Julia Stephenson: Green Goddess

A A A

Although this is officially the most depressing week of the year, heralded by Blue Monday, I find my blues somewhat blasted by the nation's bishops. The bishops are filling the void absented by our elected leaders, whose sole consideration seems to be a desire to be liked and a need to grin pointlessly at inappropriate moments.

I want gravitas from my leaders, not pointless grinning. None of the bishops grin much at all, which gives them a head start. Just before Christmas the Bishop of London said that it's a symptom of sin to fly. Richard Chartres, who chairs the bishops' panel on the environment, declared that contributing to climate change by flying on holiday, driving a "gas-guzzling" car or failing to use energy-saving measures in the home is sinful. He emphasised that it is a moral obligation for Christians to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, and encouraged vicars to preach more green sermons.

Chartres said: "There is now an overriding imperative to walk more lightly upon the earth and we need to make our lifestyle decisions in that light. Making selfish choices such as flying on holiday or buying a large car are a symptom of sin. Sin ... is living a life turned in on itself where people ignore the consequences of their actions."

The Church of England is doing its bit, having just published "Treasures on Earth", a booklet on environmental matters to be sent to every diocese for distribution detailing practical ways for Christians to cut their carbon emissions.

In a recent Thought For The Day, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, said he was going to cut back and live and eat more simply. Good for him for making a personal sacrifice, something our elected leaders show no interest in doing. For while Blair, Brown and Cameron make speeches about the dangers of global warming, they do nothing to stop its escalation. Their environmental concern is pure spin.

Aesop wrote: "He who pleases everyone pleases no one". Blair and Cameron are reaping the truth of his words with a disillusioned electorate.

Blair says that it's his and everyone else's right to fly as much as they like. Cameron makes woolly green speeches but flies to Antarctica for pointless photo ops. He flew to Edinburgh with 15 shadow cabinet members and their staff rather than take the train. Surely that would have provided a more effective photo op than the trip to Antarctica. When Tim Yeo suggested taxing domestic flights heavily and using the money to improve the railways, Cameron slapped him down. With politics inspiring disillusion and distrust, perhaps it's time to welcome a benign dictatorship of bishops. Let's replace the paucity of politicians with a blaze of bishops. Yes, the purple party has got my vote.

www.shrinkingthefootprint.cofe.anglican.org - The Church of England's national environmental campaign

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future