Scroll down for September’s prayers.
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Philip Clarkson Webb has compiled our much-appreciated monthly Prayer Diary for 29 years. He started in July 1990 on retirement from teaching He is now stepping down and this September’s Prayer Diary will be his last. We are hugely indebted to Philip for his dedicated service. We are also most grateful to Emma King who will now be compiling the diary in addition to sending it out each month.
(Deborah Tomkins, Green Christian Co-Chair.)
“To pray is nothing more than to open the door, giving Jesus access to our needs and permitting him to exercise his power in dealing with them. It requires no strength. It is only a question of our wills. Will we give Jesus access to our needs?
Saturday 24th August
A paper published in Nature Scientific Reports reveals that rapid human population growth is the biggest driver of environmental degradation in Africa. “The principal drivers of population and species extinctions are clear: habitat conversion – much of it from agricultural expansion, road development, over-exploitation, pollution, urbanisation, climate disruption and their synergies. But these proximate drivers sometimes belie the ultimate driver of them all – human population expansion, both numerical and geographical, and the consumption of Earth’s resources this implies.” https://populationmatters.org/news/2019/07/04/human-population-density-main-driver-nature-loss-africa
Sunday 25th August
Father, we pray that when the interests and aspirations of nations conflict with one another over the natural resources that you have provided for us, their leaders may not turn to war, but together seek a just and acceptable way forward, so that suspicions may be allayed, misunderstandings clarified, violence averted and peace preserved. We ask this in the name of Christ our Lord. (L. Cumings)
Monday 26th August
Africa’s population is projected to increase by a factor of 5 to 7 by 2100 due to slow progress in reducing fertility rates as a result of insufficient investment in family planning, education and women’s empowerment. An IPBS report points out that the aims of halting land degradation, resource depletion and biodiversity loss are not realistic without dedicated, well-funded and large-scale family planning rolled out across the African continent. “There has never been a more important time to re-invigorate the need for long-term, culturally-sensitive and meaningful family planning measures if many African nations are to have any hope of stemming the decline of their biodiversity.” https://populationmatters.org/news/2019/07/04/human-population-density-main-driver-nature-loss-africa
Tuesday 27th August
Drax, Britain’s largest coal fired power generator, plans to develop new carbon capture technology to create clean gas through a deal with National Grid and Norway’s state energy firm Equinor. The greenhouse gases emitted from generating biomass-fuelled power will be trapped before they enter the atmosphere. Drax hopes to create clean-burning hydrogen from its methane emissions by trapping them during combustion. It is believed that the hydrogen will be used to heat heavy industry and for transport, so creating a hydrogen economy from the mid-20s. https://www.drax.com/press_release/energy-companies-announce-new-zero-carbon-uk-partnership-ccus-hydrogen-beccs-humber-equinor-national-grid/
Wednesday 28th August
Maintenance of every offshore wind farm costs around £26 million over its lifetime. Now a project is being worked on at the universities of Bristol and Manchester with robotics firm Wootzano to develop the use of driverless boats to survey any damage to the turbines, and robots which use suction pads to crawl along the turbine blades. The project leader at Plant Integrity said: “The moment when an autonomous mother ship and robotic crew sail in UK waters will be a world first, and a likely game-changer for the offshore oil, gas and defence industries too.” https://www.governmenteuropa.eu/autonomous-wind-farm-inspection/93449/
Thursday 29th August
The Government has unveiled a scheme which allows only trusted traders to install domestic energy-efficiency measures under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) which requires energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of the poorest households. Between 2013 and 2015 around 10% of households having measures installed under the ECO were found to have had sub-standard work done. Now only traders with an ‘Each House Counts’ Trust Mark will be allowed to complete installations under the ECO scheme. https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3078976/energy-efficiency-government-unveils-trustmark-to-protect-poor-households-from-rogue-traders
Friday 30th August
From today until Sunday an international conference entitled ‘Water of Life: Navigating Climate Change for Planetary Health’ takes place at the University of Lincoln Minerva Building, Brayford Pool, LN6 7TS. Speakers from Oceania, USA and the UK will seek to navigate ways in which science and the church can be leaders in identifying the actions we can take together to address the threats of rising tides and falling reservoirs. For details and to book a place, go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/moana-water-of-life-navigating-climate-change-for-planetary-health-tickets-57776627448
Saturday 31st August
Partly as a result of the series of school climate strikes and a recent YouGov poll, more than two-thirds of teachers say that there should be more teaching about climate change, and three quarters did not feel they had adequate training to educate students on the subject. Around 70% agreed that radical change was needed to make the education system “fit for the times we live in.” Issues around the climate crisis are currently covered in both science and geography at key stage 3 for ages 11 to 14 and at key stage 4 for ages 14 to 16. Both subjects are compulsory at KS3, while only science is compulsory at KS4. But many teachers and experts say this is not enough. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/21/teachers-want-climate-crisis-training-poll-shows
Sunday 1st September
Give us courage, dear Father, to stand up and be counted,
To stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
To stand up for ourselves when we need to.
Let us fear nothing more than we fear you.
Let us love nothing more than we love you
Let us have no other God before you., whether nation or party or state or church.
Let us seek no other peace but the peace that is yours, and make us its instruments, opening our eyes and ears and hearts,
So that we shall know always what work of peace we may do for you. (Alan Paton)
Monday 2nd September
Greta Thunberg who, at the age of sixteen, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, has set sail for America in time to address the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on the 23rd and to join climate demonstrations there on the 29th and 27th. Her boat, the Malizia II, is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines for electricity, and the crew are measuring CO2 levels en route. The boat’s captain, Boris Herrmann, said: “This voyage symbolises two things: that it’s not easy to replace fossil fuels, and that overcoming this challenge can be a great adventure. It also offers the opportunity to bring us closer to nature and each other. This 3,500 nautical mile crossing of the Atlantic will be difficult, but I have no doubt that Greta, with her remarkable courage, will embrace this journey.”
Tuesday 3rd September
The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has warned that, after Brexit, EU safeguards on the environment will fall away without new legislation. A new Sustainable Economy Act is needed to set binding legal targets to protect wildlife, soil fertility and air quality. “This should be supported by a new Committee on Sustainability to advise the Government and a new enforcement body with extensive powers to hold the Government to account.”
Wednesday 4th September
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has told Channel 4 News that moving to a net carbon society by 2050 is going to require some major changes to the economy. “If you are in finance, banking, insurance or asset management, you need to think about investments, who you lend to and how those could be affected as we travel along that path. Companies that don’t adapt, including companies in the financial system, will go bankrupt without question. But also there will be great fortunes made along this path, aligned with what society wants. The UK is at the forefront (on this) and the UK, by demonstrating it can make these adjustments, will encourage others to come along with them.”
Thursday 5th September
In a study for CAFOD, the Overseas Development Institute reports that the UK has spent £680 million of its foreign aid budget on fossil fuel projects since 2010, and that in the two years since the 2015 Paris Agreement it spent more on oil and gas projects than in the previous five years. CAFOD commented: “At a time when we are reducing the UK’s own reliance on fossil fuels, why are we spending millions of pounds saddling poor nations with outdated technologies that will cause more environmental damage? The whole point of development aid is to improve the lives of people living in poverty. The Government needs to align its aid spending with its climate goals and urgently commit to ending all new aid for fossil fuels.”
Friday 6th September
Agreement has been reached between British Gas (BG) and the Catholic Church’s energy procurement group for the provision of renewable gas and electricity to 2,800 Catholic churches and over 2,200 Catholic schools and community centres. Under the deal, BG expects to provide green gas and electricity equivalent to the annual needs of more than 20,000 UK households and to take 21,000 cars off the road. When will other UK religious organisations make a similar commitment?
Saturday 7th September
A report from the IPCC finds that merely cutting fossil fuel emissions won’t be enough to stop global warming. Agriculture, wide-scale forestry and other land uses now account for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. Debra Roberts, one of its authors, said: “Some dietary choices require more land and water and cause more heat-trapping emissions than others. Balanced diets featuring plant-based foods, such as coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced food produced sustainably in low-greenhouse gas emissions systems, present major opportunities for adaptation to and limiting climate change.”
Sunday 8th September
Father, forgive us for our short-sightedness, our greed and for the part we have played, however unwittingly, in the destruction of your world. Forgive us that we have exploited the world’s resources for ourselves while so many others lack the basic necessities. Create in us a new heart and a new determination, that we may adopt a lifestyle that is gentle to the earth and just to the poor.
Monday 9th September
Fiji’s minister for economy and climate change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, introducing a climate change bill, said:”Here in the vast Pacific sits our beloved Fiji. Small and increasingly vulnerable as we scan the horizon anxiously year by year for the kind of extreme weather event that 3 years ago took the lives of 44 of our loved ones and inflicted damage equal to one-third of our GDP, [referring to Hurricane Winston in 2016]. This is the grave situation in which we find ourselves through no fault of our own, and this is why this government puts such strong emphasis on the climate issue.” Fiji is one of the few countries to combine the ministries of economy and climate change, so recognising the close link between a strong economy and a stable climate.
Tuesday 10th September
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is tasked with regulating deep sea mining activities in international waters but, according to Greenpeace, far from protecting our oceans, they are busy selling rights to greedy industries that want to plunder our ocean floors for profit. Current international law focuses more on rights to exploit marine resources than on any duty to protect them. In fact, the ISA has no capacity to protect the deep sea from drilling or mining or from plastic pollution or climate change. Its environmental impact assessments are carried out by mining companies and are neither independently verified nor open to public scrutiny. Since its establishment in 1994, the ISA has never turned down any application for exploratory mining.
Wednesday 11th September
From today until Friday, a course entitled “Blue Planet, Blue God” run by the Farday Institute for Science and Religion takes place at Westminster College, Cambridge. It looks at how caring for the oceans and their life fits with our understanding of the Bible. One of the key speakers, Meric Srokosz, is professor of physical oceanography at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. Applications for places have now closed.
Thursday 12th September
Plastic pollution is an issue for which we are all responsible. A workable Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for all types of containers – glass as well as plastic – would be a big step towards reducing pollution of the oceans. Litter picks such as CPRE’s Green Clean scheme have repeatedly shown that all sizes of drinks containers are found, so that restricting the DRS to certain sizes and types of container would limit its effect and provide loopholes for producers. Any scheme should have modulated fees which encourage design for recyclability and reuse, as well as reducing any difficult-to-recycle packaging and components. https://www.cpre.org.uk/magazine/out-and-about/item/5000-green-clean-2018-results?
Friday 13th September
A CPRE report has found that the economic benefits of a DRS (Deposit Return Scheme) which covers all drinks containers – plastic or glass – would have 8 times greater benefit than a watered-down system. While an ‘all-in’ DRS would generate £2 billion for the economy over 10 years, according to the government’s own assessment, just £250 million would be generated by a so-called ‘on-the-go’ system. “A reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill, littered drinks containers, reduced air and water pollution, as well as fewer carbon emissions caused by the extraction and production of raw materials needed to produce new containers, will result in huge savings for the Treasury, local councils and taxpayers.”
Saturday 14th September
Green Christian is hosting a meeting today from 10.30 to 4.30 at the Dandelion Community, Woodhouse Park, Manchester M22 1AH. The day is designed to deepen ecological discipleship, mobilise for change and build a common cause for creation. Featured are:
- Joy in Enough – a campaign for a fair and sustainable economy;
- The Green Christian Way of Life – a calling for deeper engagement and shared encouragement;
- A non-violent Direct Action workshop led by Extinction Rebellion.
Lunch is provided by a local food initiative. The day is cost free, but donations are welcome. Booking essential via: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/green-christian-on-the-road-together-in-manchester-tickets-61506617950 or ring 0845 459 8460.
Sunday 15th September
Help us, Lord Jesus, to be ready to get our hands dirty in your service. Amen.
Monday 16th September
Today an interfaith conference organised by the South East England Faiths Forum takes place from 10.30 to 4.30 at the University of Surrey, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7XH. The conference highlights faith and belief perspectives on our common environmental responsibility for our planet. For details, go to: Today an interfaith conference organised by the South East England Faiths Forum takes place from 10.30 to 4.30 at the University of Surrey, Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7XH. The conference highlights faith and belief perspectives on our common environmental responsibility for our planet. For details, go to: http://se-faithforum.net/
Tuesday 17th September
According to Bill McKibben in his latest book “Falter”, if you weighed the world’s land animals, humans account for 30%, farm animals another 67% and all the wild vertebrates just 3%. Moreover, there are now half as many wild vertebrates on earth as there were in 1970.
Wednesday 18th September
A paper in Environmental Research finds that rising CO2 .levels, by speeding plant growth, appear to reduce the amount of protein in staple crops. When researchers grew crops with the levels of CO2 expected later this century, minerals such as calcium and iron dropped by 8%. The loss of zinc, essential for maternal and infant health, could endanger 138 million people around the world.
Thursday 19th September
The oceans absorb some of the CO2 emitted by our cars, factories and furnaces, but some of it turns into carbonic acid which, in turn, acidifies the oceans. We have already seen their acidity increase by about 3%. At the current rate of emissions, ocean pH will drop to 7.8 or 7.7 by 2100, “well beyond what fish and other marine organisms can tolerate in the laboratory without serious implications for health, reproduction and mobility.” According to veteran oceanographer Eelco Rohling, “As water acidifies, the phytoplankton at the base of the oceanic food chain struggle to form calcium for their skeletal parts. If water becomes more acid, fish use huge amounts of energy to restore the balance in their cells, which stifles their growth and slows their mobility.”
From Bill McKibben’s ‘Falter’ For more on oceanic acidification see for example https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/oceans/critical-issues-ocean-acidification/
Friday 20th September
The Greenpeace ship ‘Esperanza’ is on a 2-year voyage to raise awareness of major threats to the world’s oceans as part of its campaign for a strong Global Oceans Treaty. Its first destination is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is covered by a deep-sea mining exploration contract granted by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to the Polish Government last year. Negotiations for the treaty are expected to be concluded next spring. For news of progress, go to: https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/new-greenpeace-report-warns-irreversible-harm-ocean-life-deep-sea-mining/
Saturday 21st September
Today Hereford diocese is hosting an Eco-Church launch event from 9.45 to 4.00 at St James’s Church, 102 Green Street, Hereford HR1 2QW. Helen Stephens from A Rocha will speak about the Eco-Church Award Scheme and there will be workshops on Buildings, Worship & Teaching, Community & Global, Churchyards & Land. For more details and to book a place, go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/eco-diocese-launch-event-tickets-64229454026
Sunday 22nd September
Today is Car-Free Sunday, when churches around the country encourage people to think and discuss how they can reduce the use of cars.
Father, we pray, each one of us, for an honest appraisal of our own lifestyle, that we may admit, to ourselves and to you, all that we are contributing, directly and indirectly, to the pollution of your world. Help us to bear witness, by our example, to our resolve to amend our lives, so that others may take heart and act accordingly.
Monday 23rd September
Today and tomorrow a Climate Justice Summit takes place at St Paul’s Church, Hill Road, Cambridge, organised by the Amos Trust. “Those who have the least political and economic power, and the least responsibility for the changing climate, are affected the most. We have a moral and ethical imperative to respond to their call for immediate action.” Tickets at £40/£30 concessions are available at: https://www.amostrust.org/diary/climate-justice-summit-cambridge/ For further details, email: email@example.com
Tuesday 24th September
The Waorani of the Ecuadorian Amazon have been granted permanent protection of their 500,000 acres of ancestral lands by the Ecuadorian Provincial Court after years of legal wrangling over their campaign to protect it from exploitation by oil companies. This victory could set a precedent for other areas in jeopardy from resource extraction, such as the neighbouring 7 million acres of the Amazon basin and the distant Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Wednesday 25th September
The Bialowieza Forest in Poland is the last and biggest old-growth forest in Europe. In 2016 the Polish Government decided to triple logging permits in the Forest, risking irreversible damage. The EU Commission took Poland to court for failing to protect the Forest, a World Heritage site, and now the European Court of Justice has ordered Poland to halt logging in the Forest. Heavy machinery logging stopped and the Polish Environment Minister was fired. But a WWF report is concerned a new plan includes logging again
Thursday 26th September
Spain’s Donana National Park, another World Heritage site, is home to many threatened species and is an essential stopover for millions of migrating birds., but dredging of the Guadalquivir River has caused drying out of the land, putting both nature and local livelihoods at risk. WWF organised a petition to the Spanish government and now the government has announced a ban on dredging the river and cancelled gas storage plans, so removing the most immediate threats to Europe’s most important wetland.
Friday 27th September
A new Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) will be set up post-Brexit to investigate complaints of serious failure by public authorities to comply with environmental laws. However, the OEP would be prohibited from disclosing information obtained from a public authority without its consent. Moreover, the public would have no access to any OEP report following its investigations. Now 36 environmental and other organisations have urged the Government to drop all secrecy provisions from the draft bill, saying that the current proposals “would impose a degree of secrecy which does not apply to any other UK environmental regulator” and that the restrictions are “even more onerous” than those applied by the European Commission in its investigations into breaches of EU environmental laws.
Saturday 28th September
Today from 10am to 4pm Green Christian hosts a conference at the Immaculate Conception Church Hall, Beeches Green, Stroud GL5 4AA to deepen ecological discipleship, mobilise for change and build common cause for creation. The conference is free, but donations are welcome. There will be a bring and share lunch. Booking essential via: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/green-christian-on-the-road-together-in-stroud-tickets-62251432711
Sunday 29th September
Sovereign Lord of all nations, we pray for all who are called to leadership in the affairs of your earth. Give them the vision to see far into the crucial issues of our time, courage to uphold what they believe to be right, and integrity in their words and motives. May their service to their peoples promote the welfare and peace of all humankind, through the strength of Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord. (Basil Naylor)
Monday 30th September
Small electrical items often end up in landfill or are recycled incorrectly. Now the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) fund has been granted £3.5 million to support local projects focussed on small electric waste kerbside collections. Local authorities have until October 25th to bid for funding. £500,000 of the grant is aimed at supporting any UK reuse organisations to build their capacity through upgrading their reuse, testing and repair operations. Applications for this pot close on October 18th. https://larac.org.uk/news/new-wave-weee-fund-allocation-announced
Text compiled by Philip Clarkson Webb. Links added by Emma King. Links accessed 24/8/19
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