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Churches' Briefing Paper on the Earth Summit
"Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.|
Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.
Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your Name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
For your righteous acts have been revealed."
"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."
(Eph.6.17-18)"The work of praying is prerequisite to all other work in the kingdom of God, for the simple reason that it is by prayer that we couple the powers of heaven to our helplessness."
Sunday 1st SeptemberSovereign Lord of all nations, we pray for rulers and statesmen who are called to leadership in the affairs of the world, both those who are now attending the World Summit for Sustainable Development and those who are absent.
Give them the vision to see far into the issues of our time, courage to uphold what they believe to be right, and integrity in their words and motives.
May their service to their peoples promote the welfare and peace of all humankind, through the strength of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Monday 2nd SeptemberThe present World Summit has been described as an ineffective talking-shop. But Christians know that God's deep purposes cannot be thwarted but must, in his own time, prevail. Pray for God's strength and guidance that we may learn how to build on the lessons learnt from the World Summit, both in our own lives, in our nation and in our attitudes to the world he has created.
Tuesday 3rd SeptemberLord, we know that the statements and communiqués that emerge from many meetings are barely half the story. Grant that the contacts made, the friendships formed and the links cemented at Johannesburg may bear fruit to your glory and for the benefit of the world that you have created.
Wednesday 4th SeptemberKofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, has identified five areas where concrete results from the WSSD can and must be obtained:
Thursday 5th SeptemberIntroducing the Earth Democracy Movement, Vandana Shiva has said: "We have very simple little Earth directions. Water belongs to all people, therefore water privatization is not on. We didn't invent our brothers and sisters in the plant and animal world, therefore patents on life are not on. When the plants and animals are around us, they can create tremendous prosperity. The real prosperity is the richness of biodiversity in our oceans, our rivers, our lakes, our farms and our forests. If there is one indicator that we need for prosperity, it is the richness of biodiversity. . . Fear, hatred, greed, consumerism, these are the dominant features of the human condition just now. But they are not the dominant features of the way we are supposed to live on this planet. We can make a shift. We have to make a shift."
Friday 6th SeptemberFEASTA, the Foundation for the Economics of Stability, introduced at the WSSD proposals for addressing the fact that most money is created as debt and ceases to exist if the debt is repaid, therefore the money supply needs to grow continually if investors are to be attracted. Thus, as things stand, the money system is in direct conflict with social and environmental limits and takes precedence over them. The proposals are:
1. To establish a genuine world currency;
2. To issue this currency by giving rather than lending;
3. To distribute it on the basis of population rather than economic power;
4. To limit it in a way that ensures that the overall volume of world trade is compatible with global sustainability;
5. Each country to operate two currencies, one for normal commercial exchange, the other for savings and capital transfer; both currencies would have a floating rate vis-à-vis the new international currency;
6. National governments would spend their currencies into circulation rather than allow the banks to create them in the form of debt;
7. To encourage the growth of regional and local currencies. For more details contact FEASTA on 00 353 (0)1491 2773, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.feasta.org
Saturday 7th SeptemberIn the magazine "Prosperity" Richard Greaves in an article entitled "Freedom from Debt Slavery" says that notes and coins account for only 3% of our money supply, the rest being debt to the banks on which interest is payable:
"This pattern is repeated across the globe. Banks are businesses out to make profits from the interest on the loans they make. Since they alone decide to whom they will lend, they effectively decide what is produced, where it is produced and who produces it, all on the basis of profitability to the bank rather than what is beneficial to the community . . . How much could prices fall and wages increase if businesses did not have to pay huge sums in interest payments which have to be added to the cost of goods and services they supply? How much could taxes be reduced and spending on public services such as health and education be increased if governments created money themselves instead of borrowing it at interest from private banks?" For further information ring 0141 332 2214 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ProsperityUK.com
Sunday 8th SeptemberLord, we all know that while we in our country have an abundance of good things, much of the world is in terrible want;
While we have money enough and to spare,
Vast numbers are desperately poor;
While we have far more to eat than we need,
Multitudes are dying of starvation.
Lord, give us the courage to face these things and to think more deeply about them; and may thought lead to action in whatever way is in our power; for the sake of Jesus who we confess to be our Lord.
Monday 9th SeptemberMasaru Kataoka, a banker of 15 years' experience, finding that banks aim to maximize profits and minimize risks, founded Japan's Citizens' Bank, which lends money at almost zero interest to small businesses run for society's benefit rather than for profit. Since 1989 the Bank has lent 540 million yen to over 100 clients, all of which are businesses linked to local communities. None has failed to repay the loans. Aspiring entrepreneurs need no collateral security: they must clearly explain their ideas and pledge to contribute to society through their business. "Provide whatever services are needed by the local community" says Kataoka "and profit will automatically follow." For further information ring 81 3 3974 7536 or fax 81 3 3974 8550 or visit www.p-alt.co.jp
Tuesday 10th SeptemberHelena Norberg-Hodge, Director of the International Society for Ecology & Culture, points out that in order to control the giant corporations which dominate world trade, more and more regulations are needed, which demand a massive bureaucracy to administer them. Smaller businesses are strangled with paperwork, inspections and fines, while big business happily pays up and grows bigger as their smaller competitors die out. "How many dairies have gone out of business because they had to provide stainless steel sinks when porcelain ones had served them well for generations?" Pray for a reduction in the burden of regulation for small businesses everywhere.
Wednesday 11th SeptemberGlobal trade in food is based on the theory that every nation should specialize in one or two globally-traded commodities which it can produce cheaply enough to compete with every other producer. The proceeds would then be used to buy food for local consumption and so everyone would benefit.
Yet the result has been growing hunger and environmental destruction around the world, e.g.
Thursday 12th SeptemberLocally-produced food requires far less packaging, processing and refrigeration. In the UK at least 25% of all waste is food packaging. There are now nearly 200 produce-box schemes around the UK providing food for 45,000 homes and generating sales of £22 million. Japan has 800-1000 consumer co-ops with a membership of 11 million and a turnover of more than $15 billion a year. In a recent US study of Community Supported Agriculture 60% of farmers said that the most successful aspect of their operations was the strengthened bonds between people, resulting in networks that reconnected people with the land and farmers with the people who eat the food they grow. Pray for the spread of farmers' markets, produce boxes and other means of marketing local produce.
Friday 13th SeptemberAccording to Carol Welch of FoE USA, a halt to environmental destruction requires the reform of the World Bank and IMF. She proposes:
Saturday 14th September"What happened at the Earth Summit?" is the title of a Church and Environment Group conference taking place today at Crawley, Sussex. Details from the Social Responsibility Office at 01273 421021. Pray for all Christians who are meeting around this time to work out the implications of the World Summit at Johannesburg and to decide further action.
Sunday 15th SeptemberShow us, Father, how to respect and protect your creation, not only the animals, birds and all green and growing things, but the soil, air and water by which we live, so that we may not exploit or pollute them for our own profit or convenience.
Help us to cherish these necessities for our survival, and guide those in authority to ensure that the human spirit may not be starved in pursuit of material comfort and wealth.
Monday 16th SeptemberOccidental Petroleum has pulled out of its oil exploration in the Siriri block of concessions in Colombia after a 10-year campaign by the 5,000-strong U'wa people whose lands were threatened. Their leaders filed lawsuits, lobbied at corporate HQ, mobilized blockades at well sites and won support from campaign groups round the world. However, another Occidental pipeline runs through their land and President Bush is pushing Congress to authorize $62 million in military aid to defend the pipeline. Pray for all indigenous peoples struggling to defend their land from exploitation.
Tuesday 17th SeptemberThe GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) was established in 1994 with the aim of dismantling government barriers to the privatization of public services, so as to make it impossible for governments to run public services on a not-for-profit basis without the participation of private companies. Basic services such as water supply, public education, healthcare, postal services and tourism are all under threat. In June the European Commission submitted GATS "requests" for liberalization of service sectors to 109 different countries. Businesses were consulted: elected MEPs were not. However a European parliamentary hearing is to take place in November. This gives us all an opportunity to lobby our MEPs. For their details visit www.europarl.org or ring 020 7227 4300.
Wednesday 18th September"Alternatives to Economic Globalisation: A Better World is Possible" is due to be published in Britain in November. It suggests five actions to reduce corporate power and ensure accountability:
1. Get corporations out of politics. There should a ban on providing political funds or favours. Any person so acting on a corporation's behalf should be subject to criminal penalties including imprisonment;
2. End corporate subsidies. In 1994 US corporations extracted more than $2.6 trillion in such subsidies - roughly 5 times their reported profits, suggesting that the public costs of corporate welfare globally exceed $10.7 trillion a year.
3. Revoke corporate charters. Without a government charter corporations cannot own property, borrow money or sign contracts. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney-General of New York State said in 1998: "When a corporation has been convicted of repeated felonies that harm or endanger the lives of human beings or destroy the environment, the corporation should be put to death, its corporate existence ended and its assets taken and sold at public auction." So far this has not happened, but just one example (Enron or WorldCom?) would send a powerful signal.
4. Eliminate limited liability. Union Carbide has already caused the deaths of 15,000 people in Bhopal due to a plant explosion, but neither its directors nor employees have suffered any penalty. If shareholders were made liable for the actions of corporations, they would seriously consider the effect of major corporate decisions and would evaluate the environmental and human rights record of a corporation before deciding to invest.
5. Build sustainable local communities by giving priority to smaller businesses where people know each other, are dedicated to a common purpose and share rewards equitably.
The book is published by Berrett-Koehler and marketed through McGraw-Hill at $15.95. It is obtainable by ringing 01628 502500 or visiting www.bkconnection.com
Thursday 19th SeptemberA recent WWF report says: "Earth's population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate . . . The human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life." In 1959 one country was effectively cut off from the global economy on which it had depended. It adopted strategies that minimized its dependence on chemical inputs and fossil fuels. It prioritized agricultural self-reliance and food security. Its army started to produce its own food and its agricultural headquarters turned its lawns into banana, bean and lettuce gardens. Now it has surplus instead of starvation. That country is Cuba.
Friday 20th SeptemberUS congressman and former Mayor of Cleveland Dennis Kucinich has drawn support in Congress for a bill for the creation of a US Department of Peace. In a far-reaching speech he said: "We should appeal to our leaders to consider that their own bellicose thoughts, words and deeds are reshaping consciousness and can have an adverse effect on our nation. . . With a world at risk, we must find the bombs in our own lives and disarm them. We must listen to that quiet inner voice which counsels that the survival of all is achieved through the unity of all. We must overcome our fear of each other by seeking out the humanity within each of us. The human heart contains every possibility of race, creed, language, religion and politics. We are one in our commonalities. Must we always fear our differences? We can overcome our fears by not feeding them with more war and nuclear confrontations. We must ask our leaders to unify us in courage." For more details ring 001 202 225 5871 or visit www.house.gov/kucinich
Saturday 21st SeptemberToday is UN International Day of Peace. The World Conference on Religion and Peace has initiated a "World Peace Prayer" to be recited annually on this day in all places of worship and meditation. For details write to: Peace One Day, Block D, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Back Lane, London E1 6QL or ring 0207 4569180 or visit www.peaceoneday.org
Sunday 22nd SeptemberFather, we all long for the peace of the world, but we are so slow to learn what history teaches us, that there can be no peace without justice and no justice without godliness.
Help us to see that peace is the fruit of righteousness and that righteousness is founded on faith: faith in you the living God and your redeeming, transforming love.
In our search for peace, may we get our priorities right, that our quest may not be in vain. (Frank Colquhoun)
Monday 23rd SeptemberA 21-year study by Swiss researchers into organic farming published in "Science" confirms that organic crop production uses less energy, contributes less carbon dioxide to greenhouse gases and sustains larger populations of earthworms, beetles, fungi and wild plants. Last year a long-term American study of apple growing published in "Nature" showed that organically-managed orchards beat conventional pesticide-dependent systems both for environmental and economic sustainability. In 1999 another paper in "Nature" showed that organic cropping systems based on rotations with legumes can help to retain nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil more efficiently than conventional farming methods. Now DEFRA has unveiled an Action Plan to Develop Organic Food & Farming, with £5 million of research funding. For details visit www.adas.co.uk/organic/
Tuesday 24th SeptemberSecond Nature is a Cumbria-based enterprise for producing Thermafleece, a recyclable insulating material made from natural wool. It uses 14% of the embodied energy of equivalent glass fibre insulation and incorporates a pest-proofing process without using boron - a chemical whose toxicity creates serious waste problems. Its founder, Christine Armstrong, won a Country Living Rural Woman Award. Its customers include the National Trust, a Tyneside visitors' centre and a sustainable housing estate in Northumberland. For details ring 01768 486286 or visit www.secondnatureuk.com
Wednesday 25th September"Stufflust" is the cool word for consumerism. According to Tim Cooper, founder of the Centre for Sustainable Consumption at Sheffield Hallam University and chairman of CEL: "There's a well-founded belief that most things will become out-of-date quickly and the new ones will be better." Yet we all know how quickly the attractions of some new gizmo can fade. Nic Marks, author of the "Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare" points out that people buy music in the hope of sharing somehow in an experience: the fact of ownership is secondary. Is this a way out of destructive consumerism? How, in the words of Amory Lovins, can we "learn to meet non-material needs through non-material means"? For Christians there is one way above all other. Pray that our lifestyle, and our communications, may point that way.
Thursday 26th SeptemberBritain's 25 million households churn out 30 million tonnes of waste a year. Of this 81% goes to landfill, with just 11% recycled or composted and 8% incinerated with energy recovery. With household waste increasing by 3-5% a year, there is no way we can escape the alternatives to landfill. According to the EU Landfill Directive 65% of biodegradeable waste now being landfilled must be dealt with by other means. But alternatives are not being developed fast enough, mainly because of siting and planning problems and public resistance to waste facilities of all kinds. Pray for the rapid spread of schemes for the separation of waste at source and for a new emphasis on reducing packaging.
Friday 27th SeptemberIn America an average of one-fifth of every loaf purchased is discarded because it has gone stale or mouldy, while increasing numbers of ready-prepared fresh sandwiches are bought, along with canned or bottles drinks, whose bulk when empty could almost have been designed to fill a bin. British research has shown that buying a small family car with half the fuel consumption of a 4 x 4 vehicle saves, in a single year, the energy equivalent of recycling all the family's glass bottles over four centuries. Pray for all who are pointing ways to a simpler lifestyle, that others less fortunate may simply live.
Saturday 28th SeptemberThe Renew Project in Gateshead receives from the Comet chain all the cookers, washing machines and fridges that are returned in exchange for new purchases. Disadvantaged people involved in the Project are trained to refurbish and repair the goods for re-sale at affordable prices to low-income households. For more information ring 0191 4697068. London Remade has invested £4.8 million into collecting 40,000 tonnes of glass in 2 years from London's pubs, clubs, restaurants and offices and recycling them for construction purposes, such as sharp sand, roadstone and shotblasting. For details ring 020 7665 1536 or visit www.londonremade.com Huddersfield-based Intruplas Ltd. diverts thousands of tyres from landfill by re-using them to make maintenance-free flat surfaces for car-parks, towpaths etc. For details ring 01924 492300 or visit www.intruplas.co.uk The new EU End of Vehicles Directive makes the dismantling and recycling of cars compulsory.
Commercial possibilities are limitless. Who will be the modern Steptoes?
Sunday 29th SeptemberFather, we lay before you the needs of the world's poor, the need for food, clean water, sanitation and fuel. Help us to stand with them in the search for renewable resources that do not destroy your creation. Empower those who are working on gentle technologies appropriate to small communities and give to industrial leaders the strength and integrity to promote such developments. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ.
Monday 30th SeptemberWaste minimization can be profitable. The 2001 National Recycling Awards went to Leicestershire for their Best Waste Minimisation Project for the year. Their Waste Minimisation Association, comprising thirteen member companies, saved its members £250,000 by cutting the amount of waste going to landfill by 4,000 tonnes a year, reducing water consumption by 7,000 cu.metres, effluent discharges by 50,000 cu.metres and energy use by 8.8 million kW hours. It also identified further savings of £400,000. For more information ring 0116 2333053 or visit www.lwma.sageweb.co.uk
WDM in Action.
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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