Sustainable Living : Workshop on Campaigning
On Saturday 22nd November 2014, CEL (or, as it will be renamed in January 2015, Green Christian ) held our Annual Members Meeting, and after official business was over, we were treated to an address by Ian Christie of the Sustainable Living Research Group at the University of Surrey.
Following his thought-provoking words, the meeting broke up into three groups considering recommendations for actions in the three domains of : Church, Community and Campaigning.
How can we reconcile the 3-way stand-off (Government, Business and Citizen) through what we say and the ways we say it
What successful campaigns has CEL been involved with?
One is LOAF.
Why has it been successful?
- catchy acronym
- everyone is impacted by food
- concept easy to grasp
We have learned that we need to:
- keep the campaign ‘story’ going – otherwise it becomes a blip
- stitch it into a wider narrative, influencing lifestyles, clear relation to carbon emission savings and to scripture
- impact people with an idea which affects them as individuals or as families…and in a positive way.
Specifically, as regards the 3-way stand-off we need:
- a shared understanding of the terminology used (eg what is ’sustainable development’ for the Governments, Local Authorities and Business may not be the same for the Citizen)
- to take ownership of projects – parts of projects – as a church (eg in conservation projects)
- to be seen as helping one or two of the other players (eg making recommendations re local environmental or neighbourhood development projects)
And remember that within the Citizen group there may be several opposing parties (eg building a new runway may have people against for green and noise reasons but in favour in terms of local employment).
And that may also be the case within the Business group, with some in favour of projects and others against.
What can we do specifically as Green Christians and/or church members?
- influence the ‘key opinion formers’ (who may be local Councillors or Bishops or others)
- use resources which are freely available at either Diocese or other levels (eg CofE ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ website, DEO’s)
- highlight to fellow Christians that this is all biblical and is what we should all be doing! (eg as CofE’s 5th Mark of Mission – caring for creation)
And important advice from Ian Christie….
Write to our MP’s and get others to do so using similar (but not the same) words (eg ‘….’my vote goes to the best party to offer a green deal for COMMUNITIES rather than houses).
If even only 20 letters are sent in a similar vein, MP’s will seriously consider the matter.