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If you haven't already done so, we invite you to
and display in your church the
Churches' Briefing Paper on the Earth Summit
"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it." (Psalm 24.1)|
"It (the earth) is in so many ways so fruitful. All creation comes from it.
Yet it forms nit only the basic raw material for humankind,
But also the substance of the incarnation of God's Son.
All nature is at the disposal of humankind.
We are to work with it. Without it we cannot survive.
God desires that all the world be pure in his sight.
The earth should not be injured.
The earth should not be destroyed." (Hildegarde of Bingen)
Monday 1st July.The World Summit on Sustainable Development is due to take place in Johannesburg next month. A recent UN report highlights some of the issues to be faced:
Tuesday 2nd July1.5 billion people lack adequate access to water. A proposal at the Bali pre-summit meeting last month to halve this number was blocked by the USA, Australia, Canada and Japan. Today's conference at Church House, Westminster, on "Sustainable Development - Issues, Hopes & Aspirations" aims to provide engineers, scientists, educationists and other professionals with an understanding of the water, sanitation and environmental improvement challenges that are being faced. Pray for the speakers, the Government ministers present and all who will be attending, so that an agreed position may emerge to put before the Johannesburg Summit. For further details visit www.ciwem.com
Wednesday 3rd JulyThe recent UN food summit at Rome was marked by disagreements on the means of relieving hunger - particularly in southern Africa, where 13 million people risk starvation without emergency food aid. The FAO placed its emphasis on increasing food production, while Britain and others believed the main problem was poverty. While we may have little or no influence on the politics of, say, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Somalia, we can all have our say on the unfair terms of world trade which are the root cause of so much poverty.
Thursday 4th JulyThe final PrepCom for the Johannesburg Summit took place in Bali last month, but broke down on the issue of agricultural subsidies, with the rich countries demanding an end to subsidies in the South while continuing to pay huge subsidies to their own agriculture, fisheries, fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Pray that the cry of the world's poor will be heard at Johannesburg and that a new agreement on sustainable food and agriculture can be negotiated outside the WTO. Friday 5th July Friends of the Earth are campaigning for four basic reforms: 1. A new treaty requiring international companies to adopt best practice in their operations and to be accountable for environmental and social damage; 2. A declaration that international treaties take precedence over WTO free trade rules; 3. A new agreement on sustainable food and agriculture to promote safe, healthy and nutritious food, high rural employment and a healthy & sustainable environment; 4. Recognition by governments of the ecological debt owed to the developing South by the rich North. "The rich cause climate change, but the poor suffer the most."
Saturday 6 JulyA Christian Ecology Link conference takes place today at Sheffield University entitled "While Stocks Last? Christians, Consumerism and Creation". John Gummer MP will speak on sustainable consumption and Sir John Houghton on climate change. Pray for a fruitful debate on these issues and for a strong message to emerge from the conference. For details ring 01524 36241 or email email@example.com
Sunday 7th JulyLord Christ, you have made us stewards of your creation. Instil in our minds a reverence for all that you have made. Help us to guard your creation from waste and abuse, so that we may enjoy the fruits of the earth with thankful hearts and share them with all who are in need.
Monday 8th JulyA report by the US Environmental Protection Agency says for the first time that human actions are mostly to blame for global warming and that rising temperatures are likely to disrupt water supplies, flood coastal areas, increase air pollution and exacerbate insect-borne diseases. However the report goes on: "Climate change is a long-term problem, decades in the making, that cannot be solved overnight. We seek an environmentally-sound approach that will not hurt the US economy." Again, "If America's economic growth is to be protected, the country will have to adapt to a climate that is between 5oF. and 9oF.warmer." Time will tell whether the short-term view expressed in this report will best serve America's interests.
Tuesday 9th July"Hearing the call of Noah" is the title of a morning workshop called by CEL in Winchester today to help the churches in Hampshire and Isle of Wight to influence the search for solutions to climate change. "Operation Noah" is a CEL initiative to build a popular mandate for international action to avert dangerous climate change and to ensure fair shares for all in a cleaner economy. For details ring Ruth Jarman on 01252 849904 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 10th JulyThe IPCC holds that climate stabilization requires a 70% reduction in global carbon emissions. The Kyoto Protocol envisages a mere 5.2% reduction, to be achieved largely by a highly complicated international trade in carbon emissions. Ross Gelpspan in "The Heat is on: the Climate Crisis, the Cover-up, the Prescription" proposes instead a 5% annual increase in every country's fossil-fuel efficiency standard (starting from its current baseline) measured simply by the annual change in its use of carbon fuel in proportion to its Gross Domestic Product. This would place developed and developing nations on a level playing-field and create the mass market for renewable energy that is now conspicuously lacking. Pray for all those working for solutions to the current impasse in climate negotiations.
Thursday 11th JulyIn April the US Senate rejected legislation to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Earlier however the House of Representatives approved drilling in the Refuge, so, later this year, the two positions must be reconciled in a "Conference Committee", where it is possible that a new bill will permit oil drilling. Pray for the spread of a nation-wide perception that America cannot go on consuming non-renewable resources without facing an ultimate penalty.
Friday 12th JulyMadagascar, one of the world's hotspots for biological diversity, currently has two rival governments, so putting a stop to tourism, which has in the past been a powerful deterrent against illegal logging and poaching of endangered wildlife. Now there are reports of large-scale logging of ebony and rosewood in the Manradia National Park which is home to endangered indri and sfiaka lemurs. Pray for peace in Madagascar.
Saturday 13th JulyAtrazine, the most widely used herbicide in the USA, is still licensed for limited use on crops in Britain. A recent study has shown that it can give male frog tadpoles a mix of male and female body characteristics and that it lowered testosterone in adult male frogs to levels below those of females. Atrazine has already been banned in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Norway. Pray for a worldwide ban.
Sunday 14th JulyLord, make me an instrument of your power to combat evil; Where there is sabotage of your creation, Let me strive to safeguard it; Where greed seeks to destroy our moral heritage, Let me be first to oppose it; Where power and money combine to undermine our community life, Let me hasten to affirm the supremacy of love of neighbour; Where there is passivity, deference and conformism to giant powers of darkness, Give me courage to radiate the light of truth. Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to live a quiet life as to join with others to enhance life, not so much to grab as to give, not to evade my social duty as to shoulder it, and not so much to fear power as to strive valiantly with others that it shall serve worthy ends. For it is in striving to act with love that we affirm love, in devoting ourselves to noble causes we are redeemed, and in giving ourselves utterly to the well-being of our neighbours, to the service of truth, beauty and the joy of your creation, that we rise to the life immortal. (John of Purton)
Monday 15th JulyIn presenting the Right Livelihood Awards last December, its chairman, Jakob von Uexkull, said: "Let us not forget that on September 11th there were 35,000 other victims - the children who die every day from starvation-related causes . . . These children are being killed by commercial and financial terrorism . . . There can be no other term for policies which force the poor to sacrifice their children to pay compound interest on dubious debts to the rich, while the North refuses to honour its historical and ecological debts to the South - despite the clear commitments made in Rio and elsewhere." "And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress . . but the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness."
Tuesday 16th JulyJohann Galtung in a new book "Searching for Peace" writes: "When all the chips are down, as for the cases of slavery and colonialism, massive global injustice is not a problem of force, counter-force and cycles of retaliation. Basically it is a moral problem, just like the other two. And here the underdog has the upper hand: low in status, but high in moral standing - and the more so the more non-violently he conducts the struggle. The top dog may win the game of force, but not the moral issue - and when that dawns on him and his allies, change of consciousness sets in and demoralization starts thawing the frozen heart: the game is over. And deep in their guts the better among those at the top know this already - brutally woken up by three planes raping three buildings." "The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God. But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish." (Psalm 9.16-18)
Wednesday 17th JulyThe Israeli human rights activist Uri Avnery writes: "There is no patent remedy for terrorism. The only remedy is to remove its causes. One can kill a million mosquitoes, but millions more will take their place. To be rid of them, one has to dry the swamp that breeds them, and the swamp is always political . . . Terrorism, the weapon of the weak, can easily reach every spot on earth. Every society can be easily targeted and the more developed a society is, the more it is in danger. Fewer and fewer people are needed to inflict pain on more and more people. Soon a single person will be enough to carry a suitcase with a tiny atomic bomb and destroy a megalopolis of millions . . . Instead of the destroyed New York edifices, the twin towers of Peace and Justice must be built." "Unless the Lord builds the house, Its builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, The watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127)
Thursday 18th JulyLeaked World Bank documents have revealed that when Argentina had to raise money by selling national assets, Enron bought the Buenos Aires water supply company for a song. But consumers did not benefit and supplies became erratic. Now Enron is bankrupt, with disastrous losses for its staff, its customers and the public. Yet in March, at a UN-sponsored "Financing for Development Summit" at Monterey, Mexico, attended by the WTO, World Bank, IMF and leading corporations, A Monterey Consensus was agreed which was to open up developing countries to private companies such as Enron. Vandana Shiva commented: "It is not about mobilizing finances for people's development but mobilizing public resources for private gain. According to the Monterey view, corporations like Enron should continue to have full opportunities for free investment, even if they bankrupt countries, their employees and even themselves."
Friday 19th JulyThe EU is prosing that under the General Agreement on Goods & Services (GATS) being negotiated by the WTO at Geneva, water supplies, postal services, finance, banking, electricity generation and supply and telecommunications should be opened up to privatization in 29 countries including India, Canada, Egypt, Mexico and the USA. It is also demanding the elimination of laws in developing countries that regulate foreign investment. WDM is calling for a moratorium on the negotiations until a thorough assessment of the potential impacts has been made to Parliament. For details visit: www.gatswatch.org
Saturday 20th JulyThe UK Department of International Development plans to spend £65 million of taxpayers' money to turn the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh into a massive food export zone (see April 8th). This plan would destroy the livelihoods of around 20 million farmers. Growing food for export always creates a dependence on world markets. For example, between 1995 and 2000 Vietnam used World Bank loans to triple its coffee output, making it the world's second biggest producer after Brazil. Result: world coffee prices collapsed and the livelihoods of coffee farmers round the world are now at risk. Pray for second thoughts about this highly risky top-down approach to Indian agriculture.
Sunday 21st JulyDeliver us, Father, from the worship of power - power over nature or power over men. Save us from the worship of science so that, acknowledging the God-given gifts of scientists, we may be spared from the abuse of scientific discoveries. Free us from false hopes and misplaced trust, so that in you alone we may find our hope and salvation
Monday 22nd JulyTwo armed British nuclear transport ships will shortly be loaded with rejected plutonium mixed-oxide fuel shipped to Japan by British Nuclear Fuels in 1999. Security experts have labelled the shipment as vulnerable to armed attack. The route back to Britain has not been revealed, but the 34 governments of the Organisation of American States have called for an assessment of security threats posed by nuclear transport through the Caribbean. Greenpeace comments: "This plutonium MOX should never have been shipped to Japan in the first place. Since BNFL lied to their Japanese customers over the quality of this MOX, countries should be under no illusion now that the bland assurances issued by BNFL and the two governments, that this shipment is safe and secure, are anything but irresponsibly complacent and lacking in credibility. This shipment presents a global threat to the environment through risk of accident or deliberate attack. It should be abandoned."
Tuesday 23rd JulyThe Office of Civil Nuclear Security, in its annual report, says that anti-terrorist security tests have not been carried out at 22 of Britain's 31 nuclear power stations because of shortage of inspectors. "The inspection programme had to be suspended following the September 11 attacks to allow inspectors to concentrate on advising sites on the implementation of additional security measures." Six new jobs had been created, but the programme of compliance inspections would not be resumed before July. Pray for adequate security at Britain's nuclear
Wednesday 24th JulyIn January 2001 an oil spill from a grounded tanker in the Galapagos spread 800,000 gallons of crude oil over waters off the coast of Santa Fe, though strong currents quickly dispersed it. But a report in "Nature" says that 15,000 marine iguanas dies of starvation within a year of the spill. It is suggested that the oil killed a micro-organism that lives in the iguanas' gut and helps them digest their diet of seaweed. There were also increased blood levels of the stress hormone corticosterone in the weeks before the deaths. Pray that the oil industry will invest in preventative measures such as strengthened tankers' hulls so as to forestall disastrous oil spills in the future.
Thursday 25th JulyA Royal Society report recently drew attention to the potential risks GM foods pose to babies, yet goes on to state that consumption of genetically-modified DNA has no effect on human health. A Dutch undergraduate, Hinze Hogendoorn, bought 30 mice and offered them 2 piles of cereals, one certified as non-GM, the other consisting of GM maize and soya. They completely emptied the bowl of non-GM food, leaving the untouched. He then withdrew the non-GM alternative. The mice left with the GM food initially appeared heavier than a control group but then actually lost weight. They seemed more nervous and distressed and were running round and round the basket and frantically climbing up the sides. Why are we not told of any official experiments on similar lines of research?
Friday 26th JulyFollowing the discovery of GM contamination of Mexico's wild maize populations (see May 20th), local communities have submitted a complaint to the North American Commission for Environmental Co-operation, proposing a mandatory fee on trade in GM crops to finance the massive cleaning and control operation now needed. Prince Charles has called for firms that developed GM crops to be made liable for any damage caused by their products. A recent EU report has warned that many farmers would be driven out of business by GM crops which it said would cause farm prices of both conventional and organic crops to rise by up to 41%. Finally, "Nature" has published a report saying that the main benefit claimed for GM crops, that they would help feed starving millions around the world, is not justified: "Poor farmers who struggle to buy even conventional seeds are unlikely to afford the prices charged by the big biotech companies. Nor will they be able to compete with those who can afford the seeds."
Saturday 27th JulyThe international banking group HSBC has announced a partnership with WWF, Earthwatch and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) in a $50 million programme called "Investing in Nature". Earthwatch will train 200 scientists in developing countries and send volunteers to work on conservation research bodies round the world. WWF will clean up three of the world's major rivers - the Amazon, the Yangtze and the Rio Grande. BGCI will receive $11.6 million of which 80% will be spent on education & training to revitalize 16 botanic gardens in 9 countries including Argentina, Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. Sir Robert May, President of the Royal Society, said: "Business and industry are held by many ideologically-orientated groups to be the problem, not the solution, but if global business is not to be enlisted as part of the solution, then there is no solution." Give thanks for this example of a business now fully engaged in conserving God's world. Sunday 28th July. Lord God, we thank you for this world of beauty and delight and for your promise that it will be redeemed of all that despoils and distresses it. Forgive us that we have not guarded its resources, protected its creatures or cared for those for whom these joys are barren. Keep us mindful that all that here is in trust, and that we have a debt to those who follow us. Amen.
Monday 29th JulyThe Salvation Army has achieved in a year its 4-year goal of establishing 1,000 clothing banks in Britain. Anyone can deposit unwanted clothing. Kettering Textiles Ltd. Takes the clothes and sorts them into 140 grades which are sold as efficiently as possible. Clothes can be left at any of the Army's 44 shops where some are priced and sold, others are sent to Kettering for sale by other means. Praise God for the success of this initiative & pray that it may be an example to
Tuesday 30th JulyOver 10,000 tonnes of radioactive waste awaits permanent storage, increasing by 5,000 tonnes a year. Above ground storage leaves a huge burden on future generations. The Government's consultation paper looks at two main options - sealed underground disposal or accessible underground storage. In the background lies the question: Do we keep using nuclear power, knowing the problems of waste disposal? Or are we prepared to cut back on our energy demand, at the same time supporting the renewable energy alternatives? Pray about this.
Wednesday 31st JulySince 1994 the South Shropshire Furniture Scheme has been collecting useable furniture, carpets, curtains & linen to help those who could benefit. Now it has branched out into re-using wood to make garden furniture & joining in wider schemes to recycle computers, spectacles, mobile phones and computer ink cartridges. Nearly 5 tonnes were collected last January. It employs 3 staff & an apprentice electrician with a core of 10 volunteers. Based in Church Stretton, they can advise others how to do it. Ring 01694 724464 or email email@example.com
(Understanding Global Issues)
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Philip Clarkson Webb
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Kent TN4 OSY
Copyright © 2002-2008 Philip Clarkson Webb and Christian Ecology Link
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