“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33.6)
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
But those who trust in idols, who say to images ‘You are our gods',
will be turned back in utter shame.” (Is. 42.16-17)
“God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also in trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” (Martin Luther)
Thursday 1 st February
“God does nothing without prayer – and everything with it”. (John Wesley)
Members of the Community of Prayer have dedicated themselves
To pray for God's creation and for ecological justice every Wednesday between 6 and 9 am or between 9 pm and midnight ;
To share prayers, poems and thoughts with others in the Community;
To use the daily CEL prayer guide.
Anyone can join the Community by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Chris Walton at Ringsfield Christian Eco-study Centre, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 8JR.
Friday 2 nd February
The Doomsday Clock, a warning of nuclear Armageddon first set in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947 at 7 minutes to midnight , was re-set last month at 5 minutes to midnight . The factors involved include:
The escalation of nuclear resources in less stable regions of the world – due partly to global warming and oil shortages;
Iran 's declaration of nuclear enrichment;
Israel 's assumed capacity for a pre-emptive nuclear strike;
The possibility that the expertise of Russian nuclear scientists will fall into terrorist hands.
Saturday 3 rd February
Today an open climate change conference takes place at the St. Mary's Community Centre, Bramall Lane , Sheffield , to give people a chance to have their say and discover practical steps to combat climate change locally and globally. To reserve a place or book a stall, email Rob Last at: email@example.com or ring 0114 2509180 / 2217284 / 2587073.
Sunday 4 th February
Father, we pray for all in authority, for heads of governments, for leaders in industry and financial institutions everywhere, that through them we can all learn to husband our God-given resources, so that all may enjoy the natural and spiritual blessings which you have bestowed on all your children, and that we may live together at peace, without contending over the finite resources which we all share.
Monday 5 th February
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has withdrawn its offer of a loan of $300 million towards the Sakhalin II gas pipeline project, in which Shell recently relinquished its majority share to the Russian state-owned company Gazprom. The NGO Central & Eastern European Bankwatch has welcomed the decision as a victory for the environment and has called on other banks to follow suit.
Tuesday 6 th February
The Government's Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) has sparked outrage among the majority of Britain 's manufacturers and installers of solar systems since it was announced that only seven of them would qualify for the Government's £50 million funding scheme. Of those seven, only three can apply for grants for charities. Of the three, only Filsol actually manufactures solar panels, whereas British Gas and LCP appear to have no experience in the field. Robert Kyriakides of Genersys, one of the UK's biggest manufacturers, comments: “I cannot see how the exclusion of so many solar thermal businesses can be positive for the sector in general: if the government wants to encourage the widespread use of solar thermals, then jeopardising the financial stability of a large number of related businesses is surely not the best approach. . . .
If the LCBP's ultimate goal is to encourage the use of solar thermal energy, then the government should be leading the battle for more market exposure and the encouragement of suppliers. Instead they seem determined to create an insular market dominated by those for whom solar energy is not a priority.”
Wednesday 7 th February
According to the Worldwatch Institute's 2007 State of the World report, half the world's population will be living in cities by 2008. Although cities cover only 0.4% of the earth's area, they generate almost all its carbon emissions. 1 billion of the world's 3 billion city dwellers live in slums with no access to clean water, sanitation or durable housing. The lack of clean water kills 1.6 million urban residents each year.
Yet the Oranji Pilot Project in Karachi has enabled thousands of locals in low-income households to bring good quality sewers to their homes, while a government programme in the Chinese city of Rizhao has brought solar water heaters to 99% of households in its central districts. A former governor of Brazil 's Parana State writes: “It is in our cities that we can make the most progress towards a more peaceful and balanced planet, so that we can look at an urban world with optimism instead of fear.”
Thursday 8 th February
Flooding of urban drains costs England around £270 million a year, but in a warming world this could rise to £5 billion within 75 years unless action is taken. DEFRA has launched fifteen pilot studies to look at ways of clarifying responsibility for protecting towns and cities against urban flooding. One proposal is to transfer all responsibility to the water companies, with customers paying for repairs and improvements through their water bills. Environment Minister Ian Pearson explained: “These 15 pilot studies will test new approaches to reduce the future impact of urban drainage flooding on people's lives and businesses. This will help us understand the problem of surface water flooding better and will help us consider how arrangements can be improved.”
Friday 9 th February
A report from the food and farming group SUSTAIN finds that Britain 's increasing thirst for bottled water (with sales 10% up in 2006) is not only financially and environmentally foolish, but may also damage our health. According to the Drinking Water Inspectorate, 99.9% of tap water passed stringent safety standards, while the remaining 0.04% was still safe to drink. Bottled water @ 95 p. a litre is 1,000 times more expensive than tap water. The French senate has advised people who drink bottled water to change brands frequently to avoid the build-up of harmful chemicals, such as the benzene found in Perrier water, the bromate found in Coca-Cola's Dasani and the naphthalene found by the BBC in Volvic in 1995. Bottles made of PET plastics contain low levels of antimony which, according to the report, could migrate into whatever it is in contact with. Some bottled water travels huge distances – some even from Fiji .
Saturday 10 th February
Plastic waste is a huge problem in India as elsewhere. Nagpur teacher Alka Zadgaonkar has, according to government inspectors, found a way to catalyse all types of plastic waste into fuel oil. The process, now patented, can use carrier bags, broken buckets, PVC pipes, CDs, computer keyboards, crisp packets and PET bottles. The process, which is non-hazardous to the environment, uses five tonnes of plastic waste a day to produce various types of fuel. The company – Unique Plastic Waste Management & Research Company – plans to scale up to 25 tonnes of plastic waste a day. For more information visit: www.goodnewsindia.com
Sunday 11 th February
Lord God, we pray for all who teach children about you, whether in church or in school. Give them honesty, sincerity and a love for you and for their pupils which will convey the good news of Jesus as strongly as the lessons they teach.
We pray, too, for young people growing up in an unstable and confusing world. Show them that your ways give meaning to life where the ways of the world give none – that following you is better than chasing after selfish and illusory goals. Help them to take failure not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you and to keep alive their joy in your creation. This we ask in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Monday 12 th February
Britain 's first Academy School specialising in green issues has opened in Liverpool . All seven classes in the St. Francis of Assisi Academy have been given a garden area with £1,000 to design and cultivate it. The buildings have a solar atrium to provide solar power and the outer walls are covered with water-absorbing plants. The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt. Rev. James Jones, has worked with Catholic authorities to encourage the green focus. If the scheme is successful, other green academies are sure to follow.
Tuesday 13 th February
Since the start of this month, the average Briton has caused as much global warming as a typical Kenyan over a whole year, yet it is Kenya and other African countries which suffer the consequences in the form of droughts, floods, starvation and disease. The UK 's carbon footprint is bigger than 164 other countries, mainly in the developing world, and we belong to the group of twenty countries, including the major oil producers, which have the biggest carbon footprint of all. The average Briton produces 20 kg. of CO 2 a day, consisting of 7.4 for electricity, 7.4 for transport, 3.8 for manufactured goods and construction, 3.8 for residential heating, 1.6 for fuel production, 1.0 for office buildings and 1.0 for agriculture etc.
Wednesday 14 th February
Oxford University 's Linacre College is one of many academic institutions that plan to spend thousands of pounds on offsetting their carbon emissions from heating, paper consumption, transport fuel and business flights. Now the Government has published a voluntary code to ensure that carbon offset schemes really eliminate the amount of atmospheric CO 2 that they promise to do for their customers. Fifty-seven of the current carbon offset schemes fail to meet the Government's standards. Those that do are Global Cool, Equiclimate, Carbon Offsets and Pure. Others have pledged to meet them during 2007. David Miliband emphasised that offsetting is not the answer to climate change – only a “first step.” WWF warned: “Offsets can lull people and businesses into a false sense of security – they believe that the world's problems are being solved when actually they are polluting more and more. If too much emphasis is put on easy options like offsetting rather than dealing with the root cause of climate change – our rampaging consumption of fossil fuels – then we will be doing little more than putting sticking plaster on a severed limb.”
Thursday 15 th February
The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) gives an annual tradeable emissions quota to about 4,500 companies, mainly electricity generators plus cement, glass, brick, lime, paper steel and aluminium producers, together with a few heating plants. But three major problems have appeared:
To assess and audit the 11,500 installations to which the ETS applies takes up a huge amount of administrative resources, yet the ETS only covers 45% of EU emissions;
Why should these 4,500 companies have the right to emit greenhouse gases – and sell any surplus – when it should be every EU citizen who has this right? Each of us could then take our permit to a bank or post office and sell any surplus – which could then be sold on to the fossil fuel generators.
During 2006, as the price of emissions permits increased, the big polluting companies promptly passed on the increases to their customers. Apparently the designers of the ETS thought that by giving the permits free, the cost of electricity would not go up.
The NGO FEASTA has called for a radical review of the ETS, proposing that the scheme be limited to the two hundred or so primary producers of coal, gas and oil – so simplifying the administration.
If carbon allowances are to be distributed fairly, every adult should receive his or her ration personally. This would not just provide a solution to climate change. It would also provide an income for the poorest people in society.
Friday 16 th February
The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. What is to take its place? The Contraction and Convergence model proposes the allocation of emission rights to countries, i.e. governments, but with no guarantee that those governments would apply the money generated by the sale of surplus rights in order to attack the causes and consequences of climate change. A new Kyoto2 approach proposes that emission rights be sold instead to primary producers of oil, coal and industrial greenhouse gases, so greatly reducing administrative overheads. Emission rights would be sold at a global auction on the “ascending clock” system, whereby the price is gradually raised until there is no excess demand. The funds so raised – roughly $500-$1,000 billion a year – could be applied directly to dramatically raise energy efficiency standards, develop low-carbon technologies and help countries adapt to unavoidable climate change.
Saturday 17 th February
A further use of the funds might be to buy out fossil fuel deposits and leave them in the ground. This would provide oil-rich and coal-rich nations with an alternative income and save the expense and environmental impact of opening new mines or oil wells. Another use of the funds might be to buy up substantial forest areas to preserve them and the carbon stored there. Alternatively, UNFCC could enter into rental agreements with forest-rich countries whereby they agreed to protect and enhance their forest estate. Oliver Tickell suggests that these ideas could offer the framework for the global action on climate change that was outlined in the Stern Report, delivering the key objectives of that Report in a way that is fair, practical and economically efficient. Visit www.kyoto2.org for further information or go to www.theecologist.org and join the Kyoto2 debate.
Sunday 18 th February
Give us, loving Father, the wisdom so to deal with the things we possess that they may never possess us. Deliver us from reliance on our own cleverness in science, technology and economics. Banish our fears as we face the uncertainties of climate change, and keep our feet always on the path of justice and peace, for the sake of your Son, who died to save us from our sins.
Monday 19 th February
Pressure continues on African countries to force open their economies and natural resources to European multinational companies, so damaging their environment and deepening poverty throughout the continent. FoE wants these unfair trade deals known as “Economic Partnership Agreements” to be stopped, and calls on the UK government to develop an alternative approach to trade that does not harm people or the environment. For example, farmers in Ghana are already suffering. They cannot compete with the subsidised produce being imported from overseas. “How are farmers supposed to make a living – and feed their families – if our markets are flooded with cheap rice and poultry?” FoE and the international rural alliance Via Campesina are hosting an event in Nairobi calling for food sovereignty as part of an alternative approach to European trade proposals – in anticipation of this month's World Forum for Food Sovereignty in Mali .
Tuesday 20 th February
According to Vandana Shiva, there have been more than 100,000 farmers' suicides in India in the past 10 years as a result of costly inputs such as GM and hybrid seeds, pesticides and fertilisers being sold to farmers on credit. The farmers become steeped in unpayable debt and end up consuming the pesticides that got them into debt. The government's response is to offer more credit, which merely deepens the debt crisis. The real solution is the practice and promotion of organic production, which gets rid of external inputs and allows the value of agricultural produce to reflect the costs of production and the cost of living of farming families. As it is, the price of food is distracted by $4 billion of subsidies by rich countries and by monopoly markets controlled by five agribusiness giants. “A debt-free, suicide-free, sustainable agriculture is both possible and necessary to ensure nature's wellbeing, the wellbeing of farmers and of consumers.”
Wednesday 21 st February. Ash Wednesday
Among this year's Lent courses, Devon Churches Green Action is promoting an ecumenical course entitled “What on Earth are we doing?”, encouraging us to look at our lifestyles in the context of Lent. Topics include: Consumerism, Energy, Food, Transport and Water. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Churches Together in Lincolnshire has prepared a course entitled “The Earth in Our Hands” which calls us to proclaim an ecological Gospel of Hope and Action for the Planet, drawing on the rich resources of the Bible. There is a 16-page colour booklet, a free CD, weekly radio programmes and a BBC website. For details ring 01522 504072 or 0771 2931354 or email: email@example.com
Thursday 22 nd February
The Energy Saving Trust has offered the following tips on how to be an eco-friendly car driver:
Change up a gear before you reach 2,500 rpm (petrol) or 2,000 rpm (diesel);
Avoid sharp acceleration and heavy braking;
Drive away immediately from cold. Idling to heat the engine wastes fuel and increases engine wear;
Avoid short journeys. A cold engine uses twice as much fuel, and catalytic converters take 5 miles to become effective;
Driving at 80 mph rather than at 70 mph uses 10-15% more fuel;
Switch off the engine in stationary traffic.
Friday 23 rd February.
With the number of cars worldwide increasing by 2% a year, by 2050 there could be 2 billion of them, covering more than 70,000 billion kilometres a year – that is, if there is still the available fuel. Meeting targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from transport could be insuperable – even with modern technologies – if world population continues to grow by nearly 80 million a year. The UN projected population of 9.1 billion by 2050 would, it is estimated, drive more than ten times as far the present-day 6.2 billion people. However, if the world's parents voluntarily reduced their average family size by just half a child, road travel would be cut by 10,768 billion passenger kilometres a year – equivalent to driving round the world 269 million times. Add in the benefits from reduced congestion in overcrowded cities, and the population factor becomes even more important.
Saturday 24 th February
The UK population has grown by half since 1900 and more than one-fifth since 1950. Our numbers are increasing by more than 320,000 a year and are officially projected to grow by a further 10 million by 2074. At current rates of car ownership, that implies an additional 5 million cars, accompanied by greater environmental damage as well as rising congestion costs to the economy. An extra 10 million people would mean covering an area greater than London with housing and roads, pushing up the price of land to levels where the public transport projects needed to reduce road congestion would become unviable. “Gridlock is here” comments the Optimum Population Trust “so why allow the UK to become even more crowded? Will anyone be able to move in a country with 70 million people and 40 million cars? Why not stabilise population and allow it to reduce gradually, supporting sustainable transport policies rather than undoing them?”
Sunday 25 th February
Father God, you have shown us clearly where our present lifestyle is leading us. Open the eyes of all – especially the rich and powerful – and draw us together in a common determination to change our ways, to reduce our consumption of natural resources and to share what we have with others who have so little to sustain them.
Monday 26 th February.
A WWF briefing “Tuna in Trouble: Major Problems for the World's Tuna Fisheries: reveals rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, unsustainable quotas and far too many boats competing for the remaining tuna. The capacity of the world's tuna fleets is up to 70% higher than that needed to catch the quantity advised by scientists. “Sustainable management of the world's tuna fisheries should be possible if the will can be found. But many governments are routinely ignoring scientific advice, failing to implement the available conservation and management measures, turning a blind eye to illegal fishing and not prosecuting those who flout the rules.”
“The world has enough for everyone's need
But not enough for everyone's greed”. (Mahatma Gandhi)
Tuesday 27 th February
In 1999, the village of Blisland in Cornwall saw the closure of its post office and its last shop. Now, seven years later, it has The Glebe, a multipurpose building designed by local architects, using local materials, and containing a shop, post office, café, internet hub, small business units and a doctor's surgery. The building uses geothermal heating, photovoltaics, rainwater recycling, ‘wind catcher' air conditioning and high levels of insulation. The village has come alive again. Funding came from local councils, the Countryside Agency, the European Regional Development Fund and the villagers themselves who donated £50,000. For details of how this was achieved ring The Glebe on 01208 851 730 or visit: www.blisland.com
Wednesday 28 th February
In 2005 the villagers of Chew Magna in Somerset set up a Go Zero project designed to turn it into a zero waste village. The project includes home energy audits, restoring the local watermill with eco-materials, producing a local food guide, researching biofuels and organising car shares. An offshoot of the project is a charity called Converging World, which teams up with Indian villages and raises money in Britain to help them build wind turbines. Converging World sells the carbon saved on the offsets market and uses the money to fund carbon-reduction schemes in Britain . Now the Go Zero team tours other villages, inspiring similar projects elsewhere. For more information visit: www.gozero.org.uk
If you would like to have the prayer guide sent to you as a doc file at the end of each preceding month then:-