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“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”
“Man talks of a battle with Nature, forgetting that if he wins the battle, he would find himself on the losing side.”
“You do not inherit the earth from your ancestors,
You borrow it from your children.”
Thursday 30th May
A study by Dr Helen Harwatt of Harvard University finds that the UK could feed itself if part of the land now used for animal grazing and feed crops were returned to forest. New forests could soak up 12 years-worth of UK carbon emissions. For every 100 calories we feed to domestic animals, we receive only 12 calories back from the food and milk that we consume. Nearly half of all land in the UK is currently used for farm animals, providing us with little nutrition compared to the feedstock that we feed them with.
Friday 31st May
The UK imports 90% of its fruit and vegetables, while we grow only 50% of the food we eat. Pulses such as beans are suitable crops for growing in Britain, and as they have nutritional and environmental benefits, they could be grown in place of animal feed in addition to a range of fruits and vegetables. Addressing the Grow Green Conference in London, Dr Harwatt warned that the UK food system is far from that required for compliance with the Paris Agreement targets. A key way to meet those targets is to return pasture and animal feed crops to forest, which will then soak up excessive CO2 emissions. See https://theecologist.org/2019/apr/17/converting-animal-farmland-forest
Saturday 1st June
On May Day, Parliament declared a national climate and environmental emergency. Paul Bodenham, chair of Green Christian, urges fellow-Christians to ensure that their church communities grasp their mission, courageously and creatively. “Humanity faces profound trouble, and sacrificial choices are necessary if we are going to salvage a future. With faith, those choices become possible.”
Sunday 2nd June
As tools come to be sharpened by the blacksmith, so may we come, Lord.
As sharpened tools go back to their owner, so may we go back to our everyday life,
To be used by Thee.
(A prayer from Africa)
Monday 3rd June
Today, for a growing number of businesses and individuals, will be a Meat-free Monday. The latest report from the Committee on Climate Change concludes that if the UK is to deliver its target of net-zero emissions by 2050, the number of sheep and cattle needs to be reduced by 20-50%. The Soil Association is calling for a mandatory meat-free day each week in all UK schools. “We know that children would benefit nutritionally from eating more beans, pulses and plant-based proteins and the climate would also benefit – we should all be eating less and better meat.” https://www.soilassociation.org/news/2019/may/17/plant-based-protein-day-needed-on-school-menus/
Tuesday 4th June
The Scottish Government and the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow have pledged to build a net-zero emission economy by 2045 – in the case of Edinburgh by 2030. The announcement comes as the last of 84 offshore wind turbines is commissioned at the Beatrice site off the coast of Caithness, bringing the site’s total capacity to 588 MW – enough to provide clean, low-carbon energy to over 450,000 homes.
Wednesday 5th June
On this World Environment Day, the focus is on air pollution, which affects nine out of ten people on earth. People are encouraged to wear face masks to highlight the problem. Actions recommended include:
- Using public transport or car sharing, cycling or walking
- Reducing consumption of meat and dairy to help cut methane emissions
- Composting organic food items and recycling non-organic trash
- Saving energy by turning off lights and electronics when not in use
- Choosing non-toxic paints and furnishings.
Thursday 6th June
A report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) finds that over the past five decades three-quarters of all land environments and two-thirds of all marine environments have been severely damaged by humans, leading to a million species now threatened with extinction. The direct drivers of biodiversity loss include habitat destruction, overexploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species. Indirect drivers include human population growth, consumption patterns, technological innovation and governance.
Friday 7th June
Population Matters, commenting on this report, said: “Decreasing poverty is undoubtedly a positive development. The only real solutions are a radical shift away from unsustainable consumption in wealthy countries as well as ending, and ultimately reversing, human population growth.”
Saturday 8th June
An Environmental Training Day takes place today from 10am to 4pm at St Mark’s Church, Harrogate, HG2 8AY organised by the Diocese of Leeds. Workshops address questions such as: What does scripture tell us about caring for the environment? How to become an Eco-Church? Church eco-action in the wider community?
Also today from 10am to 4.45pm an event called ‘Human Flourishing on a Flourishing Earth’ takes place at the Brighthelm Centre, Brighton BN1 1YD, with workshops on ‘Saving the World is a Spiritual Matter’ (Rev Alex Mabbs), ‘Green Grace’ (Rev Philip Roderick) and ‘The Great Water Challenge’ (Sandy Elsworth) For more details go to: www.livingspirit.org.uk/brighton.
Sunday 9th June
God the Holy Spirit,
Come as the wind and cleanse us;
Come as the fire and burn;
Come as the dew and refresh;
Come, convert and concentrate many hearts and lives to our greater good and your greater glory.
This we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday 10th June
Here are some testimonies from two couples who have chosen to have smaller families:
Gregory and his partner in the UK have one child. “Sometimes it’s hard thinking that our daughter will never know what it is to have a sibling, but it would be harder to think about her not knowing the forests, the woodland animals and insects.”
Tom, from Kenya, also has one child. “I happened to be the third born in a family of 8 children. It was hard for my parents to facilitate our education. I vowed to have a small family myself which I can take care of by providing all the basic needs without overstretching world resources. Through this I have been able to save a little money to start a tree planting project in my home village.”
Tuesday 11th June
Nearly half of UNESCO World Heritage sites are at risk from damaging industrial activities such as mining and oil drilling. Many of these activities are funded by our high street banks. However, Barclays has issued a policy document focusing on the protection of World Heritage sites and Standard Chartered has recently tightened its policy. WWF is pursuing efforts to make sure that banks improve their policies on World Heritage sites.
Wednesday 12th June
The 2000 World Commission on Dams exposed the massive social and environmental impacts and the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from large dam reservoirs. Since 2011, cash is again flowing for new dam projects via the World Bank, pension funds and Chinese capital. Close to 4,000 hydropower dams of over 1 MW are planned or underway. Hydropower is considered a form of renewable energy, so dams are often legitimised by government and funding agencies regardless of the rights of indigenous communities adversely affected. A study of 220 dam-related conflicts by the Global and Environmental Justice Atlas reveals a pattern of non-violent resistance being met by repression, violent targeting of activists and even assassinations.
Thursday 13th June
Deforestation in Brazil has major impacts on the balance of CO2 in the global atmosphere. Brazilian government figures show that deforestation increased by almost 14% between August 2017 and July 2018 with an area of 3,050 square miles being cleared. The Amazon rainforest represents more than half of Earth’s remaining rainforests and 60% of that is in Brazil. Both legal and illegal deforestation, driven by cattle-ranching, soy production for animal feed and logging for timber and charcoal, remain big problems. President Bolsonaro has publicly attacked Brazil’s environmental protection agencies, saying that indigenous communities are being exploited and manipulated by NGOs.
Friday 14th June
Waitrose is supporting five projects designed to reduce plastic pollution.
- Blue Marine Foundation aims to stop fishing nets being lost at sea.
- The Onion Collective CIC, with biotech firm Biohm, uses fungal mycelium to break down synthetic plastic waste and turn it into new products.
- The Women’s Environmental Network, with its ‘plastic-free periods’ aims for behavioural changes that reduce pollution from sanitary products.
- Plymouth Marine Lab is deploying beds or rafts of mussels in coastal sites to filter out microplastics.
- The Youth Hostels Association is installing water bottle refilling stations in 60 major hostels.
Saturday 15th June
At the Central Baptist Church, Shrewsbury, today from 10.30 to 4.30, Green Christian hosts a meeting open to all entitled ‘On the Road Together’. There is a session on the Green Christian Way of Life covering its four disciplines of Prayer, Living Gently on the Earth, Public Witness and Encouragement. Another session, ‘Joy in Enough’, presents a vision of a society dedicated to human flourishing and the common good rather than the constant pursuit of more.
Sunday 16th June
Father, we pray for the scientists responsible for research into ways of reducing our carbon footprint, and for politicians responsible for converting their recommendations into legislation. Grant them honesty, integrity and deep perception of the long-term effects of their actions, so that short-term economics are not allowed to weigh decisions on policies that will affect generations to come.
Monday 17th June
Sainsbury’s Future of Food report comments on a continuing shift towards plant-based diets as well as new trends such as algal milk, jellyfish and lab-grown meat as alternatives to conventional animal proteins and dairy. Jellyfish, full of vitamins and low in calories, are likely to become more abundant as the oceans warm, and could become a popular snack when turned into crunchy chips.
Tuesday 18th June
A report from the International Energy Agency, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation assesses progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which sets targets for delivering sustainable energy for all by 2030. “Around 89% of the world population now has access to electricity, but the other 11% are among the poorest and hardest to reach households. Off-grid solutions, including home solar systems and mini-grids, will be necessary to bridge the energy gap.” The report warns that the annual rate of improvements in energy efficiency still lags behind the 2.7% a year needed to meet SDG7. In fact, the rate of improvement slowed down to 1.3% in 2018.
Wednesday 19th June
A Censuswide survey funded by Investec plc finds that more than half UK parents would move house to escape air pollution if they could afford to. Thirty seven percent said that they felt air quality was getting worse and 83% worried about its effect on their families’ health. A campaign by Hubbub called #AirWeShare has been launched by Investec, Bunzl, Kingfisher and Grosvenor Estates to foster collaborative initiatives between businesses to find ways of improving air quality in London, cutting carbon emissions, creating a greener city and acting as an exemplar for other cities to follow.
Thursday 20th June
A proposal for a Swansea Tidal Lagoon was scrapped after the government withdrew financial support. Now an independent report, commissioned by Swansea City Council, recommends an integrated project called “Dragon Energy Island” which, besides a tidal lagoon, would incorporate new housing as well as hydrogen production, an underwater data centre, a solar farm and battery storage facilities. Swansea Council now has to decide whether the scheme will go ahead.
Friday 21st June
A cross-party group of MPs has asked the £700 million Parliamentary Pension Fund to disclose its investments in carbon-intensive industries and to publicly commit to phasing out its fossil fuel investments. Sir Ed Davey, former Energy & Climate Change Secretary, has called on all pension funds to urgently divest from risky fossil fuel assets and to reinvest in clean or green technology which will give good returns. “I think trustees and the people running these pension funds need to think seriously about this risk and about their true role of duty to beneficiaries. There’s no point in having a nice pension if you haven’t got a world to live in.”
Saturday 22nd June
Eleven of the UK’s leading scientists headed by Professors Chris Rapley CBE and Joanna Haigh of the Grantham Institute have called on charitable foundations and philanthropists to funnel their cash into environmental action. Currently, less than 3% of donations from UK foundations goes towards environmental causes, and most of that goes to specific conservation projects rather than to wider efforts to tackle climate change. “… The work now being done to counter these threats is desperately under-funded, and we request that you consider an extraordinary increase in your funding for this critical 10-year period.”
Sunday 23rd June
Father, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by the scale and complication of the environmental problems we face. Help us to see how we may respond in our daily lives, and help us to understand that where we lead, others will surely follow.
Monday 24th June
The cement industry is responsible for 7% of global CO2 emissions. Now Heidelberg, the world’s 4th largest cement maker, has pledged to bring its emission reduction targets into line with the Paris Agreement and to produce only CO2-neutral concrete by 2050. However, the expansion of new buildings in Africa and Asia will test the possibility of reaching a 30% improvement in energy intensity by 2030 – a necessary target if the industry is to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Tuesday 25th June
Seventy-two passengers have flown across Sweden from Halmstad to Stockholm in a turboprop plane fuelled by non-palm oil sustainable raw materials, resulting in 40% fewer carbon emissions per flight than for conventional jets. Fuel suppliers are working to deliver new biofuels using waste feedstocks. However, there are challenges in scaling up the use of biofuels owing to their high cost and the difficulty in finding sustainable feedstocks.
Wednesday 25th June
Today, thousands of people will converge on Westminster to urge their MP to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by setting a net-zero emissions target and to pass ambitious laws that create a healthier environment for nature and people. At 9.30 there will be interfaith workshops at St Martin’s in the Fields. At 11.30 Archbishop Rowan Williams will lead a Walk of Witness from Trafalgar Square to Church House, where at 12 noon an interfaith event will take place. For information on how and where to meet your MP go to: www.theclimatecoalition.org
Thursday 27th June
Since the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was launched on April 8th, 9,400 fewer of the most polluting vehicles entered the zone than in the previous month. Drivers of cars, vans and motorbikes face a £12.50 charge unless they meet new emission standards. For lorries, buses and coaches the charge is £100. The British Heart Foundation said: “While this news is encouraging, we need to accelerate progress by adopting the World Health Organisation’s stringent limits for air pollution into UK law, prompting comprehensive joined-up action at local and national level.”
Friday 28th June
While the move was widely welcomed by parents’ groups, doctors and environmental campaigners Greenpeace commented: “The level of compliance with the new ULEZ shows us something important. People are prepared to make changes to improve their environment when legislation shares the responsibility fairly across society, rather than expecting individual consumers to take the initiative. Westminster should learn from this and raise their game. They could start with a phase-out date for petrol and diesel instead of waiting until 2040, when it’s far too late to be useful in confronting the climate emergency.”
Saturday 29th June
The annual Operation Noah Supporters Day takes place today from 10.30am to 4pm at the CAFOD offices in Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB. The keynote speaker on the Climate Emergency will be Hannah Malcolm, co-ordinator for ‘God and the Big Bang’, a national project helping children, young people and teachers to engage with the dialogue between science and faith. In the afternoon there will be updates and short presentations followed by a workshop and worship session. A £5 charge will cover expenses. For tickets, go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/2019-operation-noah-agm-and-supporters-day-tickets-59380329163?aff=ebdssbeac
Sunday 30th June
Almighty God, who alone can govern the hearts of frail and sinful humans, send your Holy Spirit among the leaders of the world, that he may reveal the path that we must all now take if we are to fulfil your purposes on earth. Remove all prejudice, special pleading and vested interests, that our leaders may truly seek your will and find the courage to make the radical decisions that the world now needs. This we pray in the Name of your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
All websites accessed May 29th 2019
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