In just a few months the whole world has changed. Our way of life has completely transformed. An unexpected consequence of our attempts to control the Coronavirus pandemic has been a sudden and significant drop in carbon emissions world-wide. Whilst a global pandemic is not the way we would have chosen to bring about environmental change, wouldn’t it be a lasting legacy to continue from something so devastating? God has told us to care for our planet. The material world is precious to God and He sustains it: "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1.16–17). In Genesis God commands us to care for creation, and Isaiah 65 and Revelation 21 tell us that the cosmos will be renewed and re-created as the "new heavens and new earth".*

God has been speaking to me about my habits and lifestyle. We are blessed to live in a rural community. To avoid supermarkets we have been walking to our local farm to buy milk and vegetables. We can only buy seasonal veg and we have to wash and sterilise our milk bottles before they are re-filled. This is more of an effort than popping in to Tesco and it takes time. We have to carry our bottles there and back, but there’s no plastic waste. We can’t eat Dragon Fruit and Mangoes, but we can eat beautiful potatoes, tasty asparagus and delicious rhubarb crumble. We get exercise and save money (and carbon emissions) by not using the car. And we are helping to sustain a local business. I am determined to continue this habit once lockdown is lifted.

I am wondering if my employer, usually a forward-thinking and corporately conscious organisation, would consider me working from home for one day a week? Not only would that mean one day less of commuting costs (and emissions) in the car and on the train, but I could sleep in a little longer, spend more time with my family and my dog, and continue to visit the farm for supplies. If companies did this for all their employees, they could potentially save money on rented office space, utilities and travel costs. I wonder if they would see it this way?

I have seen the pictures of the thousands of planes parked up at airports across the world. I’ve seen row upon row of unsold cars and read how oil is not being bought or sold. I’ve seen the images of empty trains and shops and restaurants. Behind every story is the reality of lost jobs, of potential poverty and economic depression. But if we took a holiday without flying, or carried out our business meeting via Zoom instead of travelling across the country, or, if we could, took the train or the bus instead of the car and shopped locally, buying local products that used local suppliers that used local materials, then more jobs could be created that would be good for our planet, that would bring prosperity to our communities. Being forced to live differently, I have discovered new ways to look after my small part of the world. I know that continuing to change the way I live will require perseverance and some challenges, but as a Christian I wish to care for the world God has entrusted to me.