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A rubbish problem

As your church continues to respond to the climate emergency, here are some ways to take action on plastic pollution too, with Tearfund’s latest campaign.

Piles of plastic waste between a roadside and flooded fields in Bangladesh. Image credit: Tearfund

We know the scale and urgency of the climate crisis continues to demand action. Just this week, in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, UN secretary general António Guterres said: ‘Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once.’

This is a time to keep going. Keep on going on. Keep your church journeying in their influence and using their voice to bring long-lasting change. And now, there’s an exciting opportunity to do that in the area of plastic waste.

While Tearfund continues to work on the climate crisis, they have recently launched a brand new campaign to tackle the world’s rubbish problem in the lead up to the first-ever global plastics treaty, which is being developed by world leaders over the next two years.

Two crises

We know that the plastics crisis and climate emergency are two interconnected issues. The plastic industry is the fastest growing source of industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

And it’s not just the issue of plastic production. A staggering two billion across the world have no safe way to dispose of rubbish, meaning many are forced to dump and burn it, which not only adds to the climate emergency, but is also devastating to people’s health – leading to up to a million deaths per year. That’s one person dying every 30 seconds.

Why should I get involved?

Getting involved is a great way to show decision-makers and the UK Government that the world’s rubbish problem matters to you and your church.

You can use your voice to demand an end to plastic pollution – and its impacts on people and the environment – by calling on those negotiating the plastics treaty to develop an agreement that reduces plastic production (and the harmful gases it creates), increases access to waste collection and recycling, ensures justice for those in the waste management industry and holds businesses and governments to account.

Watch the Rubbish Campaign film to see more about the campaign.

How can I get involved?

Find out more about the Rubbish Campaign on Tearfund’s website. There, you can sign the petition calling on those negotiating the plastics treaty to end plastic pollution and its harmful impacts.

Then, get inspired to bring your church on board too! Tearfund has developed a selection of resources to help you run a talk, children's activity or small group series in your church. The children’s activity is also suitable for schools or youth clubs; and you can watch this really inspirational video of a church in Brazil that’s gone zero waste.

Why not take on the Rubbish Challenge to reduce rubbish in your own life – or better still, think about ways to do it as a church community? Maybe you could swap disposable coffee cups for reusable mugs, or commit to slimming your bin as a church?

Or you could plan a rubbish-related event as part of Great Big Green Week, from 10 to 18 June 2023. This is the UK’s biggest annual celebration of community action to tackle climate change and a fantastic opportunity to combine your action on climate and waste. You could host a plant-based and plastic-free picnic. Or spend time writing letters to your MP or litter picking with your church group.

Look out for more news and updates on the Rubbish Campaign on Tearfund’s website and their Twitter account, and help them beat this rubbish situation!

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