"This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
'You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and beauty. . .
You were blameless in all your ways from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence, and you sinned. . .
By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your
sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were
watching.'" (Ezekiel 28. 12,13,15 & 18)
"The human community and the natural world will
go into the future
as a single sacred community or both will perish in the desert."
Thursday 1st April
In 1994 Mexico joined the North America Free Trade Area (NAFTA) on
the promise that thousands of US companies would re-locate permanently
to Mexico, heralding a period of sustained economic growth. Last December
the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published a report
which concluded: "The agricultural sector, where almost a fifth
of Mexicans still work, has lost 1.3 million jobs since 1994. Real
wages for most Mexicans today are lower than when NAFTA took effect
. . There has been a dramatic rise in the number of migrants to the
US, despite an unprecedented increase in border control measures .
. Mexico's most vulnerable citizens have faced a maelstrom of change
beyond their capacity, or that of their government, to control."
In effect, Mexico has been plundered for the benefit of its powerful
neighbour. Now many of the US companies that set up assembly plants
in Mexico have moved to China, where industrial workers earn even
Friday 2nd April
Panchayats are India's elected village authorities. In Plachimada,
Kerala, Coca-Cola has a bottling plant which extracts up to 600,000
litres of groundwater a day in order to clean its bottles and make
drinks. A year ago the local Panchayat decided not to renew Coca-Cola's
licence "as the company was causing a shortage of drinking water
through over-exploitation of groundwater resources." Tests showed
that waste from the factory, billed as "free fertiliser"
was contaminated with cadmium and lead. Coca-Cola appealed to the
Kerala High Court, which ordered it to close its boreholes and stop
drawing groundwater. Coca-Cola has made a further appeal calling for
a 5-year programme to assess the environmental and health impacts
of its operations. Velur Swaminathan, convenor of the local committee,
said "If another company takes its place, we will fight them
too. Coca-Cola is doing this in other countries around the world and
we must stand in solidarity with them."
Saturday 3rd April
Today at Coventry Cathedral there is a Parish Pump Workshop to look
at environmental issues of concern and how individuals can help meet
the targets set out at the Johannesburg Summit in 2002. The speakers
include Alan Gear (former Chief Executive of Ryton organic Gardens),
Claire Foster of the Church of England Community & Public Affairs
Committee, and David Shreeve of the Conservation Foundation. For details
ring John Hall of Coventry Diocese on 024 7671 0500 or Jo Rathbone
on 024 7667 8735. Cost for the day: £5.
Sunday 4th April
Lord, grant that all who contend for the faith may never injure it
by clamour and impatience, but that, speaking your precious truth
in love, they may present it that it may be loved, and that men may
see in it your truth and beauty. (William Bright)
Monday 5th April
NAFTA & WTO provisions have several times been invoked by corporations
to challenge governmental actions over water services:
" US-based Sun Belt Water sued the Canadian Government for $10
billion because British Columbia had vetoed its plans to export local
water to California. Sun Belt claimed that the veto expropriated its
" Multinational water company Vivendi sued the Argentinian Government
for $300 million when a water privatisation deal went sour. Vivendi
claimed its investor rights were infringed by public health orders,
service obligations and rate regulations.
" Bechtel, a US-based multinational, demanded $25 million from
the Bolivian Government for cancelling the privatisation of water
services in the city of Cochabamba when the local population reacted
with fury to unaffordable water rate rises imposed by the corporation.
The World Bank encourages governments to sell off water utilities
to reduce their public debts. Fortune magazine predicts that "water
promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th."
Tuesday 6th April
The Blue Planet Project in 2002 launched a draft treaty which stated:
"The Earth's fresh water supply is a global commons, to be protected
and nurtured by all peoples, communities and governments of all levels.
Fresh water will not be allowed to be privatised, commodified, traded
or exported for commercial purposes and must immediately be exempted
from all existing and future international and bilateral trade and
investment agreements." The 4th World Water Forum is scheduled
for March 2006 in Montreal. Blue Planet is working with like-minded
groups to enlist the support of delegates who share the view that
water is part of the global commons and wish to see the adoption of
a Water Commons Treaty. For further information visit www.blueplanetproject.net
or email: email@example.com
Wednesday 7th April
The collapse of the WTO negotiations at Cancun last September provides
an opportunity to restructure the WTO so as to address the twin problems
of poverty and environmental destruction. Up to thirty Multilateral
Environmental Agreements (MEAs) ranging from the Convention on Climate
Change to the Montreal Protocol and CITES are in potential conflict
with WTO rules that recognize no restraints on trade on social, environmental
or health grounds. If the WTO were to recognize that MEAs cannot be
overruled, then clearer goals could be set for the WTO which would
recognize the primacy of environmental protection and poverty reduction
alongside trade issues. Pray for this to happen.
Thursday 8th April
The Global Commons Institute, led by Aubrey Meyer, has long proposed
a plan called "Contraction and Convergence" to meet the
threat of climate change. It has been endorsed by the Royal Commission
on Environmental Pollution, the World Council of Churches and several
African states. Under it, everyone would have the right to emit the
same amount of carbon dioxide. Each nation would be set quotas based
on population size, adding up to a figure that the world's climate
could tolerate. A deadline of 2050 would be set for convergence. Meanwhile
quotas could be bought and sold on an international market. An essential
first step is to bring into force the Kyoto Protocol. Then nations
could start negotiating bigger cuts in emissions, leading to equilibrium
by 2050. The booklet "Contraction and Convergence" can be
ordered from the Schumacher Office on 0117 903 1081.
Friday 9th April. Good Friday
Lord Jesus, as we dwell on your great love for humankind in treading
the path of the Cross for our sakes, help us to take up our own crosses
in the struggle to protect your beautiful world. Give us strength
of purpose and the courage to go on, even when the path ahead seems
beset with difficulties.
Saturday 10th April
"In order to live, we must daily break the body and shed the
blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skilfully
and reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily
and destructively, it is a desecration. In such a desecration we condemn
ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want."
(Wendell Berry in "The Gift of Good Land")
Lord, you have given us this beautiful world with the ability to
harvest its products for our nourishment. Yet in our greed we have
been robbing future generations, poisoning your world and destroying
many of your creatures. Help us to realize that we interfere with
your world at our peril. It is our hand, not ours, that rules this
world and we are here as your stewards.
Sunday 11th April. Easter Day
Loving Father, we thank you for the love of your Son Jesus Christ
who gave his life for us on the Cross. We thank you that by his death
he has destroyed the power of death and won for us the hope of everlasting
life. We praise and bless you that he is with us always and that nothing
in life or death can separate us from him.
Monday 12th April
The government has proposed 15 large offshore wind farms to meet its
target of deriving 20% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Opponents of these plans argue that we are custodians of the landscape
for future generations, hence it is our duty to fight them. Denmark
already gets 21% of its electricity from wind energy and many of its
wind farms are owned by the community. Yet neither renewable energy
nor energy efficiency can keep up with increasing consumer demand.
According to Dave Elliott in the Schumacher Briefing "A Solar
"If we don't like using fossil fuels because of climate change,
don't want to go nuclear because of its risks, and don't want wind
power because of its visual intrusion, then we are going to have to
think about our lifestyle - whether we really need a dishwasher, tumbledryer,
plasma TV and SUV."
Tuesday 13th April
The Bank of Scotland estimates that £9 billion of investment
will be required, primarily in wind farms, in order to achieve the
Government's target of 15% of electricity generated from renewables
by 2015. Yet the banks still fear that the terms of Renewable Obligation
Certificates (ROCs) (which require electricity companies to source
a proportion of their electricity from renewables) may be changed,
so putting at risk their long-term investment. What is required, it
is said, is:
" A decision on the future of nuclear power;
" The introduction of a rolling ROC scheme whereby the buy-out
price will be fixed for 10-15 years;
" A guarantee that priority will be given to electricity produced
from renewable sources.
Wednesday 14th April
A study commissioned by FoE has calculated that between 1882 and 2002
ExxonMobil and its predecessors have contributed 20.5 billion tonnes
of carbon emissions - about 5% of the world total. After the 1996
report of the International Panel for Climate Change, which found
a discernible human influence on climate change, ExxonMobil increased
its production of fossil fuels to record levels. FoE calls on ExxonMobil:
" To state publicly that evidence presented to the IPCC demonstrates
that man-made climate change is happening and that burning fossil
fuels is the major cause;
" To support the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, including
the mandatory cuts on carbon emissions;
" To assess its liability for damage caused by climate change
and to set aside a fund to meet claims;
" To stop funding organizations that undermine the consensus
that burning fossil fuels is the major cause of man-made climate change
and that seek to prevent action to cut emissions.
Thursday 15th April
The Government's Energy Bill will establish a new Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority to take over the assets of British Nuclear Fuels, including
Sellafield and the Magnox nuclear power stations, and to put nuclear
clean-up on the fast track. But the manufacture of plutonium will
continue at Sellafield and BNFL retains ownership of Westinghouse
- the company which owns the AP1000 reactor design, a design which
could be used to build new nuclear reactors. So, despite the new emphasis
on clean-up and decommissioning, the option remains that Britain could
embark on a new nuclear building programme.
Friday 16th April
According to the International Energy Agency, China's electricity
consumption has doubled in 10 years and is likely to quadruple by
2020. 80% of its energy is generated from coal, posing a major climate
problem. With its huge wind resources, especially in Mongolia and
along its 3000 km. coastline, China has put out tenders for 2,000
MW of onshore wind capacity and has guaranteed long-term prices to
the lowest tendered bid. Greenpeace China is encouraging the authorities
to shift away from coal generation to clean and safe wind power.
Saturday 17th April
Environmental pressures, chiefly desertification, have caused the
abandonment of 4,000 villages in the Chinese province of Gansu, while
in Iran thousands of villages have been abandoned because of spreading
deserts and lack of water. Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, where the
water table is falling by 6 metres a year, is forecast by the World
Bank to exhaust its remaining water supply by 2010. Quetta, capital
of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, depends entirely on 2,000 wells
pumping water from a non-renewable aquifer and is expected to exhaust
its supply by 2010. According to Lester Brown of the Earth Policy
Institute, the refugee flows caused by falling water tables and expanding
deserts are just beginning. How large these flows become remains to
Sunday 18th April
God our Father, prayer is a mystery. We do not understand how
it works or how our feeble petitions reach you. But we know that Jesus
prayed and opened the way into your presence. Help us to follow his
example and teaching, and to learn to pray more naturally, more readily
and more often, and always in his Name. (Llewellyn
Monday 19th April
Farmers have been slow to recognize that land can deliver a whole
range of goods and services, not just agricultural crops and products.
Forum for the Future believes that more farmers could grow energy
crops for biomass power stations or feedstocks for liquid biofuels.
They could work with local authorities, water companies and industry
to turn biodegradeable waste into a valuable soil restorer, and they
could help combat climate change by sequestering carbon in soils and
by growing trees. The Forum's Rural Economy Programme is working with
farmers and landowners to identify the opportunities and to help overcome
obstacles to scaling up good practices. For more information ring
Rupert Howes on 020 7324 3605 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 20th April
Doug Wanstall, an Ashford farmer, sidetracked the supermarkets by
selling his Freedom Food-accredited eggs direct to premium clients
in London. Then came the congestion charge, with a £3,000 a
year penalty. Now he converts his customers' cooking oil to biodiesel,
which he uses in his vehicles, so cutting fuel duty by 20p. a litre.
"I often wonder where we'd be now if we hadn't started marketing
our products ourselves. From that we developed into wholesaling -
and now we're a fuel producer."
Paul Redmore runs an organic chicken business. The 9 litres of water
required for each bird at slaughter-time had to be tankered off site
at a cost of £64,000 a year - until he built a reedbed filtration
system. Now the solids are removed for incineration while the remaining
water flows into a series of reedbeds, where bacteria clean it up,
and release it into a lake - so providing a clean swimming area for
the Redmore family. Finally the water seeps back into the aquifer,
ready for further use.
Wednesday 21st April
The village of Marton near Salisbury has one of Britain's 40-50 Community
Supported Agriculture (CSA) schemes. The community purchased a plot
of land to keep members in seasonal vegetables, plus a slaughterhouse
so that they can eat meat from local farmers' livestock. In the USA,
where every state imports 85-90% of its food, the food arrives in
the supermarket waxed, coloured, irradiated, fumigated and packaged,
having lost much of its taste , quality and vitamin content. CSA schemes
there ask members to contribute towards seeds, fertilizers, water
and equipment; in return, they get cut-price, fresh seasonal weekly
produce. The Soil Association's Cultivating Communities programme
is helping to set up about 80 such schemes. For details visit the
website: www.cuco.org.uk or ring 0117 987 4608.
Thursday 22nd April
The forests of British Columbia have been under great pressure from
loggers. Now loggers and environmentalists have come together to protect
the most sensitive parts of the Great Bear Rainforest, while exploiting
the rest on a sustainable basis under a new method called Ecosystem-based
Management. Meanwhile a new forestry company, Iisaak Forest Resources
- run by indigenous peoples - is an FSC-certified firm which operates
in Clayoquot Sound under three principles:
" Respect for First Nations' traditional knowledge
" Promotion of sustainable economic development involving local
" Protection of the ecological integrity of Clayoquot Sound.
Friday 23rd April
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification now covers 40 million
hectares of forest worldwide. Producer groups and buyer groups (such
as B & Q and Homebase) now form a world network of over 500 companies.
Meanwhile FSC is making certification more accessible and reducing
the administrative burden on wood processers taking in both certified
and uncertified timber. A new World Bank initiative aims to see 200
million hectares of forest certified by 2005.
Saturday 24th April
Over 23% of the global fisheries catch is thrown back in the sea dead.
It is estimated that 10,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed each
year in nets in the Channel, Bay of Biscay and Celtic Sea. Last year
the European Commission launched a proposal to reduce cetacean bycatch
mainly by the use of "pingers". Greenpeace proposes additional
measures, including compulsory monitoring to assess bycatch in all
the fisheries that pose a threat to cetaceans.
Sunday 25th April
Lord of Creation, the life we possess is your gift. Teach us to value
it and to use it wisely and responsibly, for we have but one life
to live, one life in which to serve your Church, to advance your Kingdom
and to be of help to others. Show us your purposes for our life, and
fire us to act.
Monday 26th April
Every year 20,000 tonnes of "marine litter" is dumped in
the North Sea. Now seven environmental organizations from Sweden,
Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK and Norway have formed a "Save
the North Sea" alliance. "It's not just an environmental
problem with fish getting caught in stray nets or birds eating plastic"
said a spokesperson. "It's an economic problem for all the fishermen
whose propellers get damaged and have to spend hours removing litter
from their nets." Since the campaign was launched last year,
boats have brought back for safe disposal 210 tonnes of mainly plastic
litter and discarded nets. Now teachers from all five countries are
to meet this May in Eco Schools, timed to coincide with the launch
of the Individual Blue Flag scheme for leisure boat owners who pledge
to keep the sea cleaner and safer by, for example, using safe paints,
not dumping litter and not employing illegal fishing practices. For
further details visit www.savethenorthsea.com
Tuesday 27th April
From next August, under an EU directive, all cast-off computers and
waste electric and electronic equipment must get the 100% reuse or
recycle treatment. London-based refurbishers Maxitech Biz recondition
equipment wherever possible and provide the products at low cost,
on a not-for-profit basis, to charities and individuals with low incomes,
start-up businesses etc. All data is wiped from disks with security-tested
tools and any equipment that cannot be reused is dismantled for parts
and the rest disposed of in as environmentally-friendly a way as possible.
For more details ring Maxitech Biz on 0870 199 5010 or visit www.maxitech.biz
Wednesday 28th April
The construction industry accounts for 45% of the global flow of raw
materials. In Britain it consumes 70% of available timber. Our homes
produce 27% of UK emissions of carbon dioxide. Now HBOS, Britain's
biggest mortgage lender, has formed a partnership with WWF to encourage
housebuilders to build sustainability into their business strategies
and day-to-day operations. An annual survey of leading housebuilders
will monitor progress. The first survey, called "Building Towards
Sustainability" can be downloaded from www.wwf.org.uk
Thursday 29th April
Percy Schmeiser is a Canadian farmer who, despite refusing to grow
Monsanto's GM canola, was found to have his fields contaminated by
GM seed and was successfully sued by Monsanto for infringement of
their patent. Percy's appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada began
to be heard in January and a decision is still awaited. Monsanto claims
that by putting a gene into a seed they invented the seed. When the
seed becomes a plant, they invented the plant. Percy asks: "If
you put one gene into any seed, plant, animal or life-form - whether
it be bird, fish or human - does that say the corporation responsible
has invented that life-form? Can they invent a human being?"
For details visit percyschmeiser.com
Friday 30th April
Percy claims that, within 2 years after the introduction in 1996 of
GM canola, superweeds (weeds carrying Monsanto's mutant genes) had
become dominant and now pollute the entire western prairies. "All
our seeds are contaminated. We can no longer sell canola to the EU.
We have lost our markets all over the world." But, he says, the
greatest curse will be from prescription drug plants or "pharma
plants" now being developed to produce vaccines, industrial enzymes,
blood thinners, blood-clotting proteins, growth hormones and contraceptives.
What if somebody has had major surgery and they then eat food contaminated
with genes from a plant manufactured to be a blood thinner? Or what
about a pregnant woman who eats food contaminated by genes from a
plant manufactured as a contraceptive? "What kind of legacy do
we want to leave our children and grandchildren? A legacy of land,
food, water and air full of poisons - or one full of health and vitality?
My wife and I are in our seventies, but we are determined to spend
the rest of our lives, if necessary, protecting our human rights."
The Ecologist. Country Way.
Green Futures. Greenpeace Business.
Schumacher UK. WDM Action.