Leighmoor Uniting Church has received a prestigious environmental award for its climate and environmental action commitments.

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate acknowledges the many actions the church has taken, including investing over $2,200 in energy efficiency and insulation projects over the past 12 years, installing 18,000 litres of water tanks and 20 solar panels, enabling renewable energy for heating and lighting and sustainable water sources for their tennis courts and church gardens. Congregation members gathered to list the actions they can take as individuals, regularly share their garden produce with each other, and distributed 1,000 flyers to neighbouring houses to raise awareness of their environmental actions and encourage others to join in. The church displays climate action banners on its buildings and has a host of useful information and resources on its updated website. The congregation has also sent letters to politicians and banks asking for an increase in climate action and an end to lending money for coal and gas exploration. Sermons and worship services at the church have included caring for our earth for our generation and future ones, and celebrating National Tree Day. Members have also been involved in extensive annual tree planting projects to protect flora and fauna on a Trust for Nature covenanted estate.

Congregation member Michael Soward says, “We are very passionate about climate issues as a church, and over the last few years we have taken multiple initiatives to help raise community awareness and reduce our carbon footprint.”

Mr Soward says, “It is a great honour to receive this award at Leighmoor Uniting in our attempts to make a positive contribution to what is arguably the greatest challenge confronting humanity.”

He acknowledges that there is still much more to be done, but concludes, “Although our contribution may be small as an individual church, united with other parishes we can make a huge influence and impact on our environment, community, and government. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards further encourage us all to take action on climate change.”

Sally Hibbert from The Anglican Parish of St Stephen and St Mary Mount Waverley (who received their Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate in June this year) visited the church to present their award. She said, “It’s wonderful to see what another church has done, and to be able to share our story so that both communities can aim higher and work towards the next awards in the program.”

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are an ecumenical environmental change initiative for Australian churches and religious organisations founded in 2008 to assist, inspire and reward churches for environmental action. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are non-competitive, with churches completing tasks from a list of flexible criteria to earn each certificate. There are currently seven awards of varying difficulty available. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards operate nationally and across denominations. Find out more or apply for an award on behalf of your church here: www.fiveleafecoawards.org                                       

For further details please contact: Jessica Morthorpe 0409 503 369 or via email on fiveleafecoawards@gmail.com