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News | 19th April 2023

‘Guardians of Creation’ Decarbonisation Guidance Launched

Key Details

Guardians of Creation Project
Integral Ecology

On 8 March, the Guardians of Creation project released a series of materials offering decarbonisation guidance for Catholic dioceses during a launch at Salford Cathedral Centre.

An initiative of Diocese of Salford, the Guardians of Creation project has piloted materials designed for use in all 22 Dioceses in England and Wales. The guidance was produced in collaboration with the Laudato Si’ Research Institute and St. Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Three reports, available for participants to take home in print, were presented by Emma Gardner (Head of Environment for the Diocese of Salford and project lead) with a further report previously published online and another nearing completion. These reports are the culmination of research conducted over the life of the project, including approximately 1,500 survey responses, 60 in-depth individual interviews, 15 exploratory focus groups, 5 expert focus groups, and two years of participant observation by the team.

Guardians of Creation group photo

From left to right: Roland Daw (St Mary’s), Jenny Williamson (ChurchMarketplace), Emma Gardner (Salford Diocese), Bishop John Arnold (Salford Diocese), Pauline Morgan (Salford Diocese), Edward de Quay (LSRI).

Each of the five reports relates to a separate element of the diocesan response to the ecological crisis. The first two reports, presented by Dr. Roland Daw (St Mary’s University) looked at decarbonisation strategy for diocesan buildings and carbon accounting. The second two reports, presented by Ruth Walbank (Laudato Si’ Research Associate at St Mary’s University) looked at strategies to respond to the ecological crisis through Catholic education, and offered a template approach to delivering teaching and learning around Catholic responses to the crisis in secondary schools. The fifth report, presented by Jakub Kowalewski (St Mary’s University) investigated the experiences, beliefs, and behaviours of Catholic parishioners in their own responses to the ecological crisis.

As part of the project, the LSRI has previously published a paper laying out the theological foundations for diocesan decarbonisation. LSRI Director Celia Deane-Drummond said the Institute has been “delighted to be collaborating in this project through the support of Edward de Quay and in contributing to this section of the project, recognising that the theological, ethical, and moral dimensions of the socio-ecological crisis are crucial aspects in bringing about lasting socio-ecological conversion.”

Philip Booth (Director of Catholic Mission at St Mary’s University and Director of Research and Policy at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales) concluded the presentations by thanking the project team for their contributions, and reiterating a point made in the recent Call of Creation document about how the Church must play its part in reducing carbon emissions and promoting the natural environment. He said, “we cannot expect others to act in this field if the Church herself is not. There is nothing worse than hypocrisy when it comes to changing culture.”

Since the launch of Guardians of Creation in collaboration with the 22 dioceses in England and Wales, seven dioceses have announced carbon reduction targets, and 14 have implemented environmental policies. In addition to the published reports, it has also made other funding applications possible for work including interfaith adoption of community energy projects, and a recent publication from the Diocese of Salford on “Environmental Stewardship in Places of Worship.”

For more information:

Guardians of Creation Reports

‘Environmental Stewardship in Places of Worship: a guide to reducing our carbon footprint’