Anna's On A Mission
Anna's on a mission - to make her church a greener place. But how? We bribed her with coffee to spill the beans.
Why are you on a mission to turn your church green?
Well - mostly because of what the Bible says!
I grew up in Sri Lanka and I saw the effects of climate change, flooding and disasters as well as the impact that has on poverty stricken places.
I was there in 2004 when the Tsunami hit. I just felt so helpless, I thought ‘I wanna do something’. It hit three doors down from where I lived. It was on Boxing Day and we were at our hotel swimming. People were leaning over the side because there was water rising from the river...
So that made me realise that if we can do something to stop more disasters like that happening then we should. Because climate change is going to make things like that happen more often.Even in the UK we’ve seen the flooding. Governments always say they're going to do something about climate change but I think to get it done the church also needs to take a stand.
What is it in the Bible that makes you think the church should do something?
We were created by God, to love him and to worship him. This is his world. He said ‘It is good’ and he loved it. And we’re kind of destroying it. He said use it, go forth and multiply, but he also said we’re the leaders, the servants and have to care for the land.
Do you really think the church can influence this?
Yes! I think the church has a really big influence. It's so strong in England and because it's such a big community I think other people will follow.
Ok, so what do you want to see your church doing?
I think it needs to take a few baby steps first. Our church is terrible at recycling! I have to take home all the recycling because I know it’s not going to be done!
It’s these little things that need changing first.
But then we also need to do some campaigning! Perhaps have awareness nights and prayer nights where we pray for the government and the world and the charities that have a lot of work to do?
I think people just need to hear about it. Lots of people in church just don't know about the effects of climate change.
Do you think young people are more aware of climate change than the older generations?
In a way... because we study some of it at school and it’s on the syllabus. But I don’t think they really understand the effect that climate change is having and how fast.
It needs to be talked about more and the only way that’s going to happen is for us to start the conversations. It helps when we talk about it. My friends and I have deep conversations... maybe I need to start some on climate change?
What do you think the role for young people in the church is?
I think they need to be a real part of the church, to be involved in things. Our church is really good at involving young people so that’s been a blessing. I’ve been able to do things that I wouldn’t have been able to elsewhere.
But sometimes young people can be cliquey and not talk to other people as much. It’s really important for us to talk to the older folk as well because they’re part of the church too and they need to be involved as well.
Making older people more aware is needed because climate change wasn’t a thing when they were our age. We need to ease them in slowly. Some of them don’t believe that it’s real; they don’t know that much about it.
Ok so how can we get them behind a climate change campaign? Make sure it's an issue for all generations?
The first thing is listening. People just need to hear about it.
But then it’s about giving people something to act on. Usually people just take it in, they might hear something in assembly and think ‘oh yeah, that’s important’ but then they don’t have anything to do.
I need to stand up in church and give a notice! My church is good at that - letting us stand up at the front, so I can say ‘can you be on board as well guys? This is a team effort’ Young people standing up in church can be more influential than an older person standing up.
Do you have a vision for what the church could look like in 10 years’ time?
I want to see the church become vocal again. We should be speaking out about things that are wrong in the world.
Also, we used to live in community but we’ve really moved away from that. People can be very selfish. But actually - we’re there for everyone! Imagine if we saw the church get even better at sharing things with the community around them?
God created us to love others as well. We just focus on ourselves but not on other people.
The church can help change people’s mentality.
What are your hopes for the world?
The world feels like it’s falling to pieces but there are small things happening. We can create a better world if we build a community mentality.
I want all people to be happy and able to enjoy life, to know that they're treasured and loved. They should know that we care about them, that we're not going to turn a blind eye to them.
We can do it with God's help. It's not something we can do alone!
Do you have a message for other young people who want to change their church?
Yes, keep going! Keep on believing in what you’re doing - your impacts will make a difference. Your small steps are going to have large repercussions.
Talk to your friends. Spread the word. Don’t be afraid, because you have a voice and people will listen to you. You may not think it, but you do!
Anna's church have just taken their first step to becoming a greener church – they've switched their energy to renewables! Join Anna and get your church to switch.