Environment Action Programme Internships

Each semester, students from the University of Oxford join the Diocese of Oxford’s Environment Action Programme, providing invaluable input in our journey to net zero. Four students share their experiences.

Energy forms such a crucial part of the drive towards net zero

I’m a second-year geography undergraduate, passionate about climate change. I was excited to be given the opportunity throughout my week with the Diocese of Oxford to work on the monitoring and evaluation of their developing net-zero strategy.

I found it insightful to be able to look at multiple energy audits and reports, as energy forms such a crucial part of the drive towards net zero. My tasks for the week were around developing best practice case studies for churches which have already, and are in the process of, making changes to improve their energy efficiency, whilst also increasing the comfort of the church environment. This was done through interviews, and I would like to thank David, Joanna and Rob for their time and insights! I would also like to thank Bishop Olivia and Liz Kitch for their insights on environmental action in the diocese.

I hope that the case studies I developed will be able to show how possible it is for others to make positive changes. I found my week inspiring as it was exciting to join with another group of people passionate about creating change towards net zero.

– Laura Watson

It was great to hear Bishop Olivia’s passion for ensuring young people can participate

I’m Olivia and I’m an undergraduate Earth Sciences student at Oxford. Over the Easter holiday, I was given the opportunity to work with the environment team within the Diocese of Oxford. During the week, I learnt about the fantastic work the organisation is doing on their pathway to net zero, and helped produce best practice case studies, with the aim of inspiring further action.

As part of the work, we interviewed several people who have been identified as having already made great progress on their journey to net zero. This included two churches who have recently undergone the energy audit process, and a congregation member who is instrumental in pushing forward the progress of environmental action in her local community. I was fascinated to hear about the work they have been doing, and I hope the case studies we have written will motivate others to begin a similar journey. We were also given the opportunity to meet with Bishop Olivia, the Bishop of Reading, who leads the environmental section of the diocese. It was great to hear about the plans for COP26, and her passion for ensuring young people can participate in the process.

I really enjoyed my week working with the environment team, and I’d like to thank them for all their support and for arranging so many interviews with different people within the wider diocese. It was great to see the impact of the diocese’s work in reducing their environmental footprint, and I hope the work we have done this week will have made a small contribution to that effort.

– Olivia Atkins

 I designed a leaflet to help people make clear steps towards net zero in their homes

I’m Isaac, currently an undergraduate Physics student at the University of Oxford. I loved my week with the Diocese of Oxford, primarily because I got to learn about their ambition and clear strategy to achieve their 2035 net-zero target. Also, by working on a range of resources for the diocese, I was able to develop my skills in several different areas.

Throughout the week, I worked with Maranda St John Nicolle to see how we could communicate the research previously done on the energy efficiency of church buildings to church bodies. To this effect, we created a survey for church members to gauge current attitudes around energy efficiency-improving measures. I then wrote an article aiming to link these improvements in church buildings to the actions congregation members can take and designed an accompanying leaflet to help people make some clear, actionable steps towards net zero in their homes. This process impressed on me the early impact that relatively easy but considered actions can have as effectively ‘quick wins’ on the path to net zero. While these clearly will not take us the whole way, they can get people interested and involved, thus helping affect further change.

Overall, it was interesting to read and collate information from different voices on climate change and to see how this informs the diocese’s net-zero plans. I am grateful to Maranda for sharing her insights with me and for the meaningful work I was given to do.

– Isaac Jadav

I am really impressed by the ambition of the diocese’s plans

My name is Kuba, and I am an undergraduate studying Physics at Exeter College. I was given an opportunity to get involved in the sustainability projects of the Diocese of Oxford.

My main responsibilities were adding new resources to the EcoHub database, searching for sources of grants and funding, and I have also done some data analysis and helped plan work with the YCCN relay.

I have greatly enjoyed working with the diocese, and I am really impressed by the ambition of the diocese’s plans. I am positive that the diocese will contribute a lot towards reducing the carbon footprint of their operations. I wish them all the best in the hard journey ahead, and I’m glad I could make the path at least a bit easier.

– Jakub Michalski

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