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Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.—Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Wednesday March 25th
National governments met in Rome a month ago to discuss and reflect on a 20-point UN draft proposal to halt irreversible ecological damage, which looks set to be formally adopted in October. Government ministers from across the globe discussed a draft plan aimed at halting the collapse of nature by 2030, a deal likened as the Paris Agreement for biodiversity. In January, the UN’s 20-point draft plan surfaced, outlining commitments to protect at least 30% of the planet. It states that a third of the world’s oceans and land should be protected to reverse biodiversity decline. Doing so, the report states, is vital to the survival of humankind and will avert Earth’s sixth mass extinction.
Thursday March 26th
Environmental lawyers have hailed “the end for new coal” in Europe as two Polish utilities announce that they will suspend funding to the country’s last planned new coal plant, Ostrołęka C, over economic concerns. Joint sponsors Enea and Energa said on Thursday night that the billions of zlotys in promised funding would be pulled from the plant due to changing market circumstances triggered by climate policy, and the continued flight of global capital away from coal.
Friday March 27th
Public concern in the UK over the environment has climbed again this month, according to the latest Issues Index poll from market research company Ipsos MORI. The long-running monthly tracker poll of around 1,000 adults asks a representative sample what the most important issues are for the UK today. The results for January show pollution, the environment, and climate change were the third highest concern for the UK public, with nearly 10 percent highlighting it as the most important issue.
Saturday March 28th
Just under half of the world’s annual GDP is now covered by nations, regions and cities that are legislating for a net-zero emissions target, a new study has revealed. The latest analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), a London-based think-tank, has found that 49% of GDP, representing more than $39trn, is now covered by regions with an actual or intended net-zero target. A total of 121 nations have put mechanisms in place to deliver net-zero emissions in timeframes that are aligned to the calls of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark report in 2018.
Sunday March 29th
Lord, as we begin to see the radical transformation needed in our society if we are to meet the crisis of climate change, we pray and beseech you to raise up and empower the leaders of the future who will challenge the forces of inertia and inspire us all to think and act as if we, individually and collectively, bear full responsibility for the lifestyle changes that we must all make if coming generations are to survive.
Monday March 30th
Global Futures is a landmark study using cutting-edge modelling to explore the global economic impacts of natural capital depletion…across 140 countries and all key industry sectors. Global Futures adds significant new weight to warnings that the continued loss of nature under ‘business as usual’ will have severe economic consequences, and that investing in nature is essential for future global economic prosperity.
Tuesday March 31st
Of the 350 corporates and 150 investor bodies with the world’s highest involvement in supply chains with high deforestation risks, around half have not publicly committed to eliminate deforestation from their value chains. That is according to a damning new report from NGO Global Canopy, which assesses large companies sourcing six globally traded commodities with links to deforestation – palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber and pulp and paper – as well as their investors.
Wednesday April 1st
Campaigning groups have called for any Government bailout of airline companies due to the impact of the coronavirus to include conditional links for worker rights, fair taxing systems and transparent action plans on climate change. In late March the aviation sector was in discussions with the UK’s transport secretary Grant Shapps to propose a rescue package. The Financial Times reported that billions of pounds of taxpayer money would be used to buy equity stakes in UK airlines like British Airways; these shares would then be sold back to private investors at a later date. While discussions on the bailout continued, two UK think tanks, IPPR and Common Wealth, called for any deal to consist of strong conditions for workers’ rights and decarbonisation aligned to the Paris Agreement.
Thursday April 2nd
If humans hope to limit climate change to just 2°C of warming, we’ve got a lot of work to do, scientists say: reducing emissions, planting trees, and scrubbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the skies with the latest technologies. Now, a new process can convert gaseous CO2—the product of burning fossil fuels—into solid carbon at room temperature, using only a trickle of electricity. But getting it to work on a planet-wide scale will be a formidable challenge.
Friday April 3rd
The sheer scale of the challenges faced by our planet is difficult to comprehend, but there is now at least recognition of the fact that ecological and social crises must be tackled together. In order to protect biodiversity and environments such as forests, the world must also protect women’s rights, traditional knowledge and sustainable livelihoods so that communities can co-exist with the ecosystems they depend on. The Convention on Biological Diversity’s post-2020 biodiversity framework therefore must be highly gender-responsive, with gender justice as a key element.
Saturday April 4th
Women’s organisations in Kyrgyzstan serve as an example of the inseparable linkages between gender, environmental and economic justice. Women there face numerous threats, from economic and political marginalisation and forms of gender-based violence – from bride theft to mining and infrastructure developments that affect their health and ability to grow food. With virtually no representation in local government and little power in household decision-making, civil society and women’s groups must organise to overcome the challenges they face. Essential to the success of these initiatives is rooting the struggle for women’s rights in ecological conservation and the sharing of traditional knowledge, where solidarity between women from different places serves as the foundation for their power.
Sunday April 5th
God of creation, who loves all he has made and all that has evolved,
open the eyes of your people,
that your love might be reflected in our care for the planet.
Through Jesus Christ, who walked this earth and calls us by name.
Prayer written by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nicholas Baines.
Monday April 6th
Despite heightened public concern about single-use plastics in recent years, UK household recycling rates fell in 2018. The latest official statistics show a decline in the amount of waste sent for recycling in 2018, leaving the country almost certain to miss its EU targets for 2020. Data released by Defra in March shows the recycling rate for UK households stood at exactly 45 per cent in 2018 – the most recent year of data available – slipping back from the 45.5 per cent rate achieved the previous year.
Tuesday April 7th
Within waste management, England makes up the lion’s share – 85 per cent – of the total waste produced in the UK due to its larger population, and its recycling rate fell to 44.7% in 2018, a drop of 0.5% on 2017. Defra said the decline in England was driven primarily by a reduction in organic waste – such as that from garden – sent for recycling, which it said was linked to “adverse weather conditions for plant growth”. Wales remains the strongest performer in the UK, having recycled 54.1 % of its waste in 2018. And Scotland had the lowest recycling rate at 42.8 %. Only Northern Ireland bucked the wider UK trend, becoming the only region of the UK to see its recycling rates increase in 2018, rising 1.4 percentage points to reach 47.7 %.
For full report, see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874265/UK_Statistics_on_Waste_statistical_notice_March_2020_accessible_FINAL_rev_v0.5.pdf
Wednesday April 8th
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will introduce stricter rules on carbon offsetting for airlines next year, in a bid to reduce greenwashing and ensure robust carbon accounting. In mid March, they made the decision to alter eligible emissions units and offsets permitted under the industry-wide Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), following calls to action from green groups and financial and climate advisors. Under the alterations, older and smaller carbon offsetting schemes will be excluded from the list of permitted sources from 1st January 2021.
Thursday April 9th
Peru is Planting A Million Trees Around Machu Picchu. When it was rediscovered, the trees that covered it were removed. Due to the large numbers of visitors and the lack of tree protection it is at risk from mudslides. The President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, has pledged to plant a million trees around the site to protect it again.
Friday April 10th
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Saturday April 11th
My Lord, today all is silent. You have given Your precious life for the salvation of the world. You died a horrific death, poured out all Mercy from Your wounded Heart, and now You rest in peace in the tomb as the soldiers keep vigil.
Lord, may I also keep vigil with You as You sleep. I know that this day ends with Your glorious triumph, Your victory over sin and death. But for now I sit quietly mourning Your death.
Sunday April 12th
“Christ the Lord is risen to-day,”
Sons of men and angels say.
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.
Monday April 13th
Building new wind and solar plants will soon be cheaper in every major market across the globe than running existing coal-fired power stations, according to a new report. The analysis by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a climate finance thinktank, found renewable power was expected to cost less than electricity from existing coal plants by 2030 at the latest. Other key findings include:
- Over half of coal plants operating today cost more to run than building new renewables.
- Governments and investors should cancel coal power projects or they will waste $600 bn in capital costs.
Tuesday April 14th
The world’s largest companies and heaviest polluters are falling behind on the urgent emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 2°C in line with the Paris Agreement. According to a new report by the asset owner-led corporate climate action monitoring group Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), titled “State of Transition 2020”, eight in 10 of the world’s highest-emitting listed companies are not on track to meet the key goal of the Paris climate accord.
Wednesday April 15th
If the Philippines banned waste imports, why is it still the world’s dumping ground? Despite highly-publicised cases of returning illegal waste shipments last year, foreign scrap continues to flood Philippines shores. Policy gaps that make illegal waste trade into the country seem legitimate are to blame, a new Greenpeace report has found. China abruptly banned trash imports from 2018 to cut back on heavy pollution. This left Southeast Asian countries to pick up the slack.
Thursday April 16th
A new renewable energy start-up company has come up with a low-cost, zero-emissions solution to the thorny issue surrounding what happens when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, i.e. how the power can be stored for later use. Swedish company Azelio has starter to manufacture their patented, industry-first thermal energy storage system that will allow people to keep the energy that their standard PV solar panels generate during the day so they can use it in evenings – by using recycled aluminium. It would be particularly effective in places with lots of sun and an unreliable electricity supply.
Friday April 17th
Commercial tree plantations in Britain do not store carbon to help the climate crisis because more than half of the harvested timber is used for less than 15 years and a quarter is burned, according to a new report. While fast-growing non-native conifers can sequester carbon more quickly than slow-growing broadleaved trees, carbon is released again if the trees are harvested and the wood is burned or used in products with short lifespans, such as packaging, pallets and fencing.
Saturday April 18th
The UK Government can deliver an 85% increase in renewable and clean technology jobs in a decade by implementing better taxation systems and outlining a roadmap for net-zero emissions, a new report from the Renewable energy Association (REA) has found. The REA also estimated that up to 140,000 jobs across solar, wind, storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging markets could be added, alongside an additional 100,000 bioenergy jobs, if the UK Government can deliver favourable policy changes.
Sunday April 19th
Creator God, forgive us if we think this world is simply to be exploited.
Open our eyes to see the damage that we do.
Open our ears to hear and not ignore the signs.
Open hearts to change.
Make us the gardeners and caretakers that you created us to be,
that this fragile world might be handed on with pride, not shame,
to future generations.
Prayer by John Birch https://www.faithandworship.com
Monday April 20th
Global beverage firm Coca-Cola and packaging company Indorama Ventures have ignited controversy by claiming that polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are not single-use packaging because they are 100% recyclable. Environmental activists have disputed the claim, arguing that both companies’ PET recycling facility does not change the fact that PET bottles are largely discarded after being used only once. And unlike other materials like aluminium or glass, PET can only be recycled a certain number of times.
Tuesday April 21st
Nearly half the land in the UK is owned by just 25,000 people – less than 1 percent of the population. Much of that land is dominated by industrial methods of production that come at great cost to the natural world. Yet there is another way. There is huge potential for the growth of agroecology – agriculture that works together with natural ecology. Since 2009 the Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) has worked to develop affordable, low impact, small farms for ecological agriculture that can improve soil health, boost biodiversity and invigorate rural communities. The ELC is the only national organisation in England and Wales to offer residential farms for ecological land users.
Wednesday April 22nd
Today is Earth Day. The theme this year for its 50th anniversary is climate action. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. The Covid-19 pandemic has inspired some ideas for combining the two.
Thursday April 23rd
Wells Fargo committed to ruling out funding oil and gas drilling in the Arctic region, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to the company’s updated environmental and social risk management policy. The mega-bank is now the third in the United States to withdraw lending for drilling projects in the region following a years-long campaign by Indigenous groups and environmentalists pressuring Wells Fargo and other lending institutions to halt financing fossil fuel projects.
Friday April 24th
It’s not all good news for Wells Fargo. They are in the global banks’ top four financiers of fossil fuel industries. A new analysis from a coalition of environmental groups has found that four U.S. banks are the world’s largest fossil fuel financers. The analysis, conducted by a group of organisations, estimates that J.P. Morgan Chase provided nearly $65 billion in fossil fuel financing last year, the largest out of any of the 35 banks listed in the report. It also found that other top banks included Citi, which provided an estimated $52 billion, Bank of America, which provided an estimated $48 billion and Wells Fargo, which provided an estimated $45 billion.
Saturday April 25th
The number of investigations into businesses launched by the Environment Agency increased by 12 per cent from 5,518 in 2018 to 6,164 in 2019, according to a new analysis from City law firm RPC. The analysis, released this week, shows that the watchdog’s planned crackdown on businesses breaching water, waste management, and agricultural rules has been intensifying, with RPC noting that there had been a “significant step up activity in the lead-up to the UK’s exit from the EU, amid fears that environmental standards could slip following Brexit”.
Sunday April 26th
Creator God, who placed this planet and all its resources into our care, encourage those who now remind us of our responsibilities, both to you and future generations, to do all that is necessary, whatever the cost, to save this world that we call home, so our children and theirs might not look back, both in shame and anger, at what we, in denial, have failed to do.
Prayer by John Birch –https://www.faithandworship.com
Monday April 27th
Today is the start of National Gardening Week. Did you know the UK’s gardens cover a combined landmass that’s bigger than the Lake District and Peak District put together? That’s a huge area and means gardens can provide vital space for wildlife in a human-dominated landscape. During this time of social distancing, many people might have more time for gardening, albeit with less access to shops and garden centres.
Tuesday April 28th
MPs have yet again called for the trustees of the Parliamentary Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuel companies Royal Dutch Shell and BP, having finally integrated investment into renewables into the fund. The £733m MP Pension Fund has faced calls from ministers since 2014 to divest from fossil fuel assets in accordance with the need to limit global heating to no more than 2°C as envisioned by the Paris Agreement. The Fund’s holdings in fossil fuel companies have decreased following public lobbying and pressure from ministers and for the first time now has 5% of its investments dedicated to a “low-carbon investment vehicle” that will help build solar capacity globally. However, the annual update of the fund also disclosed that £8m remains invested in Royal Dutch Shell and £4.4m has been invested into BP.
Wednesday April 29th
How will future historians answer when asked questions about which actors or factors were the biggest obstacles to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the 2000s? The candidates are many: the reluctance of accepting supranational decision-making by countries such as the US and China; the reluctance of political leaders such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro to cooperate internationally; the attempts of conventional economists such as William Nordhaus to downplay the risks; the disagreement between rich and poor countries about the responsibility for historical emissions or the constant attempts to disrupt the negotiations by oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia. However, a special place must be reserved for the big oil, gas and coal companies for the disgraceful role that they have played and continue to play.
Thursday April 30th
The outdoor gear retailer Patagonia not only resells its own used clothes through its Worn Wear program, but also hosts repair events around the world, where people can bring their favourite Patagonia items to get fixed by professionals. Now the company is outsourcing some of that repair work to owners themselves. It has partnered with iFixit to offer a series of online sewing tutorials that will help people make basic repairs. They have also made their clothing’s waterproof shells out of recycled materials and fairtrade.
Text and links compiled by Emma King. Links accessed March 25th 2020.
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