Major Heather Poxon (THQ) talks to Captain Jo Moir about making Together 2023 as eco-friendly as possible.
As part of our territorial mission priority of caring for creation, what can people expect to see at Together 2023 that will make it a sustainable event?
As territorial environmental officer, my strapline for everything the Army does in this territory is ‘tread softly’ – in all we do, let’s think about this world and how we can ensure we are tenderly protecting this beautiful planet God has gifted to us.
Everything we’ve been planning for Together 2023 has been through the lens of caring for creation. We’ve been thinking about waste, how people will get to Fairfield Halls in Croydon and the resources we will use over the weekend. We are being as waste-free and carbon-light as possible.
What other environmental initiatives or activities will there be?
There will be a care for creation walk in the nearby Queen’s Gardens, and resources aimed at helping people understand the spiritual motivation behind this missional agenda. The brilliant team at SP&S are also thinking about the environment and will be providing a drop-off space for those attending the event to donate pre-loved formal uniform items for re-use and recycling as part of their Uniform Take Back Scheme. You can also arrange a donation online.
What can people travelling to Together 2023 do to offset their carbon emissions?
Two things. First, consider how you get there. If you’re close enough and you can walk or cycle, that would be amazing. That would be, by far, the best option. If you can travel by public transport, that would be fantastic. If you can’t do that and have to use a car, then try to find out if there are others with whom you can car-share.
Second, think about how you can offset the fossil fuels you have used to get there. Why not donate to the Woodland Trust to help plant a tree, for example? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone travelling to Croydon planted at least one tree? That would make a Together 2023 forest!
What’s the theological rationale behind caring for creation?
God loved the world, so should we. It’s that simple. When we think about John 3:16 – ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son’ (Good News Bible) – the word ‘world’ is translated from kosmos. We often think of that verse as meaning just people, but God loved the created order so much that he gave his Son. And we know that creation is groaning and waiting for its redemption (see Romans 8:22), just as we are. We have a responsibility and a mandate to work together with God to bring about that freedom, that redemption.
How can people from around the territory get involved in the care for creation conversation where they are that weekend?
There are four C’s that help me remember what we can do, wherever we are.
Second, community: find out about what’s happening in your area already, from vegetable gardens to repair workshops, and get involved.
Third, conduct: think about cutting down your impact on the environment in terms of travel, energy usage – domestic and commercial – and diet. How about having a meat-and-dairy free Sunday, for example?
Fourth, campaign: talk to your local MP, raise your voice and sign petitions. The government has made promises to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and we need to hold them to account.
Captain Jo Moir
Territorial Communications Officer, THQ
Commissioning, Congress and Symphony Sounds.
Supporting the territory to care for creation and tread softly on our common home.
The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man declares a climate emergency.
Major Heather Poxon talks to Simon Hope about the Army’s goal to halve its carbon footprint by 2030.