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July 2003

         "Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your god, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life."


"If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another. If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another. Those others are watching for you now. They are looking to you for guidance, for help, for courage, for strength, for understanding and for assurance at this hour. Most of all - they are looking to you for love."

(Dalai Lama)

"The fruit of Silence is Prayer,
The fruit of Prayer is Faith,
The fruit of Faith is Love,
The fruit of Love is Service,
The fruit of Service is Peace."

(Mother Theresa)

Tuesday 1st July

The Chief Executive of Care International UK, a leading charity working in Iraq, reports that "There is no security, no law and order, no visible way out of this chaos." Its warehouses have been looted, its cars hijacked and its staff threatened and shot at. Electricity supply is erratic and unreliable, clean water is becoming scarce and rubbish is piling high in streets flooded by sewage. Doctors cannot carry out operations, keep medical supplies refrigerated or hospitals clean and hygienic. There is an almost total vacuum (in administration) and any humanitarian efforts are seriously constrained. Pray for the Iraqi people and, in particular, for the establishment of a strong, legitimate and acceptable authority capable of restoring order and giving the people hope.

Wednesday 2nd July

At the recent G8 Summit in Evian on Lake Geneva bottles of mineral water were given free to every delegate. Meanwhile, 1.1 billion people throughout the world lack access to safe drinking water or have to pay private vendors more per litre than people living in London. Pray for charities such as WaterAid that are committed to providing safe water in developing countries.

Thursday 3rd July

A briefing from the Department of Trade & Industry on the current talks on a General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) declares: "There is no threat to any WTO member's public health and water services." Yet leaked documents now show that the EU wants to see corporations given access to water supply in 72 different countries. These include Bolivia and Trinidad, where privatization led to steep price rises, and Brazil, Tunisia, Honduras and Botswana, which have good public sector companies delivering water services. Burma is a country with which the UK discourages trade and investment: yet the EU has requested Burma to open up six service sectors to private corporations. For further information visit:

Friday 4th July

5,000 children die every day from drinking contaminated water, Now scientists have applied chemicals used in treatment plants in developed countries to formulate a powder called PuR that, at a cost of 7 p. per sachet , can turn 10 litres of muddy liquid into safe drinking water. The powder kills bacteria, viruses and parasites, and helps to remove heavy metals and mud. A US charity has ordered 30,000 sachets for immediate use in Iraq. Give thanks for this discovery and pray for a massive effort to produce and distribute this powder not just in Iraq, but throughout the developing countries.

Saturday 5th July

Pray for today's conference entitled "Alternatives to War: Security and Sustainability - Two Sides of One Coin" due to take place at the City of London School for Girls, Barbican. The speakers include Scilla Elworthy (recently awarded the Japanese equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize), Satish Kumar, Caroline Lucas MEP, Ann Pettifor, Anita Roddick and Vandana Shiva. There will be music, stalls and a vegetarian lunch al fresco. For tickets ring 01237 441293 or 020 8340 3967 or email or visit the website:

Sunday 6th July

God of all grace, call to the nations of the earth to cease from strife, that all may join to fight not one another but their common foes of want and ignorance, disease and sin.

Lead humankind back out of the way of death into the way of life; and from destruction to the building up of a new world of righteousness and peace, of liberty and joy.

End the dark night of lies and cruelty; bring in the dawn of mercy and truth.

(Week of Prayer for World Peace)

Monday 7th July

The Marshlands of Southern Iraq are home to a 5,000 year old community of Marsh Arabs who until recently have lived peacefully in reed huts suspended above the water, making a living from tending water buffalo and catching fish. Ten years ago Saddam Hussein slaughtered at least 300,000 Shiite Muslims living in the area, built canals and dams to drain the marshlands, depriving the community of their livelihood, and sending thousands into exile in Iran. Now the Iraq Foundation, with funding from the US State Department, is backing "Eden Again", a project to de-construct Saddam's canals and to rehydrate the parched landscape. Stuart Leidermann, a US environmentalist, believes the project could set a precedent for the treatment of refugees worldwide. He says: "The marshland project will be the first time in modern history when a whole bioregional restoration effort incorporates the memories, desires, sweat and toil of the refugees themselves in exchange for title to the communities and ecosystems they restore." For details visit:

Tuesday 8th July

The UN has proclaimed 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater. For the next two years water will be at the top of the agenda for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Its newly-elected head, Boerge Bende, formerly Norway's Environment Minister, suggested that rainwater collecting devices could help up to 2 billion people in Asia alone. He also proposed that city councils in rich nations might adopt regions in Africa to help improve their clean water supplies. For further information visit: or:

Wednesday 9th July

The late Laurens van der Post wrote: "We modern people think we can just trample on something in our way as you trample on an ant and it will not make the slightest difference to the universe . . . Somewhere it has an impact and it does affect us, no matter how small or insignificant . . . That is why it is important that we recover this sense of belonging and the responsibility as individuals of being a good neighbour to all forms of life." Wangari Maathai, Kenya's new Deputy Minister for Environment, wants to write these principles into a new constitution "so that future generations will know the value of embracing non-human species and giving them a right of protection. And, for the first time, we want to enshrine the right of the people to a healthy and clean environment."

Thursday 10th July

Millions of plants and animals, worth billions of pounds, are traded illegally and unsustainably each year, impacting directly on the survival of many endangered species, such as tigers and snow leopards, trading the planet's natural heritage towards extinction. The new Criminal Justice Bill, now passing through Parliament, will make illegal trade in the world's most endangered species an arrestable offence punishable by up to five years' imprisonment. It will allow officers to enter premises, search and seize property, take fingerprints, obtain DNA samples and subpoena suspects. The director of WWF's Wildlife Trade Campaign said: "This change in the law will have a lasting impact for endangered species all over the world. Making these offences arrestable will provide police officers with the powers they need to close down illegal markets here in the UK and should act as a real deterrent to those involved in the illegal wildlife trade."

Friday 11th July

Every year 2.5 million hectares of rainforest are destroyed in Indonesia by logging and related fires - the highest rate of forest loss in the world - threatening the survival of the orang-utan, the sun bear and many other species. A Greenpeace report "Partners in Crime" estimates that 88% of this logging is illegal. Figures from the World Bank indicate that the Indonesian government loses more money from illegal logging than the entire income of 8 million average Indonesian families. International Paper, the world's biggest paper and forest products company, issued a statement concluding that "the only sensible solution is to avoid Indonesia as a wood supplier until its government, which recently announced its inability to stop illegal logging, and those companies which harvest wood there, take the steps required to protect the forests."

Saturday 12th July

The Greenpeace report focuses on Barito Pacific, the biggest logging concession-holder in Indonesia and the biggest plywood exporter in the world. In 2001, two-thirds of timber processed by Barito was from untraceable or illegal supplies. Responding to the demand for cheap plywood and paper, a consortium from EU countries, the USA, China, Japan and Singapore is planning to fund a $1.2 billion new pulp mill in Indonesia. In Britain companies such as Travis Perkins, Jewson, Finnforest and Montague Meyer are still buying Indonesian timber products. The only sure way to avoid such products is to look for the logo of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or visit their website:

Sunday 13th July

Lord, by the power of your Holy Spirit redeem us from the destruction we have wrought. Turn our hearts back to you and our lives to the earth, that therein we might learn our rightful place and our worth, and by living once more as part of your creation be born again to the hope of salvation. The earth is the Lord's. So are we. (from a Filipino liturgy)

Monday 14th July

The UN Security Council has at last decided to end the role of logging in fuelling Liberia's civil war. As from July 7th it has imposed a ban on all timber exports from Liberia. This landmark decision sets an important precedent in combating the root causes of ancient forest destruction in West Africa. Pray for similar measures to be applied to other countries where civil unrest is fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources such as timber and oil.

Tuesday 15th July

By a vote of 25 to 20 the member nations of the International Whaling Commission last month passed a resolution that makes conservation central to its work and will help protect whales, dolphins and porpoises. These are facing a wide range of threats including entanglement in fishing nets, toxic and noise pollution and climate change. The new conservation committee has a Herculean task to address these problems but, given dynamic leadership, a start can now be made.

Wednesday 16th July

The US Senate has rejected a plan to allow oil drilling in the Alaskan Arctic Wildlife Refuge, a vital wilderness habitat for musk oxen, caribou, polar, brown and black bears and many migratory birds. BP, which had plans to explore the Refuge for oil, has now withdrawn from Arctic Power, the group that lobbies for access to the Refuge for oil-drilling, though it has not stated definitely that it will not exploit the Refuge or other sensitive sites around the world. WWF comments that raising the fuel efficiency of new vehicles by just 3 miles per gallon would save more oil, in less than ten years, than the total that could be pumped from the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

Thursday 17th July

The US Administration has launched a trade war with Europe over GM foods with its complaint to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the EU's 5-year moratorium on GM crops. Yet a recent MORI poll in Britain showed that 56% of the population are against GM foods, while only 14% are in favour. The GM Public Debate re-starts this month and reports on the science and a cost/benefits study will be published in the autumn. Meanwhile, Warwickshire, Cornwall and South Gloucestershire have voted to become GM-free zones, while the whole of Wales, Lancashire, Devon and Dorset are moving towards GM-free status. The National Trust forbids its 2,000 tenant farmers to grow GM crops. FoE comments: If the Government's GM debate means anything (and Michael Meacher has publicly cast doubt on this), they must listen to the growing opposition and refuse to allow GM crops to be grown commercially.

Friday 18th July

Most European countries are phasing out their nuclear reactors. Sweden aims to close all its reactors by 2010. Belgium has agreed to close all its seven reactors between 2015 and 2025. Germany has set a maximum operating life of 35 years from 2001. The French government is convinced that new reactors must be ordered, but last November a poll commissioned by the French Electricity Union found that 61% of the population did not want nuclear power to be used in future. Japan's Monju fast breeder reactor was closed in 1995 following a leakage of coolant: the Government had approved plans to modify and re-open the plant, but a recent court case brought by local residents has halted any reconstruction and operation of this plant.

Saturday 19th July

MEPs in the European Parliament have approved new legislation that will make companies wholly liable for environmental damage which they cause, and comprehensive liability insurance will be compulsory. The industries likely to be affected include the chemical, oil, agribusiness, shipping and nuclear industries. The draft directive will now be considered by EU environment ministers and will require a final vote by the European Parliament.

Sunday 20th July

Father, you have made us stewards of your world and entrusted us with the wonders of your creation. Be with us in our efforts to guard your creation from waste and abuse, so that we may enjoy with thankful hearts the fruits of the earth and share them with all who are in need.

Monday 21st July

The current EU review of chemicals policy known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation & Authorisation of Chemicals) is now in a consultation period and draft legislation is expected in October. Last November Greenpeace vacuumed dust samples from 100 UK homes and had them analysed. The analysis found substantial amounts of:
* Hormone-disrupting alkylphenols, used in cosmetics and other personal care products;
* Phthalate esters, used to soften PVC, which are harmful to the reproductive system;
* Brominated chemicals, which disrupt hormones and are used as fire retardants;
* Chlorinated paraffins, which may be cancer-causing and are used in paints, plastics and rubbers.

The new REACH proposals require that some high-risk chemicals carry an "authorization" for specific uses only. Greenpeace demands that manufacturers be required to provide safer alternatives wherever these exist. Authorisations should be temporary only. Where there is no safer alternative, a risk-reduction scheme must be implemented while a safer alternative is developed.

Tuesday 22nd July

According to the UK Chemicals Industry, the legislation will result in job losses and may cut 2%-6% of the Gross National Product, though the German Environment Agency and the Swedish chemicals industry deny this. Meanwhile WWF has launched a tour of 12 UK locations in which 150 people will have their blood tested and analysed for persistent chemicals, such as are found in tinned foods, cosmetics, televisions and carpets. For example, DDT was banned in the UK 27 years ago, but is still being found in people under 27, showing how some chemicals can find their way into the next generation. WWF's Justin Woolford said: "This offers us a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure a safer future for people and wildlife."

Wednesday 23rd July

Conventional paints release significant amounts of toxic gases. The World Health Organisation has found that the painting and decorating profession stands a 40% increased risk of developing cancers. Even "eco paints" emit toxic alkyl phenols which have been linked to hormone disruption, adversely affecting human reproduction. The Ethical Consumer Research Association has identified these paints as being the least dangerous as they contain no alkyl phenols, acrylic or vinyl:
Auro (tel. 01799 543077)
Biofa (01273 683800)
Keim Mineral Paints (01746 714543)
Livos (01952 883288)
Nutshell (01364 73801)

Thursday 24th July

For decades industrialized nations have dumped obsolete, often banned, pesticides on developing countries. Nearly every country in Africa has huge stockpiles without the resources to store them safely. For example, Mali has 20,000 tonnes of earth polluted by highly toxic dieldrin, which has also polluted the wells in the area. Now, as a result of a campaign by WWF and the Pestcides Action Network, the Global Environment Facility has voted a grant of $25 million for a clean-up programme. Pray for its success.

Friday 25th July

After ten years of constant lobbying, the Malaysian government has joined the 90 countries that have banned the manufacture of Paraquat, a highly hazardous herbicide. China is not among these countries. There, Syngenta (whose annual sales are worth $430 million) is constructing a new factory to manufacture Paraquat. Syngenta's chairman, Heinz Imhof, recently declared: "In my opinion, a company that is committed to the well-being of society invests in the high reputation and social acceptance of its business - both of which are important for corporate success." To persuade Herr Imhof to stop manufacturing Paraquat, write to him at: Syngenta, WRO-1002.11.52 Postfach, CH-4002, Basle, Switzerland, or visit: & click on Campaigns, then Food & Agriculture.

Saturday 26th July

The EU has bought the right to fish in the waters off Angola while at the same time providing hundreds of thousands of tons of food aid. WWF has accused the EU of taking the profits while Africa starves, and casts doubt on whether Angola's waters can support the level of EU fishing for long. WWF encourages people to check the source of the fish they buy. The Good Fish Guide explains which fish can be eaten with a clear conscience and why. For a variety of reasons, it claims, Atlantic cod and salmon, sea bass, dogfish/spurling, haddock, marlin, monkfish, shark, skate, ray, sturgeon, swordfish and bluefin tuna should all be avoided. The guide is obtainable from the Marine Conservation Society, Gloucester Road, Ross-on-Wye HR9 5BU or ring 01989 566017.

Sunday 27th July

Lord God, maker of heaven and earth, you made us in your own image and set us in a world teeming with life and beauty. You gave us authority, yet we have lost our way. Teach us, heavenly Father, how to live according to your will, so that we and all your creation may worship you in peace and thanksgiving

Monday 28th July

Genetic modification of plants costs millions of pounds in research and development, so companies routinely protect GM strains with patents. Often the same companies buy up smaller companies which market naturally-produced seeds. Already there are only ten companies which own one-third of the world's commercial seed market. How long before companies owning both GM seeds and naturally-produced seeds of the same crop raise the price of the latter above that of GM varieties, or even withdraw natural seed altogether? Syngenta's latest annual report stated: "Industry consolidation in pursuit of economies of scale will continue. Research into biotechnology, with seeds as the key platform for delivering biotech traits, offers opportunities for higher-value, higher-quality outputs and increased returns in future. Finally, consolidation at the dealer and distributor level will continue." Pray for international legislation against the increasing threat of monopoly control over vital crops, such as maize, rice and cotton.

Tuesday 29th July

Over 1,000 German doctors and health professionals have signed the so-called Freiburger Appeal calling on the world's medical establishments to take seriously the dangers of high-frequency microwave radiation. Here are some extracts:

"We have observed a dramatic rise in severe and chronic diseases among our patients, especially:
* Learning, concentration and behavioural disorders (eg attention deficit disorder)
* Extreme fluctuations in blood pressure, heart rhythm disorders, heart attacks and strokes among an increasingly younger population;
* Brain-degenerative diseases (eg Alzheimer's) and epilepsy, and cancers (eg leukaemia & brain tumours) . . .
Knowing our patients' living environment and lifestyles, we can see a clear temporal and spatial correlation between the appearance of disease and exposure to pulsed high-frequency microwave radiation (HFMR) such as the installation of a mobile telephone sending station in the near vicinity; intensive mobile telephone use; or the installation of a digital cordless telephone in the home or next door. We can no longer believe this to be pure coincidence, for we also note:
* A marked concentration of particular illnesses in high-frequency microwave radiation-polluted areas or apartments;
* Long-term diseases or afflictions improve or disappear in a relatively short time after reduction or elimination of HFMR pollution in the patient's environment.

Our observations are usually confirmed by on-site measurements of HFMR of unusual intensity.

Pray for an open and independent assessment of these claims.

Wednesday 30th July

The CPRE has launched a campaign against light pollution, which increased by 26% between 1993 and 2000. Light pollution is caused by badly-designed street and road lights, security lights which spill the light well beyond the protected areas and floodlights used to illuminate games pitches and buildings but which spill out beyond those areas. Light pollution is wasted energy, usually generated by burning fossil fuels in power stations, so adding to the pollutants which cause acid rain and harm human health. Outdoor lights shining into people's homes harm their quality of life, as they do that of animal and plant species: this is obvious when deciduous trees retain their leaves in winter or songbirds sing their dawn chorus at midnight beneath a streetlamp. For more details, and proposals to combat the problem, ring CPRE on 020 7981 2800 or fax 020 7981 2899 or e-mail or visit:

Thursday 31st July

From February 2003 the Government is giving a 500 grant to any homeowner installing solar water heating. There are also grants available for wood pellet stoves, wood-fuelled boilers driving central heating, wind turbines, micro-hydro turbines and ground-sourced heat pumps. Apply via the website or by calling the 'Clear Skies' hotline on 0870 2430930. Grant money is limited so early action is recommended.

Sources: BBC Wildlife Magazine
Countryside Voice
Earth Matters
Greenpeace Business
Positive News
WDM Action
WWF News
For further information and prayer request please email:

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

Copyright © 2003-2007 Philip Clarkson Webb and Christian Ecology Link     email: CEL
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