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Caring for our Climate in the Algarve

“We don’t need small change, we need big change… everyone needs to get stuck in and everyone can help in their own way,” says Chris. Tricia and Chris Wells from the Algarve share how they became inspired to care for our climate and how small change can make a big difference.

Tricia and Chris Wells in Praia da Luz have embarked on a mission to make their lives greener. We spoke with them in preparation for our "Caring for our Climate" event on 29 October, to find out more about their passion for creation and taking eco-church beyond the church building. St. Vincent's in Praia da Luz have been awarded A Rocha's Bronze Eco Church Award. You can find out more about eco-church here.

“After the high tide and sifting the sand, what looked to be pristine sand, and seeing how many small particles of plastic there were, that really triggered it for me”, says Tricia, recounting how her passion to help care for our climate emerged. Always involved with local initiatives that A Rocha were doing in her area, it was this particular beach clean survey that sparked a passion to do more for the environment.

Chris became really interested in 2016. A former doctor, Chris felt he was too busy to help the planet. “My daughters have always said ‘Daddy, you should be greener’. I said ‘I’m busy, I’m busy, I’m busy. I am doing medicine, I am saving the world that way.’ And then I had the time and I realised.” Chris also became involved with some of A Rocha’s climate projects. “I was inspired by A Rocha really, I think to find a Christian organisation that were interested in ecology. [My passion] just grew from that really!”.

Inspired by Synod talks and books by David Bookless, Director of Theology at A Rocha, Chris and Tricia spoke with other chaplaincy members about how they could do more for the environment. "We both loved David Bookless, his work... we based St Vincent's/A Rocha's Plastic conference earlier this year on that inspiration", said Chris. "People came back fired up... they had good questions and were ready to push the boat out to make themselves uncomfortable for the environment. We have to do this for our young people".

Change for the World

In a project called Change for the World, Charlie the change machine has been counting small change for green projects across the world. As funds have gone down during the Pandemic, the chaplaincy in the Algarve have asked people to collect small change.

"I was sitting in church in April and I got a very distinct steer, which I feel is from the Holy Spirit, saying 'collect change, Chris, you've got to make a change,'" says Chris. "I thought we can get the small change from people. That’s where we got Change for the World... We don't need small change, we need big change."

Eighty percent of the world's resources are used by twenty per cent of the world's population. Most often, people in developing countries are most affected by climate change disasters. Change collected is going towards sustainability projects, distributing resources from wealthy to low-income nations. Fifty per cent is going towards fulfilling an urgent need and fifty per cent is going towards building a green future in sustainability projects, such as:

  • Enabling those in low income countries to have a sustainable living
  • Conserving and replanting forests
  • Educating communities in conservation of green space
  • Educating communities in conservation of water
  • Reducing plastic usage worldwide
  • Reducing the world's carbon footprint

Do you have small change in the back of your sofa, or in the car? Would you like to collect small change in your chaplaincy? You can donate your small change to Change for the World here. 

Chris and Tricia have a heart to take eco-church out of the church building and into people’s homes so the whole church family can be an eco-church. They have developed an online survey called “How Green am I?”. You can take the survey here.

Small Changes, Big Difference

"We're in a beautiful position in the Algarve. I came out of church this morning and we've got the sea in front of us. It's beautiful, and you come out and the sun's out, I'm looking out... then I think the sea could be full of plastic. So as soon as I think that, I am driven to go back and look at what I am doing to help", says Chris.

"It's something that I just instinctively know, inside myself, that we can't ignore because we are aware, we have made ourselves aware. And it's not going away," says Tricia. “It's such a massive thing, that we in our small way have to keep plugging away at this, we have to keep trying".

"Of course you can pray, so everybody needs to pray for this. Everyone needs to pray that we are successful in everything we do for our planet: for eco-church, for change for the world, for Fair Trade, for A Rocha. We need to pray for them and all the prayers count as well."


If you would like to be involved with Change for the World in your chaplaincy or would like any further information about living greener, Tricia and Chris can be contacted at cxwells@aol.com. 

Find out more about St. Vincent's Anglican Church in Praia da Luz on their website. You can keep updated on beach cleans via their website.

Photos:  Chris and Tricia Wells

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Reminder:

Save the date for our pan-diocesan eco event Caring for our Climate on October 29 at 16:15 BST/17:15 CET.

Find out what we have planned for the event on our social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and our website.