Parched Soil and Living Water

Out I go into the garden on another fine day. But…such dry, parched soil. Bare patches on the top lawn. The hosepipe out, and it’s still April! One day soon, it’ll rain. Then it’ll rain. And not just rain, but it’ll pour. And the garden will become a quagmire.


Our climate change-affected weather is, to be honest, a mild inconvenience. Retired gentlemen like me tend to notice it more since we haven’t got better things to worry about. Other than our aches, pains and poorly feet, that is…It’s more serious if you’re a farmer, as the gentle, frequent April showers are a thing of the past. Prolonged periods of drought followed by heavy rain take skill to manage.

But imagine what would happen if growing veggies at home was no mere hobby; if we relied on it to fill our dinner plates. What if there were no running water and if we relied on the rains to fill our wells? I recently watched a video featuring Annabelle, a young medical researcher from Dorking whose job took her to rural Africa. She was working with families to carry out clinical trials. But, year on year, the trials became more difficult. Why hadn’t they taken their medicines? Well, if you have no food to take it with…

Annabelle could see how much harder life had become for these communities. It left her heart-broken, and it changed the way she saw Climate Change. No longer was it a threat for the distant future in faraway lands. She now saw it through the eyes of real people for whom she had come to care.


‘If you’ve seen the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, you’ll be very aware of how important it is to act now…’. No, it’s not from Greenpeace. Nor Tearfund. It’s from a letter to church treasurers from our local Episcopal Environment Champion. Action means getting on board with the Diocese’s Green Journey, and our church must now choose whether to opt in.

When we re-joined the C of E five years ago, Jane and I expected to be frustrated by its elaborate administrative system that seems to take 20 years to obtain approval to move a chair across a building. In comparison, this is dynamite!  The Diocese has consultants who help us carry out a survey of our church. We then develop proposals, an action plan, and carry out work in order to become carbon neutral by …2030 (yes!) Not at all an easy ‘ask’ for our historic buildings…

It sounds seriously scary, but what a vision! Our leaders have listened to what the scientists have told us, and they’ve charted a course that models what our society must do to stave off a climate disaster. And why is it so important? The prophet Micah, speaking God’s words to the ancient people of Judah, explains:

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (
Micah 6 vs 8)

It’s about loving my global neighbour, caring for the same people whose plight so moved Annabelle, acting out of my conviction that it’s unjust that they should go hungry or sick because of my affluent lifestyle.


Annabelle encouraged St Paul’s, Dorking to adopt the Eco church programme that we’ve embarked upon. But then she went further. She developed a similar programme for individual households. So many of us feel helpless when watching the devastation of Climate Change on the news. ‘Oh dear, it’s all too dreadful to contemplate’, we wail. The antidote to this is surely to do what I can. Obtaining the right guidance is important here.

What a wonderful testimony it will be if the whole Anglican church, including its members, can model a Net Zero lifestyle by 2030!

I invite you to set aside five minutes to click the link and scroll down to watch Annabelle’s video. I found it moving and inspiring.

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