“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it only leads to evil.
For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” (Psalm 37.7-9)
“The touch of Christ is on creation and his purpose is moulded into it.
If you could split open creation, you would find imprinted into it like a
watermark ‘Made by Him and for Him'. If it doesn't work for Him,
it works towards its own ruin.” (Selwyn Hughes)
A comment on Katrina: “ America is a wounded giant and one which is clearly smarting from supposed international indifference to its fate. It has never taken kindly to lectures and now is the worst time to start. Urgency without agency is useless. If all we're doing is scaring people, we won't be winning hearts and minds. The trick is to engage them in shared endeavour, to start from where they are, not from where we would like them to be. Despite its panic over oil supplies, America is well placed to lead the shift to a carbon-free future. It has the natural and financial capital needed, it has the business culture to seize opportunities for investment and – after Katrina – it has more incentive to do so than ever before.” (Martin Wright)
Saturday 1 st October.
Today sees important meetings in London , Andover and Southwell:
“A Christian Framework for Sustainability” is the title of a day conference of Christians in Science, the Victoria Institute and the John Ray Institute at St. Paul 's Church, Robert Adam Street , London W.1. Speakers include Sir Ghillean Prance, Brian Heap, Dave Bookless and Sir John Houghton. For details ring 01732 464253 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Growing Green” is a CEL conference at the URC Church, Andover, for Christians who want to help the church care more for the Earth, with various workshops including one for young people, discussions and time for meeting other like-minded people. For more information and to book (essential) ring 023 9242 2129 or 01264 357667 or visit: www.christian-ecology.org.uk
Southwell Minster is the venue for a Parish Pump Workshop with the Conservation Foundation on “Should Christianity affect my shopping?” It includes talks and workshops on environmental and ethical issues in producing food today. Details from the Social Responsibility Office tel. 01636 871246 or email: email@example.com
Sunday 2 nd October.
Lord Jesus, you have called us to be your witnesses on earth. Help us to proclaim, by word and deed, the message of your love to all humankind, and to declare your lordship over all creation and our responsibility as your stewards.
Monday 3 rd October.
Since the first recorded traffic accident, cars have claimed 30 million lives. The WHO estimates that 1.2 million people die on roads each year – similar to total fatalities caused by malaria. Environmental improvements in car design have been nullified by the fact that more people want bigger, faster and off-road cars. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists: “Two decades of fuel-saving technologies that could have helped curb CO 2 emissions have instead gone into increasing vehicle weight and performance.” In Europe 6 billion euros were spent on car advertising in 2000 alone. According to Andrew Simms in his book “Ecological Debt: the Health of the Planet & the Wealth of Nations” – “The messages used by the car industry exploit our fears with breathtaking hypocrisy and occupy our dreams like an invading army. They all work to maintain the car in its uniquely privileged and heavily subsidised position.”
Tuesday 4 th October.
In the 1990s crude oil was half the price of wheat; now it's four times as expensive. So Wessex Grain has launched its Green Spirit Fuels initiative and obtained planning permission for a bioethanol plant capable of processing 330,000 tonnes of wheat a year, with by-products such as high-protein cattle feed. The EU Biofuels Directive aims to cut oil consumption by setting a target for biofuels which, by 2010, amounts to 1.1 million tonnes of ethanol a year. Britain has an annual wheat surplus of about 3.5 million tonnes, which is currently exported to Spain to produce bioethanol there. Somerset County Council, Avon & Somerset police and Wessex Water all plan to run Ford Focus flexi-fuel models on 85% ethanol, so the market is there.
Wednesday 5 th October.
Governor Schwarzenegger of California has endorsed an 80% mandatory cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, so Californians are likely to be the first to benefit from cars run on electricity from fuel cells. The most efficient way of producing electricity from hydrogen is by reverse electrolysis, which combines hydrogen and oxygen to form water vapour, heat and electricity. However, storage of solid-state hydrogen on vehicles adds considerably to their weight, but Johnson Matthey, pioneers in the technology, believe the use of specially-treated magnesium hydride can resolve the problem. Hydrogen is generated by a process which converts methane into hydrogen and carbon monoxide by reaction with steam over a catalyst. The challenge now is to produce hydrogen by using renewable electricity to electrolyse water or from renewable resources such as biomatter.
Thursday 6 th October.
Today at 6.30 pm the St. Francis of Assisi lecture will be delivered by the Bishop of London, Dr. Richard Chartres, on issues of environmental concern to the churches. The venue: St. Mary Woolnoth Church, Lombard Street, London E.C.3. Entry is free. For further details ring Chris Brice on 020 7932 1121 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 7 th October.
SODIS (solar water disinfection) is a method endorsed by the World Health Organisation for providing clean water to the world's poor. Simply put unsafe water in a plastic bottle, shake it up, put it on a corrugated metal sheet in the sun for a few hours and . . . drink it! SODIS was devised by the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science in 1991 and is now used by around 1 million people in 20 countries. According to research done by Dr. Kevin McGuigan MRCS, it is highly effective against pathogens responsible for cholera, typhoid, bacillary dysentery, gastroenteritis, polio and gardia. However, the water needs to be filtered before treatment and SODIS does not remove chemical contamination. In a SODIS pilot project in Cambodia, Ryan Sinclair of the Adventist Development Relief Agency found that the incidence of diarrhoea fell by 80% in the first month of the launch. Ryan drank only SODIS water during the year of the project. For more, visit www.sodis.ch
Saturday 8 th October.
“Refugees and the Environment” is the subject of a Forum Day at the Church of the Holy Apostles, 47 Cumberland Street, Pimlico, London SW1V 4LY in order to share insights on the global environmental crisis and its role in forcing individuals to flee their homes. Among the workshops, CEL will be running one on “Working for change – Challenging our lives – Environmental awareness in the UK”. A poster and booking form can be downloaded from: www.christian-ecology.org.uk
Sunday 9 th October.
Holy God, if the world insists that the weak need the strong,
Remind us that in your kingdom the strong also need the weak.
If the world tells us that the fate of the poor must be dictated by the rich,
Remind us that in your kingdom the rich are transformed by the poor.
If the world declares that peace is made by violence,
Remind us that in your kingdom peace joins hands with justice.
If the world believes that there is nothing more to hope for,
Remind us that your kingdom is built by those who expect their God to come.
Monday 10 th October.
Providing clean water and sewage systems for the world would cost $37 billion a year; eradicating illiteracy $5 billion; providing immunisation for every child in the developing world 43 billion. Yet every hour the world spends more than $100 million on soldiers, weapons and ammunition. That's $876 billion a year – nearly enough to provide the above benefits nearly twenty times over. When will we re-learn our priorities?
Tuesday 11 th October.
“The End of Oil” is the title of a day conference on Peak Oil, Food, the Economy and Climate Change, held today at The Insurance Hall, London EC2. speakers include: Michael Meacher MP, Chris Skrebowski (editor of Petroleum Review), Tim Lang of the City University, Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation and Richard Douthwaite, author of “When the Wells Run Dry”. For more information write to Matt Taylor, CRed, UEA, Norwich NR4 7TJ or call 01603 592 838 or visit: www.eafl.org.uk
Wednesday 12 th October.
Each of the four issues discussed at the above conference – peak oil, climate change, food production and the economy – point in the same direction, i.e. a more decentralized economy, greatly reduced transport of people and goods, a degree of de-urbanisation and much more thoughtful use of energy and materials. How far in these directions do we need to go? Are we talking about a return to the Stone Age, to the 1950s or the 1970s? Can we assume that the choices made by humankind will be aimed at a fair and decent standard of living for all the world's people? Or are we facing what Richard Heinberg calls “Last One Standing”, a situation where countries fight each other for the last remaining reserves? Christians above all need to begin prayerfully to consider and plan for the future.
Thursday 13 th October.
An issue which has been scarcely mentioned in the current debates is that of population growth, which is projected to grow to a peak of 9 billion by 2050. Yet, as Colin Tudge shows in his book “So Shall We Reap”, most of the land suitable for agriculture is already under cultivation, and the resource is actually shrinking because of soil erosion, salinisation and deforestation. He concludes that food production should move towards agroforestry, i.e. intercropping trees for fruit and fuel with arable crops, in order to build soil fertility, reverse soil erosion and reduce pest problems. “If we are to feed the world in these circumstances, we need to be less greedy. The world can probably grow enough to meet our basic nutritional needs, but we will need to stop overconsuming and, in particular, we will need to eat a lot less meat.”
Friday 14 th October.
At 7.30 pm in Clifton Cathedral, Bristol, Mary Colwell, a producer at the BBC's Natural History Unit, will give a talk entitled “The Pope and the Iceberg”. It will illustrate why the environment should be at the heart of Catholic teaching and action. Film from the unit's archive will be projected onto the walls of the Cathedral. The talk will challenge the church to put ecological thinking back into the heart of faith. Entry is free. For more details visit: www.cliftondiocese.com
Saturday 15 th October.
“Green and Pleasant” is the title of Parish Pump Workshops taking place yesterday and today as part of Northamptonshire faith groups' contribution to sustainable communities.
Programme for Friday 14 th : Sustainable Communities working with Local Authorities. Venue: Bouverie Court, The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton. 10-1.
Programme for Saturday 15 th : Environmental Issues – scale and priority for faith groups. Venue: St. Mary's Church, Peterborough. 10-1.
For bookings ring 01604 887000 or email: email@example.com
Sunday 16 th October.
We dare to imagine a world where hunger has no chance to show its face.
We dare to dream of a world where war and terror are afraid to leave their mark.
We long to believe in a world of hope unchained and lives unfettered.
We dare to share in the creation of a world where your people break free.
Dare we open our minds to difference?
Dare we open our lives to change?
May your kingdom come, O Lord. May your will be done. Amen.
Monday 17 th October.
A new house at Eyemouth owned by Berwickshire Housing Association is the first site in Britain for a 12-month trial of a combined heat and power system based on hydrogen fuel-cell power. The technology, developed by Hamburg-based European Fuel Cells, produces 1.5 kW of electricity and 18 kW thermal output – enough to supply all the heat and 75% of the electricity needed year-round for a 4-bedroomed house. The fuel cells are low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane type, using hydrogen extracted from methane to react with oxygen in the air, in order to generate electricity and heat. The Aberdeen-based firm of siGEN is running the trial and stresses the importance of establishing the necessary skills and service base for these new technologies as they become more widely available. For more information ring siGEN on 01224 715568 or visit: www.sigen.co.uk
Tuesday 18 th October.
“Green Moves” is the first UK website dedicated to promoting the sale of ecological homes and building plots with an environmental sensibility. Backed by Jonathon Porritt and Kevin McCloud of Channel 4's Grand Designs, it will advertise only properties built or refurbished according to the Building Research Establishment's Eco Homes Standard, or plots that dictate those standards within the planning permission. Advertisers will need to answer key questions about the property, and supply pictures or plans of rooms. Energy used in residential buildings accounts for 30% of UK energy consumption. “Green Moves” aims to make it easier for people to buy or sell eco-homes. Contacts: Green Moves UK Ltd., 1 Townsend, North Perrott, Crewkerne, Somerset TA17 7SR. Tel. 01460 77155. Website: www.greenmoves.com
Wednesday 19 th October.
Bill Dunster, architect of the BedZed development in London, has designed a self-build kit home in response to a competition for a sustainable and affordable solution to Cornwall's housing problem. Built from materials that include recycled and local products, the house has foundations made from reclaimed concrete railway sleepers, micro wind turbines, a heat-exchanging cowl and a roof covering of West Country-grown stonecrop to reduce rainfall run-off and maximise wildlife habitat. With timber weatherboarding, timber windows and natural lime rendering, most of the homes' demand for heat and power can be met from renewable energy sources. The so-called RuralZed house is being built in various locations in Cornwall at a cost of about £85,000. Said Bill Dunster: “What we are trying to do is to demystify the construction process by showing people how they can live high quality lives with integrated conservation techniques and avoiding the use of fossil fuels.” Contact: Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust, Eden's Watering Lane Nursery, Lobb's Shop, St Austell PL26 6BE. Tel. 01726 68654.
Thursday 20 th October.
A co-housing development of 35 houses and flats, each of 4-5 bedroomed units, grouped around a communal house, is being built on the outskirts of Stroud, with assistance from the Centre for Alternative Technology. Car parking is kept to the periphery. The timber-framed houses are built with “green” materials; PV roof tiles on every house produce communal electricity, with any excess being sold to the grid. Co-housing involves communal spaces, childcare opportunities, an option to share meals and a group decision-making process – all helping to develop relationships, combat alienation and prevent isolation. Resources are used more efficiently by sharing equipment and making better use of living space. Contacts: UK Co-housing network website: www.cohousing.org.uk and Springhill Co-housing Community website:www.springhillcohousing.com/
Friday 21 st October.
Last year the London Borough of Merton became the first council in Britain to introduce a planning requirement for renewable energy: every development over 1,000 sq. metres must generate at least 10% of its power from renewable sources. The aim: to drive up environmental standards in construction and make Merton more attractive to new business. Now other London boroughs have followed suit and Ken Livingstone has included the policy in the London Energy Strategy. Merton has been named as London's top performing planning department, with only 11% of its decisions overturned by the Planning Inspectorate compared to a London average of 30%.
Saturday 22 nd October.
Oxford leads the country in reducing demand for road space from car users. Through park-and-ride schemes, road closures, priority bus lanes and other measures, car use was reduced by 15% between 1992 and 2002 while bus use increased by 80% over the same period.
In many European cities, private cars are banned from the main corridor into the city, but free public transport is available – for example, a tram every 5 minutes from early morning to late at night. The higher quality of life this offers would inevitably lead residents on other transport corridors to demand the same measures. Thus a virtuous spiral would begin, resulting in safer streets, quieter living, healthier air and more active children.
Sunday 23 rd October.
Protect us, O Lord, from thoughts without action,
Guard us, O Lord, from words without feelings,
Defend us, O Lord, from ideas without results,
And surround us with your Presence. Amen. (David Adam)
Monday 24 th October.
Jonathon Porritt in his new book “Capitalism as if the world matters” asks: Is there any variant of capitalism that could ever deliver a genuinely sustainable economy? Can today's model of capitalism really be transformed? Can today's multinationals really become forces for good in the face of the threats we all face?
His answers are, briefly:
There is nothing about capitalism that makes it incapable of delivering a sustainable economy. It is a malleable social construct, bending its ephemeral form to perform the functions required to meet society's desires.
Rather than telling people that the ecological crisis makes change necessary, whether we like it or not, we should be pointing out that living more sustainably means living happier, more balanced and more fulfilled lives than most of us “choose” to live today.
The imperative of living sustainably plus the desirability of improving net human happiness provides today's wealth creators with a menu of profitable opportunities at least as seductive as anything on offer in today's unsustainable, inequitable and immoral capitalist economy.
Tuesday 25 th October.
Residential customers use roughly 70% of the public water supply, averaging 155 litres per person per day, compared with 110 litres back in the 1970s. As climate change makes water supplies less predictable, our changing habits have made us more prodigal. Water companies have to offer free water meters to residential customers, but the vast majority ignore the offer. Yet the increased awareness that comes with a water meter typically reduces consumption by 10%. The brick in the cistern can help further. As for businesses, the Big Splash initiative of government-supported Envirowise has saved businesses over £1.75 million in its first year, and more than 2 million cu. metres of water, through best practice advice, site visits and measurement tools. Headland Foods, a manufacturer of 2 million frozen ready meals a week, is a winner of a Big Splash award. It has reduced its use of water and effluent by a quarter, with savings of ten times the cost of implementation. Its next step is to explore food-cooling processes that don't use water.
Wednesday 26 th October.
Most people think that carbon-offsetting means planting trees. Not so, says Climate Care. “It's better to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases rather than trying to ‘soak them up'. That's why we focus on sustainable energy projects.” Examples of carbon-offset projects in the past year include:
Introducing efficient cooking stoves in some of the poorest communities in Honduras;
Reducing deforestation in key tiger habitat;
Enabling schoolchildren to boost energy efficiency in their communities.
It's good that the Government has taken up carbon-offsetting for the carbon impact of its air travel and is encouraging holidaymakers to do the same. Website: www.climatecare.org or ring Nicola Scholfield on 01895 207015.
Thursday 27 th October. The Environment Minister, Elliott Morley, has claimed that there is no evidence that a tax on aviation would work. His claim follows a report by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research which finds that householders, motorists and businesses would have to reduce their CO 2 emissions to zero if the Government were to include aircraft emissions in its targets for greenhouse gas reductions.
FoE comments: “Elliott Morley is mistaken. The Department of Transport's own forecasts on aviation growth show dramatic reductions in the growth of air travel when fuel tax and VAT are charged. Only this week the Swedish Government announced a tax on aviation to reduce its environmental impact. Aviation is a rogue sector and its environmental impact is out of control.”
Friday 28 th October.
A conventional wind turbine can only heat your domestic water, but Windsave's Plug'n'Save is designed to condition the energy so that it can be supplied directly to a domestic ring main, greatly reducing the need to draw electricity from the grid. British Gas is promoting Plug'n'Save to its 16 million customers and there is now a full order book for next year. The complete unit costs £1,500, of which a third is expected to be covered by the Government's Clear Skies grant scheme. The saving on bought-in energy should give customers a 5-year payback period on their outlay, and each unit saves half a tonne of CO 2 every year. Planning consent could be a problem under current rules, but a Private Member's Bill is being introduced to allow installation without planning permission. For more information visit: www.windsave.com
Saturday 29 th October.
Today's Bristol Schumacher Lectures are on the theme of “Shaping Our Future”. The speakers are:
Jakob von Uexkull, President of the World Future Council, on “Building Moral Power”, Mary-Jayne Rust, a practicing Jungian analyst, on “Psychology for a Change” and Tim Smit of the Eden Project on “Eating From The Tree Of Knowledge”. For information and tickets, ring 0117 903 1081 or email: s firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 30 th October.
Creator Lord, we thank you for the mystery and marvel of your universe, and for our place in it. We thank you for those in the past who have created beauty, fruitfulness and order out of the world you have made for us. We pray for this generation now living, that we may hand on to our successors a world better for our having lived in it. Amen.
Monday 31 st October.
The Government's Climate Change Programme is due for publication next month, followed by the Long-term Energy Review which will cover security of supply issues, including nuclear options. Publication of Sustainable Action Plans by every Government department is due by the end of the year. Pray that all these initiatives may rise fully to the challenge of meeting the twin dangers now facing our world: Climate Change and Energy Depletion.
Sources: Green Futures
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