1 Prayer Guide - Christian Ecology Link - December 2002
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December 2002

         "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

(Romans 8.22-23)

"God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Christ), and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."

(Col. 2.19-20)

"Our God is the same God. You may think you own him, as you wish to own our land, but you cannot. He is the God of man, and his compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator."

(Chief Seatl)

Sunday 1st December

Lord, as you dispelled the fears of a maiden mother
By whispering the promise of your presence,
So banish the world's misconceptions about you and your ways.
Come to each of us. Roll back the clouds of doubt and pessimism.
Fill our individual lives with servant love and direct the nations to humble awareness;
For you are God, rich in mercy, strong in righteousness,
Ready to make your home with us Now and for ever.

(Further Everyday Prayers)

Monday 2nd December.

Two billion people have no access to electricity and nearly three billion depend on wood, charcoal or dung for their energy needs. The Johannesburg Summit failed to agree targets to remedy this. Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) through its programme "Power to the People" outlines three specific challenges:

1. Clean energy for cooking
2. Renewable rural electrification
3. Sustainable energy for the urban poor.

Pray for all who are working to meet these challenges.

Tuesday 3rd December

Nearly 2 million people, mostly children, die each year from polluted smoke from wood fires. Women spend up to 3 hours a day collecting firewood and are decimating the forests. More efficient stoves can reduce the amount of fuel used and there are low-cost solutions, such as smoke hoods, switching to liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or kerosene or providing improved ventilation. ITDG can help with the technology, but only the big agencies, such as the World Bank, can scale-up the solutions to meet the huge demand. Pray about this.

Wednesday 4th December

The Kigali Institute of Science & Technology (KIST) is producing stoves and ovens which use only a quarter of the normal amount of wood and can be adapted to run on biogas. They are sold mainly to schools. Albert Butare, KISTS's vice-rector, hopes to see rural businesses springing up across Rwanda to make and market these ovens. The KIST model oven won it the 2001 Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy. Website: www.kist.ac.rw

Thursday 5th December

At the Appropriate Rural Technology Institute in Maharashtra, India, Dr.Karve designed a simple kiln for use in sugar cane plantations. The cane waste is turned into char, and the resulting briquettes sell at half the price of kerosene - the main cooking fuel. ARTI is training farmers to make the kilns themselves. "Farmers can use techniques like this to earn a good income and stay in their village" says Dr.Karve. The ARTI kiln scooped first prize in this year's Ashden Awards.

Friday 6th December

Holsworthy, Devon, will, from next year, have all its electricity and hot water generated from farm slurry. A new biogas plant will take 146,000 tonnes of it from 30 farms during 2003. At the end of the process, pasteurized manure will be returned for use on the farms.

Meanwhile at Cyangugu Prison, bordering Lake Kivu in Rwanda, the prisoners are building Africa's largest biogas plant, designed to run on human waste, and with a huge potential for saving on wood fuel. KIST's Ainea Kimaro believes it will cut the prison's fuel bill by 25,000 a year with great benefits for health and the environment.

Saturday 7th December

In Kenya's drier regions water pumps are typically run by diesel generators which are expensive and polluting. Mike Harries, a third-generation Kenyan farmer, designed a wind pump that was effective, affordable and simple to maintain; the only imported parts were the ball-bearings. Now around 300 Kijito wind pumps have been sold, both in Kenya and abroad, with farm co-operatives sharing the cost and recouping their money by selling the water to their neighbours. For more information e-mail: bobs@africaonline.co.ke

Sunday 8th December

Loving Father, you sent your Son to be a light to those who walk in darkness. May we who have brought your creation to the edge of darkness see the new path that we must tread, and may we follow it faithfully, in the power of your dear Son, who gave his life for us.

Monday 9th December

At an award ceremony in the Swedish Parliament today a Right Livelihood Honorary Award will be presented to Professor Martin Green of the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is the world's foremost researcher in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology and is commended by the jury "for his dedication and outstanding success in responding to the key technological challenge and moral imperative of our age: the harnessing of solar energy." Pray for others to take up the challenge of making PV technology available, at an affordable price, to the 2 billion people who are without electricity.

Tuesday 10th December

In Kenya small PV systems are spreading in schools. It costs about 3,000 to set up a PV system, but schools already spend 150 a month on kerosene for lighting, so if they switch to solar they can recoup the cost in under two years. PV-powered fridges are also beginning to appear in remote medical centres. In Zambia's South Luangwa National Park solar-powered electric fences are keeping elephants away from villagers' crops. Nearer home, in Southwark, every house in one street is being provided with a PV system, the cost being met by a government grant of 20 million plus local authority money and a small contribution from each householder. For more information visit: www.solarnet-ea.org or www.solarcentury.com

Wednesday 11th December

According to estimates from ITDG and Greenpeace, it would cost $90 billion over 10 years to get sustainable energy to all who are most in need. It sounds a lot - until you realize that the world's fossil fuel and nuclear industries receive subsidies worth over $250 billion every year - in other words, over 25 times as much. Yet, in spite of Mr.Blair's professed aim "to help switch the lights on in Africa", a mere 0.07% of Britain's overseas aid for energy projects goes into renewables. Greenpeace and the Body Shop have called for at least one-fifth of energy aid to go to renewables. See website: www.choose-positive-energy.org

Thursday 12th December

Mike Bess of Energy for Sustainable Development says: "There's an assumption that renewables have to be heavily subsidized to make them work, but that's just not true in Africa or indeed much of the developing world." For example, the Danish state aid agency distributed, free, thousands of improved cookstoves in Tanzania and Uganda, but it halted the growth of local businesses developing this technology. Kenya, by contrast, was regarded as a "bad boy" by donor countries. So, instead of receiving aid which would have distorted their economy, a wave of entrepreneurs has emerged, delivering everything from cooking stoves to solar PV and exploring new ways of meeting energy needs. ITDG has no ex-pat staff; instead, its locally-staffed offices are receptive to local demand and ITDG offers help with training in the use and maintenance of the technology that is appropriate to local needs.

Friday 13th December

Britain's energy consumption rose by 7.5% during 1995-2000. In a few years we will be a net importer of gas - mostly from Eastern Europe and North Africa. The Government this year introduced a Renewable Obligation (RO) which requires electricity suppliers to generate 10% of their supplies from renewables by 2010. Also, the new Community Renewables Initiative will boost domestic and community projects, such as small wind farms and biomass schemes, with grants from a 10 million fund for rural renewables. The Fenland District Council, by favouring small wind turbines, has encouraged a local engineering firm to start manufacturing turbines. For more information on UK renewables visit www.energyprojects.co.uk or www.countryside.gov.uk/communityrenewables

Saturday 14th December

25% of UK electricity is currently generated from nuclear sources. However, because of impending closures, to maintain that supply would require the construction of at least 10 new nuclear power stations by 2025. Yet there is an overcapacity on the UK grid of nearly 30%. According to a report from AEA Technology, wind farms off the coast of East Anglia could generate the same amount of power as the entire UK nuclear industry and would be cost-effective, safe, popular and would create 30,000 new jobs. Scotland's First Minister has re-affirmed the Scottish commitment to generate 40% of Scotland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020. A new MORI poll finds that 72% of the British public favour the funding of wind power over continued subsidies to the nuclear industry.

Sunday 15th December

Grant us, Father, a new vision of your world:
* A world of justice, where none shall prey on others;
* A world of plenty, where poverty shall cease to fester;
* A world of brotherhood, where success shall be founded on service, and honour be given to integrity alone;
* A world of peace, where order shall not rest on force, but on the love of all for the land which you have created for us to enjoy.

Monday 16th December

Many who travel abroad by air would like to make a contribution towards offsetting the carbon emissions produced by aircraft. The Responsible Tourism Foundation is a scheme supported by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the four main package holiday and tour operators. If 1 were collected on each holiday product, tens of millions of pounds would be generated for protecting the environment in the countries that we visit. The scheme will be launched early in the New Year.

Tuesday 17th December

As fish stocks collapse around the coasts of Europe, EU trawlers are increasingly operating off Southern and Western Africa. An EU agreement with Angola allows no limits to catches (apart from shrimps) but forbids fishing within 12 miles of the coast. Yet, according to a WWF report, this condition is widely ignored. Now the whole of the South-East Atlantic fishery, which covers the rich Benguela current, has fallen from a catch of more than 3 million tonnes in 1968 to an estimated 1.2 million tonnes in the 1990s.

Wednesday 18th December

According to a UNEP report, octopus catches off the coast of Mauritania have fallen by 50% in the last 4 years. Since EU boats started fishing for octopus in 1995, the number of local people engaged in octopus fishing has fallen from nearly 5,000 in 1996 to 1,800 in 2001. Moreover EU shrimp boats are allowed to use a smaller mesh size than others, resulting in a large additional bycatch of unwanted species. Other West African fisheries are also badly affected by EU overfishing.

Thursday 19th December

The EU has granted Malta exemption from environmental legislation after it joins the EU in 2004. As a result, the hunting and trapping of small birds will continue unchecked. The EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Gunther Verheugen, said that the EU had no control over hunting in Malta - "only the Maltese can decide to stop hunting." This raises fears that other countries will return to the mass killing of migrants, which the EU Birds Directive was designed to stop. The RSPB advises objectors to write to Jack Straw, The Foreign Office, Whitehall, London, and to their MEP.

Friday 20th December

Last month's meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) placed severe restrictions on the sale of mahogany. The number of mahogany trees has declined by 70% in the past 30 years. More than 70% of bigleaf mahogany, the main commercial species, is logged illegally. Just one mahogany tree makes furniture worth about 100,000. Now, according to Elliott Morley, representing the British Government: "This will make it much easier for us to get to grips with illegal loggers, many of whom are organized criminals. When people buy mahogany, they can be confident that it's from a legal and sustainable source and won't contribute to the destruction of the rainforest."

Saturday 21st December

Following the end of logging in Canada's Great Bear Rainforest, Greenpeace and others commissioned Helimax Energy to explore the economics of wind energy in the region. Their study identifies three areas where wind projects could provide electricity for 100,000 homes and create 8,000 job-years of employment including construction. If a wind-turbine assembly plant were built there, it would provide nearly 50,000 job-years of employment, while the environmental benefits would include greenhouse gas reductions of 40 million tonnes of carbon emissions over 25 years. Pray that environmental groups in general will study the effects on employment of environmental protection measures, and seek alternative job opportunities.

Sunday 22nd December

Father, we thank you that out of the sea and from the earth we receive the provision you have made for all our needs.

We thank you for the skills in harvesting the earth's resources that people have passed on from one generation to another.

We thank you for those through whose vision and work the products of our harvesting are channeled into areas of need. (Further Everyday Prayers)

Monday 23rd December

A proposed 50 MW. coal-fired power station in the Negros province of the Philippines has been declared "officially dead". The Government and NGOs including Greenpeace have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide financial and technical support for renewable energy projects and clean energy technologies such as solar, wind and biomass. The coal plant would have been run on coal imported from Australia. According to a Greenpeace report "Citizen Coal" Australia is being assisted by the World Bank, Asia Development Bank and the Australian Agency for International Development to support fossil fuel power projects throughout Asian developing countries.

Tuesday 24th December

O Lord, there sit apart in lonely places,
On this, the gladdest night of all the year,
Some stricken ones, with sad and weary faces
To whom the thought of Christmas brings no cheer.
For these, O Father, our petition hear,
And send the pitying Christ Child very near.

Wednesday 25th December. Christmas Day

Jesus, new-born child of all time,
We greet your birth with wide-eyed delight.
You are precious beyond words,
For our world needs your presence more than ever.
Let the angels' promise of your good news
Offering joy and peace to all the world
Be heard by those who lead and guide.
Let kings bow down and all creation greet this holy moment
As we seek to grasp its magnitude.
For you are God's gift
Silently delivered to every human heart.
(Further Everyday Prayers)

Thursday 26th December

The enslavement in Egypt of the people of Israel resulted not from invasion or colonization, but from debt (Genesis 47.18-19). "The New Testament portrayal of Christ as Redeemer is based therefore on deep memories of a people who knew how heavy a burden debt can be." (Peter Heslam in "Globalisation: Unravelling the New Capitalism"). "While responsible lending can help the debtor create wealth and escape poverty, economic globalisation is characterized by the loosening of financial controls and a staggering increase in international capital flows. In the face of Christ's liberation of humanity from indebtedness, it is ironic that people today are becoming increasingly willing to impose and incur significant amounts of debt, and to tolerate what is becoming a debt-based economy, both nationally and globally."

Friday 27th December

The 1998 Lambeth Conference declared: "The greatest single new force shaping the world in which we do mission is the globalisation of the market economy." Yet Christians control an estimated $10 trillion worldwide. If we were to decide to use all our resources to ensure that globalisation works as a blessing and not as a curse to humanity, by investing our wealth differently and by shaping institutions to achieve this goal, we could help to change the global economy. Moreover, by engaging in this battle we will find a host of allies, including from many other faiths (Peter Heslam). In the 1990s the Assisi declarations paved the way for interfaith co-operation on the environment. Pray for the rise of a similar interfaith movement to ameliorate the worst effects of globalisation and debt.

Saturday 28th December

The German architect Margrit Kennedy calculated that a penny invested at 4% interest at the time of Christ would, by 1750, have been worth a ball of gold the size of the Earth. Now it would be worth 20,000 golden Earths. Yet the physical nature of the Earth has hardly changed: indeed the raw materials on which wealth depends have tended to decay rather than to grow.

So is there something unnatural about charging interest? According to Islam, it is actually sinful. Islamic banks now control assets of around $200 billion and are growing at a rate of 15% a year. Instead of charging interest, an Islamic bank takes a stake in the enterprise. If the enterprise doesn't make money, neither does the bank. The principle is that money doesn't just grow out of money, but by growing things or making things.

A pressure group called the Forum for Stable Currencies meets monthly at the House of Lords with a policy of persuading the Bank of England to issue interest-free money, but so far without effect. For details, see "The Money-Changers" by David Boyle (publ.Earthscan)

Sunday 29th December

Lord, teach us to value our possessions in the right way. Help us never to think more of them than of people. Make us ready to use them freely for the good of others and to share them generously without grudging. Thank you for the beautiful things that we enjoy possessing. May our enjoyment be wholesome and right and may we hold lightly to all we own. For the sake of Jesus Christ, who became poor that we might be eternally rich. (The Lion Prayer Collection)

Monday 30th December

"Increasing numbers of people in many parts of the world are becoming concerned about what is happening to the environment, the manipulation of their children by commercial forces, and their own lack of freedom and opportunity. The time may therefore be ripe for a re-orientation of globalisation. But this will only come about if change is effected on a number of fronts:
* Business and finance need to strengthen their social and environmental commitments;
* Governments need to increase their resolve to meet existing targets in the fight against poverty and environmental degradation;
* Individuals and households need to develop lifestyles that reject consumerism and exemplify a holistic approach to creation.

Above all, there needs to be a willingness on the part of the rich to make room for the poor. The lifestyle concerns of the wealthy must be subordinate to the survival concerns of the poor. The challenge is to handle the resources of the earth in such a way that the needs of the people of the earth are met without imperiling the future of both. Without self-restraint on the part of the rich, no serious long-term solutions or alternatives are possible. The power to withhold ones own claims sits uncomfortably with the logic of the new capitalism, but it is the threshold that must be crossed to lead the earth and its people out from an over-demanding global economy towards the realm of God's perfect justice."
(Peter Heslam)

Pray that 2003 will see advances on all these fronts.

Tuesday 31st December

Loving Father, bless us in the year to come. Satisfy the world with your goodness. Replenish our hearts with your blessings and with the rich gifts of your hands. Protect and guard us throughout the coming year from all manner of evil, and uplift our hearts with trust in your promise to redeem your creation by the power of your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


BBC Wildlife.
Greenpeace Business.
Green Futures.
Small World (ITDG).
Globalisation: Unravelling the New Capitalism by Peter Heslam (Grove Books)

For further information and prayer request please email: pcw@christian-ecology.org.uk

or write to:
Philip Clarkson Webb
15 Valley View
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN4 OSY

Copyright © 2002-2007 Philip Clarkson Webb and Christian Ecology Link     http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk     email: CEL
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