On Monday night, the Prime Minister announced social distancing measures for the whole population. On Tuesday morning a small group of us decided to go ahead with our planned tree planting, given that we were in the outdoors and relatively safe from contagion. We all take the guidelines seriously, and all Eco Church events are now cancelled until further notice.
But climate change is the other global crisis of our times, and as a last Eco-fling we were delighted to be able to plant thirty saplings to replace a damaged hedgerow in the church yard.
The Committee on Climate Change has recommended that we plant 50 million new trees – or an area about the size of the Isle of Wight – a year to mitigate carbon emissions.
The Woodland Trust have devised a plan for the government to achieve this goal. In addition, they have have set up a scheme for community groups and schools to apply for free packs of trees for planting. Our Eco Church applied for a pack of hedgerow trees and they arrived last week: thirty dogrose, hazel, hawthorn, crab apple and dogwood saplings, complete with stakes and protective covers!
We were so grateful that Rob and Sam Penman, our wonderful graveyard contractors, were able to clear the area of brambles before we began, and to offer planting advice.
This hedgerow was lost a few years ago, when our neighbouring farmer over-enthusiastically cleared the ditch!
The sun shone and it seemed impossible to believe, standing in the churchyard surrounded by daffodils and primroses, that there could be any kind of problem in the world at all. It is striking how nature seems to insist on renewal and replenishment, in the face of every kind of crisis.
Unfortunately we found a great deal of plastic sheeting, which appeared to have been buried along the hedge-line, and which had to be removed.
During this period of self isolation or social distancing we are all encouraged to go out for walks, to keep active and boost our immune systems. We hope that you will take the opportunity to walk around the churchyard and be encouraged by the new life springing up all around, the new trees we have planted as an act of hope and confidence in the future, and the labyrinth which we have lovingly restored as a place of spiritual refreshment.