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CHRISTIAN ECOLOGY LINK
"The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made . . .
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." (Psalm 145.13-16.)
"The human community and the natural world will go into the future as a single sacred community or both will perish in the desert." (Thomas Berry)
Monday 1st AprilOn March 17th a grenade attack in the Protestant International Church near the American Embassy in Islamabad killed five people. In Karachi seven Shia doctors were killed by Islamic militants. President Musharraf is struggling to control militants in Pakistan at a time of heightened tension with India. Pray for peace in Pakistan and for the continuation of religious tolerance everywhere where Christians and Muslims live side by side.
Tuesday 2nd April.On March 12th an iceberg measuring 53 miles by 40 broke off from the Thwaites ice tongue in Antarctica. On the 17th the Larsen B iceshelf covering 1,250 square miles of the Antarctic Peninsula broke up into 500 billion tonnes of smaller icebergs and floated away. Michael Meacher, the Environment Minister, said: "The continued collapse of ice shelves at the Antarctic peninsula is a great cause for concern. I think it is a wake-up sign to the whole world. When an ice shelf of such enormous proportions can break up, it shows the effect we are having on the planet. The rapid warming of the peninsula is broadly consistent with global warming, but it is not understood why its rate of warming is so much greater than the global average."
Wednesday 3rd April.The Canadian Government has followed other governments in banning the use of lindane on canola (oilseed rape) crops. The US-based manufacturers, the Crompton Corporation, has filed a $100 million lawsuit against them for contravening the 1992 North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which grants individuals and corporations the right sue member governments for damages if they feel their investments have been hurt by national laws or regulations. Lindane is a suspected endocrine-disrupter, has been linked to breast cancer and is persistent in the environment. Its documented health effects include dizziness, damage to the nervous and immune systems and birth defects. It is being phased out of use in all EU countries.
Thursday 4th April.Last year, 8-year old Sharna Richardson died after licking off her hand a minute amount of ant powder containing lindane - which is still legally on sale until next June. Pesticides Action Network (PAN) comments: "If the Government bans lindane, arrangements will have to be made for existing stocks of lindane ant powder to be collected and disposed of safely. Local authorities do not have appropriate systems for dealing with hazardous waste, so specialist disposal companies need to be called in and the cost met by pesticide manufacturers who profit from the sale of these products." Lindane is still used overseas, particularly in African cocoa plantations which are the source of much of our chocolate. Pray for a worldwide ban on the use of this deadly chemical.
Friday 5th April.The Policy Commission's report on the Future of Farming and Food recommends increased public access to decisions on pesticides but, says PAN, it fails to assess the chronic effects of long-term exposure to pesticides. "The risk to people's health and the environment will be reduced if the government adopts a progressive pesticide reduction strategy, as they have in Sweden." The report supports the possibility of a pesticide tax but falls short of recommending it. PAN believes that a pesticide tax would help support conversion to more suitable agriculture, such as organic farming.
Saturday 6th April.A report from the Agricultural & Environmental Biotechnology Commission entitled "Crops on Trial" recommends that there should be no commercial cultivation of GM crops until the current trials are complete and the results evaluated alongside other evidence, including adequate separation distances to allow organic standards to be maintained. A recent Royal Society report states that GM technology could lead to harmful changes in the nutritional state of foods. These are overdue but welcome signs of recognition that it is the unpredictability of GM technology that most disturbs the public.
Sunday 7th April.God our Father, prayer is a mystery. We do not understand how it works or how our feeble petitions reach you. But we know that Jesus prayed and opened the way into your presence. Help us to follow his example and teaching, and to learn to pray more naturally, more readily and more often, and always in His Name. (Llewellyn Cumings)
Monday 8th April.Vision 2020 is a plan drawn up by US consultants which aims to modernise and mechanise agriculture in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh through the use of GM crops and intensive monocultural farming systems, including intensive dairying and poultry production. Much of the produce will be exported. Around 20 million farmers and their families will be moved off the land as farm size is increased and mechanisation takes place. The UK Department for International Development is one of a number of agencies supporting the plan. Michael Hart, a British farmer, reports in Landmark magazine on a visit to Andhra Pradesh, where he found much "rural stress" - farmers leaving the land for an unknown future, a feeling of having no value in society's eyes, and farmers' suicides. What they most needed was not what was offered - advice and support on water harvesting and irrigation, restoring local seed banks and small-scale processing such as crushing and producing neem oil. Pray for more local consultation on the needs of third world farmers, and for an end to the top-down approach which has proved so harmful.
Tuesday 9th April.HM Customs & Excise seize over 8,000 illegally-imported wildlife specimens a year. 138 shatoosh shawls were recently seized, each of them the product of 4-5 Tibetan antelopes killed to fuel the demands of the fashion trade. They represented about 2% of total world population of this endangered animal, while the shawls had a commercial value of £350,000. Yet the court imposed on the Mayfair importer a fine of £1,500.The legislation on wildlife trade is up for review this year. WWF recommends new sentencing guidelines to magistrates and raising the maximum sentence to 5 years imprisonment. For further details ring 01483 426333.
Wednesday 10th April.A report commissioned by Save the Elephants finds that in the past 14 years 80% of elephants in some Asian countries have been wiped out by poachers.. Cambodia's wild elephant population fell from 2,000 in the 1980s to 250 in 2000, while in Vietnam the number dropped from 1,750 to 135. The biggest centre of the ivory trade is Thailand where the authors found 88,179 pieces of ivory for sale in just three towns. Tourist demand for ivory is so heavy that elephant tusks are imported from central Africa where, in the Central African Republic, the government levies duty on tusks leaving the country although poaching is officially banned. At the CITES meeting next November there will be pressure from southern African states to lift the current ban on trading ivory. Pray about this.
Thursday 11th April.Dr.Ole Misund, Director of Norway's Institute of Marine Research, reports that polluted water discharged into the North Sea by oil and gas rigs is harming the spawning of cod. About 260 million tons a year of water tainted by alkylphenols (a natural by-product of oil) is discharged from British oil rigs plus 120 million tons from Norwegian rigs. This reduces cod fertility by making their eggs smaller and slower to mature. Alkylphenols were banned in detergents because of fears that they were changing the sex of freshwater fish. Michael Meacher believes the best solution is to pump the polluted water back into the boreholes, though this would be costly.
Friday 12th April.Robert Swan, the polar explorer and WWF ambassador, is leading Mission Antarctica in the task of removing over 1,000 tons of waste from the Russian research station on King George Island in Antarctica.. Students and teachers from seven countries will make three voyages to complete the clean-up and afterwards will present a giant "floating petition" to the Earth Summit at Johannesburg in November. To sign the petition visit www.missionantarctica.com
Saturday 13th April.A Japanese plan to create a 5 sq.km. "whale farm" in Hirado Bay, south-west Japan, for breeding whales "for scientific purposes" has been condemned by WWF. Japan already kills 540 minke, 80 Bryde's and 10 sperm whales a year for its "scientific" programme before selling the meat in Tokyo's fish market. Comments WWF's Dr.Liebermann: "I know of no other scientific research where the product examined is sold commercially." A whale farm would have to provide thousands of tonnes of fresh fish every day to keep its captives alive. This year's meeting of the International Commission takes place at Shimonoseki, the Japanese whalers' home port. Pray for agreement on an effective means of controlling whaling and tracking its products by using the latest DNA science.
Sunday 14th April.Dear Father, we thank you for this lovely world which you have given us to look after. Teach us how to conserve your handiwork. Show us how to fill our surroundings with Christlike deeds and to devote our time and resources to restoring what has gone amiss.
Monday 15th April.A 5-day course on Climate Change: Science, Impacts and Policy Responses begins today at Imperial College, London. Its aim is to provide an opportunity to obtain an in-depth understanding of climate change from leading international experts. For details telephone 0207 594 6886 or fax 0207 594 6883 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 16th April.The forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (or Rio + 10) is to be held in Johannesburg from 26th August to 4th September. Many heads of state, including Tony Blair, will be present, as well as representatives of business, industry, NGOs and communities from every part of the world. Since the 1992 Earth Summit world energy use has increased by 10% while over-use of non-renewable resources continues, with its consequences in terms of pollution, climate change and loss of habitats and species. The Prime Minister, in announcing his attendance, said: "The evidence grows daily all around us of the dangers of indifference to our duty to treat nature with respect and care. Britain's task over the coming years is to argue that case at every level of society; to make Britain a showcase for it; and to provide leadership internationally for it. And to match the action with the words." Pray that the action will lead to a radical re-direction of resources towards the development of renewable energy throughout the world.
Wednesday 17th April.The EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is under review. WWF believes the CFP has undermined the future of our fishing industry and of fish as a food for future generations. It wants clear and measurable commitments to:
" Eliminate the over-capacity of the EU fishing fleet within 10 years;
" Redirect harmful subsidies towards investment and management of fish resources;
" Reduce the footprint of the EU fishing fleet globally;
" Secure the long-term health of marine ecosystems and of fishing communities.
To access the WWF digital petition, log on to www.wwf.org.uk/fishingforthefuture
Thursday 18th April.Tuna fish farms have sprung all round the Mediterranean, mostly subsidized by the CFP. Wild juvenile tuna are caught and fattened up for export. Bluefin tuna is already threatened by direct fishing, but tuna farming avoids every current international rule for conserving and managing the fishery. WWF warns that the massive expansion of tuna farming threatens to decimate the Mediterranean wild tuna and calls on EU governments to close this loophole in fisheries management policy while there is still time.
Friday 19th April.The WWF 95 + Group consists of 90 major companies committed to procuring wood and wood products from sustainable sources - usually certified as such by the Forest Stewardship Council. The Government announced a new timber procurement policy 18 months ago, but has yet to purchase any independently-certified timber. In a message to the WWF conference marking the 10th anniversary of the scheme, the Prime Minister said: "The WWF 95 + Group is a successful example of non-government organizations and business working together to promote truly innovative and exciting ideas on preventing degradation and loss of the world's forests, and good forest management round the world." Unfortunately, without government action to set its own house in order, these words are meaningless.
Saturday 20th April.Forests around the world equal to the size of Britain have now been certified by the FSC as sustainably managed. WWF advises consumers to look for the FSC logo when buying wood products, from paper to raw timber, to ask retailers where their wood products come from and to reduce paper consumption by buying recycled products, by refusing excessive packaging and by choosing products with re-usable containers.
Sunday 21st April.Lord God, we praise you for your wonderful gifts of resourcefulness and ingenuity. Help us to place these gifts at your service and in the service of humanity. Amen.
Monday 22nd April.Michael Meacher, addressing a meeting preparatory to the Johannesburg Summit said: "The Government needs to address the wider issue of how we make globalisation work for all. A key part is that the North has to put its own house in order. Unfettered globalisation and unfettered free trade is, in many ways, clearly contrary to sustainable development."
The World Social Forum at Porto Alegre, Brazil, went further: its final declaration included these words: "Nature is a fundamental value itself. Life and its protection should be above commercial agreements."
Klaus Topfer, director-general of the UN Environment Programme, and Mary Robinson, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, are endorsing a proposal at the Johannesburg Summit that the legal right to a safe environment should have the same status as the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It is hoped this proposal will be included in the agenda for Johannesburg in August. For details, contact UNED at tel.020 7839 1784 or fax 020 7930 5893 or log on to www.earthsummit2002.org
Tuesday 23rd April.Religious leaders representing 30 million Americans - Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and Muslims - have endorsed a Contract with the Planet aimed at making Americans more responsive to the needs of the world. The ten headings are:
1. Attack world hunger and poverty as if our life depends on it. It does.
2. Champion the rights of every man, woman and child.
3. Pay our UN dues ungrudgingly and end our obstructionism to the world's treaties.
4. Reduce our dependence on oil and lead the world to an age of renewable energy.
5. Close the book on the Cold War and end the nuclear nightmare forever.
6. Renounce Star Wars and the militarisation of space.
7. Make globalisation work for, not against, working people.
8. Ensure equal treatment under law for all.
9. Get money out of politics.
10. Close the gap between rich and poor at home.
For full details visit www.contractwiththeplanet.org
Wednesday 24th April.A prototype marine turbine , designed to produce electricity from tidal currents, is shortly to be installed at Lynmouth, Devon. If all goes well, commercial units will be supplying electricity to the grid by 2005. A single tower with two turbines should produce one megawatt of electricity - sufficient to power 500 homes. The Government is backing similar tidal power developments in Scotland and Wales. For details of the Lynmouth development visit www.marineturbines.com
Thursday 25th April.Greenpeace has published Britain's first Zero Waste plan , explaining how we could maximize recycling levels, change product design to eliminate waste and find new uses for the rubbish we generate. Bath and north-east Somerset have already adopted a Zero Waste target. Greenpeace comments: "Britain's waste policy has changed little since the dark ages but, as this report shows, we can break away from the medieval solutions of digging holes for our rubbish or setting it on fire. Burying or burning household rubbish not only releases chemicals that are linked to horrific health problems, but is a massive waste of energy and resources. The government should start to implement the findings of this study and commit the UK to a goal of Zero Waste."
Friday 26th April.The Greenpeace report calls for a three-bin doorstep collection for Britain's households:
" A fortnightly collection of dry recyclables such as paper, cardboard, glass metals, plastics and textiles;
" A weekly collection of kitchen and garden waste, to be taken to a network of sealed composting units;
" A third collection for the residue, which is treated with filters, magnets and electric currents to remove recyclable material, then treated biologically so as to landfill it safely without leaching into soil or water or causing global gas emissions.
Saturday 27th April.The report also details various uses for waste. In Asia rice husks are used as replacements for polystyrene packaging and then as fireproof building materials. In the USA rubber crumb from old tyres is used to form a springy surface for basketball courts. In Germany Volkswagen is making doors out of biodegradeable plant-based plastics and Ford is designing cars that can be disassembled and the parts used elsewhere. Canberra in Australia recycles 66% of its waste. Britain's national average is 11% - the worst in Europe.
Sunday 28th April.Lord, you have given us this beautiful world, with the ability to harvest its products for our nourishment. Yet in our greed we have been robbing future generations, poisoning your world and destroying many of your creatures. Help us to realize that we interfere with your world at our peril. It is your hand, not ours, that rules this world and we are here as your stewards.
Monday 29th April.The Government's plans to reduce public access to planning decisions have drawn criticism from the Royal Commission for Environmental Pollution. Their report "Environmental Planning" recommends the following: "If under the Government's proposals for major projects the inspector conducting the local inquiry concludes that the local impacts of a proposed project would be unacceptable, he should be permitted to recommend that the approval in principle should be reconsidered."
The Government's plans would allow Parliament the sole decision on whether major projects should go ahead. The RCEP report comments: "Several bodies that have studied this topic recently have concluded that there ought to be much more extensive scrutiny of a proposed major infrastructure project than Parliament would be likely to provide." The report also says that 3rd parties should have a right of appeal against planning applications.
Tuesday 30th April.US Veterans for Peace are inviting people from around the globe to join them next month on their third trip to Iraq to help rebuild water treatment plants devastated by bombing and sanctions. The organization was founded in 1985 by ex-servicemen who wanted to show public support for the Iraqi people and restore uncontaminated drinking water to thousands of Iraqis at risk from waterborne diseases responsible for a high rate of infant mortality and fatalities among the sick and elderly. For information ring Woody Powell of Veterans for Peace on +1 314 725 6005 or e-mail vfpeigc.org or visit www.veteransforpeace.org
Some sources: The Ecologist.
Farm & Food News.
For further information and prayer request please write to:
Philip Clarkson Webb
15 Valley View
Kent TN4 OSY
Copyright © 2002-2007 Philip Clarkson Webb and Christian Ecology Link
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