On 17th & 18th October, Diocesan Environment Officers (DEOs) from 26 dioceses came together for the annual National Conference at High Leigh, Hertfordshire. The conference is organised by Shrinking the Footprint, the national environment campaign for the Church of England.
This event provides valuable opportunities for DEOs to hear about projects in other dioceses as well as for networking and issue sharing. Projects underway across the country spanned from solar co-operatives and clergy study days to creating networks of local champions and political campaigns.
The conference included a session from Ben Niblett, Head of Campaigns at Tearfund, about communicating climate change in light of the recent IPCC report as well as discussion led by Philip Fletcher, Chair of Mission and Public Affairs, about raising the profile of the environment on the Church of England agenda.
Not all of the conference was indoors, there were two outdoor worship sessions as well as a talk by Matt Freer, DEO of Oxford, on the concept of Forest Church, where we appreciated the wonder of creation and learnt a few tools for opening our senses to nature.
The Bishop of Bedford gave a thought-provoking talk after dinner on Thursday 17th, which included mention of Bangladesh where large areas are at threat of flooding from sea level rise.
All DEOs at the National Conference signed up to a declaration calling for urgent and sustained action in response to Climate Change.