Salvation Army declares climate emergency

published on 5 Jun 2023

The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland (UKI territory) has declared a climate emergency on World Environment Day (5 June 2023) as part of its commitment to caring for creation.

The church and charity join a worldwide movement that recognises that climate change poses a serious local and global risk that must be treated with urgency.

The Salvation Army’s Territorial Commander, Commissioner Anthony Cotterill said: “Flooding, droughts and fires caused by climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity affecting some of the most vulnerable people around the world. As a consequence of our commitment to God and therefore to pursuing social justice and loving our global neighbours we are taking a public stand and have prioritised the protection of our environment as part of our mission.

“Everyone has a fundamental human right to the essentials of life such as clean air and water and adequate food and shelter wherever they live in the world. By speaking up together, we can increase public understanding of how urgent this is, inspire people to play their part and encourage national political leaders to act with the necessary ambition needed to tackle the climate emergency.”

The Salvation Army UKI has already made caring for creation one of its mission priorities. As part of its climate emergency declaration, it is committed to further action to protect the environment, such as a Net Zero carbon emissions target and supporting all Salvation Army UKI churches, care homes, hostels known as Lifehouses, and programmes to engage in activity that will reduce emissions. 

The Salvation Army also encourages communities to reuse clothing and other products through over 390 charity shops and 8,000 clothing collection banks, thereby avoiding carbon emissions from the manufacture of new goods. SATCoL (the trading arm of The Salvation Army) recently launched Fibersort, a technology which automatically sorts garments by fibre type. Located at a purpose-built processing centre in Kettering, The Salvation Army aims to be the first charity in the UK to have a Fibre Farm which will aim to supply second hand recycled garments back into the supply chain and thus reduce the burden on the planet’s finite resources. 

Salvation Army Territorial Environmental Officer, Major Heather Poxon said: “A growing number of Salvation Army churches across the UK and Ireland are signed up to an Eco Church scheme where sustainability and caring for the environment is a key focus. One example is in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, where people who use the food bank are encouraged to eat seasonally and given the opportunity to learn how to use what outdoor space they have to grow their own. 

“Some churches have installed solar panels and invested in allotments. We have also provided churches with wildflower seeds so they can protect at least a third of their land and gardens for wildlife.”

To read The Salvation Army’s climate emergency declaration in full visit our website.

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