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“The Earth is what we all have in common.”
Wednesday November 27th
Austin, Athens, Lisbon, and Venice are the latest major cities to have peaked their greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s leading scientists have calculated that global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2020 in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. New analysis published ahead of the C40 World Mayors Summit confirms that 30 of the world’s largest cities, representing more than 58 million citizens, have now reached this crucial milestone.
Thursday November 28th
C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. A few notable examples of the progress cities have accomplished over the past 10 years include:
- Eighty-two C40 cities have implemented cycle hire schemes, compared to 13 in 2009.
- There are more than 66,000 electric buses on the streets of C40 cities, compared to fewer than 100 in 2009.
- Twenty-four cities have committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030, compared to 4 in 2009.
- Eighteen C40 cities have banned or restricted single-use, non-recyclable plastics, compared to 2 in 2009.
Friday November 29th
The Charter for Trees, Woods and People sets out the principles for a society in which people and trees can stand stronger together. The Tree Charter was launched in Lincoln Castle on 6 November 2017; the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest. The Tree Charter is rooted in more than 60,000 ‘tree stories’ gathered from people of all backgrounds across the UK.
Saturday November 30th
The last Saturday of November each year is Tree Charter Day – a day for the whole of UK society to unite in celebrating the value and importance of trees and woods to people. This year it marks the end of National Tree Week, chosen as it is the start of the winter tree planting season. The Tree Council, one of the UK’s leading charities for trees, first established National Tree Week in March 1975 in response to the national replanting required after the outbreak of Dutch Elm disease.
Sunday December 1st
First Sunday in Advent – The Creative Breath.
Creative God, breath of all life
Through whom all things
are created and sustained;
all sons and daughters
flocks and herds,
all birds of the air
and fish of the sea
You walked this earth
as child and Creator
You touched the soil
quenched your thirst
embraced this world
brought life and light
love and laughter
into dark and death-filled lives
Creative God, breath of all life
Through whom all things
are created and sustained
We bring to you our sacrifice
of a contrite and willing heart
Monday December 2nd
A survey of more than 2,000 adults living in the UK has found that less than one in 25 believe politicians can be trusted to give accurate facts around climate change. Just 4% of these respondents said they feel that politicians are honest about environmental topics, placing politicians only marginally ahead of celebrities (3%) in terms of perceived credibility. More broadly, more than one-third of respondents (36%) said they would not trust any external organisation or individual to provide reliable information in this space. Among the remaining respondents, academics (31%), campaign groups (21%) and individual activists (15%) – such as Greta Thunberg- were perceived to be the three most trustworthy sources of environmental information.
Tuesday December 3rd
A survey conducted by Sky News concludes that tackling climate change “could be emerging as a new political fault line in the UK”, with 58% of those who voted Labour at the last election saying their party’s prioritisation of the climate mattered “a great deal”, compared to 30% of Conservative voters. It also found a split between Leave and Remain voters, with the latter seeing the climate issue as a bigger priority.
Wednesday December 4th
More than half of UK citizens believe the Government should push the target to reach net-zero ambitions by 2050 forward by at least 20 years, with climate policy set to be a key battleground for the upcoming general election. A new YouGov poll, on behalf of Green New Deal campaigners, has found that 56% of the public believe the UK should set its net-zero emissions target for 2030 or earlier. In fact, one-third believe that the target should be set for 2025, compared to 24% for 2030.
Thursday December 5th
Today is World Soil Day, run by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. According to the UNFAO:
- Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help us meet the challenges of a changing climate
- 815 million people are food insecure and 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but we can mitigate this through soil.
- 95% of our food comes from soil
- 33% of our global soils are already degraded
Friday December 6th
Global electricity production from coal is on track to fall by around 3% in 2019, the largest drop on record, according to Carbon Brief. The analysis is based on monthly electricity sector data from around the world for the first seven to 10 months of the year, depending on data availability in each country.
The projected record is due to:
- Record falls in developed countries. The largest reduction is taking place in the US, as several large coal-fired power plants close.
- A sharp turnaround in India, where coal power output is on track to fall for the first time in at least three decades.
- A flattening of generation growth in China.
Saturday December 7th
Carbon Brief’s analysis of global electricity production shows that the European Union has experienced an unprecedented 19% year-on-year decline in coal-fired power generation in the first half of calendar year 2019. Around half the fall in coal reflects the impact of new wind and solar. The other half is due to a switch from coal to gas. Coal has been less than 2% of the electricity mix in Ireland, France and the UK, and only 6% in Spain and Italy, across the first half of 2019. The UK had two weeks in May with all its coal plants switched off for the first time since the Industrial Revolution began.
Sunday December 8th
Second Sunday in Advent – Light and Darkness
In the beginning, Lord I was alone
but when I saw you in the light I was no longer afraid.
You held out your hand
and though I had a choice
I had no choice
because to refuse
was to embrace again the darkness.
In the beginning, Lord I was alone
now I am again a part
of your creation
loved, wanted, needed, family.
In the light of your presence
I hold out my heart that others
might glimpse through it your reflection
and be drawn from the darkness that I once embraced
into the light of your sunrise
the brightness of your face
Monday December 9th
Research, conducted by Changing Markets Foundation and Zero Waste Europe examined what happened to the carpet waste which is handled by industry body Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) on an annual basis. It found that, of the 130,000 tonnes of carpet processed by the organisation annually, less than 2% is recycled. CRUK states on its website that 44% of the carpet it receives is diverted from landfill – up from 2% when it was first founded in 2008. But the new research concluded that almost three-quarters of this diverted material in 2018 was incinerated; less than 2% was recycled without the use of shredding; and less than 1% was reused in its existing form.
Tuesday December 10th
Morrisons supermarket has announced it will be the first in the UK to sell goods beyond their “best before” date, with items worth £10 available for purchase at £3.09.
Working in collaboration with the food waste app Too Good to Go, customers will be able to purchase items as part of a new discount box
scheme. Too Good to Go works alongside food businesses such as Planet Organic, Caffe Nero and YO! (formerly YO! Sushi) to distribute unsold products.
Wednesday December 11th
According to The Independent in 2018, this month we will collectively spend just under £446,000 every minute of every day on presents alone. There are lots of suggestions online for making your Christmas more eco-friendly. But while transferring the money spent on excess presents to more environmentally friendly gifts is good, if people spent less on the whole, there would be less debt.
Thursday December 12th
Today is the general election. Lord, we pray for peace in this election season. We pray for peace between divided communities, within families, and between political opponents.
Pray that the environment, the poor and policies to tackle climate change don’t get lost within the Brexit debate.
Friday December 13th
The Asia-Pacific economy will be 2.6 per cent smaller in 2050 according a new framework developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU), with developing countries in the region set to be the most affected. According to The EIU’s framework, Africa is the least resilient region to the impact of climate change (4.7% smaller), followed by Latin America (3.8%), the Middle East (3.7%), Eastern Europe (3%) and the Asia-Pacific (2.6%). North America (1.1% smaller) and Western Europe (1.7%) display the most resilience and are likely to see the least impact economically because both regions are richer and more prepared to tackle climate change from an institutional standpoint.
Saturday December 14th
British boardrooms should be governed by a new code of conduct setting ethical standards for directors to regain public trust in business, according to the Institute of Directors’ (IoD) latest manifesto. The UK’s largest and oldest director group is pushing all political parties to create greater controls over corporate governance in their plans for government. The IoD stated that “public trust in directors and business more generally remains fragile” and called for “board members to be help more accountable”. In the 10-point manifesto, the IoD is also pushing for stronger rules around how companies report on climate change, and for a government-backed fund to invest in the green economy.
Sunday December 15th
Third Sunday in Advent – Obedience
There were safer places,
more comfortable places,
palaces and wealthy places.
Yet you chose a daughter of the soil
who would have otherwise
lived a good and honest life
grown and harvested crops
cooked and washed and cared for others
and been forgotten
to be your temporary home
to be exalted for all time.
Monday December 16th
Almost every nation within the EU is failing to deliver the amount of progress needed for the bloc to meet any of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a “major” lack of progress recorded against SDG 13 – Climate Action. While emphasising that many European nations are global leaders on SDG progress – with Denmark, Sweden and Finland among the world’s closest to achieving the Goals – the report (from the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)) concludes that no EU nation is on track to achieve all 17 Goals by 2030, meaning the bloc is likely to miss all of their overarching ambitions.
Tuesday December 17th
Goals where EU bloc-wide progress has been broadly slow include Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 – Climate Action; SDG 14 – Life on Land; SDG 15 – Life Below Water; and SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production. The EU nations who were ranked as the most off-track to deliver on these and the other ambitions detailed in the SDG framework are Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus.
Wednesday December 18th
In the UN’s report on progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) the UK ranked 12th in the EU out of a possible 28. According to the report, “major challenges” remain in the UK’s ability to meet SDGs 12, 13, 14 and 15, with national progress having decreased in the past year. Indeed, the only Global Goal which the UK is on track to meet and where progress has increased quickly in recent months is stated to be SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Detailed UK data is available at this link:
Thursday December 19th
A secret clean energy startup backed by Bill Gates went public in November with the announcement of its new technology that uses concentrated solar energy to exceed temperatures greater than 1,000°C —and it could be a game-changer in the fight against the climate crisis.
Friday December 20th
The Ramblers’ annual Festival of Winter Walks starts today, lasting until 5th January. Ramblers groups are organising walks, and it’s a good time to go and enjoy God’s creation. Here are some suggestions for a nature walk with God, wherever you go. Pray for people who don’t know God to notice His splendour on their winter walks.
Saturday December 21st
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has set out its manifesto for the next government with 4 key areas for action:
- Tackle the climate emergency,
- Improve access to green spaces for everyone,
- Support a well-resourced planning system and
- Ensure the specific challenges faced by rural communities are addressed through meaningful investment in the rural economy.
Sunday December 22nd
Fourth Sunday in Advent – Birth and Rebirth
Beneath the surface of your story
is an inescapable fact.
You entered this world
as vulnerable as any one of us
in order to nail that vulnerability to the cross.
Our fears, our insecurities and our sins,
all that can separate us from God
exchanged by your Grace for Love.
We cannot comprehend the reasoning,
only marvel that Salvation comes to us
through a baby born in a stable,
who reaches out to a world in need.
Monday December 23rd
Many businesses are picking up on the backlash against single use plastics. For example, Coca-Cola will replace plastic shrink wrap with paper packaging across Europe, Boots will introduce compostable pharmacy bags (made from potato starch), Iceland (the retailer) claims it has slashed plastic packaging use in its Christmas range by 97% compared to 2017 levels and hospitality firm Whitbread has pledged to rid all 800 of its UK hotels and restaurants of unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025. All these initiatives, and more, are to be found on www.edie.net.
Tuesday December 24th
Solar power plants and wind power plants will be constructed on farmlands and mountainous areas in Fukushima Prefecture. Japan’s northeastern prefecture, devastated during the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, is looking to transform itself into a renewable energy hub. A plan is under way to develop 11 solar power plants and 10 wind power plants, on farmlands that cannot be cultivated anymore and mountainous areas from where population outflows continue.
Wednesday December 25th
There were thousands of babies
born that day,
needful of love,
Some no doubt did not survive
to see another dawn,
their tiny light extinguished
through lack of appropriate care.
Some would grow up to be kings,
leaders of men.
murderers and thieves.
would live ordinary lives
among ordinary people,
and live and die
whilst the world scarce noticed
But not you
Who rose from the ordinary
to the extraordinary
from stable to cross
whilst the world tried its best
to ignore you,
Thursday December 26th
An Australian university has been using a 3-storey “water battery” to power their air conditioning—and it has already slashed their overall electrical usage by 40%.
The first-of-its-kind battery, which was switched on at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in September, stores energy generated by 6,000 solar panels that have been installed across campus rooftops.
Over the course of the next 25 years, the thermal energy tank is expected to save $100 million in air conditioning costs and dramatically reduce the school’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to school representatives.
Friday December 27th
Rail industry body the RSSB has appointed engineering consultancy Arup to develop a route-map for deploying hydrogen-powered trains on the Great Britain mainline. As part of the new project Arup will establish a high-level operational concept, and assess potential risks and regulatory obligations. The hydrogen trains’ feasibility study is part of the RSSB’s plans to decarbonise the rail sector, following a challenge to industry last year by then Transport Minister Jo Johnson to remove all diesel-only trains by 2040.
Saturday December 28th
Hong Kong is one of the most densely packed cities on Earth, and now one organisation, Rooftop Republic, is spearheading a movement to turn its idle rooftops and urban spaces into farms to help residents reconnect with nature and make the finance hub more liveable. Once a cluster of fishing and farming villages, Hong Kong has 7.4 million people living on a quarter of its 1,100 square km (425 square miles) of land.
Sunday December 29th
Loving Father, you sent your Son to be a light to those who walk in darkness. May we who have brought your creation to the edge of darkness see the new path that we must tread, and may we follow it faithfully, in the power of your dear Son, who gave his life for us.
Monday December 30th
Britain could significantly cut its carbon footprint if people stopped sending unnecessary ‘thank you’ emails, researchers said in November, calling on the public to ‘think before you thank’. Britons send more than 64 million unnecessary emails per day, a study by energy supplier OVO Energy found, with unactionable pleasantries such as ‘thank you’ and ‘thanks’ topping the list of most common offenders. “Is OVO asking everybody to be more rude? Absolutely not,” said Mike Berners-Lee, an expert on carbon footprinting at Britain’s Lancaster University who carried out the analysis. “But if you send somebody a ‘thanks’ email, and they’re only three metres away from you, it might be nice to just go over and say, thank you very much,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Tuesday December 31st
And finally for 2019, since we’ll all be up late tonight…Galloway Forest, Sark island and Exmoor have been named among the best spots in the UK for stargazing. The Royal Observatory Greenwich has revealed the top locations Brits should visit for a clear view of the heavens. The Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Elan Valley were also identified as great places for Brits to gain a view of the stars. The news follows research that found 44% of adults wish they knew more about the night sky, with two in five saying they would like to learn the names of stars. The study was commissioned by the Google Pixel 4, in partnership with Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG), to mark the start of the darkest season – the perfect time for astrophotography.
Text and links compiled by Emma King. Links accessed November 27th 2019.
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