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“When humans turn their backs on the creator’s plan, they provoke a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of created order. If humans are not at peace with God, then Earth itself cannot be at peace.” (Pope John Paul II)
“Our entire economic order is based on increasing emissions. We have basically two options. We can let the remaining resources of the planet be fought over viciously through military power, or we can move rapidly to rebuild our ecosystems, share the limited resources that the planet can provide, and create good lives while doing it.” (Vandana Shiva)
“Can we turn things around quickly enough to save the modern world? Whatever answer we give will be misleading. The answer ‘yes’ would lead to complacency, the answer ‘no’ to despair. It is desirable to leave these perplexities behind us and get down to work.” (E.F. Schumacher).
Thursday 28th March
Deposit return schemes for drinks containers in other European countries have seen return rates increase by 85-98%. The consultation proposes two schemes, one that would be restricted to containers of less than 750 ml. capacity and the other that would cover all drinks packaging irrespective of size. Commenting on the proposals, Michael Gove said: “We are committed to cementing our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, so we can be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.” The plans received public backing from the Chancellor, Philip Hammond.
Friday 29th March
Tomorrow from 10am to 4pm Beverley Methodist Social Responsibility Group will host a ‘How to Go Greener’ day with talks and workshops led by Green Christian, Climate Stewards/Eco Church, Vegan Society and East Riding Energy. Speakers and workshops will explore how we can tread more lightly on the earth. A £15 fee includes a vegan lunch and refreshments. Book by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-go-greener-day-tickets-54426788991
Saturday 30th March
‘Transforming Energy, Transforming Lives’ is the title of today’s gathering from 10 til 4 at Gate Church International, Dundee DD1 4JS. “Changing the way we use energy means changing both our way of life and our economy, in heating our homes, travel, food and farming.” Keynote speakers: Professor Jim Skea from Scotland’s Just Transition Commission and Neil Kermode, director of the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Workshops cover Buildings, Awards (Eco-Congregation), Homes & Communities, Energy and Money. Registration is open via: http://ecocongregationagm2019.eventbrite.co.uk
Sunday 31st March
Father God, who has set before us the great hope that your Kingdom shall come on earth and taught us to pray for its coming, give us grace to discern the signs of its dawning and to work for the perfect day when the whole world shall reflect your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Percy Dearmer)
Monday 1st April
Loving Father, we lift up to you the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe who are suffering so terribly from the devastating floods caused largely by the changing climate. Experts describe this disaster as even when the waters recede, it will take affected areas years to recover, with hundreds of thousands left homeless and harvests wiped out in some of Africa’s poorest regions.
Tuesday 2nd April
Experts tell us that warmer temperatures mean that more rain is held in the atmosphere and then released. Cyclone Idai produced nearly a year’s worth of rain in just a few days – more than two feet in some parts. Secondly, sustained droughts had hardened the earth’s surface, making it unable to absorb heavy rain. Thirdly, sea levels are over a foot higher than a century ago and this makes coastal areas more prone to flooding. Whatever the explanation, it is our industrialised way of life that is primarily responsible for climate change. It is we who have to reduce our footprint on a finite planet and so seek to avoid the consequences of rising temperatures.
Wednesday 3rd April
On March 15th over 1.5 million young people across the world walked out of their classes in the largest global climate demonstration ever to take place. Movements such as this can shift the terrain of politics. They can spark the imagination and show us how powerful we can be when we act together. With climate science becoming increasingly urgent and apocalyptic, we need these sparks of inspiration and imagination. It’s now up to all of us to make sure these sparks of hope become wildfires of effective action.
Thursday 4th April
The UK’s population is expected to rise from 69 million now to 75 million in 2050, so increasing the demand for finite water supplies. Environment Agency chief Sir James Bevan says that the country faces the ‘jaws of death’ at the point where water demand from a rising population surpasses the falling supply as a result of hotter and longer summers. Average daily consumption could be cut from 140 litres to 100 litres by more efficient use in homes and gardens. Currently one-third of water is lost to leaks and wastage. A planned new reservoir near Abingdon faces major legal and planning hurdles as well as local opposition. More water will need to be transferred to water-stressed areas such as the south-east. More desalination plants such as Thames Water’s Beckton plant will be needed to turn seawater into drinking water. The cost of this investment, roughly £4 per household per year, would be modest compared to the cost of a severe drought, perhaps £100 per household.
Friday 5th April
Commenting on the issue of plastic pollution, Guy Singh-Watson of Riverford Organics says: “We are on the brink of environmental; catastrophe, and it is important that nothing distract us from climate change. Plastic in the oceans is a tragedy, but not on the same scale as climate change.” Plastic pollution has a powerful narrative to open the gateway to real public understanding of fossil fuels and to encourage us to switch from the current ‘take-make-dispose’ habit to a more sustainable circular economy that inspires us to consider our overall carbon footprint and look at the bigger global picture.
Saturday 6th April
Twenty-three countries including China, India, South Africa, Brazil and many developing countries, (representing 56% of the world’s population and responsible for 43% of its carbon emissions), have met in Paris to explore how dedicated green banks can deliver low-carbon investment to help developing nations reach the goals set by the Paris Agreement. Industrialised economies have seen the growth of private investment in low-carbon projects. This model holds enormous promise for developing nations where every public dollar is even more precious and the need for low-carbon development is just as pressing.
Sunday 7th April
Loving Father, we do not understand why nature sometimes seems so cruel and harsh, and why people suffer from floods, earthquakes and man-made disasters. Help us to trust in your promises and to rest in the certainty that not even the smallest sparrow lies outside your loving care. Help us to do all in our power to relieve suffering and make us willing and eager to share the good things you have given us, for the benefit of all.
Monday 8th April
Deep sea mining of valuable minerals has come a step closer with imminent publication of regulations by the International Seabed Authority to allow commercial exploitation from 2020 onwards. Manganese nodules covering huge areas of the Pacific are rich in minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, lithium and rare earths such as neodymium which is essential for wind turbines and hybrid cars. Many scientists and conservation groups warn that there is simply not enough known about life in the deep oceans for the industry to begin mining safely.
Tuesday 9th April
WWF and Sky Ocean Rescue have launched a marine robot off the North Devon coast, named the Waste Shark, which will roam through distances of up to 5 kilometres capturing plastics, microplastics, oils and other pollutants. If used five days a week, it can collect more than 15 tonnes of waste a year, the plastic being recycled to make new products. The Waste shark, invented by RanMarine Technology, already operates in five countries. It emits no carbon, produces no noise or light pollution and poses no threat to wildlife.
Wednesday 10th April
Global Recycling Day last month bright the launch of a partnership between Nestle and waste-managing firm Veolia to develop plastic waste collection, sorting and recycling processes across 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, focussing initially on flexible plastic packaging using pyrolysis to produce virgin-quality plastic. Meanwhile Pepsico has announced a partnership with Ecoins to allow consumers to exchange PET (type 1) plastics for a virtual currency that can be used to earn discounts on a variety of goods and services.
Thursday 11th April
The fashion sector is the world’s biggest consumer of water, generates around 20% of the world’s waste water and releases half a million tines of synthetic microfibres into the ocean each year. The average consumer buys 60% more pieces of clothing than 5 years ago and keeps each item only half as long. The new UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion works with other UN agencies and sustainable fashion initiatives such as the Fashion Industrial Charter for Climate Action to align the industry with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including an ambition to deliver a pathway for net-zero emissions by mid-century.
Friday 12th April
The Better Cotton Initiative has revealed that 93 retailers in 2018 sourced over 1 million tonnes of cotton through the BCI – up 45% from 2017. This trains cotton farmers around the world in sustainable production practices. Fashion retailers H & M group commented: “BCI plays a key role in our goal towards using only sustainably-sourced cotton by 2020.”
Saturday 13th April
Rob Thompson, an enthusiastic diver, collaborates with kayak manufacturers Palm Equipment to remould waste marine plastic into kayaks that can be used to patrol our coasts for more beach debris. An estimated 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear are lost at sea each year. Rob often collects trawl-fishing nets, broken buoys and fish trays while diving. There is nowhere in the UK to recycle fishing nets, so Rob works with Danish firm Plastix which recycles end-of-life nylon gill nets and polyethylene trawl-fishing nets. The reprocessed nets are then returned to the UK for remoulding into kayaks. See www.odysseyinnovation.com and www.fathomsfree.org
Sunday 14th April.
Father, we thank you for stirring the hearts of many to devise solutions to the complex problems posed by climate change and the seemingly relentless pollution of the environment. Turn us away from our pursuit of money and self-gratification. Help us to remember what your Son endured on the Cross for our redemption and strengthen our weak wills to take up our own crosses and to follow him throughout our lives. Amen.
Monday 15th April
The spread of 5G (5th generation) mobile connectivity with few local controls has raised serious health concerns in the US and Europe. In 2016 scientists warned that, owing to its pulse and energy being concentrated on surface tissues, high-frequency 5G may introduce risks to insects, leaves, eyes and skin. An appeal to the EU for a 5G moratorium, signed by over 200 scientists and doctors from 39 nations, warns that countless 5G antennae will create “a massive increase of mandatory exposure to wireless radiation.” It urges more use of wired technology. Joel Moskowitz, director of health studies at Berkeley University, warns that the deployment of 5G “constitutes a massive experiment on the health of all species.”
Tuesday 16th April
Researchers from Bangor University and Friends of the Earth (FoE) have sampled water from lakes, rivers, wetlands and reservoirs all over Britain and have discovered microplastics in even the most remote sites. The River Thames in London had 84.1 particles of microplastic per litre (ppl), the River Tame in Manchester had more than 1,000 while even Ullswater in the Lake District contained 2.4 ppl. Julian Kirby of FoE said: “The widespread contamination of our lakes and rivers with microplastic pollution is a major concern and people understandably want to know what impact this could have on their health and the environment”. Every year more than 380 million tons of plastic are produced globally and at least 8 million tons of it ends up in the sea.
Wednesday 17th April
A report from the Environmental Audit Committee finds that 70% of our litter ends up in the oceans and unless we act now to tackle the problem, the volume will treble within a decade. It urges the government to ban plastics that are difficult or impossible to recycle and to bring forward the 2042 deadline to eliminate avoidable plastic by expanding and speeding up deposit return systems and doing more to make retailers and manufacturers responsible for the waste they generate.
Thursday 18th April
A report from the Global Food Banking Network (GFN) finds that food banks operating in 57 countries and serving 62.5 million people have prevented about 2.68 million tonnes of safe, edible food from being wasted. They have saved an estimated 10.54 billion each year – equivalent to the output of nearly 2.2 million cars. GFN president, Lisa Moon, said: “The Waste Not, Want Not report highlights the large-scale social and environmental impact of food banks, which are uniquely positioned to address both the paradox of global hunger and food waste.” Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said:” Globally, more than 800 million people go hungry while a third of all food never gets eaten. We’re committed to ensuring no good food goes to waste and we donate each week over 300,000 meals of surplus food to over 7,000 charities and community groups, working in partnership with FareShare.”
Friday 19th April. Good Friday.
Lord Jesus, who showed your love for us by treading the path of the Cross for our sakes, make us more ready to take up our personal crosses and to follow you in faith, knowing that you will be with us to the end.
Saturday 20th April
Patients visiting the Long Lane Surgery in Coalville, Leicestershire, are offered an opportunity to get involved in growing their own organic vegetables at an allotment run by Leicestershire Master gardeners. Participating patients have reported improvements in balance and weight loss. Master Gardeners are now adding a food-growing workshop to encourage others to join.
Sunday 21st April. Easter Day.
Father God, our hearts are full this day of gratitude, love and adoration. We cannot express our happiness on this the greatest day of all the year. As we bow our heads, make us quiet enough to listen, humble enough to understand and pure-hearted enough to follow Jesus, our Master, Friend and King for ever.
Monday 22nd April
Government plans to extend the operation of fracking received a setback last month when the High Court ruled that the Government’s fracking guidelines were unlawful as they did not take into account the impact on climate change. Climate scientist James Hansen had earlier accused ministers of ignoring scientific evidence. He said the industry would contribute to climate breakdown and warned that future generations would judge ministers harshly.
Tuesday 23rd April
A new report from Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) finds that England has enough spare derelict land for one million new homes, thus reducing any need to build on the countryside or on green-belt land. These 64,250 acres of ‘brownfield’ land could provide almost 500,000 new houses in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield, while London could supply enough brownfield land for at least 100,000 new homes. CPRE is backing a review by Sir Oliver Letwin MP which could give planning authorities new powers to speed up brownfield development with new compulsory purchase powers as a backup. However, doubts remain as to whether local authorities are recording the full range of brownfield sites. Research in Enfield shows that it has space for 37,000 homes on brownfield land – more than 10 times the number on the public register.
Wednesday 24th April
By 2050 city dwellers will account for 80% of energy demand and 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016 over 7,000 cities came together for a global covenant pledged to create post-carbon societies. Mexico City’s Carbon Action Plan aims to reduce emissions by 30% or 10 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020 and the city has issued a green bond for $50 million to finance its ambitions. Vancouver is committed to getting 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, by reducing emissions from buildings and transportation, by supporting renewably-powered car-sharing fleets and even phasing out parking spaces for diesel and petrol vehicles from 2025.
Thursday 25th April
The Feed-in Tariff scheme, which has supported renewable energy generation since 2010 came to an end last month. New generators of solar energy are no longer guaranteed a fair price for the electricity they export to the grid. However, there are organisations such as Energy4All, Shareenergy and Mongoose which support community energy groups and an online Community Energy Hub. If the financial viability of small-scale renewable energy improved, the support is already in place to enable community energy to grow as fast as it did in 2014 and 2015.
Friday 26th April
We have long needed reliable energy storage facilities to cover days when neither the wind blows nor the sun shines. A new technology that can balance the grid is called Power-to-Gas. This converts surplus renewable energy into hydrogen gas by electrolysis and this is used as a hydrogen store for mixing into the gases currently in the gas grid. Hydrogen combined with carbon dioxide can produce synthetic methane which is more or less carbon neutral. This can then be used directly by industry, by consumers for heating and cooking and used to produce electricity during the troughs in renewable generation. A Power-to-Gas research project called Store&Gas is being demonstrated at sites in Germany, Italy and Switzerland with the potential to store large amounts of surplus electrical energy generated from renewables.
Saturday 27th April
Today at Ripon Hall, Cuddesdon, Oxford, CRES (Christian Rural Environmental Studies) and the John Ray Initiative have organised a conference on ‘Rewilding: A Christian Perspective’. Guest speakers are Rev Professor Andy Gosler (Oxford University), Dr John Brimson (formerly of Trinity College, Bristol) and Chris Naylor (A Rocha), The conference is now fully booked.
Sunday 28th April
Christ has no body now on earth but ours,
No hands but ours, no feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes through which looks out Christ’s compassion to the world;
Ours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Ours are the hands with which he blesses his people daily.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Amen.
Monday 29th April
“Is it possible for society to make the radical changes needed in the short time we have left to tackle climate change?” asks Andrew Simms of the Rapid Transition Alliance. He draws on examples such as public attitudes towards drunk driving which have resulted from increasing awareness of the harm to self and others, persuading people to leave their cars at home and take different forms of transport if they plan to drink. After a year of extreme weather events, it has become clear to everyone that disruption of the climate is a major public health issue and on an even grander scale than drunk driving. However, the climate is changing faster than the attitudes and behaviour of the people most responsible for causing it. Now, in the face of potentially runaway climate upheaval and corrosive inequality, the world needs to change faster than anything that governments can plan or are likely to plan.
Tuesday 30th April
The Rapid Transition Alliance looks at examples of evidence-based action whose speed and scale will steer us towards staying within the boundaries set by the planet. There’s no shortage of talk about the potential of green technologies and long-term environmental targets, but change is needed NOW and we need a wider conversation on the immediate possibilities of a rapid transition and more sustainable behaviour. www.rapidtransition.org
Clean Slate (CAT)
The Environment (CIWEM)
“Wilding” by Isabella Tree
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