Reports sent to EIN - autumn 2009
(EIN=Environmental Issues Network) - Environment activity - denominations
The page is based on reports sent in by EIN members, to the EIN meeting Environment Issues Network of 13 Oct 2009, both before and after the meeting, as a means for members of EIN to share with each other what is going on.
This meeting was hosted by A Rocha in Southall. In the evening many members of the meeting went to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury give the Annual Operation Noah Lecture at Southwark Cathedral
(Also See EIN report notes for Summer 2008
and Autumn 2008 and Spring 2009.
There are no notes for Summer 2009)
Next EIN meetings:
Tue Feb 23 rd 2010 - Church House (CofE)
Tue 15 th June 2010 - Edinburgh -probably (still to be decided)
Tue 12 th October 2010 - Friends House
A Rocha (back to top)
Introduction to A Rocha from Dave Bookless and Steve Hughes
A Rocha means 'the rock' in Portuguese. Themes of work are: practical, Christian, conservation and community. International - works in 18 countries - in a devolved way. Each country is self run with a small umbrella holding it together. Here are some examples.
India - Bangalore - 7 years - Elephant conservation especially human-elephant conflict. If you put tobacco and chilli on a rope an elephant won't cross it - dislike smell and much more effective than ditches or walls to keep elephants out.
Lebanon - 15 years - Ammiq Marsh, Bakaa Valley - fresh water wetland. Privately owned area - working with owners to protect area and educate local communities from diverse religious backgrounds.
Kenya - north of Mombassa, Watamu - coastal tourist area. Slightly inland forest and marine mangrove under threat. Locals hunt and chop it down for cash income. Found out it was to educate their children so ASSETS was set up as a sustainable eco-tourism project which funds: bursary for school children, education in schools, and training for locals.
Southall - Minet Country Park - Living Waterways - was a tip. Worked with local government, set up working parties, and fundraised for major works. Summer 2003 opened as park and run with Hillingdon Council.
Activities: Living Lightly - counter cultural lifestyles; Eco-congregation - churches modelling community; A Rocha - conservation; Stop Climate Chaos - wider issues.
Making a difference on the ground. Encouraging and proving expertise for communities to do it themselves. Supporting churches with Environment Sunday resources, Planetwise. Recently brought conservation professionals together at the Gower. Links with RSPB and Natural England . 5200 Friends and supporters.
CAFOD (back to top)
The CAFOD September Campaigns Uptate can be downloaded here. It includes a quote from the Pope on 26 Aug 2009, CAFOD resources about the Wave - cafod.org.uk/wavewall - cafod.org.uk/wavetravel - cafod.org.uk/climatejustice - Resources:
Web: cafod.org.uk/climatekit -
Phone: 020 7095 5692
Baroness Williams delivering Pope Paul VI lecture on 27 Nov.
The summer National Justice and Peace Network conference
NJPN is called: Our Daily Bread: Food Security, People and Planet
from 16-18 July 2010 at Hayes Conference Centre, Derbyshire. - and is supported by CAFOD
Christian Ecology Link (CEL) (back to top)
Churches in Transition: CEL and A Rocha have held discussions on how best to co-operate on supporting members involved in Transition Towns . A new CEL leaflet called 'Churches in Transition' was printed in time for Greenbelt .
Climate Change: CEL is running a regularly updated webpage on the count down to Copenhagen . www.christian-ecology.org.uk/copenhagen.htm and continues to work with other Christian environmental and development organizations in planning 'The Wave' service at Methodist Central Hall, London on December 5 th .
LOAF: LOAF stands for food which is Locally produced, Organically grown, Animal friendly and Fairly traded. A number of harvest LOAF meals were held.
' Transition Towns and Sustainable Ottery', 11am to 5pm. Saturday 7 th November, St Mary's Church, Ottery St Mary, Devon . Speakers and Panel members: Tim Gorringe (Dept of Theology, Exeter University), Ben Bragwyn (Transition Town Totnes), Martyn Goss (Director, Church & Society, Exeter Diocese), Sara Drew (Sustainable Ottery). Workshops, arranged by Sara Drew and members of Sustainable Ottery, will take place at nearby churches in the town. Bus transport will be arranged from Exeter railway station to Ottery St Mary. Cost: £15 (£10 if booked a month before) to include lunch. The conference is organized by CEL members at Ottery St Mary. Enquiries and booking form: Mrs Jill Dixon email email@example.com Tel 01404 811062. CEL's Annual Members' Meeting takes place at the same venue at 10am .
CEL weekend gathering 2010. 'On the verge of chaos: Transition living in a time of collapse', 12-14 February, Green Gables, Scarborough , North Yorkshire . The official prescription in this time of turmoil is to redouble our assault on nature. But the only future is to find peace with it. How can churches and individual Christians respond? Cost will be in the region of £100. For more details and a booking form please contact: CEL Information Officer, 3 Bond Street , Lancaster LA1 3ER. Tel. 01524 36241. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A new leaflet 'Churches in Transition' and a revised ' Nine Ways to live gently on the Earth' were printed.
T shirts with the CEL logo are now on sale for £12 (p&p included)/
We promoted the Sunday 4 October Day of Prayer for Copenhagen .
We signed up to the Prince of Wales 'Rainforest Project'.
Church of Scotland and EcoCongregation Scotland (back to top)
Good Leaflet on Measuring the Church's Carbon Footprint www.churchofscotland.org.uk/councils/churchsociety/downloads/csmeasurefootprint.doc
Better Heating scheme and Energy Management www.churchofscotland.org.uk/councils/gentrustees/gthelp.htm
Church and Society Web Pages on climate change www.churchofscotland.org.uk/councils/churchsociety/csclimate.htm
EcoCongregation is looking into becoming a registered charity. Over 220 congregations registered.
New EcoCongrgation Scotland Module 13: Managing your Carbon Footprint published Sept 2009: www.ecocongregation.org/scotland/module13.html
THe 2009 General Assembly of Church of Scotland has instructed Presbyteries to encourage all congregations to measure the carbon footprint of their church buildings. www.churchofscotland.org.uk/councils/churchsociety/downloads/csmeasurefootprint.doc
Scottish Climate Change Act - This is possibly the most demanding climate change legislation in the world
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ECEN (EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN ECOLOGY NETWORK) (back to top)
Meeting in Lund, Sweden, 12-14 October 2009-10-16"Churches Responding to Climate Change - UN climate meeting in Copenhagan, (December 7-18 th 2009), and Beyond.
Representatives of the European Churches under the umbrella of KEK-COMICE came together to pray, to share experiences and to continue to
work on climate change in the context of Christian thinking and practice. The question "What is our role, and what is our specific contribution to the debate on climate change at this time?", was reiterated in meaningful liturgies and throughout the seminars and discussions.
Since the Sibiu joint conference, Churches have been working together on matters related to climate change, specifically on the Celebration of Creation Time and Preparation for the UN Summit at Copenhagen Dec. 2009, and many local joint programmes.
Archbishop Hammer of Norway began with a biblical insight considering Romans 12, and going on to say that we have chosen to follow the exploitative human role that seems to be presented in Genesis 1, rather than the caring role presented in Genesis 2. Neither did we choose to follow St. Francis! The way we look at the world is crucial, Many Christian identities say that the world is sinful, the implication is that we should get rid of it, and look for salvation elsewhere.
A question of Justice: God's justice and ours.
Continuing as we are will indeed put all human life in danger as well as all other species: have we the right to wipe them out?
Consumerism, Fundamentalism in relation to Market Thinking,
As Christian we are called upon to give up any exclusive truth claims we may harbour and find other ways of co-operative thinking and action for the benefit of the whole of creation. We also need to develop a new relationship between ourselves and all species. The question is how to prioritise our resources: expenditure on arms shows that we prioritise destructiveness over aid (one over five to one over twenty), there is enough arms to kill the entire population 25 times! How to create a Theology/Culture of Hope in the face of the present crisis? Orthodox theology is much less anthropocentric and more inclusive of all of creation.
There is need for Changes in life-style to discover the better way of living "enough", and getting in touch with real life that brings greater happiness and wellbeing, a new economic model is needed .It is not just a Christian problem; politicians, scientists, economists - all are in search of a hopeful witness: the Christian stance must be inclusive as Colossians 1.
Peter Pavlovic, secretary of ECEN gave a run-down on the history of ECEN and activities and the recent dialogue with MEPs and other political entities, which were carried out. Also the groups of Christian International NGO's and Christian Churches' Coalition . He emphasised that in all of these activities we are called upon to be more than sideline critics offering merely analysis and comment: we might ask ourselves "Are you ready to be in the driving seat?"
"Where is the gospel in all of these issues?"
"What sort of witness/modelling does the Gospel call us to at this time?"
Report of the Ecumenical Secretariate in Copenhagan
This secretariat has been working on the Churches' presence at the UN meeting in Copenhagen . Working with the Nat. Coun. of Churches in Denmark, to create synergies, get cooperation among the huge number of activities going and avoid competitiveness, liaise with the local population and "climate fatigue!", help advocacy for the poorer countries and provide some sort of presence for the many groups coming, activists, media people, volunteers, Church Leaders, (Ferry from Norway with 11 bishops, and 800 activists!).
A Climate Forum , preparing an Alternative Declaration by NGO's. Church Stands in the NGO centre. ( www.klimaforum09.dk )
Dec 11 th Interfaith pilgrimage.
Dec.12Demonstration/Walk, ( www.12dec09.dk )
Dec. 13 th Town Hall Square Meeting: ABp Desmond Tutu, hopefully UN Secretary General, will receive the Signarures that have been gathered for the Petition. General jollification planned!
2.00 PM Prayer Service : Archbishop Rowan Williams and other Church leaders. Meeting and socialising afterwards.
3.00 Bellringing starts : www.bellringing350.org.dk repeated around the world, starting in Fiji at 3.00 local time.
All are encouraged to ring bells, bang drums or play whatever instruments are available. Register on website.
Multiple cultural events , www.newlifecopenhagen.org , www.peoplesclimateaction.org
Dec. 14 th Theology-Climate Seminar, Lunch, visit to local Churches.
Dec 15 th At the Bella Centre (official UN site) Interfaith side- event.
Melting Ice-Bear! Photographic exhibition, Climate Refugees, etc.
Post Copenhagen towards ECEN Prague 2010: whatever the outcome, the Churches have a vital and necessary role of service.
Eco-congregation England and Wales : (back to top)
150 awards, c. 2000 churches involved. Some churches on 3 rd awards. Strategy - need to dramatically increase number of churches involved, order of magnitude change. Scheme needs to be more accessible. Supporting other countries: Norway , Canada , USA exploring, NZ (north Island ), South Africa . Volunteers - network being built. Oversight - steering group formed, need to agree representation. Funding - runs out middle of next year, encourage: churches who use material, Anglican dioceses, and those who have achieved the award. Diocese of Oxford - encouraging churches to use it to engage with issues. Shrinking the Footprint focussed on buildings need to explore who to link to mutually support each other. 12.5 % of URC's are eco-congregations. Bradford diocese exploring what could be involved in becoming an eco-diocese.
Eco-Congregation Scotland : (back to top)
New module 13 launched on 29 th Sept - Carbon footprint. Summary sheet circulated. It was questioned what figures on CO2 emissions mean to ordinary people or churches? Important to monitor reductions, compare to individual carbon footprints, and a bridge to further action. Module encapsulates all of Eco-cong process. It was suggested the scheme could use the 10:10 scheme and change recommended reduction to 10% rather than 5% - NO, because long term reductions, 5% year on year are required. Seeking charity status - at present no legal status. All modules being rewritten - looking to making scheme more accessible and user-friendly. Ten networks in Scotland : help resource work, holding conferences (climate change and scheme)
JRI: (back to top)
Pre Copenhagen event at Stoneleigh 18 th Nov. Redcliffe day at Bristol next May - subject food security. 2 nd Dec - Darwin and the environment.
Methodist and URC and Baptist (back to top)
Hope in God's Future - Christian Discipleship in the Context of Climate Change - - Baptist, United Reformed Church, Methodist report. Published as study guide - can buy print version for £5-00. It includes a study guide so that the book can be used for a one evening, a two evening or a day event.
Operation Noah (back to top)
Report for EIN meeting 13 October 2009
A huge amount to report on the campaign since the last EIN meeting. High profile events took place in July in London with Bishop Richard Chartres and also in Doncaster with Ed Miliband MP. The latter was especially satisfying as it involved taking the climate issue into unchartered territory and the turnout on the day, alongside the passion of the Q and A in St George's Minster took the Climate Change Secretary by surprise. The rally has spawned the creation of a new "green "group" in the area which hopes to raise the profile of climate issues in a town where the mayor is an infamous climate denier.
A twenty five foot wooden ark was built and launched in the River Deben in Suffolk with John Selwyn Gummer and the vessel has since travelled to Morecambe, Manchester (as we write, we are hopeful of getting +John Sentamu on it on October 8 th ) and will be parked outside Southwark Cathedral hours before the Rowan Williams lecture on Tuesday 13 th . The Ark 's patron is the wonderful Neil Winship, an ex army officer and devoted ON campaigner from Suffolk . We have more than 800 confirmed guests for 13 th Oct, along with media coverage ranging from BBC Radio 4's "The World Tonight" to The Times and the Financial Times. The lecture will be filmed and made available via Lambeth Palace and ON websites and the text will also be featured online. Plans are to encourage all attendants to sign our origami arks on the night (which ask for emissions across the global power sector to be cut by a third by 2020) and then to join this to the thousand of arks we now have in the office which will be delivered to Number Ten later in this month.
Looking ahead, ON is co-operating with the URC in piloting a "Living the Future Now" project which will be an attempt to build up a parish community based on low carbon living. In addition to the church building and energy audits, Mark is planning to spend weeks in a community trying to sign up volunteers in an 2I will if you will" basis. It is hoped that a large cluster of people will sign up for overhauls of their transport options i.e a "no" to flying, systematic car-pooling, shifting to green energy, locally sourced food, less meat, big changes in domestic energy use, etc. All this will be allied to a firm theological foundation in which these behaviours are rooted in prayer, education and reflection. It will be, in effect, an extended green mission. Mark will be looking at the materials produced by CEL in their ECO cell programme and adapting them accordingly in conjunction with Martin Carr of Energise Oxford, an expert in carbon reduction for business buildings and domestic dwellings.
ON will be playing key roles at the Christian-Muslim Forum on October 15 th at Lambeth Palace and also at the Archbishop of Canterbury's "Faith and Environment" seminar on October 29 th . We have been encouraging supporters to attend "The wave" on Dec 5 th and will be pushing in the weeks ahead. Mark is planning to travel (by train before you ask! ) to Copenhagen Dec 11 to 13 th .
Our precarious financial situation has been reported widely in the religious press since late July. As things stand, there will not be sufficient funding to employ our small part time staff and engage the services of Ann Pettifor and Mark Dowd much beyond the end of this month. ON is seeking to rapidly address the issue of charitable status which has been declined once and then subject to complicated queries by the Charity commission a second time round. Board members will be asked to approve the text of a resubmission application in the next week or two with a view to getting this finally approved. This may pave the way for application to grant-making bodies and foundations that, hitherto have been beyond ON's range. Much depends on the fallout from the ABC lecture on October 13 th where an appeal will be made and we still hope that the energy and synergy of the evening lay throw up names and contacts who may point us in the favour of long term sponsors and patrons.
In the meantime, sufficient funding will remain to allow the website to be overhauled
and improved , premises maintained for period and for ON to continue as an outfit run on a voluntary basis.
Your prayers are requested as we try to get through this difficult period.
Quakers: (back to top)
2 linked conferences. Sept conference, 350 people, Zero Growth Economy - talks on website - http://www.quaker.org.uk/zero-growth-economy-conference . Residential conference in October - follow up and more detail. Many Heavens One Earth - Wed 4 th Nov, multi-faith celebration. Quakernomics - blog. www.quaker.org.uk/quakernomics
It is pretty rare that very senior figures in the UN give so much time and attention to highlighting and supporting the role of faith groups around the world. I think it is really important that ‘we’ repay the compliment as it were. We have a great line up of speakers, including Sheikh Ali Gomaa http://www.aligomaa.net/files/AliGomaa_MediaPacket.pdf Plus Hindu dance, Sufi poetry and a Baptist gospel choir. It is free and will be lots of fun – definitely worth venturing out on a Wednesday evening for! Please have a think about whether you have any personal contacts in your local Gudwaras, Temples, Mosques, large Churches etc.. If you do either encourage them to publicise or if possible pass their contact details on to me and I will do the rest. Alison Prout
ARC (back to top)
This is a report of the talk and EIN discussion at the February 2009 Meeting.
6. Martin Palmer - Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation
ARC is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices. It works with 11 major faiths, and within that 50 different forms of Christianity, and with the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme. The following are notes based upon Martin's talk:
ARC bridges secular and religions. Explores Faiths' understanding of nature and why a community cares for its environment. Two years ago the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, wanted to involve civil society as well as nations in the climate change process. To be a 25 person panel with UN encouragement and support. Security Council stamped on it but the religious aspects survived. Religious perspective to be shared within the plenary at Copenhagen .
Governmental process gives too short timescales for faiths to respond and for attitudes to change.
ARC has a close relationship with the UN Development Programme.
Many faiths have environment programmes but they have plateaued, become established, part of the routine.
Religions are not just preaching houses - own 8% of habitable space on planet, and have great influence over land that is considered to be sacred. 54% of schools were either founded, owned or have faith groups involved in them. And globally we are the third largest investment group.
7 year plan with 7 key areas: assets, education, pastoral care, lifestyles, media and advocacy, partnership and eco-twinning, celebration. Religions to build a framework over next 7 years or so, to roll out programmes to make generational change. Move environmental work onto a new level.
CofE - 7 year plan being worked on - honour what's going on, but do more and be more systematic. Create strategic partnerships with suppliers e.g. energy, paper.
7 year plans to be launched at Windsor - 2-4 th November.
Linking with googlemap, BBC Worldwide and Al Jazeera.
Pull together strengths, work together on weaknesses.
Copenhagen doesn't really matter? There will be an afterwards. Should take part, campaign, but religions are there for the long haul. Major changes through individual actions e.g. Quaker 'Living Witness Programme'.
Does basing ourselves on a natural theology grounded in what God has done risk us loosing the dynamism of individual faiths? Each faith responds individually and is affected by their structures: hierarchical, in theory hierarchical but in effect autonomous (so left to lead by example and encourage), or locally autonomous. Bring faiths together for environmental science but do religious interpretation themselves. People respond to the story they live within. Each faith has a relationship with the environment but respond to it differently. (A natural theology on which you build a revealed one).
Why did Ban Ki-moon stick with it? Cautious man, knows religions are the oldest institutions, are multinational, shapers of influence and are trusted.
At the governmental level there's plenty of money but hard to find locally - know of any? Building partnerships, building trust between governments and religions.
Timing - URC partner churches through CWM - especially Kiribas already experiencing rising sea levels - too short for a plan by November? At November agree to put in place a plan over the next 7 years.
Campaigns - where do they fit in? There is a place but they can be used as an excuse to do no more. Need to campaign based on own activity, need to preach what you already practise.
Interest from politicians - Eco-congregation debate in Scottish parliament - politicians appreciate and need our support for hard choices. We face irreversible climate change in the next few years - urgency to get political leaders to act and support them.
Ecumenical team has been involved in UN gatherings.
Theos (back to top)
ARC are collaborating with Rowan Williams and Richard Chartres to have a Theos report on the environmental thinking within the CofE. Report has gone to bishops. Sam Berry fed into process that there is a need to develop the DEO network and direct congregations towards Eco-congregation. Final report may include this. Climate Justice Fund is an encouraging initiative. I will put a link to the Theos report once it is published. Theos is the Public Theology Think Tank
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