Eco Action - Mayfield Salisbury Church

Eco Group

Mayfield Salisbury Church Eco Group was formed in 2018 as the congregation, individually and collectively, take seriously our responsibilities in caring for the planet and wish to take an increasingly active role in response to growing concerns about the climate crisis.

We have been considering issues of climate change in three, overlapping, areas:  personal, local and national/global.

Get Involved

If you would like to get involved, or want to hear more, or suggest topics we might pursue, please contact Marjory Grant, the leader of Mayfield Salisbury Eco Group, on

We have an active WhatsApp group sharing information including television programmes, publications or zoom/webinar events If you would like to join this Eco chat group, contact Alastair MacGilchrist on


Equipment Sharing Scheme

In many homes there is equipment which is useful, but infrequently used. In various ways, it costs the planet to produce it. Equipment sharing reduces unnecessary demand for new and similar equipment. SEE MORE

Activities to date include:

6 October 2019 We marked our “Creation Sunday” with an evening lecture on the Climate Crisis by David Gorman, the Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh, chaired by Elizabeth Bomberg, Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Edinburgh (and a member of Mayfield Salisbury’s congregation and Eco Group)

23 February 2020 We held an Eco Sunday when we launched:

A “Pledge Tree” for members of the congregation - young and old - to clothe our tree with leaves, each leaf representing a commitment to make a change – big or small – to reduce his/her carbon footprint

A weekly Eco Tip for the congregation to help individuals take actions for a greener future. These Eco Tips can be found here. hyperlink to full list

7 March 2020 “Think Global, Act Local” A workshop on where David Bethune, co-ordinator for Eco Congregation Scotland and Adam McVey, the Leader of Edinburgh City Council addressed a packed hall.

Our wide remit includes:

Church Energy Survey. A detailed survey of the energy use at Mayfield Salisbury hyperlink to survey. Completed in December 2020, this estimated that there was potential to reduce by up to 50% Mayfield Salisbury’s annual carbon impact of approximately 63 tonnes CO2 equivalents With the approval of the Kirk Session, the Business Committee are actively pursuing its recommendations.

Ethical consumers. We consider ethical consumer issues. For example we drew attention to concern about chocolate and encourage purchase of products free from palm oil. Ethical consumer webpage on chocolate

Christian Aid. We support the work of Christian Aid, for whom a particular concern is the adverse effect climate change is already having on poorer communities around the world. Christian Aid Climate page

Equipment Sharing Scheme. As a contribution to ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’, we are compiling a register of household equipment tools etc which are infrequently used and can be shared with others in the congregation. Equipment Sharing Scheme page

Eco-friendly recipes. Practical ways to eat greener. Jean and Jan’s recipes coming soon.

Reading list. With increasing interest and concern for environmental issues, there are many books and links available. Although this list is, therefore, in no way comprehensive, here are some suggestions which are recommended by the Eco Group. Reading list

Eco-congregation Lenten learning: Plastics

Plastics have a bad press! These predominantly fossil fuel-based
compounds are ubiquitous in the 21st century; and many of their
applications are environmentally favourable: for instance in replacing the
gas pipelines, predominantly iron, throughout Britain. This is the country’s
largest ongoing civil engineering project! Replacing increasingly leaky gas
pipework with highly durable, leak-tight materials is just one example of
the benefits to society of uses of plastics that capitalise on their uniquely
favourable properties.

There are other instances where the durability in their use confers hidden
disbenefits: for instance the use in tyres, particularly in electric vehicles
(EVs), leads to spalling and the creation of minute particles that find their
way into all corners of the environment – including the air we breathe.

However, where the widespread use of single-trip plastic packaging is
concerned the ‘bad press’ is justified. Much of this packaging will go into
landfill, from which in time it will be leached out by rainfall or dispersed by
wind and storm. The minute particulate residues are already globally
dispersed, with harmful impact on organisms on whose health we
ultimately depend.

So let us try to avoid single-use plastics ‘like the plague’ that it actually is;
and (to mix the metaphor) let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!

What to do?
• Find out how much single-use plastic you dispose of in a week:
perhaps by a separate partition in your ‘Non-recyclable’ bin. How could
this be reduced?

• Learn more about the widespread use of long-life plastics and how
these may become dispersed in the environment.

• Consider whether your daily choices, eg about modes of transport
or shopping, contribute to plastics pollution?

• And actively: take bags to shops to put fruit and veg in, and
avoid fresh produce that is cling wrapped or in plastic bags .

• And avoid buying goods in plastic bottles, unless these are refillable.


Climate Change and Home Energy

Heating domestic homes accounts for 17% of the UK’s carbon footprint.
We all know that to reduce global warming we should be reducing our use
of gas and oil to heat our homes. At present, most of us rely on gas boilers
and only 5% of home heating is from renewal energy sources. The
Government is committed to phase out gas boilers for new builds by 2025.
But what are the alternatives? The most common solution currently is to
use a heat pump, which works a bit like a refrigerator in reverse. These can
either be air source - which look like air conditioning units outside
buildings, or ground source - more effective but requiring a large outside
area, or access to major drilling equipment, or both. In the future hydrogen
may become a feasible alternative green energy source provided the
electricity used in its production is from renewables such as wind and solar,
and new boilers are now designed so as to be capable of running on
hydrogen rather than gas. Biomass is another energy source, whose major
drawback is the large storage capacity required.

For our existing properties, it is daunting to consider replacing our gas
boilers with, for example, heat pumps, bearing in mind the upheaval and
the capital expense, and may not even be feasible depending on the type
of property. Old boilers lose efficiency, and simply switching to a new, more
efficient model will reduce your carbon footprint.

But there are many simpler things we can do to make our homes more
‘energy efficient’ by reducing heat loss, including draught-proofing,
installing better insulation - in lofts, under flooring, and sometimes in wall
spaces - and upgrading old windows with double (or triple) glazing. Of
course, such measures, as well as being good for the planet, save on our
fuel bills, and considering how these have sky-rocketed recently with
further increases on the way, now is definitely the time to consider such
improvements. Some improvements are even eligible for government

For easily accessible, comprehensive and up to date advice on all aspects
of home energy saving and renewable home energy sources, we would
recommend the Home Energy Scotland website It has links to all aspects of home
energy efficiencies and can answer all your queries from the simplest to
the most complex, with advice on available grants, local trades contacts,
and real-world examples. Home Energy Scotland can arrange for a
specialist assessment of your home’s energy performance, with free,
expert and impartial advice.



  • Make a positive decision to avoid commercial greetings cards; use electronic ones or make your own.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint. See or others.
  • Switch off lights, power supplies or modems when not in use.
  • Carry out an inventory of your clothes- can you recycle, upcycle? 
  • Count up how much plastic you have used this week. 


With increasing interest and concern for environmental issues, there are many books and links available. Although this list is, therefore, in no way comprehensive, here are some suggestions which are recommended by the Eco Group.  

These can be borrowed by emailing

  • There is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee:  readable, informative and constructive.
  • The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells: comprehensive if rather forbidding The Washington Post called it this generation's Silent Spring'
  • Riders on the Storm by Alastair McIntosh:  Outstanding , combining science, politics and spirituality.  Google also Alastair McIntosh's home page or see Jonathan Rowson's review on YouTube.
  • My Life on our Planet  David Attenborough  Very readable