Church prays for environment


Summary

Leaders and followers alike are being asked to consider climate change by installing bicycle racks outside its churches and turning down the thermostat indoors.

The measures are part of the Church's efforts to help Norway achieve its goal to become the world's first "carbon-neutral" country by 2050, meaning it will have to reduce its own emissions and offset any leftovers by investing in Kyoto Protocol-style projects that reduce pollution in other countries.

"The Church has always been involved in social and ethical causes," says Norwegian Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoey, herself a pastor by profession.

"It was very involved in the fight against apartheid and in the fight against poverty. So it's natural for it to be involved in the most important issue of the moment: the climate," she says.

Each parish has been asked to present a special liturgy for the occasion.

Climate change ‘everyone’s responsibility’

"We all have to share the same cause, whether we are Protestant, lay, Muslim or Buddhist.

It's everyone's responsibility to leave acceptable living conditions for future generations," Ms Bjoernoey says.

The Church a "green parish" label to congregations that meet certain requirements, including using paper on both sides, recycling waste, thrifty purchasing of supplies, offering open-air religious services or holding a sermon on the environment at least once a year.

Proving their commitment to the cause, four pastors biked the 480 kilometers (300 miles) of hilly roads linking the southwestern town of Bergen to Oslo in 2005, in a bid to get employers to subsidise bicycle trips to and from work the same way they pay for car trips.

"Pastors are key people because their role is to change behaviour. That's a hard thing to do but we need to prove that everybody can contribute by setting attainable goals," says Ingeborg Midttoemme, head of the Federation of Pastors.

Despite its good intentions, the Church of Norway is not always consistent: part of its funds, managed by a separate body, are invested in oil companies and the airlines, two sectors known for the damage they cause to the climate.

But then Norway itself is a bit of a paradox: on the one hand it wants to become "carbon neutral" by 2050, and on the other hand it is one of the world's biggest oil exporters.


Leaders and followers alike are being asked to consider climate change by installing bicycle racks outside its churches and turning down the thermostat indoors.

The measures are part of the Church's efforts to help Norway achieve its goal to become the world's first "carbon-neutral" country by 2050, meaning it will have to reduce its own emissions and offset any leftovers by investing in Kyoto Protocol-style projects that reduce pollution in other countries.

"The Church has always been involved in social and ethical causes," says Norwegian Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoey, herself a pastor by profession.

"It was very involved in the fight against apartheid and in the fight against poverty. So it's natural for it to be involved in the most important issue of the moment: the climate," she says.

Each parish has been asked to present a special liturgy for the occasion.

Climate change ‘everyone’s responsibility’

"We all have to share the same cause, whether we are Protestant, lay, Muslim or Buddhist.

It's everyone's responsibility to leave acceptable living conditions for future generations," Ms Bjoernoey says.

The Church a "green parish" label to congregations that meet certain requirements, including using paper on both sides, recycling waste, thrifty purchasing of supplies, offering open-air religious services or holding a sermon on the environment at least once a year.

Proving their commitment to the cause, four pastors biked the 480 kilometers (300 miles) of hilly roads linking the southwestern town of Bergen to Oslo in 2005, in a bid to get employers to subsidise bicycle trips to and from work the same way they pay for car trips.

"Pastors are key people because their role is to change behaviour. That's a hard thing to do but we need to prove that everybody can contribute by setting attainable goals," says Ingeborg Midttoemme, head of the Federation of Pastors.

Despite its good intentions, the Church of Norway is not always consistent: part of its funds, managed by a separate body, are invested in oil companies and the airlines, two sectors known for the damage they cause to the climate.

But then Norway itself is a bit of a paradox: on the one hand it wants to become "carbon neutral" by 2050, and on the other hand it is one of the world's biggest oil exporters.