Have you ever considered calculating your congregations carbon footprint? I recently spoke to Matthew Aitken of Dunscore Parish Church who have been doing this for the past few years and it is not as difficult as it sounds.
Dunscore is a small village which lies 9 miles northwest of Dumfries with a population of around 150.
Matthew told me that the congregation started doing this after the Church of Scotland General Assembly asked all congregations to calculate their carbon footprints in order to start reducing them. Dunscore started with the church and manse. The manse was similar to any other house and the church building carbon footprint was similar to a house, although it was not occupied as much. So, realising that the member’s carbon footprints were more siginificant Matthew decided to offer carbon footprint calculation to church members and the wider local community. To do this he developed a simple questionairre which askes questions about electricity, gas, coal and oil usage as well as travel. This is done using meter readings and car mileage, but does not include things like food and clothing which would be harder to calculate. Matthew collects the forms in, does the calculations and issues a certificate. By looking back on these people can get an idea if their carbon footprint is increasing or decreasing year on year.
Approximately 20 households have taken part over the years, but Dunscore given the size of the village this is a significant number.
Here is an example of a certificate and the monitoring form Matthew developed:
Download a Word copy of this form here.