Update from Northern Ireland Creation Care Network

Darren Houston, a member of the NI Creation Care Network provided ECI with the notes below of the meeting held on Saturday 20 October 2018 in Ballynure Presbyterian Church, Ballynure, Co Antrim.

Attendees: Bertie Stirling, Darren Houston, Stephen Acheson, Tom McCosh, Elizabeth McCosh, Frances Francey, Michael Francey, Freddie Stirling, Ken Orr, Joe Furpy, Anne Ford, David Ford, Libby Weatherup, Rev. Derek Weir, Rachel Ferris.

Apologies: Sam Pollock, Sister Margaret Rose McSparran, Grace Davin,  Gale Moffett, Helen Moffett, Karen & Kerry Nicholson.

Introductions:  Everyone was welcomed to Ballynure, some for their first time. The meeting proceeded with each representative providing details of what they and their respective churches and organisations were working towards or had achieved environmentally since the last meeting. A summary of the subjects and topics follows:-

Summary:

  • Application for eco-awards and using non-disposable cups for church activities (Michael and Frances).
  • A Rocha work and promotion of environmental awareness in churches. (Bertie and Freddie).
  • Development of garden workshops for young people (Stephen).
  • Promotion of Organic Gardening. (Tom and Elizabeth).
  • Donation and refurbishment of old hand tools to forward to African Projects (Ken)
  • Pizza ovens installed in church for community engagement. (Ken).
  • Eco-Congregation Awards explained. Successes in Rep of Ireland, with N. Ireland very slow to catch up. Environmental candle passed around churches to promote environmental protection (Joe).
  • NI Community Energy details provided eg. 18 community buildings with renewable energy supplies. (Anne).
  • Move to not using plastic cups; clothing swaps through PW; and repair café details provided. Also threat to a church planted woodland by a car park extension. (Libby).
  • Promotion of organic gardening and the work being done by Jubilee Farm. (David).
  • Wildlife gardening and Templepatrick Horticultural Society. (Derek)
  • Church nature walks and use of 4 village church halls for BallynATure Day. (Darren)

Discussions:

  • Disposable Cups - Bertie confirmed with Bryson Recycling the different recycling methods for compostable, biodegradable and paper cups. Ken to forward details on ordering compostable cups.
  • Landfill – Bertie also highlighted that landfill sites reducing methane release was reducing the rate of decomposition at these sites.
  • Bottled Water – Discussion on benefits of tap water and reusing bottles.
  • Packaging – Rachel highlighted the option of leaving packaging of purchases with shop/supplier.
  • Renewable Targets – Anne highlighted that N. Ireland was set to meet its 2020 targets but, post Brexit, environmental protection unknown. With no EU fine the environment may be seen as less important.
  • It was deemed that Environment Ministers had largely failed in their responsibilities, also that N. Ireland was the only UK Region without an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
  • Sustainability – Stephen outlined the 3 pillars of this – social, economic and environmental. Discussion on the value of the natural environment not being assessed.

Next Meeting:

Saturday 23rd March 2019, 10.00am to 1.00pm.

Moyallon Centre, the Grange Christian Retreat Ltd, 123 Stramore Road, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, BT63 5JZ.

Thank you very much to all those who attended, and for all the information provided and topics discussed.

Ballynure Presbyterian