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South Norfolk church hosts eco event

The tiny church of All Saints, Hethel, winner of the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership / East of England Co-op award for churchyards in 2014, is running a major community event over the weekend of September 11-13,  exploring how we can all live more sustainably.

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” (Native American saying)

All Saints HethelThe weekend is entitled Care of Our Planet; Care of Our Neighbour, and is supported by The Green Britain Centre (Swaffham) with display material and knowledgeable staff, identifies energy, transport and food as focuses for individual or national action, so these are the themes of the all-weekend interactive exhibition in the church, with things for children as well as their parents to get their hands on. Activities exploring biodiversity – what it is and why it matters – will be going on in the churchyard. 

A recent main headline in The Independent was “Climate Change: the terrifying truth”, noting that the three hottest years since records began occurred in the past six years. Claims of a ‘pause’ in global warming are “nonsense”. As the Editorial wryly observes, the international climate summit staring in Paris in November offers the best chance to make a “pause” in warming a reality. If The Independent is right, what can we as individuals do to make a difference?

The weekend kicks off with a talk by Dr Ruth Valerio from the Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK on Friday evening at 7.30pm on "Why Christians should care for God's Earth".

“Heat from fresh air”; “Electric Vehicles” “Community pig farms”; “Prague, Madrid, Corsica and Rome: Europe by rail is much more fun” are just some of the titles from the programme of 20-minute talks which will punctuate Saturday, while on Sunday local people who have ‘got the T-shirt’ will be around to share their experience. Want to know more about solar panels? Talk to someone local who put them in several years ago. Fascinated by electric cars (but scared off by the price)? Talk to someone local who’s got one. Confused by the variety of low-energy light-bulbs available? Ask someone local who’s fought their way through that particular jungle. Jess Cranthorne, Group Lotus plc Environmental Manager will be present on Sunday afternoon from 2pm to talk to anyone who is interested in the project to reduce the carbon footprint of the vehicle on the road and in particular the 'embedded carbon' arising from the manufacturing process.

On Saturday evening, Professor Mike Hulme has agreed to be ‘on the sofa’ alongside rector Adrian Miller with ex-BBC Radio producer Susan Bowden-Pickstock facilitating a robust conversation. The aim is an entertaining and informative evening on climate change, its impact, its politics and its practicalities. Mike is Professor of Climate and Culture at King’s College, London and was previously Professor of Climate Change at UEA. After a glass of wine, the evening will be rounded off by Ruth Valerio offering her thoughts on what difference ‘little me’ can make.

Organiser Peter Nicholls said, “This event may be the biggest community weekend we’ve run and we’re delighted with the support we’ve received from local businesses, organisations and individuals, and we’re equally delighted that Mike Hulme and Ruth Valerio are able to be with us. We recognise that the frantic pace of modern life can mean that there’s no headspace for making lifestyle changes so we want to help with practical how-tos, little things you can do to make a difference – and probably save yourself money – as well as some big-picture thinking.

“It’s also important to say that we’re not trying to preach to anyone – we’re all on this journey together and need all the help, support and sharing of experience we can get. Our aim is to provide some time and some space in which that can happen – and to make it convivial and fun, with lots of hands-on stuff, sustainable lunches and other refreshments available and friendly people to meet.”

The event runs from September 11-13 in Hethel Church (Church Lane, Hethel, NR14 8HE). Exhibition and daytime events open 10am to 5pm; the Saturday ‘edutainment evening’ starts at 7.30pm. Admission to all events is free; there will be opportunities to contribute to costs. More details and a full programme is available at

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