At Synod 2015 our Diocese priortised working towards initiatives around climate care. As kaitiaki/guardians of God’s earth each follower of Jesus has responsibility to advocate for the protection of its resources in both word and deed. Since Synod, the main theme that has emerged as a focus for the Diocese around climate care is the reduction of transport emissions. With that in mind, I would like to introduce to you Chris Frazer.
Chris has a 27 year history of management of social services both as a Deacon within the Methodist Church as well as The Salvation Army NZ. As social justice advocate Chris coordinated The Salvation Army’s work in relation to trafficking in persons/labour exploitation and played a lead role in supporting and coordinating New Zealand’s nascent response to TIP (Trafficking in Persons), including through the organising of the first four national people trafficking conferences (2009-2014), in partnership with non-government and government agencies. Additionally Chris established and coordinated for two years the NZ arm of the global organisation STOP THE TRAFFIK.
Other key achievements have included research into food banks and poverty with a number of published reports, extensive media work, campaign organising and the setting up of Catalyst, a community trust. In 1993 Chris was awarded the New Zealand Centennial Suffrage medal for her social justice work.
Chris is a passionate advocate for all things sustainable and as part of her work within the Salvation Army she developed resources for corps use which informed and encouraged both individuals and churches to make good choices in treading lightly on our planet.
Over the next few months, Chris will be preparing regular articles and resource packs for the Diocese around the issue of transport emissions; looking at ways that we as individuals need to make changes in the way we live, and framing our decisions in theological context. These will be available on Movement Online for you all to use and I encourage you to make the most of this.
I trust you will find her writing thought-provoking, and I will be looking forward to hearing any stories of challenge and change that emerge as we explore this issue together as a Diocesan family.
PS: Although Chris is focussing for now on transport emissions, she has also recently done amazing research around the issue of plastic bag use – please see the PDF below if you would like to explore this further.
Tread softly! All the earth is holy ground
A favourite walk of mine is following one of many pathways alongside the Hutt River. A popular recreation trail, it can at times be very busy as walkers, cyclists and people out with their dogs make the most of the fresh air and peaceful natural beauty. Periodically placed on the pathways is a notice which simply says ‘Share with Care’. It is a reminder to all of us making the most of such a special facility that no one has right of way over another.
Treading softly in order to share with care is a principle inherent within the Genesis account of the beginning of creation and is a God given prescription for living in harmony and equilibrium in tune with all of life, flora and fauna, animals and humans. Early biblical writings display a theology that sees God’s creation, humanity’s activity and the welfare of the natural world as interconnected.
Under God’s providence, humanity depends on the rhythm and cycles of nature for survival.
Essentially, such interdependence between humanity and nature is built on relationships as opposed to possession, respect rather than destruction, and with the use of resources focused on sufficiency rather than greed.
Fast forward to 2016 and God’s original intent for earth and all its inhabitants faces unprecedented challenges as we witness a world of mounting disparity where extreme hunger and over consumption are among the warning signs of a world increasingly becoming out of balance. This in turn is contributing significant damage to the structures we depend on for survival.
Does each of us have a role in addressing these challenges? Yes we do! If we profess to be followers of Christ then addressing such disparity and destruction can never be an optional extra to the building up of the body of Christ or a one off project or designated Sunday service to be ticked off when completed.
Rather every individual and parish is urged to get involved in the issues, to begin to develop new habits in order to imbed a culture of share with care into everything we say and do. This is precisely what the Wellington Diocese will be undertaking through its focus on transport emissions and we are all invited, indeed urged, to come on board as over the impending months we address matters of concern, our own part in them and how together we can begin to author a new story of living and being within our God given community.
Walter Brueggeman in his 19 theses on the Bible in Church challenges us to re-examine our script for Christian living where presently the dominant scripting focuses on “technological, therapeutic and consumer militarism. A script, he reasons which is reinforced daily through media consumerist images extolling us to buy certain products to enhance our happiness, all of which serve to narrowly define our culture and life story in economic terms. Brueggeman urges the Church to begin to offer and practise a new chapter for living which is counter narrative to our present money driven ideology.
One symbol of our current culture is clearly visible in our mounting global landfills of waste. Waste uses vast amounts of our valuable resources and none of us are exempt from being an active contributor to the throw away pile. Take food waste, for example a report just released highlights that:
- An estimated one-third of all food is lost or wasted worldwide as it moves from where it is produced to where it is eaten, even as more than 800 million people are undernourished
- Food loss and waste globally costs up to $940 billion per year
- Food loss and waste generates about 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions
- If it were a country, food loss and waste would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the United States
Bringing this closer to home, findings from recent research into the average Kiwi families’ food waste highlighted:
- It is estimated Kiwis spend $872 million a year on food that then gets thrown away uneaten
- We throw away over 122,547 tonnes of food a year – enough to feed around 262,917 people, or the population of the Bay of Plenty for 12 months
- The average household sends around 79 kg of edible food to landfills every year
- Food waste costs the average household $563 a year
In terms of overall emissions, eradicating this food waste would have the same effect as reducing CO2 corresponding emissions by 325,975 tonnes – equal to planting 130,390 trees or taking 118,107 cars off the road for a year
So how do we begin to take the first step to address our part in contributing to excessive transport emissions?
As a gateway in we invite you to check out the first of our resource leaflets. Centred on transport emissions the ‘Waste Not, Want not’ leaflet focuses on the harmful effects of food waste and what we can be actively doing to reduce it. As well as exploring the key issues of concern there is a study guide for individual and small group use. Also available later in August will be the ‘Food Glorious Food’ resource which examines our disproportionate transport emissions imprint within our present global food production. Our journey will take us from farms and plantations right through to supermarkets and into our homes and kitchens.
Whilst governments globally alongside businesses and organisations have a key role to play right now in mitigating the negative impact of our consumerist practices …
so do we! So will you come on board? For together we can make a real difference!
 Brueggeman, Walter, ;2004 Emergent theological Conversation’, All Souls Fellowship, Decatur, GAhttp://www.wasteminz.org.nz/sector-groups/behaviour-change/love-food-hate-waste/