October 2003: Christian Ecology Link: A Daily Prayer Guide for the Care of Creation
Christian Ecology Link's Home Page Home   What's on?    Ideas    About CEL    Resources    Sustainable Transport    Magazine    Links    Tourism    GMOs    Climate Change    ChurchLink    News    Search    Sitemap    email CEL

October 2003

         "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God . . ."


"All faith in its (Creation's) triumph is neither more nor less than faith in the Creator himself - faith that he will not cease from his handiwork nor abandon the object of his love."

(W.H. Vanstone)

"We believe that Creation is a gift of God, an expression of our Creator's goodness.
We believe that as human beings we are part of the creation and that we share in a special way in the creative of God.
We believe that the resources of our land and waters and air are precious gifts from our Creator, to be used and looked after with loving care.
We believe that there is a rhythm to God's creation, like a drum beat; when we lose heart, or the drum is damaged, the music is out of tune."

(Pacific Women's Consultation on Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation)

Wednesday 1st October

Last month saw huge power blackouts in London, Canada and the USA, with economic losses running into millions of dollars and great social disruption. These, and the continuing instability in the Middle East, are reminders of the vulnerability of our centralized power systems. In "Small Is Beautiful", published 30 years ago, E.F. Schumacher, flying in the face of economic orthodoxy, proposed a holistic approach which emphasized small-scale, localized solutions. Now (thanks partly to the internet) millions of ordinary people are turning to local solutions such as wind power, solar panels and renewable energy. Small scale is already happening on a vast scale across the world.

Thursday 2nd October

More than 80 countries have joined the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition, committed to formulating a Global Charter for Renewable Energy to be presented next June to ministers attending the International Conference on Renewable Energies. The German Environment Minister, announcing his government's commitment to a target of 20% energy derived from renewable sources by 2020 and 50% by 2050, said "Renewable energy brings multiple gains: it protects the climate, reduces poverty and promotes technological and economic development." Dr. Hermann Scheer, Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy, said "The only way to avoid the dramatic global consequences of decreasing availability of exhaustible resources and growing demand, which will reach a crossroads during this century, is a complete conversion to solar energy."

Friday 3rd October

In August Daniel Blackburn, a farmer from West Wales, became the first person to drive from Lands End to John o' Groats in a car totally powered by vegetable oil. Having converted his diesel-powered Citroen to run on vegetable oil, he bought fresh supplies at ordinary shops on his route. "Oil from plants such as rape, sunflower, linseed and hemp is carbon neutral, meaning that carbon dioxide released by its combustion is reabsorbed from the atmosphere when the crop is grown again. As it is renewable, it does not lead to a build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By using vegetable oil you can save the planet and save money. It's a better fuel than diesel for car performance and it's perfectly legal as long as you pay duty on it." For more information visit www.vegoilmotoring.com

Saturday 4th October

The G-wiz is a 4-seater electric car made in India and now available for hire on a 3-year lease with servicing included. It can travel for 40 miles at 40 m.p.h. before it needs recharging. There is no road tax, no London congestion charge, but free parking in Westminster and the City. It is available for a test drive in London every Wednesday. For more information contact Going Green, 21 Wharf Street, Leeds LS2 7EQ or ring 0113 2470044 or visit www.goingreen.co.uk

Sunday 5th October

Gracious God, we give you thanks for all you have give us.
For the universe: let our wonder grow.
For this world: teach us better stewardship of earth and sea and sky.
For people everywhere: let us see your image in every human face, discern you hand in every human culture, and hear your voice in the silence as well as in the talk of neighbours and friends.
For our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is at work in the world.(A prayer from Australia)

Monday 6th October

According to a MORI poll in June, only 14% of the public supports GM food. All UK supermarkets have said they will not sell it in the foreseeable future. A Government report on the economics of GM crops, published in July, concluded that the public's refusal to eat GM foods means that there is little economic value in the current generation of GM crops. Yet, according to Michael Meacher, former Environment Minister, "The Government seems determined to overrule all opposition." Let us pray that the Government may withdraw its support for GM crops rather than risk a massive campaign of illegal crop destruction.

Tuesday 7th October

Hemp was once used for textiles, rope, paper and even oil before 1939, when its use was dropped due to pressure from the emerging synthetic fibre industry and the new paper pulping technology. Hemp, unlike cotton, requires no chemical inputs, is not water hungry and is easy to grow organically in Britain.

Cotton, by contrast, accounts for 14% of the world's pesticide use and is the world's most water-intensive crop, leading for example to the permanent drying-up of the Aral Sea.

Bioregional Development Group is testing a new processing technology developed in Australia which is expected to produce high-quality hemp fibre capable of competing in the global textile market.

The Stockholm Institute is undertaking an ecological footprint analysis of UK hemp versus cotton and synthetics. For more information contact Jennie Organ, Bioregional Development Group tel. 020 8404 4881 or visit www.bioregional.com

Wednesday 8th October

The Biocomposites Centre at the University of Wales has joined with JB Fibre and Textinap to develop sustainable, carbon-neutral and zero-toxin flax and hemp insulating materials with the following properties:
  • It is based on locally-grown crops so providing new sources of income for local farmers & minimizing transport emissions;
  • It creates no waste;
  • It can be marketed and sold locally;
  • It is a valid alternative to glass wool which is made of materials from non-renewable sources.
For more information contact Rob Elias, Biocomposite Centre tel.01248 382869 or e-mail r.m.elias@bangor.ac.uk

Thursday 9th October

The UK housing sector contributes around 27% of carbon emissions associated with energy use - which is itself projected to rise by 6% by 2010.

New UK homes use three and a half times more energy than new Danish and German homes.

Also, there is widespread use of toxic chemicals in building materials, while many houses are built with no regard for water efficiency.

WWF's "One Million Sustainable Homes" campaign asks the Government to recognize the Building Research Establishment's EcoHomes standards as compulsory for all new homes. It recommends clear guidance in planning policy on providing sustainable homes and fast-tracking planning decisions for developments that reach the EcoHomes "Very Good" or "Excellent" standards.

Friday 10th October

It took Britain 11 years to switch on its 1,000th wind turbine, but the 2,000th is expected in just two years. An additional 540 turbines (450 on land and 90 at sea) already have planning permission. The Government's target is to produce 10.4% of Britain's energy supply through wind power by 2010 - enough to supply the needs of the entire population of Greater London. The project could create 2,000 new jobs.

Saturday 11th October

At the Johannesburg Summit in September 2002 all governments committed themselves to halving the 1.1 billion people with no access to safe water and adequate sanitation. Yet now, a year later, that target remains just words on paper. The UK Government's spending on water and sanitation for the world's poorest people has reduced to 2% of its aid budget. A report from the National Audit Office reveals that "a very small proportion of funds provided to national governments is spent on these basic needs."

WaterAid's "Flush Out Poverty" campaign calls for the DFID to allocate 10% of the government's aid budget to be spent on sustainable improvements to water and sanitation for the poorest people by 2005. For the background to the campaign visit www.flushoutpoverty.org.uk

Sunday 12th October

Dear God, thank you for the rain that runs and trickles down the window and makes patterns on the glass.
For the rain that makes the crops and flowers grow and gives us water to drink.
Thank you for the rain that makes big puddles in which we can jump.
Dear God, thank you for the rain, and please take care of people who don't have enough rain and water to drink and must go many miles to get it.

Monday 13th October

A "Tractors & Trolleys Parade" against GM crops will demonstrate today in Central London, drawing supporters from all parts of the country who will visit en route GM crop test sites, biotech companies and local farmers' markets. The parade is organized by FoE, the Five-Year Freeze, Genetic Engineering Network and GM-free Cymru.

A farmer from Pembrokeshire, who is taking part, says:
    "GM crops, whether planted commercially or as trials will inevitably contaminate non-GM and organic crops. If the Government goes ahead with the commercialisation of GM, it will put our seed purchases and chemicals under corporate control and it will be another nail in the farming coffin."

Tuesday 14th October

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has conducted the first GM food trial on the human digestive system. Of the 19 volunteers in the trial, 7 had had their lower bowel replaced with a colostomy, so enabling scientists to examine the faeces of GM soya at different stages. In 3 out of the 7, the gut bacteria had taken up the transgenes in the GM soya, showing that horizontal gene transfer can take place in the small intestine.

Dr.Antoniou, senior lecturer in molecular genetics at King's College London comments:
    "The major health problem is not what comes out at the other end but what goes on inside the gut. So the risk of a health problem arising from the transfer of GM genes, such as antibiotic resistance and Bt toxin, to gut bacteria still stands."
He calls for follow-up work involving a large group of people eating more than 50% GM in their diet.
    "One GM meal can hardly be called statistically significant, yet it showed up these worrying findings - all of which had been hotly denied."

Wednesday 15th October

Dr. Barry Commoner of the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, Queen's College New York, points out that the Human Genome Project has disproved the central dogma of genetic engineering, namely that DNA genes have absolute and universal control over inherited traits in all forms of life.
    "There are far too few human genes to account for the complexity of our inherited traits or for the vast inherited differences between plants and people."
Numerous experimental failures, and unexpected genetic changes after a gene has been successfully transferred, show that genetic engineering is far from being "specific, precise, predictable and therefore safe" as is often claimed. He believes that the GM crops now being grown represent a massive uncontrolled experiment whose outcome is inherently unpredictable. "The results could be catastrophic." Furthermore, "What the public fears is not the experimental science, but the irrational decision to let it out of the laboratory into the real world before we truly understand it."

Thursday 16th October

This year's meeting of the International Whaling Commission was notable not only for thwarting Japan's plans to expand its whaling programme.

It also brought conservation to the heart of its work.

Now the IWC and its members can tackle other threats to cetaceans, such as marine pollution, climate change, noise pollution and ship-strikes. The biggest threat of all is entanglement in fishing-nets which kills around 300,000 cetaceans a year. Give thanks for these developments and pray for early results from this re-focussing of effort.

Friday 17th October

In response to 15 months of public pressure, the Government has agreed to make illegal wildlife trading an arrestable offence and increased the maximum sentence from two to five years.

The wildlife trade is worth billions of pounds worldwide and threatens many endangered species. WWF comments:
    "Making these offences arrestable will provide police officers with the powers they need to close down illegal markets in the UK and should act as a deterrent to everyone involved in the illegal wildlife trade."

Saturday 18th October.

The Darwin Mounds are a collection of cold-water corals 100 miles north of Scotland's Cape Wrath.

Photographic evidence shown to the European Commission revealed that corals had been smashed and fragmented, and channels cut into the reefs, by deep-water trawlers.

Now, after months of campaigning by WWF and others, the EC has introduced an emergency ban on deep-water trawling around the Darwin Mounds. The ban is for 6 months only while the EC considers a permanent ban on fishing gear that trawls the seabed in the area.

Pray for similar bans to protect threatened coral reefs throughout the world.

Sunday 19th October

Father, we have not been good stewards of the world you have given us. We confess and repent of the ways in which we have misused your creation. Forgive us for the way in which we have exploited your world for selfish ends. Teach us to treat all creation with care, compassion and dignity and to lead others along the same path, for the sake of your dear Son, Jesus Christ.

Monday 20th October

According to the International Bird Rescue & Research Centre, oil at sea kills 2 million seabirds a year, mostly from chronic low-level oil pollution rather than high-profile oil spills. Bilge-washing operations, often in remote locations, are a major polluter. In the North Sea alone there are 500,000 oil deaths a year mostly of guillemots, auklets and puffins. However, survival rates of birds caught and de-oiled are now similar to natural levels, thanks to better techniques. Dr. Richard Norman of Massey University New Zealand says: "In the past the emphasis was on cleaning the bird as quickly as possible, but now we understand the need to rehydrate the birds and to treat hypothermia and restore their bodyweight before we move to the cleaning process."

Tuesday 21st October

ultures found in that region. Population declines of more than 90% have been found in some areas and raise fears that feral dogs will fill any niche vacated by the vultures and lead to an increase in rabies. Martin Gilbert of the Peregrine Trust says: "We urgently need to reduce the use of diclofenac. This could be achieved by an outright ban or education of vets, drug suppliers and users. Realistically, this is unlikely to happen soon enough to prevent the extinction of the birds in the wild, and so captive-breeding and restoration may be the only way to ensure the vultures survive."

Wednesday 22nd October

As a result of 18 years of campaigning by Greenpeace and others, the Deni Indians of the Brazilian Amazon have had one and a half million hectares of their traditional lands officially demarcated with marked trails and signs to indicate the boundaries. This will protect their land from incursions by logging companies, cattle ranching and faming projects. The Deni lands will link up with other indigenous lands to create an ecological corridor through the Amazon of more than three and a half million hectares of rainforest.

Thursday 23rd October

WWF believes that the draft EU chemicals legislation (see entry for 29th August) will not adequately protect humans and wildlife. They call for the better regulation of:
  • Persistent chemicals - those that do not readily break down in nature;
  • Bioaccumulative chemicals, which build up in the tissues of humans and animals;
  • Hormone-disrupting chemicals, which pose known threats to the health and development of humans and wildlife.
A recent report from the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution advises that "where synthetic chemicals are found in elevated concentrations in humans, regulatory steps should be taken to remove them from the market immediately." Justin Woolford of the WWF Chemicals & Health Campaign asks: "How many more eminent bodies need to speak out before the chemical industry takes full responsibility for the chemicals it manufactures? The only solution is better regulation - where hazardous man-made chemicals are substituted with safer alternatives." To sign or obtain a petition, ring 01483 860869 or visit www.wwf.org.uk/chemicals

Friday 24th October

Georgina Downs and her family live next to fields that are repeatedly sprayed with a cocktail of pesticides. Reacting to the family's worsening health, she discovered that the Government sets safe use levels on the basis of "a bystander exposed to a single pesticide for 5 minutes." Neither the long-term exposure of people living near farmland nor the combined effect of a cocktail of pesticides are considered. She took the matter up with DEFRA's Pesticides Safety Directorate, who invited her to present a paper to their meeting in July. Georgina now calls for a ban on any crop-spraying near people's homes, schools and workplaces and any other places of human habitation.

Saturday 25th October

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of "Small Is Beautiful". The Schumacher Lectures take place in Bristol today under the general title of "Global Conflict or Human Scale Development." The main speakers will be Michael Meacher MP, Ann Pettifor of the New Economics Foundation and Peter Russel, cosmologist and author. For information or to book a place contact: Schumacher UK, CREATE Environmental Centre, Smeaton Road, Bristol BS1 6XN or ring 0117 903 1081 or e-mail admin@schumacher.org.uk or visit www.schumacher.org.uk

Sunday 26th October

Lord, we are all yours - conceived in your mind long ages ago, brought to birth through the patience of evolution, redeemed by the love of Jesus. Help us to realize the neighbourliness of creation. Forgive us our desire to exploit and destroy. Bring us to new horizons of kindness and service. Restore in us reverence for all your works, and teach to call you our Father, through Jesus, who is the pattern for us all. (Nigel Collinson)

Monday 27th October

Our Government predicts that a quarter of UK farms will have closed by 2005, forcing up to 50,000 farmers from the land. FARM is a group of campaigners with five key aims:
  • National food security through a domestic farming industry rather than foreign imports;
  • Profitable farming through fair "farm-gate" prices rather than government subsidies;
  • Diversity in farm type, size and system, which brings greater benefit to local communities than uniform large-scale agribusiness;
  • Farming which cares for the countryside, the soil and wildlife, with appropriate rewards for fulfilling that responsibility;
  • Farming offering opportunities to new entrants, through the existing EU scheme.
Some key facts:
1. 11 farmers go out of business every day;
2. 50 years ago farmers received about 50p. for every 1 spent on food. Now the average is 8p.
3. Dairy farmers receive an average of 17.5p. a litre for milk costing 18.22p. to produce, but which is sold for 60p.
4. Five supermarkets control 80% of all UK grocery sales - a monopoly termed "an arm-lock" by Tony Blair himself.
FARM has produced "Fair Price" stickers for the suggestion boxes of supermarkets obtainable at 1 for 120 from: FARM, PO Box 26904 London Sw10 OYX, or ring 0207 352 7928 or visit www.farm.org.uk

Tuesday 28th October

Although there is no official admission that depleted uranium (DU) weapons have been used in Afghanistan, Dr. Durakovic of Canada's Uranium Medical Research Center has found an average of 315 nanograms of uranium per litre in the urine of 17 randomly-selected patients from Nangarhar province - 26 times higher than the US maximum permissible. Another study, of 25 urine samples taken over a wider area, has confirmed these findings. The URMC quotes individual monitors of the war in Afghanistan: "Independent monitoring of the weapon types and delivery systems indicates that radioactive, toxic uranium alloys and hard-target uranium warheads were used by the coalition forces." Dr.Durakovic comments: "Afghans, troops and aid agency staff then and now are at high risk of developing cancers and passing on that risk to their descendants for many generations."

Wednesday 29th October

It has long been known that putting plants into offices increases productivity and staff morale. Now Professor Tove of Oslo's University of Agriculture has found that plants increase office workers' concentration levels by 33%, reduces headaches by 45%, dry throats and coughs by 33% and colds and running noses by 11%.

He explains that soil and plants' leaves both absorb chemicals in the air. These are broken down by the roots into food for the plants. A similar process allows plants to control humidity, resulting in less colds and sore throats. The best plants to install are those which require a lot of watering and have large leaf areas. Examples are: Boston fern, Gerbera, dwarf date palm, "Janet Craig" and devil's ivy.

Thursday 30th October

Astronomer Jenik Hollen has persuaded the Czech Parliament to pass the first-ever national law limiting light pollution, ostensibly to reduce power bills and to put the country at the leading edge of environmental reform. Now he writes:
    "In every village 40 years ago, at the central open space, teenagers could experience a touch of eternity most clear evenings. Seeing the stars above moves people to think about love rather than about damaging the nearest car or street light. I perceive rising crime as an inevitable outcome of seldom or never seeing the heavens (to which all church towers point), each new generation being more deprived than the last of the beauty and grandeur of the cosmos. Lit-up urbanized areas are like prisons: seeing the stars is an often-mentioned wish of prisoners. Let's return this vital drug, the starry skies, to humankind."

Friday 31st October

Tomorrow at the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, Christian Ecology Link holds its annual meeting on the theme "Sowing the Seed". The Bishop of Liverpool gives the keynote address on "Earthing the Gospel" and there are numerous workshops and training sessions. For details write to CEL at 3 Bond Street, Lancaster LA1 3ER or ring 01524 36241 or e-mail info@christian-ecology.org.uk or visit www.christian-ecology.org.uk


BBC Wildlife
Living Earth
Positive News
WWF News

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 © 2003-2007 Philip Clarkson Webb and Christian Ecology Link     http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk     email: CEL
Home   What's on?    Ideas    About CEL    Membership    Resources    Sustainable transport    Magazine    Links    GMOs    Prayer guide    ChurchLink    News    New on Website    Sitemap