Eco-aware Christians are stepping up to help those who are struggling with anxiety about the future of the planet.
Eco-anxiety has become a growing mental health condition that affects many people, including religious people and Christians.
Now members of the Green Christian initiative, which began in 1982, have started the Borrowed Time project to offer support for eco-anxiety and eco-grief. It invites people to welcome any feeling, whether it is anger, sadness, despair or fear, work through them and redefine hope.
The Diocese of Lincoln believes it is “both an imperative and a responsibility given to us by God to protect and enhance the environment”, and has joined the Green Christian initiative and the Borrowed Time Project.
It is also very active locally and is involved in the fight for the environment through a series of events and initiatives.
The Diocese has its own environment policy and advisory committee. It is committed to becoming an eco-diocese and it has organised events like a Faith and the Environment conference, to discuss the impact of climate change on Lincolnshire countryside and coast, and on people’s lives.
Sandie Stratford, a member of Extinction Rebellion Lincolnshire, said she feels eco-grief and suffers from eco-anxiety, but these feelings have motivated her need to act for the environment.
She said: “I’m not a depressive kind of person, I’ve always had hope that humanity will do something about it, that people are good enough to act on the science. I got involved in disseminating information about the science to anybody who would listen. And that’s how I’ve dealt with the anxiety.”
She is also a member of the Christian community, which is where she has found support for her eco-anxiety.
“I’m a Christian as well and my motivation is partly out of an understanding that it is God’s world and he cares about it. It’s like if somebody makes you a nice gift and then you trash it, what does that say to the giver?”
The Borrowed Time project has three objectives – to provide safe spaces where people can work through the emotional and spiritual challenges which emerging awareness of the threat to the planet evokes; to offer people new understandings which could unlock urgent political action, global solidarity and economic change; and to inspire those committed to dismantling climate injustice.
The Green Christian initiative was instituted in 1982, with the aim to “share green insights with Christians and Christian insights with the green movement.” It is a community formed by people from all backgrounds and traditions who encourage agents of change in churches and the green movement through a series of actions that include daily prayers, simple lifestyle tips, public witness, group meetings, retreats and the publication of a magazine and other resources.
If you would like to find out more about the Borrowed Time movement click here.