Prayer Guide

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July 2019       Small print Doc      Small Pdf      Large print Doc      Large Pdf


“The one who received the seed that fell among thorns is the man who hears the word. But the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding and hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13.22-23)

“You say ‘I am rich. I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked …Those who I love I rebuke and discipline…Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3.17 & 19-20)

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:

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.

Monday 1st July

Britain has made a commitment to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The cost will be immense, as the Chancellor has warned, but the payback could be at least as big in terms of increased job opportunities and cleaner air with all its health benefits, so reducing pressure on the NHS and social services. The main challenges come in decarbonising heating, road and air transport, agriculture, heavy industry and shipping. All these areas must be prioritised once Britain leaves the EU in October.

 Tuesday 2nd July

The Government has indicated that gas boilers must be phased out. Twenty three million homes are currently connected to thousands of miles of gas pipelines. Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, believes that hydrogen is a logical substitute for natural gas. Hydrogen can be made from methane by chemical processes, but storing the CO2 produced by the process is a challenge. Martyn Bridges of Worcester Bosch wants to encourage the creation of a hydrogen-ready boiler. “It would run on natural gas until the time is right, then the whole area converts to hydrogen. With a flick of a switch and a couple of components, we could make a natural gas boiler run on hydrogen.”

 Wednesday 3rd July

Electrification of domestic heating and cars would more than double the demand for electricity, all of which must come from low-carbon sources. Solar power generates 10% of UK electricity on most days and wind power another 25%. Offshore wind capacity alone will need to increase ten-fold, meaning a further 7,500 turbines. According to Emma Pinchbeck of Renewable UK, huge battery farms will be vital to allow the grid to regulate supply and demand at peak times. She expects nearly 8 gigawatts of battery storage to come on stream within 5-10 years – equivalent to two nuclear power stations.

 Thursday 4th July

By 2050, all surface transport will need to be electric or hydrogen-powered. Today there are 21,000 public charging points. By 2050 we shall need 210,000 public chargers in urban areas and 8,500 near motorways. Conversion of HGVs to run on hydrogen will require 800 hydrogen refuelling stations, while electrification would require 90,000 depot-based chargers for overnight electric charging. However, people will walk and cycle more, with obvious health benefits.

 Friday 5th July

A partnership between Drax, the UK’s biggest coal-fired power station, and Norway’s Equinor (formerly Statoil) aims to use carbon capture technology to create clean-burning hydrogen from methane by trapping the emissions produced by burning biomass before they reach the air. The companies believe that hydrogen, which can be used for heating, heavy industries and heavy transport, will form the basis of a ‘hydrogen economy’ from the mid-2020s. Drax’s chief executive said: “This company’s ‘negative power station’ could help the Humber region take a world lead in developing the new technologies needed to preserve the environment and boost the economy.”

 Saturday 6th July

Professor Lord Stern, chairman of the Grantham Research Institute, has said that achieving the target of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 need not be costly. “The significant investments required for the zero-carbon transition will yield substantial economic returns, such as reductions in local air pollution and greater energy efficiency, as well as the avoided impacts of dangerous climate change. This is a very attractive path of inclusive and clean growth with great advantages nationally and internationally for the UK.”—Green-economy-reacts-to-UK-s-net-zero-target-for-2050/

 Sunday 7th July

Dear Father, we begin to see the challenges ahead of us as the end of the era of cheap energy approaches. We remember with thankfulness how you protected us from hunger and tyranny nearly 80 years ago. Give us now the same resilience, the same comradeship and the same mutual trust as we enter the new age of scarce and expensive resources. Help us never to forget the poor, the old and the vulnerable as we face a very different future.

 Monday 8th July

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has called for the UK and devolved governments to create a Climate Emergency Action Plan targeting 2040 as the year for attaining a zero-carbon economy, and detailing how this can be achieved, including interim binding targets. It has launched an online petition calling on the various governments to develop an action plan that will ensure the UK gets to net-zero as quickly as possible.

 Tuesday 9th July

The Prime Minister’s announcement of a new zero-carbon target for 2050 included an option of ‘using international carbon credits’: in other words, the UK can pay for other countries to make carbon cuts on our behalf while we benefit from our addiction to carbon, and others pay the real cost in terms of climate disruption. Yet the Committee on Climate Change tells us that carbon credits are ‘ineffective when it comes to mitigation, and the same investment to balance carbon budgets in the UK would yield better and fairer results. Instead, Britain could become the architect of a sustainable world to pass on to our children and theirs.

 Wednesday 10th July

The Environmental Audit Committee has taken the Government to task for sending billions of pounds overseas to help build power plants that burn fossil fuels while claiming victory in the UK. Britain was ‘sabotaging its climate credentials by paying out unacceptably high fossil fuel subsidies to developing nations, while claiming to lead the world in tackling the climate crisis’. It called on ministers to stop, by 2021, using taxpayers’ money to lock poorer nations into a fossil-dependent future.

 Thursday 11th July

Planting trees is an effective way of drawing down excess carbon from the atmosphere. In the past year 1,420 hectares of woodland have been planted across the country, falling well short of the Forestry Commission’s annual target of 5,000 hectares. Abi Bunker of the Woodland Trust said: “The scale of what needs to be done to reach net zero targets is obvious. It will necessitate a three-fold increase on current levels. It will be a challenge. It will cost money. It will mean tough choices. But the human race is at crossroads for our future.”

 Friday 12th July

Many of the diseases which have emerged on the Eurasian landmass came as a result of human contacts with domesticated animals. By contrast, pre-Columbian America had only one large domesticated animal (the llama/alpaca) in a restricted area (the Incan empire) and no previous exposure to the Eurasian diseases which, in a short time, decimated their populations. Today, with warming global temperatures, animal-borne diseases such as AIDS, SARS, HSN1 avian flu, dengue fever and Ebola, are causing increasing concern among health professionals.

 Saturday 13th July

Kris Murray of the EcoHealth Alliance has detailed the relationship between food shortages in Africa and contact with some species of animal. “With climate change expected to put increasing pressure on food security in Africa, food shortages will push more people to alternative food sources, such as bushmeat. Consumption of animals will likely increase.” Almost 50% of Ebola outbreaks have a link to bushmeat consumption and handling. A restoration of natural environments could provide better food security while minimising dependence on bushmeat.

 Sunday 14th July

Father God, we know that in all creation only the human family has strayed from the sacred way. We know that we are the ones who, working together, must come back to walk in the path you have set for us. Dear Father, teach us love, compassion and integrity, that we may heal the earth and heal each other.

 Monday 15th July

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), in its report “Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future”, shows how we can reach a net-zero carbon society well before the Government’s target of 2050. Key elements of the plan:

1) High Passivhaus standards for all new build, retrofitting all existing buildings and improving temperature controls could reduce heating demand by 50%

2) Changing how we travel could reduce energy demand for transport by 78%

3) Many increasingly cheap renewable energy sources are available. Offshore and onshore wind could provide half our energy supply.

4) To balance supply and demand, hourly modelling of renewable energy generation over a ten-year period has shown that we could produce surplus energy 82% of the time. The remaining periods could be covered by smart appliances and energy storage solutions such as batteries, pumped storage, heat storage, hydrogen and carbon-neutral synthetic natural gas.

5) Dietary changes such as reducing meat and dairy consumption combined with food waste reduction and improved agricultural methods could cut greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 79%.

6) This would improve our health and free up land for tree planting, restoring peatlands and providing more space for biodiversity to thrive.

This represents a massive transformation in society, but it is possible, given the political, social and cultural support.  As the IPCC 1.5°C. report showed, the alternative is simply unthinkable.

 Tuesday 16th July

Pope Francis has warned, at a Vatican summit of business leaders, (including senior executives of BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips and Chevron plus major investors), that the climate crisis threatens the very future of the human family. “We must take action in order to avoid perpetuating a brutal act of injustice towards the poor and future generations. It is the poor who suffer the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the price of our generation’s irresponsibility. Indeed, as is becoming increasingly clear, young people are calling for a change.”

Wednesday 17th July

Local authorities do not have the policies, the power or the funding to meet the demands of the new net-zero emissions target of 2050, according to the president of the Royal Town Planning Institute. An RTPI campaign demands the reintroduction of the scrapped Zero Carbon Homes standard, more investment in green heat and sustainable transport systems across the country, and more money to help local authorities plan for a zero-carbon future. “Without planners or adequate planning systems and policies, there is no way to progress to zero carbon. Now is the time for government to enable planners to take the lead to get things done. We need the resources, the tools and the national policies to get things done. We need to be able to return rapidly to local policy-making and to proactive delivery, rather than to be left as a regulatory function.”

Thursday 18th July

From today until Sunday a summer school for people aged 18-40 meets at the Jubilee Centre, Westminster College, Cambridge CB3 0AA on the theme “Food, Relationships and the Environment”, designed to inspire attendees with stories of Christian social reformers from the past, equip them with a biblical strategy and principles for transformation in the present, and help them to take steps personally towards becoming a social reformer in the future. To apply online, go to:

 Friday 19th July

A new report from BloombergNEF concludes that in nearly two-thirds of the world, wind and solar power is the least expensive option for new electricity capacity, but long-term challenges remain for grid decarbonisation efforts. “Wind and solar will be capable of reaching 80% of electricity generation in a number of countries by mid-century with the help of batteries, but going beyond that will be difficult and will require other technologies, with nuclear, biogas, green hydrogen and carbon capture and storage among the contenders. Our analysis suggests that governments need to 1) ensure their markets are friendly to the expansion of low-cost wind, solar and batteries and 2) back research and early deployment of these other technologies so that they can be harnessed at scale from the 2030s onwards”.

Saturday 20th July

Polly Higgins, one of the most inspiring figures in the green movement, has died aged 50.

Higgins, a British barrister, led a decade-long campaign for “ecocide” to be recognised as a crime against humanity. She sold her house and gave up a high-paying job so she could dedicate herself to attempting to create a law that would make corporate executives and government ministers criminally liable for the damage they do to ecosystems.

Sunday 21st July

Heavenly Father, we face hard choices as we confront the realities of climate change and the depletion of natural resources. Help us to understand the opportunities offered by a return to a simpler lifestyle. Help us to fulfil our responsibilities to those suffering from our careless use of natural resources, and give us the resilience to adopt a lifestyle that is fairer to others and gentler on your world.

Monday 22nd July

Thirteen major UK rivers were recently tested by Greenpeace scientists, who found they all contained tiny pieces of plastic measuring less than 5 mm. A total of 1,271 pieces ranging from plastic straws and bottle tops to tiny microplastics measuring less than 1 mm. were caught in a specially-designed net. The highest concentration was in the Mersey where 875 pieces were captured in 30 minutes. More than four-fifths of the polymers found were polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene which are used to make food packaging, milk and water bottles and carrier bags. TV presenter Steve Backshall commented: “Plastic pollution isn’t just a domestic issue; its impacts are seen on wildlife and humans all over the world. For the sake of nature – and of humans – we need to stop producing so much of it – it’s the only way forward.” Greenpeace said: “We need to see bold new plastic reduction targets in the upcoming Environment Bill and aim to halve single-use plastic production by 2025.”

Tuesday 23rd July

A WWF report based on research at Newcastle University, Australia, has found that the average person consumes up to 1,769 particles of plastic each week from water, 182 from shellfish, 11 from salt and 12 from beer. In Europe, around 72% of tap water contains plastic, with nearly 2 plastic fibres found per 500 ml. Although the long-term effects of ingesting plastic on the human body are not yet known, some studies have shown that, beyond a certain level, inhalation of plastic fibres produces mild inflammation of the respiratory tract.

Wednesday 24th July

Governments across the UK are looking to introduce a Deposit Return System for drinks containers. A small deposit is paid when purchasing a bottle or can and that is refunded when the bottle or can is brought to be recycled. But some are arguing that glass bottles should be excluded from the scheme on the ground that designing Deposit Vending Machines to accept glass would add to their cost. However, the current use of bottle banks leads to problems of mess, broken glass and contaminated recycling. A deposit return scheme for glass would lead to better collection and better recycling of glass, as it would with plastics.

Thursday 25th July

Peter Frankopan’s book ‘The New Silk Road: The Present and Future of the World’ examines the likely ecological impact of China’s Belt and Road project, which aims to build road and rail links across Asia and Europe. It is causing ructions in several of its 80 partner countries, and not only about the expansion of coal power in Pakistan or Sri Lanka or the likely deforestation to be caused in Indonesia and Malaysia. “New agreements seem to be put in place every day. Tunnels (including one under the Himalayas to link Kathmandu with Tibet), freight trains, ports, airports, shipping channels, gas and oil pipelines are all planned. Renewable energy and afforestation are included as an afterthought amid a sea of old-fashioned and highly polluting forms of infrastructure.” In response to partners’ concerns, China is setting up an International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road, formed of Chinese and international experts. We must all pray that a truly ecological civilisation can emerge from this welter of human activity, both within China and across the world, where we often seem determined to stamp our presence ever more destructively on God’s world.

Friday 26th July

According to a report by Helen Harwatt and Matthew Hayek published by Harvard University, the quickest way to drive down greenhouse gas emissions is to reforest the land currently used for livestock. Animal agriculture occupies 48% of all land in the UK. Emissions from the agricultural sector remain high, yet UK farming provides less than 50% of our food. The authors offer two scenarios: 1) Returning pasture land to forest would soak up CO2 equal to 12 years of UK emissions and 2) Keeping croplands in production for foods like pulses and fruit and vegetables would remove CO2 emissions equal to 9 years of UK emissions. Most grazing occurs on pastures that would return to forests if left untouched by humans. “Forests not only pull CO2 from the atmosphere, but also provide a range of co-benefits such as water filtration, flood defence and greater soil carbon-capture – which will all become even more important as the impacts of climate change increase.”

Saturday 27th July

A festival in Sussex called Yestival has achieved Plastic Clever status. Each of its 500 ticket holders are given a reusable mug and a reusable water bottle. “We ask people not to turn up with any single-use plastic, and for two years now we have been successful. Our guests love it, and we work hard with our caterers to reduce plastic packaging along their supply chain.” Everybody takes their mug and water bottle home and so helps to carry the message that it pays to stop consuming plastic.

Sunday 28th July

Dear God, grant us the serenity to accept things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference                  (Reinhold Niebuhr)

Monday 29th July

More than 100 businesses including all the major supermarkets have signed a commitment to drive down food waste and raise public awareness. An estimated 10.2 million tonnes of food and drink, worth £20 million, are wasted every year after leaving the farm gate. Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “The next step is for all signatories to publicly report their food waste data in line with Champions 12.3 best practice. This will be crucial for identifying hotspots that require collective action, holding individual companies to account for the commitments they have made and for the UK delivering on Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 (Responsible Production and Consumption)”.

Tuesday 30th July

The Government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) has helped over 150 communities to deliver emissions and energy savings through a range of clean technology projects. Now it is calling on schools, football clubs, churches and community groups to bid for grants from a £10 million fund to deploy clean technologies such as solar battery storage, wind, hydro and geothermal heat installations. Frome Town FC has installed 200kW of solar capacity that has cut carbon emissions by 333 tons and generated almost £70,000 for the local community by selling solar electricity back to the grid. RCEF funds have helped Salisbury Community Energy to develop renewable energy projects at 8 sites across the city as well as a feasibility study into a hydro projects at the Maltings. From next year, a new Smart Export Guarantee scheme will once more allow installations to sell power back to the grid.

Wednesday 31st July

New 5G technology is being marketed as “green”. But peer-reviewed work led by Arno Thielens of Ghent University reveals that 5G radiation over 6GHz could damage insects due to efficient energy transfer from wavelengths close to their anatomical size. Other peer-reviewed papers point to serious 5G risks to human skin plus a rise in cataracts. Brussels’ environment minister has halted the rollout of 5G in the city, saying: “The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell for a profit.”


Text compiled by Philip Clarkson Webb. Links added by Emma King. Links accessed 25/6/19


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