Lent Carbon Fast Comment

Across the Southwest with scores of churches involved, about two thousand people participated from different churches in this year’s Lent Carbon Fast, all attempting to further reduce our impact on the ecology of God’s planet Earth. In addition to hundreds who used the printed Fast booklet, more than 500 subscribers received daily emails with suggestions for devotion and action.

The Lent Carbon Fast follows debates and full support from the six Diocesan synods in the region’s Anglican Dioceses and builds on their existing ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ work.

It was never going to be an easy task to cut our carbon emissions by 40% and difficult to measure, especially as some of the actions taken will not have results for a number of years. Nevertheless there has been progress on a number of fronts in changing our culture to become more ‘Creation-friendly’.

In Cornwall (Truro), a training session for preaching was run by Revd. Lucy Larkin in preparation for the Fast, whilst in Bristol many parishes have appointed environmental contact persons. In addition, two composting toilets are to be installed in local churches. Bath & Wells has seen a large rise in the numbers of churches wanting to review their heating systems. In Gloucester more people have switched to a green power source

In Devon, Exeter Cathedral turned off all its floodlights for the Lenten period and some churches are now becoming involved in community energy schemes. It is hoped as well to explore the potential of providing biomass fuel from managed Diocesan woodland.

There have also been reports of very positive responses in homes and churches across the six Dioceses. Here are a few comments received:

During Lent St John the Baptist Newport changed our electricity supplier to Ecotricity. We’ve also installed insulation under our new floor, are using recycled paper for our noticesheet and in our office, and are planning to switch our gas supply across in the next 2 months. Members of the church were encouraged to make use of the Carbon Fast resources and we had a weekly suggestion on our notice sheet throughout Lent.

We’ve a long way to go, but it’s tiny steps that will get us to the place we need to be.

(Revd. Andy Dodwell, Barnstaple, North Devon)

I am using the every day quotes to adjust my lifestyle.  I have given up meat for lent and the daily prayers are helping put that into a context that supports the Carbon Trust.

I loved today’s message – I am going to try to not buy anything tomorrow.  This message really made me think about how much of a ‘consumer’ I am…

Our (RC) parish has switched to a green energy supplier and is trying to remember to switch off the heating and lighting in church. The parish organised a ‘walk/bus/cycle to church encouraging parishioners to not use their cars to get to church.

I have valued receiving daily emails which I find inspiring – and challenging.  Our environmental group in church is giving out weekly challenge sheets and has put up posters and article in parish magazine.

Thank you so much for this.  I have really appreciated the Carbon Fast this Lent.  I already do many of the suggestions made, and you put me on my toes and I hope to go forward an improved Christian.  I hope you do this again next year.  Thank you again.

(5 Carbon Fast participants)


We are now considering how we might follow this up in the future. Several activities are already worth noting:

  • This website!
  • Promotion of a new green electricity scheme
  • Plug-In Solar Panels are now commercially available for as little as £900
  • Fast for the Climate with Christian Aid Pledges
  • Carbon projects and groups for 2015
  • A new Southwest environment prayer book

Martyn Goss, Exeter Diocesan Environment Officer