Caring for the planet starts with ourselves, says Bishop of Guildford

The Bishop of Guildford (r) came together with other faith leaders to discuss how faith communities can tackle climate change

The Bishop of Guildford has called on Christians to do their bit in caring for the Earth by making small changes to how they live. 

Bishop Andrew Watson was speaking at a meeting of faith leaders in Woking as part of the UN Interfaith Harmony Week. 

He was among the faith leaders from the area who came together to discuss how faith communities and institutions can save the planet and tackle climate change. 

'As Christians we are called to be stewards of God's wonderful creation,' he said.

'The challenges facing this creation are numerous and well reported, but there are plenty of small steps that we can take to help care for our planet. Often this starts with ourselves, as individuals and churches.' 

The Diocese of Guildford has made creation care one of its priorities and its efforts to go green have been recognised with an Eco Diocese award from the Christian environmental group A Rocha UK. 

The award is given to Church of England dioceses that excel in caring for God's earth in five key areas of church life - worship and teaching, management of church buildings, management of church land, community/global engagement and lifestyle.

Diocesan Environmental Adviser, the Rev Dr Lesley Crawley, said, 'Through schemes like Eco Church and events like this it becomes clear that we, as faith institutions, can play an important ​role of caring for our planet.' 

Also speaking at the conference was Shaukat Warraich, head of Faith Associates, a consultancy firm supporting Britain's Muslim communities.

He said it was important that faith communities learn from each other. 

'Spiritual Sustainability is linked to environmental sustainability, and how mosques and Islamic religious practices have historically conserved precious resources needs to be further enhanced in the 21st century,' he said.

'Learning from other faiths and through scientific discoveries, developing environmental consciousness should be at the heart of all faith institutions.'