Reflecting in Lockdown
Lockdown may have given you time to re-evaluate about what is important and how you look after yourself. Some people found the time to exercise outdoors gave some solace in the green space nearby, sharing paths and places previously overlooked.
‘There were significant impacts on nature. As the world slowed during lockdowns, there were reports of wildlife in areas normally busy with people. This was not only in urban areas; puffins on the Farne Islands are one example of wildlife thriving in a deserted national park. In the UK daily exercise of a walk or cycles ride enabled many people to connect with nature in their local area. Reduce traffic noise meant that bird song could be heard in usually busy streets and road kill declined.’
p12 ‘Covid-19 Environment, Justice and the Future’ E198 Grove
University of Derby conducted research that found nature connectionedness is as important for wellbeing as income and education (Capaldi).
What can something as simple as nature connection do in improving our mental health? In connecting to nature we improve our sense of wellbeing. If you think of your mental health as variable to each person and each situation then self-care in simple ways is something we need to practice.
‘Do not underestimate the importance of preventative work.’ Angela Kerry, Policy Officer, Derbyshire Mental Health Forum 21 July 2020.
Mental illness is not always preventable, but to prevent it we can use the 5 ways to wellbeing. Nature connection can help us- connect, be active, wonder, learn and give.
Just take the idea of wonder. We can see more shades of green than any other colour (James Wong on Twitter @Botanygeek). Is that so we can appreciate beauty in the outdoors and value everything from a landscape to a leaf?
Connecting to nature improves the quality of our lives.
Connecting with other human beings can bring perspective but so can feeling tiny as you reach a hilltop and admire the view. Perhaps we can also prevent the inclination to be ego centric and be encouraged in our caring for each other and for creation.
Nature Connectedness what can we do?
It is estimated we have 10,000 churchyards in the Church of England the land equivalent to a small National Park. If you added in private gardens and allotments, it would be bigger still.
Derby University research shows Nature Connection benefits can be measured in both adults and children.
- Notice good things in nature and write them down.
- Nature connection stuck with people 2 months later.
- We look after things we value. In children ‘noticing’ in nature gave rise to increased caring of the environment.
- Feeling better increased: people measurably perceived themselves as happier.
- Nature connection is offered as a social prescription: it works in urban environments.
- Create some good memories outdoors. Nature connection is more powerful than ‘knowing about it’ or contact, it needs to link to us emotionally and meaningfully, tying in to our compassion and aesthetics (beauty).
We treasure what we know and value.
Our beautiful world of human, animal and plant species is under threat, rising extinction of species https://www.ipbes.net/news/ipbes-global-assessment-summary-policymakers-pdf highlighted this before the pandemic. Campaigners are wanting a just return for our people and planet after lockdown.
‘Preserving terrestrial ecosystems on land, in the oceans and in our fresh watercourses, is essential for the survival of the species, including our own. Preserving biodiversity also means researching it....Knowing … will make us understand better and follow a wiser path.’ We are all Greta, chapter 12, Biodiversity.
Collecting- accumulating more and more: a selfish activity has damaged the planet. This tendency can be funneled into identifying (and not destroying), and appreciating species. Eco church resource https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Land-How-to-Look-After-Your-Land-in-Wildlife-Friendly-Ways.pdf
Sharing our love of nature (treasuring the earth) welcoming the local public and visitors can be part of our mission. We can offer the opportunity to join in, learn, connect, sharing access to a local green space. https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/churchcare/advice-and-guidance-church-buildings/biodiversity. We can also share our findings/ photos with local organisations recording sightings.
Where there is little local public green space Sharing what we have can be of great value: we show solidarity with people facing inequality in our parishes. https://neweconomics.org/2020/05/parks-are-for-everyone
Suggestions to encourage nature connection with the need to follow current guidance to wash hands, social distance etc.
- Share your churchyard or outside space: how do people know they are welcome?
- Link your outside space to citizen science projects, sharing your sightings e.g. arocha_uk , #Wildflowerhour, #WilderDerbyshire, @BTO etc.
- Offer space on outdoor events: a walk, maintenance activity and gardening projects. Link these to the volunteer bureau or the local social prescriber at your GP.
- Share what you have seen. This has been valued by people restricted at home.
- Offer a reason to be outside: for example a downloadable treasure trail aimed at children. Caring for Gods Acre resources and training https://www.caringforgodsacre.org.uk/get-involved/find-a-session/webinars/.
- Share a guided walk or route description or route number on your facebook page or social meadia. Add a facility to lockdownloo.com or the refill app add links https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/countryside/access/walking/walks-and-trails/walks-and-trails.aspx?page=1 or greenways https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/countryside/access/greenways/greenways.aspx
- Wild Christian resource http://thesanctuarycentre.org/resources/creative_prayer_idea_wild_worship_field_guide.pdf
- Join in with a walking group, a rambling group or an outdoor event in a local nature reserve or park.
- Link to a local wildlife group and find ways to share your space for activities.
- Watch a film at your social zoom such as ‘project wild thing’ and start a small group discussion https://3ak4be4522es3y5i4l2cwfkx-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Lifestyle-How-to-Connect-More-with-Nature.pdf
- Have a harvest or creation time worship in the outdoors – see 'Whats Happening' section below
Nature Connectedness research Derby University https://www.derby.ac.uk/research/centres-groups/nature-connectedness-research-group/
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust https://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-explorer
Following a presentation by the Environment group at Diocesan Synod on June 2018, Synod voted unanimously to become an Eco Diocese.
The motion, proposed by Archdeacon Carol and seconded by Dr Richard Henderson-Smith, was:
"This Synod agrees to implement the process of becoming an Eco Diocese through the efforts of Parishes, Deaneries and Diocesan Officers and Offices as it moves towards applying the gospel mission of caring for God’s Earth for the sake of God’s creatures. This is agreed to be reported, shared and celebrated at Deanery and Diocesan level."
A tale of two churches: See how two churches in the Diocese have taken different approaches to going green:
To find out more, contact Stella Collishaw who coordinates the group 01332 388685 / e: Stella.Collishaw@derby.anglican.org
For more about the scheme from Arocha ....
You are invited to share what you have done. The CofE Environment Programme has become a member of The Climate Coalition. Each year in February (coinciding with Valentine’s Day) TCC asks people to commit to environmental and climate change action by highlighting our concern and care for the planet - #ShowTheLove on 12th February 2021.
Epiphany declaration 20 Christian organisations divest from fossil fuels. Choose renewable energy.
A new report from Operation Noah - 'Bright Now'....
Talks on net zero hosted by the University of Oxford and Oxford Martin School
latest Environmental news from the Church of England including virtual training and conferences.
Related Training webinars from Church of England.
Caring for Gods Acre training webinars upcoming 20th/27th Jan 2021 'Whats so special about burial grounds' and 'five steps for managing your burial ground' live events. Sign up to be notified about upcoming events or catch up on recording of previous webinars.
Current issue of Green Christian magazine is freely available online.
Film clip: the State of Nature and 5 things you can do.
Catch up with Climate Justice and the Global South
In South Derbyshire the Transforming the Trent Valley project is running a 9 week programme, which aims to connect people with nature and explore how this can improve mental health and wellbeing.
For more information click here to download the poster, or contact Simon Lowe, Transforming Lives Officer by email.
39 parishes in this Diocese have registered as Eco Churches. Nine have achieved awards. Eco church FAQs. 10 Dioceses have achieved Bronze Eco Diocese awards - Salisbury, Guildford, Birmingham, Winchester, Coventry and St Eds and Ipswich... To make contact to support a local church or find volunteering opportunities contact or go to find a church.
If you want a presentation for your PCC there is free to use material at Promoting Eco Church. This includes a powerpoint presentation and film clips. the Eco Church website has its own resources page- everything from measuring your carbon footprint, or being wildlife friendly to different types of cup available. Please let us know as you register your parish so we can be in touch about training and new resources.
Begin by registering as an Eco Church.
This gives you access to a tool which helps measure your progress. You go online and take a survey, save your input and return to update it. Progress shows as you work towards a bronze, silver or gold award. We will celebrate your achievement as it helps us work towards an award as a Diocese. 8 of our parishes have awards. Registered and awarded churches are on the Eco church map. The scheme is run by A Rocha UK and is endorsed by The Church of England, the Methodist Church, Christian Aid, TEARfund.
John Beardmore, adviser to DAC says:
A simple strategy for environmental decision making ....
Diocesan contact Stella Collishaw (Mission and Ministry team) leads on the Environment whihc is focussed on Eco Diocese. If you register as an Ecochurch or obtain an award you should inform her.
Details of your events, or news of progress in your patch for us to celebrate and photos illustrating it should go to her and also to Communications Team. See 'Whats Happening' section for upcoming events.
If your PCC are talking about making Environmental changes there are a number of people who are willing to come and support you locally and preach on Environmental issues, both licensed Readers and clergy.
There is also an ecumenical group of volunteers that meet called The Derbyshire Churches Environment Network.
It is chaired by Anne Knyhynyckyj, Reader, All Saints Wingerworth.
Practical activities from the group:-
- supporting Derby University public lecture programme from the Environment and Sustainability research department Sept 2019 - Jan 2020
- offering an information at clergy conference Nov 2019 with the support of members from All Saints Wingerworth
- supporting training for example Eco Church in the Learning in Faith programme (Community section)
- a mailing to all PCCs and incumbents July 2019 about Climate Emergency
- pilot development of a series of talks and discussions beginning October 2019
- leading the presentation at June 2019 Synod where there was an update report about progress on Eco Diocese and as requested offering reasons to make a policy against fracking
- a paper for the Parsonages Committee on Solar PV
- architect training partnered with DAC
- advice to individual parishes and offering presentations or preachers as requested
Living Lightly is the Environment Group policy focus derived from the former Framework, adopted as Diocesan policy. We are encouraging parishes and churches to become Eco Churches and registered as an Eco Diocese in 2018.
Eco church FAQs
Other recent publications:
21st Century Franciscans: Caring for Creation by Eirene Palmer.
Back issues are: Can we join David aginst Goliath?, which looks at 'fracking'. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation, Fair Enough by John Payne Mar 2019, My Reflections on Plastic-Less Lent and Time for Action which you are invited to publish locally including images. To get the newsletter as it is published sign up.
Our recommendations and links....