Ed Echlin was an outstanding eco-warrior who sadly died recently.

A few years ago, I used to regularly visit Ed and his wife Barbara at their home in Bexhill, Sussex.

I had met Ed and Barbara at conferences before that, focused on environmental and justice and peace issues.

Ed and Barbara were real environmental activists, both walking the walk and talking the talk.

Their house in Bexhill had photovoltaic and solar panels generating energy for many years.

Much of the delicious food served was grown in the garden – potatoes, beans, cherries, carrots and apples, to name but a few. Ed was particularly proud of his apple trees, getting different varieties scattered out around the garden.

What they did not grow was obtained from local producers around the area.

Both Ed and Barbara vowed to not fly many years ago. They were often asked to speak at conferences overseas but would not go if a flight was involved – get someone local was the response.

Previously, Ed had been a Jesuit priest, before leaving the priesthood in 1974 when he married Barbara.

A visiting scholar at Sarum College and Honorary Fellow at Leeds University, Ed wrote passionately about theological and ecological matters over the years, often bringing the two subjects together. He wrote six books, including The Cosmic Circle and Jesus and Ecology.

Ed was always very concerned about the implications of population growth on the ecosystem of the planet – not always a popular view among Catholic theologians.

Ed and Barbara were active at local and national level on all matters environmental. They used to hold an annual event at their house called The Academic Inn. People from all around the East Sussex area, interested in community development, would come along to listen and take part in the debate. I did one such session back in 2011 about the difficulties of getting environmental issues over in the media.

They were also involved in the Newman Society, based in nearby Eastbourne, which addressed similar issues.

Ed Echlin will be a great loss to the world. He was similar in some ways to Michael Brownlee, who was mentioned in this column a while back, who also sadly died recently. Both men recognised the climate disaster that is upon us and the need to act. Ed and Michael really recognised the power of one and lived out that belief on a daily basis.

Moving forward, these actions of witness need to be continued by the present and future generations. We can all make a difference. Grow your own if you can, buy locally produced and organic foods, insulate your house and use sustainable energy sources, avoid plastic, recycle wherever possible, don’t dump waste around the place and use sustainable forms of transport wherever possible.

We can all do our bit to save the world, filling the shoes of those who have gone before, shining the light toward a more sustainable way of living.

RIP, Ed.