How many lightbulbs does it take to change a Christian?

A new guide published by the Church of England gives green tips for individuals, their communities and their churches.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has endorsed a booklet this week that encourages Christians to play their part in helping to stop climate change.

Aiming to counter the idea that stark warnings on the state of the environment seem too colossal for individuals to make any real difference, the book - called How many lightbulbs does it take to change a Christian? - argues that Christians not only can have an impact by adapting their lifestyle, but actually have a moral duty to do so.

The Archbishop said: "There are many small steps that each of us can take to lighten the load on our planet and this guide gives some practical examples of where each of us can start. I commend it to all Christians looking for ideas and inspiration on what they can do to make a positive difference for the environment."

The pocket-sized guide suggests a huge range of practical actions to help churches and their members 'go green', including:

* Organise a car-sharing scheme for travelling to and from Sunday worship
* Book some holiday time from work - but cut transport emissions by staying locally and rediscover the interesting features of the neighbourhood
* Use the toaster rather than the grill when making toast to conserve energy
* Help a churchyard become a 'green lung' for the community by setting aside a 'wild area'
* Review any floodlighting the church has and whether the bulbs are energy-efficient and directed at the building rather than the sky
* Sign up to stop receiving wasteful junk mail.

The new booklet is part of the Church's Shrinking the Footprint campaign, a response to the General Synod's charge to the Church to engage with climate change and work on reducing its carbon emissions by 2008. At the launch of the Shrinking the Footprint in 2005, the Archbishop of Canterbury argued: "For the Church of the 21st Century, good ecology is not an optional extra but a matter of justice. It is therefore central to what it means to be a Christian."

Care for God's creation is deeply embedded in Christian tradition and scripture, and this full-colour 64-page booklet aims to suggest ideas for taking action that not only helps stem energy and resource usage, but that sends a message to political leaders that the Church is taking this issue seriously. The practical suggestions are laid out in eight key themes, which each tackle ways of easing pressure on the environment by identifying ideas for action within individuals' lives, churches, and communities, making the booklet ideal for both personal reading and use as a group study resource.

Written by Claire Foster, national policy adviser on environmental issues for the Church of England, and David Shreeve, co-founder of The Conservation Foundation and environmental adviser to the Church of England, the booklet is a mine for fresh ideas and contains details of websites and other recommended sources of further information for churches or individuals wishing to explore the issues.

How many lightbulbs does it take to change a Christian? (ISBN 978-07151-4127-4) is priced £4.99 and available from Christian bookshops including Church House Bookshop, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN, tel. 020 7799 4064, email or on the web at:

first published LONDON - 24 April 2007 - 560 words

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