“The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made . . .
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23.34)
“How astonishing that in the midst of His pain and distress our Lord's first thought should be directed towards His Father. Most people caught up like this would want to vent their anger on God and shout “Why are you allowing this to happen to me?” but not Christ. His confidence in God remained intact. Men could hammer the life out of Him, but they couldn't hammer the love out of Him. He loved and believed in His Father still – even though hell was breaking loose about Him.” (Selwyn Hughes)
Sunday 1 st April. Palm Sunday.
Dear Lord and Master, we remember today that many who proclaimed you King on Sunday shouted “Crucify!” on Friday. Keep us steadfast in our faith. Take away from us all fear, all coldness of heart, all unwillingness to suffer: so that we, remembering your suffering on the cross, may rejoice that you have called us all to bear each his own cross, for your Name's sake. Amen.
Monday 2 nd April.
The Government's Climate Change Bill, published last month, will:
Set a target of reducing CO 2 emissions by 2050 and set “appropriate interim targets”;
Establish an independent body to work with Government over reducing emissions across the economy;
Enable the Government to establish and vary new emissions reduction measures;
Require Government to report annually to Parliament on progress towards meeting emissions reductions.
The public consultation is likely to last 3 months. Then the Bill will be debated in Parliament and, if approved, is likely to become law around summer 2008. However, if we are to avoid breaching the 2 0 C. rise which the EU recognises as the “danger level”, we need an emissions cut of at least 3% each year to 2050 – resulting in a cumulative cut of 80% by 2050. Disappointingly, the Bill takes no account of rising emissions from aviation.
Tuesday 3 rd April.
EU leaders have agreed on a binding goal of cutting greenhouses gases by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020 – a figure to be raised to 30% if other developed nations do likewise. A voluntary goal of sourcing 12% of European energy from renewables is unlikely to be met, but a new target – that of bringing the share of biofuels in transport up to 10% by 2020 – stands a better chance. The binding goal for emissions reductions is likely to encourage long-term investment in the renewable energy sector.
Wednesday 4 th April.
A report from the Middlesex University Flood Hazard Research Centre examines the possible impact of sea-level rises on existing and proposed nuclear power stations. Three of the four plants investigated (Bradwell, Dungeness & Hinkley Point) were found to be vulnerable to sea-level rises of 1 metre or more in storm surges, which are predicted to be of regular occurrence by 2080 if CO 2 emissions are not curbed. At Sizewell, the coast is considered to be vulnerable to change in the long term, with extensive coastline retreat a possibility. “These findings make it imperative for the nuclear industry to publish its own findings on the risks of sea-water invasion of nuclear sites.”
Thursday 5 th April.
A group of 28 American Evangelical and Scientific leaders has released an “Urgent Call to Action” on climate change. In a letter to President Bush and leaders of Congress, they urge “fundamental changes in values, lifestyles and public policies required to address these worsening problems before it is too late. Business as usual cannot continue yet one more day.” The group pledged to “work together toward a responsible care for Creation and call with one voice to the religious, scientific, business, political and educational arenas to join them in this historic initiative.” Said Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor of a church in Orlando , Florida , “We are glad to be partnering our friends in the scientific community. They have the facts we need to present to our congregations; we have the numbers of activists that will work through churches, government and the business community to make a significant impact.”
Friday 6 th April. Good Friday.
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain of the Temple was torn asunder from top to bottom, signifying that the way into God's holy presence was now wide open to all.
Father, we thank you for that open way, open still and for evermore, through the sacrifice of your Son. For now you are no longer hidden or separated from us, but always accessible, always within reach of our prayers. We praise and thank you for your unfailing goodness and mercy. (Frank Colquhoun)
Saturday 7 th April.
Over four thousand of London's churches including Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Methodists and Baptist have received a free booklet called “For Creed and Creation” – a simple guidebook for running a greener church, offering practical tips on energy efficiency and advising on preaching the green message. Dr. Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, said: “Working together, London 's churches have a pivotal role to play in tackling the stark reality of climate change. London 's churches reach out to hundreds of thousands of people each week and, according to the last census, 58% of the capital's population is Christian. We should be making our presence felt on the crucial issue of the environment.”
Sunday 8 th April. Easter Day.
“Our Lord has written the promise of Resurrection not only in books, but in every leaf in springtime.” (Martin Luther)
Loving Father, we praise and bless you that, by the death of your Son, He has destroyed the power of death and won for us the hope of everlasting life. We thank you that He is with us always and that nothing in life or death can separate us from Him. Amen.
Monday 9 th April.
A new report from the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution called “The Urban Environment” highlights the link between increasing car ownership and the risk of urban flooding. Demand for more roads and parking space leads to an increase in hard, impermeable surfaces which cannot soak up rain – leading to more polluted surface water running off into drains and, in downpours, a higher risk of flash flooding. “We are not convinced that the Government has grasped the scale of the issues that confront them in building new areas in the South-east, in water supply, in the adequate provision of public transport and the whole design of areas so that people can get about more easily without using their cars.”
Tuesday 10 th April.
A new report from the Three Regions Climate Group, representing public authorities, companies and NGOs from the South-East of England is called “Adapting to Climate Change”. It calls for climate-proofing for all new developments. It praises developments like the Jubilee Campus in Nottingham, with its green roofs built to provide a buffer against flooding, and Gallions Park in the Docklands, where solar water heating and rainwater harvesting are used, making it London's first zero-carbon development. The Mayor of London said: “These case studies will help us to make sure we are better prepared for unavoidable climate change. We cannot sit back and start thinking about adapting to climate change tomorrow, we need to act now.”
Wednesday 11 th April.
Adnam's Brewery Distribution Centre in Southwold, Suffolk , has been built with walls made of compressed lime blocks infilled with Hemcrete made of hemp and lime. Fast-growing hemp stores carbon as it grows, while releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Enough hemp to build one house can be grown on 2.5 acres of land in just 14 weeks. The warehouse has 150 tonnes of CO 2 locked up in its walls – the same amount that a Ford Escort would give out if driven 60 times round the world. Ian Price of Lime Technology said: “If we built every new home with Hemcrete, we could save 9 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, i.e. 6% of the UK total. For details contact Lime Technology Ltd., Unit 126, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4SA or ring: 0845 603 1143 0r visit the website: www.limetechnology.co.uk
Thursday 12 th April.
Every square kilometre of the earth's deserts receives, each year, solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil. “Concentrating Solar Power” technology has been successfully producing electricity in California for nearly 20 years. Dr. Franz Trieb of the German Air & Space Agency explained: “We can tap into this energy by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight and create heat. The heat can be used to raise steam and drive a generator in a conventional way. Initially, the countries producing the electricity will supply their own needs, but it is still feasible and cost-effective to transmit solar electricity over long distances without much loss of power. As an added bonus, fresh water can be made by desalinating the seawater, using waste heat from concentrated solar power.” Contact: Gerry Wolf, TREC-UK, 18 Penlon, Menai Bridge , Anglesey LL59 5LR, or ring: 01248 712962. Website: www.trec-uk.org.uk
Friday 13 th April.
A campaign to plant a billion trees in 2007 has been inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Wangari Matthai, whose Green Belt Movement has planted more than 30 million trees in 12 African countries since 1977. The campaign is co-ordinated by UNEP, whose director, Achim Steiner, said: “There is no longer any need for conjecture about climate change. We need action. We need to plant trees and, in so doing, send a signal to the corridors of power that the watching and waiting is over – that countering climate change can take root through a billion small but significant acts, in our gardens, parks and countryside.” Pledges to plant 250 million trees have already been received. Spain has pledged to plant 8 million trees in the Sahara , French organisations have agreed to plant 5.5 million trees in France , while Monaco is to replant 500 acres in Lebanon and 200 in Chile . Pledges from individuals, groups, businesses and authorities can be made on the UNEP website: www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign For more information write to UNEP at PO Box 30552 , Nairobi 00100 , Kenya or ring: +254 20 762 1234 or email: email@example.com
Saturday 14 th April.
Nobel Peace Prize laureates, meeting in Rome , have committed themselves to working towards achieving the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Their Rome Declaration states: “Nuclear weapons are much more of a problem than any problem they seek to solve. In the hands of anyone, these weapons remain an unacceptable and morally reprehensible, impractical and dangerous risk. A world with nuclear haves and have-nots is fragmented and unstable, a fact underscored by the current threats of proliferation. In such an environment, co-operation fails. Thus, nations are unable to address effectively the real threats of poverty, environmental degradation and nuclear catastrophe.” Meanwhile, in the USA , a group which includes former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz has declared: “We endorse the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons and we will work energetically on the actions required to achieve that goal.”
Sunday 15 th April.
Dear Father, we thank you for this lovely world which you have given us to look after. Teach us how to conserve your handiwork. Help us to devote our time and resources to restoring what has gone amiss. Show us how to fill our surroundings with Christlike deeds and to make them the kind of places that bring you honour and glory.
Monday 16 th April.
More than 38% of the world's electricity is generated from coal (more than gas and nuclear combined) and coal consumption keeps rising. The USA has more than 150 coal-fired plants planned or under construction, while China opens a new one every five days. Yet CO 2 emissions per unit of power are about double those from gas-fired plants. Clean coal production is only possible through carbon capture and storage (CCS). Three major UK power suppliers are planning power stations that incorporate CCS technology, but the earliest possible completion date is 2012-13.
Does the technology work, and can we wait that long?
China recently overtook the USA as the world's largest coal consumer and generates the overwhelming majority of its electricity from coal. Despite China 's pollution problems, there seems little hope of limiting her CO 2 emissions except by resorting to CCS technology. But is it possible that the resources needed to develop CCS would be better used in perfecting existing technologies such as wind and solar? These questions need urgent prayer and debate.
Tuesday 17 th April.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows industrialised nations within the Kyoto Agreement to offset their carbon emissions by financing carbon reduction projects in the developing world. Nearly all the projects so far approved are in India , China and Latin America , with only 2% in Africa , where there is huge potential for community-based projects such as eco-stoves. Each CDM project costs around $50,000 to verify and anyway CDM is due to end in 2012. According to Climate Care, voluntary standards for carbon offset schemes would encourage investment in eco-stoves which could reduce deforestation and cut carbon emissions by around 1.5 tonnes per stove annually.
Wednesday 18 th April.
The Government's programme for airport expansion runs counter to its policy of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. The operators of Lydd Airport in Kent have announced plans to increase passenger numbers for 4/5,000 a year to 2 million with the construction of a new terminal and an extended runway. The airport is next to the 1,000 hectare Dungeness nature reserve, home to at least sixty bird species. The RSPB has called for a public enquiry and 3,000 local people have signed a petition against the proposed expansion.
Thursday 19 th April.
A report from the International Energy Agency estimates that replacing the world's light bulbs with energy-efficient models could reduce the global electricity bill by 10%. Incandescent light bulbs are five times less efficient than the newest eco-friendly models. Australia is to ban incandescent bulbs, so saving CO 2 emissions of 800,000 tonnes a year. The EU Commissioner for Energy is considering whether a EU standard for eco-friendly light bulbs is “doable”.
Friday 20 th April.
The latest IPCC report makes it clear that a 60% cut in CO 2 emissions by 2050 is inadequate if we are to avoid potentially irreversible runaway climate change. The present world population of 6.4 billion would have to reduce its output from 30 billion tonnes of CO 2 a year to 18 billion tonnes. But by 2050 there will be 9 billion of us. So, in order to achieve a 60% cut by 2050, each of those 9 billion must emit no more than 2 tonnes of CO 2 per person – as compared with the present UK average of 12.5 tonnes per person. Yet this population factor is not mentioned either in the IPCC report or the UN Millennium Development Goals or Tony Blair's Commission for Africa or by any of the leaders of environmental groups apart from Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the Sustainable Commission. Why?
Saturday 21 st April.
Lincoln Cathedral is devoting this day to a celebration of the Lincolnshire Churches' new environmental policy, with workshops on Greening the Church, Waste Recycling, Biodiversity, Eco-housing, environmentally-friendly Transport, together with talks, drama, a labyrinth, Celtic spirituality etc. Led by the Bishop of Lincoln, the day will close with an act of worship. For more details ring 01522 504072 or 0771 293 1354 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 22 nd April.
Loving Father, we praise and thank you for giving us so much to enjoy in your world. And if we do not understand why nature seems sometimes so cruel and harsh, and why people suffer from floods, earthquakes and man-made disasters in your world, help us to trust where we cannot see and to rest in the knowledge that not even the smallest sparrow lies outside your loving care. Help us to do all in our power to relieve suffering, and make us willing and eager to share the good things that you have given us for the benefit of all.
Monday 23 rd April.
Uganda has a population of 30 million. If it grows at the current rate, there will be 55 million by 2025 and 130 million by 2060, making it the world's 12 th most populous country. President Museveni calls this growth “a great resource”. Others see it as an unmitigated disaster. Fewer than one in five Ugandan women have access to contraception. Globally, between 125 and 200 million women are deprived of that basic right. Yet with proper advice from their government, supported by Western aid programmes, average fertility could be substantially reduced. It happened in Kerala , India , by focussing on better education for girls and better healthcare for women. According to Jonathon Porritt, the idea that it is elitist, illiberal or oppressive to urge good family planning on the world's poorest countries is ignorant, inhumane and destructive of women's rights. “Awareness (of the problem) had better dawn soon before the combination of an extra 70 million people arriving on earth every year, together with levels of CO 2 in the atmosphere increasing just as inexorably, precipitates such a cataclysmic collapse that our numbers will be controlled not by design, but by disaster.”
Tuesday 24 th April.
Extinction is for ever. Last December a 6-week expedition 3,500 km. up the Yangtse River found no trace of the Yangtse River Dolphin known as the baiji. It is the first mammal to become extinct in the 21 st century, and is unlikely to be the last. China 's Great Leap Forward was the baiji's first death sentence, but vessel strikes, entanglement in fishing nets and pollution provided the coup de grace. Their intelligence and communication skills, that enigmatic Mona Lisa smile, their playfulness and love of freedom all make dolphins particularly attractive to humans. We just love them. So how could we, with our conservation skills and awareness, have failed to stop this happening? We may not have known what we were doing when we drove the dodo to extinction, but we, the human race, knew what we were doing to the baiji. Now it is too late.
Wednesday 25 th April. Blisland, Chew Magna, Ashton Hayes and Belston are all communities that are tackling climate change locally, each in their own way. California , Seattle , Austin and Salt Lake City are among the US local authorities that are going ahead with their own environmental projects without waiting for federal action. Among the websites describing Britain 's local projects are:
www.gozero.org.uk which describes Chew Magna's projects;
www.goingcarbonneutral.co.uk which is about the Ashton Hayes project;
www.communitywindpower.co.uk which is about small-scale wind farms;
www.localworks.org concerning the Sustainable Communities Bill now before Parliament, aiming to facilitate local action on climate change.
Thursday 26 th April.
A report from the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) finds that the construction industry could significantly reduce the waste it produces by making key components off-site. Up to a 90% reduction can be achieved in reducing wastes such as wood pallets, shrink wrap, cardboard, plasterboard, timber, concrete, bricks and cement by using off-site manufacture and modern methods of construction. All this could help the industry to achieve the target of reducing landfill waste by 50% by 2012.
Friday 27 th April.
Using the new science of “synthetic biology”, scientists are on the brink of creating living organisms never before found in nature – in the hope of finding solutions to everything from malaria to climate change. Gene synthesis technology greatly enhances the potential to construct deadly designer pathogens in the laboratory using mail-order DNA. In 2005 researchers announced that they had resurrected the lethal H1N1 flu virus (so-called Spanish flu), which killed up to 50 million people in 1918-19, by recovering fragments of viral DNA from flu victims buried in the Alaskan permafrost. Today the full genome sequences of H1N1 virus are publicly available on the internet. The Ottawa-based ETC group, in its report “Extreme Genetic Engineering”, available at www.etcgroup.org , recommends that, in keeping with the Precautionary Principle, synthetic microbes should be treated as dangerous until proved harmless. “At a minimum, environmental release of new synthetic organisms should be prohibited until wide societal debate and strong governance are in place. Public debate must go beyond biosecurity and biosafety. There must be a broad societal debate on synthetic biology's wider socio-economic and ethical implications, on control and ownership of the technology and whether it is socially acceptable or even desirable.”
Saturday 28 th April. A Parish Pump workshop takes place today from 10 to 4 at St. Mark's church, Harrogate, on the theme “Walking Lightly in the Garden”. For a programme and booking details ring 01132 578966 or email: email@example.com
Tomorrow is Footprint Day at St. Mary's church, Chilham, Kent. The purpose: to consider all aspects of climate change from a Christian perspective. Speakers include Professor Sam Berry, Ruth Jarman (CEL), Damian Green MP and Jan Drozd (Diocesan Environmental Adviser) Further details are available from Len Budd by ringing 01227 731224 or by emailing LenBudd@aol.com
Sunday 29 th April.
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 realise that we interfere with your world at our peril. It is your hand, not ours, that rules your world, and we are here, during our short lives, as temporary caretakers.
Monday 30 th April.
“Thrift is creative,” wrote G.K. Chesterton. “Waste is unpoetic.” What could be less creative than the work involved in plastic packaging, throughout its life? It is factory-made, then transported, then comes the wrapping process. Then we have to unwrap it, bin the wrapping, carry the bin-bag to the dustbin, where paid employees pick it up and drive it in a gas-guzzling beast to a toxic dump in the middle of nowhere. “Toil and trouble, and all a waste of effort,” writes Tom Hodgkinson in his new book “How To Be Free”. One Devonshire lady produces no rubbish at all. She avoids buying anything wrapped in plastic and she takes her own basket when shopping. Anything woodish or papery is either burnt or put on the compost heap. Food waste is composted or given to animals. “Any creative person will abhor waste because it shows a laziness of spirit. Thrift is not self-denying. It is resourceful, making the best of what you've got. Everything has a use.”
Parish Pump News
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