Friday, 23 November 2007

BIG Skies BIG County BIG Future

Yesterday afternoon I chaired one of the regular meetings between Churches Together in All Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire County Council, when we took as our main item of business the Lincolnshire Assembly's BIG County BIG Skies BIG Future Vision for Lincolnshire initiative. As you will see from the website this is an ambitious county-wide consultation aimed at sharpening up a vision for Lincolnshire in 2030.

Help us shape tomorrow's Lincolnshire today. It's your county and what you think matters. The Lincolnshire Assembly is running an exciting campaign over the next six months to find out how you see Lincolnshire's future shaping up. We want you to speak to your friends, colleagues and neighbours about how you see our county developing and then to tell us what's important. Your enthusiasm and creativity will help us plan for tomorrow. What do you think Lincolnshire will be known for, or seen as?

Right across the board the churches have a vital part to play in shaping our common future. I would highlight one issue which is especially significant here in Lincolnshire: climate change. As the recent storm surge reminded us, here on the East coast we are particularly vulnerable to any significant rise in sea level. With the old maxim 'Think Global - Act Local' in mind it is imperative that the church not only offers courageous leadership but that we all get to grips with the necessity of reducing our personal and collective carbon footprint. According to the recent Environment Agency booklet The 50 things that will save the Planet the second most important action that can and should be taken - after purchasing electrical devices which are energy efficient and abolishing the standby button - is religious leaders making the Planet their priority.

The appeal comes through loud and clear from our panel – religious leaders need to make the planet their priority. ‘The world’s faith groups have been silent for too long on the environment,’ says Nick Reeves. ‘It is time that they fulfilled their rightful collective role in reminding us that we have a duty to restore and maintain the ecological balance of the planet.’ Penney Poyzer puts it rather more graphically. ‘Organised religion of all denominations, PLEASE get your congregations to make caring for our rapidly decomposing, landfill site of a planet the utmost priority,’ she says. Chris Goodall agrees, urging different faith groups to come together. ‘They need to form a coalition to encourage their followers to set an example to the rest of the population,’ he says.

The Lincolnshire Churches Environmental Framework for Action has been produced by CTAL just for this very practical purpose, so let's take it to heart and put it into practice and commend it to others. Why not have a look too at the excellent CTAL / BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sunday Breakfast Lent 2007 course - The Earth in Our Hands. This has recently won a coveted Jerusalem award in the category Environment – the Christian and biblical basis of ecology, so congratulations to Sue Edwards and Terry Miller (pictured with the award).

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