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June 2002

                            "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness, for a person's life does not consist in the abundance of their possessions."

(Luke 12.15)

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"

(Mark 8.36)

"All human creatures are greedy, but the western minority has consecrated greed and made it a deliberate objective . . . . Now what we have to do is to make a spiritual revolution. This is not something entirely new. It was the vision of St.Francis of Assisi, the vision of Jesus, the vision of the Buddha, the vision of Lao Tse. They all agreed that the pursuit of material wealth was a wrong aim."

(Arnold Toynbee)

Saturday 1st June.

Many inner city communities lack access to fresh fruit and vegetables, so their health suffers. In Huyton, Merseyside, a new food co-op links residents with nearby farms to ensure affordable supplies. Residents leave their food orders at a local school, the orders are sent to farmers, who then deliver the produce to the school, where volunteers make up the orders for customers to collect. The prices are on a par with supermarket prices but there is easier access. The volunteering offers hope to the long-term unemployed. The project has won a Sustainable Health Award from the Merseyside Health Action Zone (HAZ) which serves 1.4 million people. HAZs are government-sponsored partnerships between the NHS, local authorities, community groups and the voluntary and business sector, to link health, regeneration, employment, education and housing to the needs of deprived communities. For information ring MHAZ on 0151 480 3356 or visit

Sunday 2nd June.

Loving God, open our hearts that we may feel the breath and play of your Spirit.
Unclench our hands, that we may reach out to one another and touch and be healed.
Open our lips, that we may drink in the delight and wonder of life.
Unclog our ears, to hear your agony in our inhumanity.
Open our eyes, that we may see Christ in friend and stranger.
Breathe your Spirit into us, and touch our lives with the life of Christ.

(Anon. From New Zealand)

Monday 3rd June.

Deprived communities often face heightened threats to their health from pollution and toxic waste. A recent study of babies born within 3 kms. of hazardous waste landfill sites around Europe found higher rates of chromosomal anomalies. Communities Against Toxics (CATs) has helped over thirty groups to prevent the development of hazardous waste or incineration sites. Now the Government is expected to ratify the European Convention on Environmental Decision-making(the Aarhus Convention) which enshrines the following rights:
  • The right to environmental information;
  • The right to be consulted about plans and proposals;
  • The right of access to justice to enforce the previous rights.
The UK sustainable development strategy states: "Everyone should share in the benefits of increased prosperity and a clean and safe environment." The UK Environmental Justice Network has been formed to turn these words into reality. For information visit or

Tuesday 4th June.

In 1998, according to the Environment Agency, 139,500 tyres went to landfill. Now it is illegal to send tyres to landfill, so the environment is at risk from illegally-dumped tyres. In Huddersfield a new recycling company, Intruplas plc., has been formed by the Calderdale & Kirklees Green Business Network to turn used tyres into maintenance-free flat surfaces for free-draining riverside and woodland paths, cycleways and car parks. This is one of thirty-three projects established with grants from the National Grid Community 21 Awards to encourage sustainable development at the grassroots. Intruplas is building a plant to make 5,000 tonnes of groundblocks a year, so diverting plastic waste from landfill, addressing the problem of tyre disposal and creating jobs in an area of high unemployment. For further information ring National Grid Community 21 Awards on 01727 850761 or e-mail:

Wednesday 5th June.

Another Community 21 Award has gone to the London Lavender Scheme, run jointly by the London Borough of Sutton and Downview Prison, to enable them to build a lavender harvesting machine for bringing in the 2.5 acres of lavender grown on disused council allotments. Prisoners grow and plant lavender cuttings. At harvest time hundreds of people attend community open days to pick their own flowers. The oil is distilled and bottled by local community groups.

Thursday 6th June.

Urban parks not only play a vital role in storm-water control but provide the connection with the natural world that recent research has shown to be essential for people's well-being. Yet a report from the Government's Urban Green Spaces Task Force paints a picture of vandalism, crime, loss of staff and skills and general neglect. To remedy this and to establish new green spaces, the report proposes the setting-up of a steering committee within Government leading to a new national agency for urban parks and green spaces with a budget of at least 100 million a year for 5 years. The Government's response is expected later this summer. For a summary of the report visit

Friday 7th June.

Experts say that a brisk 20-minute walk every day reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, controls weight and eases stress. Safe routes to School is a programme pioneered by Sustrans and adopted by over half Britain's local authorities. A typical scheme combines safe cycle routes with road safety training, traffic calming and low speed zones. Kesgrave School, Ipswich, has 70% of its children walking or cycling to school. In Denmark, 60% of all schoolchildren cycle to school and local authorities are legally obliged to ensure the protection of children from traffic on their school journey. Sustrans is now offering free guidance to all businesses wanting a link with the National Cycle Network for their staff and customers. For details visit

Saturday 8th June.

The German Parliament has approved a law charging all road freight vehicles of over 12 tonnes the equivalent of 15 p. a mile, the revenue to be split equally between road improvements and developing the rail and waterway network. The German haulage association says this will increase haulage costs by 12-18% and cost 100,000 jobs. Transport 2000 comments: "If less freight travels by road, this will expand the job opportunities in rail and waterborne freight. Germany and Holland move a lot more freight along waterways and there is no reason why we should not follow suit." It would like to see tolls based on mileage and weight of vehicles being introduced into the UK. "Road freight is not paying its way in terms of the damage it causes through greenhouse gas emissions."

Sunday 9th June.

Lord Jesus, our teacher and example, lift up and enlighten the fallen minds of mankind. Help us to assess the benefits of technology in relation to its inseparable risks. Let us not plan on earth what we would not wish to admit to you in heaven. Let not neglect, or the blindness of the busy, threaten the destruction of this beautiful world. For the sake of us all, those who care and those who don't, we ask this in your name. (Ted Burge - adapted)

Monday 10th June.

According to NASA, global temperatures in March were the hottest ever recorded for that month. March was also the 71st month in a row when global temperatures exceeded the 1971-2000 mean. What is the connection with plastic shopping-bags? According to Oxford-based analysts Best Foot Forward, a switch to cotton bags by half of Ireland's shoppers would save 15,000 tonnes of CO2 a year - equal to driving 1,800 times round the world, or 8,200 return air trips to New York. The Irish Government has decided to levy an eco-tax on the purchase of each disposable shopping-bag. Many Germans now take cotton bags whenever they go shopping. When will UK shoppers get the message? See

Tuesday 11th June.

Last century the mean global temperature increased by 0.6oC., but warming oceans caused the death of 16% of the world's reef-building coral in 1998 alone. By 1997 27% of the world's coral reefs had been lost. According to the World Resources Institute, the value of goods and services provided by coral reefs was estimated in 1997 at $375 billion. Now the Global Coral Reef Alliance is reporting an epidemic of coral bleaching across the South Pacific, associated with high ocean temperatures. Divers around Fiji report that "nothing is left alive" on the coral reefs there. Pray about this desperately serious situation for the millions of people dependent on these reefs.

Wednesday 12th June.

The Government has announced grants of 20 million over 3 years "to help the photovoltaic industry develop the technology to allow us to compete for this massive global market." The first phase should provide PV installations for 3,000 homes and 150 larger public buildings by 2005, and as many as 70,000 homes by 2010. Yet the UK total of installed solar power at the beginning of 2001 was less than one-tenth of what Japan installed in 2000 alone, while Norway, despite its cloudier skies, has three times more installed PV than Britain.

Thursday 13th June.

Global electricity production from wind leapt by 31% last year and, given the newest turbines on the best sites, is now the cheapest method of producing electricity. Present global capacity of 23,300 MW. is sufficient to meet the electricity needs of 23 million people - the combined population of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The Irish Government has approved construction of the world's largest wind farm, with 200 turbines on a sandbank five miles off the coast of Co.Wicklow. An exclusion zone for shipping will help protect marine life around the turbines. The wind farm will provide 10% of Ireland's electricity.

Friday 14th June.

The Government has allocated 1.1 million for the development of a "Stingray" tidal stream device which, located on the seabed, generates electricity from the oscillatory movement of hydroplanes driven by the tides. Brian Wilson, the Energy Minister, said: "Tidal energy has great potential but little has happened until now. The challenge has always been to harness this energy economically in rough conditions. This project is technologically impressive and may be a solution to the challenge. I am determined that we should take a lead in the development of this new technology." Meanwhile shore-based wave technology is being developed by Wavegen with a 500kW. device on the isle of Islay - the first commercial wave power station in the world. Pray for success for these pioneering moves to harness wavepower for the benefit of humankind and for the protection of God's world.

Saturday 15th June.

"There is no single event which can transform the lives of families and communities more beneficially than the arrival of electricity . . . the global potential of renewables can be translated into new opportunities for speeding up the electricification process in many of the remotest and most needy corners of the world." (Brian Wilson). Meanwhile at home, the DTI has launched a 1.6 million community renewables initiative to give advice and training to local organizations wanting to set up small-scale renewable energy schemes in ten areas covering half of England. Its aim is both to create environment-friendly developments and to enable community groups to benefit from the income generated. For details visit:

Sunday 16th June.

Creator God, in too many places your earth is mourning, and too often the destruction comes from human greed and thoughtlessness. We ask your forgiveness for our greed and weak stewardship. Help us to tend your garden with perpetual vigilance and care.

Monday 17th June.

The US Administration has announced a 3.1% increase in CO2 emissions for 2000 over 1999 and a further increase in 2001. Energy demand is expected to increase by one-third over the next two decades owing to the growth in travel and in commercial buildings. In 2020 foreign oil imports will account for 62% of US supplies, compared to 53% in 2000. Yet, according to WWF, the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency could create 1.3 million new jobs by 2020. Its study "Clean Energy: Jobs for America's Future" details policies that would reduce carbon emissions by 28% by 2020. 20% of electricity generation would come from wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, while oil consumption would decline by 8%, saving money and reducing vulnerability to any foreign oil embargo. "The study shows that these policies create more jobs and offer greater economic benefits than can be generated by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge despite the unsubstantiated claims of drilling proponents."

Tuesday 18th June.

The Institute for Public Policy (IPPR) in its report
  • Power to the People recommends government initiatives to promote clean power:
  • The Government should set a 30% target for renewables by 2020;
  • There should be increases in the Climate Change Levy, emissions trading for the energy industries, investment incentives for micropower technologies and tax-free allowances for low domestic energy consumption, with targeted policies to protect the fuel poor;
  • There should be compulsory energy-labelling for buildings and policies that pave the way for the introduction of hydrogen as an energy carrier linked to renewable resources.

Wednesday 19th June.

The Trade Justice Movement is holding a mass lobby and rally at the House of Commons today to persuade MPs to oppose plans by the World Trade Organisation to change trade rules that are already biassed in favour of the richest nations and global corporations, driving the poorest people into greater poverty. The Movement wants to see:
  • New international laws to control the activities of giant corporations;
  • A halt to plans to privatize vital services such as water;
  • A new international agreement on food and farming to protect farmers' livelihoods and the environment.
For details visit or you can register online at

Thursday 20th June.

The IPPR's report recommends the setting-up of a Hydrogen Task Force to facilitate the development of hydrogen transport. "Initial hydrogen production will be from fossil fuels, so hydrogen production should be covered by the Climate Change Levy from the outset in order to incentivise zero carbon hydrogen over that derived from fossil fuels." Regarding the use of hydrogen in domestic heating appliances, it says: "Natural gas can be mixed with up to 20% hydrogen and still be used in conventional appliances." Its conclusion: "The majority of energy demand is for heat energy, which is primarily delivered through gas combustion. Many of the fears over energy security flow from the fact that Britain will soon become a net gas importer. The addition of renewably-generated hydrogen to our gas supplies could not only provide a simple and cheap means of hydrogen storage and transmission, but could also cut dependence on imported gas." Pray for a wide public debate about these proposals.

Friday 21st June.

Domestic refrigerators and freezers account for 36% of all energy consumed by electrical appliances. This equals the total electricity used to power all offices in the UK. 3.2 million refrigerators and freezers are sent to landfill each year. This represents 600 tonnes of ozone-depleting CFCs, 45,000 tonnes of ferrous metals, 5,000 tonnes of non-ferrous metals, 1,500 tonnes of glass and 14,000 tonnes of plastic. Here are some useful tips:
  • An energy-efficient fridge uses 70% less energy but costs 50 more, but this money is saved within 18 months of purchase. Look for the energy-consumption rating: A is best, G is worst.
  • Keep the coils at the back of the fridge free of dust;
  • Buy a fridge-saver plug. Details at
  • Keep the fridge between 30 and 50 C.
  • Overstocking a fridge or freezer impedes the circulation of cool air. Keep it less than three-quarters full;
  • Make sure the fridge is free-standing in a cool place.
Recycling points are posted on the web at

Saturday 22nd June.

Spain consumes 1,174 cu.metres of water per person per year: Britain consumes 507 cu.metres per head. 80% of Spain's water consumption goes to agriculture: one cup of orange juice takes 220 litres of water to produce. Now the Spanish parliament has approved a 4 billion plan (all of it EU money) to build 863 dams, reservoirs and installations to move water from the Pyrenees to the rest of north-west Spain. The Ebro Delta, a Ramsar and EU Natura site, and a vital stop-over for British bird migrants, will all but disappear. UK companies see this as an opportunity to build dams and irrigation schemes, but the 150,000 people who paraded through Barcelona in protest clearly thought otherwise. Of the suggested alternatives, desalination plants would cost half the price of the plan. Moreover, 60% of irrigation water and 40% of water for towns and cities is wasted by leakage and inefficient systems: there could be incentives for reducing demand. Pray for a solution that will spare the environmental destruction that will be inevitable if the scheme goes ahead.

Sunday 23rd June.

As tools come to be sharpened by the blacksmith, So may we come, Lord.
As sharpened tools go back to their owner,
So may we go back to our everyday life
To be used by Thee. (A prayer from

Monday 24th June.

The popularity of herbal remedies is booming, but too often the consequences for the plant itself, its habitat and the people who traditionally use it can be devastating: some precious herbs have been plundered almost to extinction. Bringing medicinal herbs under cultivation both ensures a steady supply and takes pressure off wild stocks, provides a livelihood for local people and adds to the GDP of the country concerned. The Herbal Apothecary has set up the Medicinal Plant Sustainability Forum for traders, consumer bodies and conservationists to identify sustainable best practice. Pray for all who are devoting money and energy to establishing the local cultivation of medicinal plants. For further information visit

Tuesday 25th June.

WWF has adopted a Holiday Footprinting tool to calculate the environmental impact of certain holidays abroad. By dividing the Earth's resources into "area units", each person's sustainable entitlement is found to be no more than 2 area units a year - though the average UK citizen uses 6.8 units. A two-week holiday in Cyprus, for example, uses 0.93 units, i.e.nearly half a year's fair share. 46% of the holiday's impact is the air travel, another 35% relates to waste. Steps to reducing the impact include:
  • Improved air traffic control to reduce consumption of aviation fuel;
  • Higher aircraft occupancy rates;
  • Solar power in hotels;
  • Menus with less meat;
  • Use of more locally-produced goods for fewer food miles.
For more information visit

Wednesday 26th June.

A report from Sustain called "Eating Oil" details some reasons for eating locally-produced food:
  • Air transport threatens the climate far more than sea transport. A bottle of wine shipped from New Zealand produces 0.28 kg.of CO2 . Brought by air, it produces 12.8 kg.of CO2;
  • Growing cabbages organically uses less than one-third of the energy used to grow the same quantity by conventional farming;
  • Each litre of diesel burnt to transport food by road releases 2.75 kg.of CO2 and 30% of all goods transported in the EU are of human or animal food.

Thursday 27th June.

A report commissioned by the European Parliament declares that the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel at Sellafield and La Hague constitute the world's largest man-made releases of radio-activity, corresponding to a large-scale nuclear accident every year. In detail, it points out the following:
  • Some of the radionuclides released in great quantities have half-lives of millions of years;
  • Recent concentrations in the environment have repeatedly exceeded EU Food Intervention levels;
  • Accidental radionuclide releases could be twice those of Chernobyl;
  • These could lead globally to over 1 million fatal cancers;
  • Iodine-129 discharged from the two plants in 1999 was 8 times greater than the total iodine-129 released by the fallout from all nuclear weapons testing.
The report points out that re-processing is the least acceptable option for dealing with spent nuclear fuel. "Non-reprocessing options, and dry storage technologies in particular, are considerably less expensive. In addition, their social and political acceptability is much greater than with reprocessing." The report can be viewed on

Friday 28th June.

Malaria is a killer in many tropical countries. The Nicaraguan Government has, with EU support, researched safer alternatives to the organopesticide fenthion. The most effective was the Cuban biopesticide Griselef which is a liquid formulation of spores from a bacterium which is specific to blood-sucking mosquitoes. The bacterium can survive and breed in the environment, so reducing the need for frequent applications. Its advantages over fenthion are:
  • It costs far less, since only 1-3 sprayings are needed compared to 40-50 for fenthion;
  • There is no risk of any toxic effect on humans or wildlife. Pray for all who are involved in the search for a safe and effective means of controlling malarial mosquitoes.

Saturday 29th June.

Light pollution in Western cities is a growing problem. The worst effect is the impairment of our production of the hormone melanotin, so increasing the likelihood of near-sightedness, cancer, insomnia and damage to the immune system. The Czech Republic is the first nation to legislate against light pollution. From this month fines of nearly 3,000 can be levied on light polluters. Lamp posts will have to be shielded from above, their glass will have to be flat, and billboards will have to shine downwards from the top. For further information visit

Sunday 30th June.

Christ of the pilgrim way,
You do not see us as rich and poor, as educated or illiterate,
But as one family, involved with each other,
Bearing each other's burdens, standing together.
Touch our depths with your Spirit, that we may go that extra mile
In love.

(Prayers from a Columban House)

Additional Prayers:


Green Futures
Green HealthWatch.
Greenpeace Business
The Ecologist.
For further information and prayer request please write to:
Philip Clarkson Webb
15 Valley View
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN4 OSY

Copyright © 2002-2007 Philip Clarkson Webb and Christian Ecology Link     email: CEL
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