need three earths to support us all.

A Christian ecological lifestyle

Individuals can make many positive lifestyle choices to care for the environment. One

    buzz phrase that is sometimes used is to „live more simply that others may simply

    live‟. Jesus gave a profound understanding to simple lifestyles. When preaching the

    Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that you cannot worship both God and money

    (Matthew 6:24) and called people not to store up riches on earth but in heaven, for

    our heart will be where our riches are (Matthew 6:19-21).

The following passage is part of the sermon preached at the service to dedicate Eco-

    Congregation to God at St Paul‟s Cathedral by the Rt. Rev‟d and Rt. Hon. Richard

    Chartres, the Bishop of London, whilst drawing on Matthew 6:24-30:

“Jesus Christ is meditating on anxiety and faith. Anxiety and competition inevitably

    flow from a picture of the self as fulfilled by being an individual consumer of goods

    and having access to a range of commodities. That is how the self is encouraged to

    see itself by the propaganda which surrounds us and stimulates our cravings… By

    contrast our soul is not something which just exists and whose appetites demand to

    be satisfied. The soul is formed in relationship with others. The soul develops to the

    extent that we are related to God the Beyond All and to his Creation...

Our profoundest motivation comes not from fear but from the gospel that we can only

    express and explore together. Be not anxious for yourself what to consume or what

    commodity to have next, rather pay attention to your soul which forms as we relate to

    God and neighbour and which comes as a gift from Jesus Christ who has brought us

    home to God.”


    Module 10 green choices Green choices are not simply about living today that others may have life tomorrow,

    but more profoundly that true life is found when we seek a fulfilling relationship with

    God rather than seeking fulfilment through material possessions.

This Green Choices module helps individuals to think about their personal lifestyle

    and to make choices that reflect a care for the earth and respect for their neighbours

    around the world. Some of these choices will save money too!

Story from Callander Kirk in Perthshire

Callander Kirk used the ideas in this module in a series of “green tips” in their

    church magazine, to help their congregation practice sustainable living at home.

    Their local community paper now publishes those same tips as well.

How green is my life? Calculating your environmental footprint

Every household uses energy and water, consumes goods and services and creates

    waste but some lifestyles and households have a bigger impact on the environment

    than others! Several organisations have devised simple ways to estimate your

    „environmental footprint‟, i.e. the amount of space you take up on the planet.

Best Foot Forward have a very simple footprint calculator on their website at It is easy-to-use, prompting you to input basic information about their lifestyle including travel, shopping and rubbish

    generated. The programme then calculates how many planets we would need if

    everyone lived like you! For a more detailed analysis try the earthday network‟s

    version at

Best Foot Forward, The Future Centre, 115 Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RQ.

    Tel: 01865 250818 Fax: 01865 794586 Email:


    Module 10 green choices Greening the home

The home is a place where people can make positive changes for the environment in

    a number of key areas. This Greening the home section deals with heating and

    lighting, water and waste and includes suggestions for lowering a household‟s impact

    on the environment. The tips are designed to lower peoples‟ impact on the environment and in many cases can lead to lower household bills too!

Heating, Lighting and Electrical Goods

Heating and lighting contribute to the comfort of homes but wasting energy damages

    the environment and costs money. Approximately 25% of the carbon dioxide

    produced in the UK comes from domestic heating and lighting. Carbon dioxide

    emissions are a major factor leading to global warming which is causing climate

    change. The effects of climate change are already starting to be visible and are likely

    to get worse. They include rising sea-levels, an increase in storms and flooding in

    some places and drought in others and changes in the distribution of some disease-

    bearing organisms. People in Britain and Ireland contribute as much as 50 times

    more to climate change than those in the poorest countries, but it is the poor who will

    feel its worst effects. It is estimated that, by 2050, rising sea levels, severe weather

    and crop failures could create 150 million refugees.

By undertaking energy saving and efficiency measures the average household‟s

    energy bill of ?500 per year can be reduced by up to ?200 per year and help to

    reduce carbon dioxide emissions too.

Action tips to save energy and prevent pollution:

    ? Installing at least 20cm (8 inches) ? Houses with boilers older than 15 years

    depth of loft insulation can save are likely to benefit by changing to a

    around 20% of heating costs more fuel-efficient model. Modern gas-

    condensing boilers are particularly ? Fitting a jacket around a water efficient as they recycle some of the cylinder may cost around ?10 (DIY energy from exhaust emissions fitting) but save up to ?20 per year

    ? Fitting and using timer and thermostatic ? Around 35% of heat energy is lost controls can significantly reduce energy through walls that are not insulated, consumption, without loss of comfort but by installing cavity wall

    insulation up to 60% of this heat ? Fitting low-energy light bulbs requires

    can be saved. Installation in an an initial capital outlay, but can reduce

    average house (3 bed roomed energy consumption by up to 80% and

    semi-detached) costs around ?450 the bulbs can last up to 10 times

    and costs can be recovered in longer, saving both money and the

    savings made over about four years need to change bulbs frequently

    ? Up to 20% of heat can be lost by ? Taking a daily shower instead of a bath

    draughts around windows, doors can save water and up to ?10 per year

    and floors. Fitting draught excluders on your fuel bill

    can save heat and money. It is ? Leaving electrical equipment like TVs important to ensure that and VCRs on standby uses almost as adequate ventilation is much energy as when you are maintained, particularly in rooms watching. Turning appliances off at the with gas or solid fuel fires on/off button saves this waste.


Module 10 green choices

    Some utility companies have subsidised energy saving schemes and products check your local supply company for current offers. Additional grants are sometimes

    available to install energy saving measures for those in receipt of certain benefits.

    For information on energy saving measures contact:

    The Energy Savings Trust, 21 Dartmouth Street, London, SW1H 9BP

    Tel: 020 7222 0101, Email: , Website: or contact your local Energy Advice Centre.

For information on Home Energy Efficiency Scheme grants contact:

    Energy Action Grants Agency freephone 0800 181 667

Story from Holy Trinity Church in Cookham

When Holy Trinity Church got involved in Eco-Congregation they decided to

    develop two strands of activity: one for the church as an organisation and the other

    for individuals. For individuals they are using the New Internationalist‟s 20-point programme “to help you kick your global-warming, energy-guzzling habit”! A humorous and easy to follow poster shows how to embrace more environmentally

    responsible lifestyle habits, providing a practical road map for individuals and families.

    They challenged the congregation to audit their current habits and set themselves a

    goal for the coming 6 months. Afterwards they will check performances and calculate

    what contribution to reducing global warming the church has collectively made. Chris


The poster mentioned - “Slobbie Ozzie Does Detox” - can be bought from the New

    Internationalist‟s online shop on their website or an A4 version can be downloaded for free on their webpage

Renewable or ‘Green’ Electricity

    Did you know that you can choose to use only renewable or „green‟ electricity for your household needs? Renewable energy doesn‟t involve burning oil, coal or gas

    and doesn‟t produce the „greenhouse gases‟ that contribute to climate change. Instead it comes from harnessing the energy in water, wind, waves, the sun etc.

    Most of us are connected to the National Grid, so we can‟t choose where the

    electricity that enters our home comes from. When you buy green electricity, what

    happens is that you commit your supplier to purchasing at least the amount of

    electricity that you use from a renewable source. The more people who sign up, the

    more electricity the supplier will have to purchase from a green generator.

As with any product, there are a number of options, and some are more

    environmentally-friendly than others. Eco-Congregation cannot endorse a particular

    supplier. However Friends of the Earth have produced a useful league table of

    suppliers together with details of prices, which can be found on their website:

    Christian Ecology Link runs a climate campaign called Operation Noah and can recommend „green electricity‟ energy suppliers.

    Operation Noah, 9 Nuthatch Drive, Earley, Reading, RG6 5ZZ. Tel. 01949 861516,

    E-mail:, Web:


Module 10 green choices


The Bible includes stories that illustrate the significance of water:

    ? in the story of creation (Genesis 1) and the story of Jesus in the storm-tossed

    boat on Galilee (Luke 8:22-25), water is portrayed as having a chaotic elemental

    character, which only God can subdue

    ? in the story of Noah and the flood (Genesis 7-9) and the story of John the Baptist

    (Mark 1:4-5), water is portrayed as a medium into which old life dies and new life


    ? in the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well (John 4:1-15), the

    refreshment that water offers to a weary traveller is used to symbolise the

    refreshment that Jesus offers to tired souls

The elemental quality of water reminds us that we can never absolutely control

    creation, the cleansing quality of water symbolises the new life offered through Christ

    and the drinking of water reminds us that life cannot exist without both physical and

    spiritual refreshment.

     1Facts: how much water do I use? Water used by industry

Activity Water used To produce a: Litres used

    Taking a bath 80 litres Small car 450,000

    Taking a shower 5 litre per min Tonne of paper 140,000

    Flushing the toilet 9.5 litres Litre of petrol 70

    Watering the garden up to 1000 l/hour Newspaper 9

    Using a washing machine 80 litres Pint of beer 3

    Using a dishwasher 35 litres

    Drinking 10 litres

    Average use per person per day- 130 litres 1Based on average household water use

Action Points to save water

    ? Fix leaking taps one dripping at one drop per second will waste 1200 l per year!

    ? Turn off taps fully

    ? Water plants in the evening after the heat of the day (reduces evaporation)

    ? Have a shower rather than a bath

    ? Use a plug in wash basins and sinks rather than washing under a running tap

    ? Fit a water hippo in your toilet cistern to save 1 litre per flush (a brick will do) ? Turn of the tap whilst cleaning your teeth, or use a mug of water instead

    ? Install a water butt, linking it to a down pipe to collect water from a roof

    ? Mulch water-loving plants in the garden to save on the need for watering

    ? If you use a washing machine or dishwasher, reduce the frequency of running it

    by always having a full load


Module 10 green choices

    For more information about water saving, contact your local water supply company. Action points to reduce pollution

    ? Minimise your use of phosphate based detergents and bleach (try eco-friendly

    washing-up liquid, washing powder and cleaners instead)

    ? Minimise your use of toxic substances such as pesticides and creosote, which

    might get washed into the drainage system or water system

    ? Safely dispose of waste oils, paints, solvents and batteries at a collection point

    rather than pouring them down a drain. Some charities can use left-over paint

    and some batteries can be recycled.

    ? Use mains electricity rather than batteries when possible, and choose re-

    chargeable batteries if you need them.

    For more information about the safe disposal of hazardous waste, contact your local authority waste officer.


    Every year British households throw away 25 million tonnes of waste - that's over 500 kg, or half a tonne, of rubbish per person per year! Most of it goes to landfill and

    some of it is incinerated. The UK‟s waste problem is mounting as the available

    volume for landfill is rapidly reducing and incineration is not favoured as a disposal option by many communities because of concerns about toxic fumes.

The average wheelie bin or dustbin contains:

    33% paper and card

    20% vegetable waste

    11% plastic

    9% glass bottles and jars

    6% cans

    2% textiles such as old clothes and rags

    19% other

In Britain we recycle:

    1 out of 3 newspapers

    1 out of 4 glass bottles and jars

    1 out of 4 items of clothing

    1 out of 3 metal cans

    1 out of 25 plastic bottles

    About 80% of household waste could be recycled. If this was undertaken it would save natural resources and reduce the problem of the disposal of waste. However, recycling is not the whole answer. People need to learn to use natural resources more sparingly and sensibly. Householders can make a significant contribution to minimising their waste by a number of simple ways.


    Module 10 green choices Paper

The production of „virgin‟ paper requires the farming of land for trees and the use of

    vast quantities of water and various chemicals, some of which are harmful if released

    in the environment, in paper production. By adopting the following measures these

    processes can be reduced:

? save waste paper and deposit it in a local paper bank

    ? reuse envelopes, paper, wrappings and egg boxes

    ? choose to buy recycled paper products, including greetings cards

    ? reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive by contacting:

The Mailing Preference Service: The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a free

    service to enable consumers to have their names and addresses removed from or

    added to lists used by the direct mail industry. It is actively supported by the Royal

    Mail and all directly involved trade associations.

Mailing Preference Service, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS

    Tel: 020 7291 3310, Email:, Website:

You can also save your time by contacting the Telephone Preference Service to

    filter out unwarranted direct selling of products by telephone and fax.

Telephone Preference Service, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS

    Tel: 020 7291 3320, Email:, Website:

Most local authorities have a Waste Minimisation Office or Recycling Officer who can

    provide advice on waste.

Waste Watch is a charity that aims to protect the environment by encouraging the

    wise use of scarce resources.

Contact: Waste Watch, 96 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TH

    Tel Wasteline: 020 7089 2100

    Email, Website


In Britain more than 6 billion glass containers are made every year that is

    approximately 100 per person! Glass manufacture requires raw materials and

    energy to extract, transport and manufacture the product. To minimise the use of raw

    materials, energy and the amount of waste generated:

? choose returnable bottles if available

    ? recycle glass through household collections or at a bottle bank


Module 10 green choices


The UK produces a growing mountain of plastic waste, much of which does not

    readily biodegrade. For information about the recycling of plastics contact:

RECOUP, 9 Metro Centre, Welbeck Way, Woodston, Peterborough, PE2 7WH

    Tel: 01733 390021, Email:, Website:

High-tech equipment

    High-tech equipment such as computers and mobile phones are transforming the way that people conduct their lives, but the rapid obsolescence of the equipment means that there is a burgeoning high-tech waste mountain. A number of charities or organisations are pleased to receive unwanted computer equipment for reuse or recycling. Your Local Authority might have details of local schemes. Additionally, unwanted mobile phones and toner cartridges can be given to a variety of charities who forward them to a recycling scheme and thereby raise money for their work.

    Scope Phone Recycling can be contacted on 020 7619 7105, or up to 3 handsets can be sent free to: Scope Phone Recycling, James Bell, ShP Solutions, Freepost, NEA 14430, Lancaster, LA1 1ZZ. Alternatively, drop your phone off at your nearest Scope shop.

    You can send us your inkjet cartridges free to: Scope Toner Donor Campaign, c/o Envirocare, FREEPOST (SWB978), Avonmouth, Bristol, BS11 9JE

    Pre-printed FREEPOST envelopes are available by calling Scope on 0800 781 2600.



    Metal is a valuable resource that can readily be reused, so recycling saves the mining of natural resources, energy used in mineral processing and land-fill costs. Around 11 billion steel cans and 5.5 billion aluminium cans are manufactured for use in the UK per year. Both types of can may be recycled. To recycle metal:

    ? use local can banks or kerbside collections if available

    ? support collections of foil, milk bottle tops etc

    ? use aluminium can banks many local charities/organisations collect cans to

    raise funds

    ? take or arrange for unwanted appliances or other bulky metal items to be

    deposited at a local authority metal collection/recycling site

    There are hundreds of cash for cans centres nationwide where you can exchange your aluminium cans for cash. For information about your nearest Cash for Cans site call Alucan (Aluminium Can Recycling) on their free phone number 0800 262465. Visit the ALUPRO website or call them on 01527 597757 for

    information about saving valuable resources and raising money for your church or another organisation.


Module 10 green choices

    For details of your nearest steel can recycling centre, contact your local authority or

    the Steel Can Recycling Information Bureau (SCRIB), Port Talbot Works, Port

    Talbot SA13 2NG. Tel: 01639 872 626, Email:, Website:

Clothes and cloth

A large tonnage of clothing and cloth is disposed of each year. Consider undertaking

    the following actions to reduce this waste:

? take clean clothes to charity shops and clothing banks

    ? jumble sales are another place to recycle material

    ? clothing and cloth which cannot be sold can be recycled into industrial wipes,

    blankets and stuffing for furniture

    ? only buy clothes that you really need and consider buying clothes second hand

Organic Waste

Approximately 20% of domestic waste comprises organic matter. Disposing of this in

    landfill takes up valuable space and the organic matter can break down into a

    leachate which, when combined with other waste, may pollute the water course.

    Additionally, decomposing organic matter can produce methane which is a

    greenhouse gas and potentially hazardous. Composting organic matter in gardens

    can reduce these large scale hazards and produce compost which improves soil

    fertility see „greening your garden‟ section on page 9.

? if you have a suitable space outside, consider installing a compost bin and use it

    for all organic matter (though avoid composting meat and fish as these can attract


    ? bread can be fed to birds at a feeding station

For more information about recycling points contact your local authority. Some local

    authorities have free or reduced-price compost bin schemes and other have

    collection schemes for green waste.

Stories from churches

Saffron Walden Methodist Church encouraged members of the congregation to

    use the local authority‟s doorstep recycling collection scheme and recycling centre.

    However, there are many things which aren‟t covered by these services, so they set

    about finding outlets, local where possible, for as many of these as they could and

    set up a collection point at the rear of their church under their Eco-Congregation

    Notice Board. Items collected include: spectacles, paper, used stamps, ink cartridges,

    aluminium foil, mobile phones, old tights, good clothes, sewing needles, cotton,

    buttons, zips, knitting needles and wool and even computers, which would have

    otherwise gone to landfill. One member of the „Green Team‟ is responsible for the

    distribution to the various charities and outlets. Mrs Rosina Down.


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