Churches across London are planning to plant trees across London in a bid to make neighbourhoods across the city more 'bee friendly'.
The Conservation Foundation's 'Trees for Sacred Spaces' project gathers churches in the London, Southwark, Chelmsford and Rochester dioceses to plant trees that support bees and other wildlife, ACNS reports. The project comes with the support of the Mayor of London, as part of the Mayor's ambition to make London one of the world's greenest cities.
Greater London's churches collectively possess over 600 churchyard spaces that could be used for tree planting. Churches without space to plant will be encouraged to donate a tree to a nearby area instead.
Bishop of London Richard Chartres said, 'In our global city, in this interconnected world, practising love of our neighbours means looking after the natural environment that we share.
'Parishes across London's dioceses have made strides in encouraging biodiversity in our churchyards through Churchyards for London,' he said. Chartres was part the 'Yews for the Millennium' project which planted 8000 yew trees, many in church green spaces, in celebration of the year 2000.
'It gives me great pleasure that one of the final projects I will launch as Bishop of London will offer our churches the opportunity to plant more trees in their areas, contributing to local air quality as well providing places of peace and beauty for generations to come,' he said.
Bishop of Southwark Christopher Chessun called the initiative 'an innovative way of contributing to the life of London's communities by improving the city's air quality and also brightening its public spaces'.
He added, 'The diocese of Southwark is playing its part in the initiative by giving all of our parishes in the Greater London area a tree for their churchyard, or to pass to their local schools and community gardens. I am pleased to commend this project as an important way of helping to steward the earth's natural resources.'
'To plant a tree is to invest in someone else's future,' said Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell.
The Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues has welcomed the church commitment. She said: 'The Mayor wants London to be one of the world's greenest cities and is introducing a wide range of measures to fulfil this ambition: a first step has been the commitment to provide £750,000 to plant more than 40,000 new London trees this winter, including helping The Conservation Foundation plant more than 600 trees in or near churchyards across London.'
Dr Paul Wright of Rochester diocese said, 'Anything that reminds us of God's wonderful created order is a very good thing. Trees are a powerful sign of this beauty and stability. This scheme provides an opportunity to remind us of our relationship with creation.'
The green initiative echoes the 'One Person, One Tree' scheme in Burundi, where the Anglican church has pledged to plant 10 million trees – one for every member of the population – in the next five years.
The trees for will be available for churches to recieve between March and June 2017, and more information about registering to plant a tree can be found on the Conservation Foundation's website.