Within church circles, there has been increased attention over recent decades to
environmental concerns. However, knowledge about the relative uptake of activities
in local churches in Australia, and who is doing what and where, is mostly patchy
and anecdotal. Results from approximately 2,400 local churches that participated
in the 2011 National Church Life Survey address this gap. The results indicate modest
increases in environmental engagement among churches over the last 15 years. With
the exception of recycling (two thirds of churches) and the purchase of environmentally
friendly consumables (one third of churches), the most common activities in 2011
were implementation of energy and water saving measures at church buildings, the
usual inclusion of environmental concerns in worship, and the celebration of a day
or a season with an environmental theme in the previous five years, with approximately
a quarter of local churches having done these activities. Biodiversity conservation
activities and switching to GreenPower were the least common, with less than a twentieth
of churches. Engagement varied markedly across denominations and was particularly
high in the Uniting Church, followed by Catholic and Anglican churches. The Pentecostal
churches were the least active. Activity was particularly high in the centres of
capital cities and lowest in rural areas.
Author/s: Pepper, M. & Powell, R.
Pepper, M. & Powell, R. (2013) Environmental activities in local churches, NCLS
Research Occasional Paper 20. Adelaide: Mirrabooka Press.
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