More than 400 churches in the U.K. will soon make the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, part of a nationwide campaign to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
The initiative, known as The Big Church Switch, is a project of U.K. charities Christian Aid and Tearfund, according to Reuters. Since its launch in February, 424 churches have dedicated approximately $1.4 million to spend on alternative energy sources, such as solar and hydroelectric, for their light and heat.
David Walker, the Anglican bishop of Manchester, said in a statement, according to Reuters:
As individuals and churches we have a choice in how we treat the earth, how we spend our money, how we power our homes and our buildings. By creating technology which can turn wind and sunshine into clean and renewable energy, humans continue to benefit from the gift of creation. Making the most of this bountiful harvest is a common sense way for us to roll back the ravages of climate change and ensure we are taking an active role in being part of the solution.
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The Big Church Switch works by connecting churches to energy experts, who promise to negotiate the best deal possible with renewable energy providers, on an online platform. Churches such as The New Room in Bristol, the world’s oldest Methodist chapel, have agreed to participate, and hope that they can set an example for others in the country and around the world.
"We may be the oldest Methodist building in the world but that doesn't mean we have to use the polluting energy of the past," David Worthington, manager of The New Room, said in a statement, according to Reuters. "Switching our energy provider to clean sources of power is a simple thing we can do to help the global transition to a low carbon world. If we, in a building as old as ours, can embrace the idea of renewable energy, then anyone can."
The U.K. has been working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since levels of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to climate change peaked over the past few years, according to the Guardian. In 2014, the country was able to cut back its national emissions by 4 percent, thanks to a reduction in its use of coal for electricity.