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As a church in the 21st century, Great St Mary’s is particularly aware of its responsibility to encourage care for God’s creation, to raise awareness of the current climate emergency and thereby help to minimise the effects of climate change. The church has begun by looking at its own behaviour, installing solar panels on the roof, recycling and reusing as much as possible, and completing a survey of the plants and animals in the churchyard. Because of this work, and a commitment to sustainable practices, Great St Mary’s has achieved Eco Church status at Silver level. The Environment Team are working towards achieving Gold.

As part of our Education Programme, we will be developing resources on sustainability – some of which will be from an explicitly Christian perspective, and others which could be used in any context. All of our resources come from a belief that we have a real responsibility towards the natural world, especially considering that we are part of the natural world ourselves, and that small actions and increasing awareness of sustainability and other environmental issues can have a real impact on the future of our planet.

Sustainability is a wide term, and we are focusing on this deliberately because it encompasses all activities and makes us question whether what we are doing in all areas of our lives is sustainable. Looking at the sustainability of something means looking towards the future, and asking whether our current practices can continue into the future without doing irreversible or disproportionate damage or causing increased scarcity of resources.

Acting sustainably aims to protect natural resources – including the lives of human beings – and involves thinking about the morality of our actions as well as their physical effects. In clothes manufacturing, this would mean considering several aspects of the manufacturing process – Are the materials being responsibly sourced? Are the people making the clothes being paid fairly, and do they have clean and safe working conditions with good breaks and holiday entitlement? What are the pollution levels caused by the factories? Does the building of a new factory/use of an existing factory impact local biodiversity? Each of these questions involves asking more questions to adequately determine whether the process can be considered sustainable.

We can each make small decisions every day that show we are prioritising sustainability, and although we also need large companies and politicians to make decisions that impact sustainability on a larger level, we would like to encourage individual action through our work here. This not only has an impact on the natural world – God’s creation – but also demonstrates to those with power that we place high priority on sustainability and responsible environmental action.


In August 2021 we were offered a grant by the ECLAS Project to develop education and information about sustainability in relation to science and religion. This grant was matched by funding from CSOC (Church Schools of Cambridge) to allow us to develop our sustainability work – work that we are continuing to this day.

ECLAS was born from the conviction that science is a gift from God, but that too often Christian leaders lack the confidence and tools to engage with scientific questions. To find out more about the ECLAS Project, and learn of some of the other projects around the UK they support, kindly head to their website by clicking the button below.

The resources below were created as part of this previous project, and we hope to add to these through our current work.

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