The January ecocell day was attended by 23 members of the ecocell 2 project, together with a number of prospective ecocell joiners.
After prayers and reflections on the relevance of the Epiphany to the ecocelljourney, led by Paul Bodenham and Deirdre Munroe, George Marshall of the Climate Outreach and Information Network presented the lead address.
In a challenging presentation, among the points George emphasised were:
- The need to take the climate message out of the ‘environmental box’ and make it relevant to the concerns of groups as different as the trade union movement, the Rotary Club, human rights organisations and the Conservative Party (all of which he had worked with)
- The especial importance of faith groups like ourselves – and especially the Islamic faith (given the particular climate threat to many Islamic countries)
- Faith groups understand the importance of belief. In the climate movement the issue is not just ‘believers vs. deniers’. Many apparent believers are not really taking on board the message nor letting it influence their lives.
- The different roles that we play in our lives – which may include advocate, citizen, activist, consumer and beacon (being a living exemplar)
- The importance of congruence between the lives we lead and the policies that we advocate
- The importance of the personal story as a means of influencing others
- The need for clarity on the ‘carbon bottom’ line – and not spending our energies on activities that have little influence on this bottom line.
George Marshall Talk: pdf file.
This was followed by a thorough explanation of the revised, easier to use, carbon footprint calculator spreadsheet by Tim Suitor, assisted by Poppy Pickard. Tim then joined Westley Ingrams to re-enact one of the drama sketches that we presented at the Greenbelt festival last summer, over lunch time. Nicky and Richard Kierton also led a group discussion on introducing ecocell 1 to local church communities.
In the afternoon, Alice Yaxley, Barbara Echlin and Chris Walton led a session on the ecocell 2 food module for the 13 members of the Online ecocell 2group present. While, for a joint meeting of the two London groups, firstly Oli Griffiths introduced a role play exercise to illustrate the difficulties of restricting tuna fishing in an island community dependent on fishing; then Poppy Pickard led a discussion on how people had experienced ecocell 2 in its first year.
Tony Emerson, briefly summing up the day, argued that the experience of living – and living joyfully -within sustainability limits increased our power to influence others, at every level. CEL chaplain Chris Walton, who had reminded us of the spiritual value of our work throughout the day, finished with a prayer.
One of the points that George Marshall had made earlier was the importance of acting within a supportive group. This was echoed by one participant reflection after the conference:
“Seemed to me that the day established us as a community for the first time, which is pretty important as ‘fellowship’ was a main factor in why people participated in the overall programme. We now need to make this the start of something great!”
Further information: http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/ecocell. If you would like to consider joining contact Tony Emerson