“This is what the Lord says – I am the first and the last: apart from me there is no God.
. . . All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. . .
. . from the rest he makes a god, his idol: he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says ‘Save me; you are my god.' They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so that they cannot see, and their minds are closed so that they cannot understand.” (Isaiah 44.5,9,17-18)
“As long as we go on worshipping the Creator who made us, we shall know the difference between Creator and creation . . . We are not God; we should not speak God-like power; it is the kind of power that far from liberating us may eventually enslave us.” (Andrew Linzey)
Sunday 1 st July
Deliver us, Father, from the worship of power – power over nature and power over our fellow humans. Save us from the worship of science so that, while acknowledging the God-given skills of scientists, we may be spared from the abuse of scientific discoveries. Free us from false hopes and misplaced trust, so that in you alone we may find our hope and our salvation.
Monday 2 nd July
A paper from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Research and published by the Royal Society challenges the IPCC's latest assessment of a rise in sea levels of up to 40 cm. by 2100. Rapid melting of polar ice sheets could trigger an “albedo flip”, meaning that sunlight reflected back by white ice would be absorbed by open water, leading to further warming, melting of ice and absorption of sunlight – a classic feedback effect. Evidence from ice cores suggests that rapid climate change has occurred in the past. “We conclude that a strategy for planetary rescue requires a means of extracting greenhouse gases from the air.”
Tuesday 3 rd July
A study by the British Antarctic Survey published in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that rising temperatures cause glaciers to become thinner and more buoyant, so allowing faster slippage into the ocean. The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by nearly 3
ºC. over the last half century – the fastest warming on earth. 87% of its glaciers have retreated and we now see them accelerating due to the increase in buoyancy. The IPCC forecast of a rise of up to 40 cm. in sea levels this century could be a serious underestimate if glaciers undergo dramatic changes such as are indicated in the BAS survey.
Wednesday 4 th July
A UNEP report “The Last Stand of the Orang Utan” finds that 2.1 million hectares of Indonesian forest are felled each year, 87% of which is felled illegally. A year's illegal logging is estimated to be worth £2 billion. In recent weeks the Indonesian authorities have seized 3,000 truckloads of timber and arrested six people, but according to the Environmental Investigation Agency the illegal logging will not be stopped until corruption in the police and military has been addressed.
Thursday 5 th July
A report from the World Bank and the UK DfID called “ Indonesia and Climate Change” shows that deforestation, forest fires and peatland degradation are factors in making Indonesia the world's third worst emitter of carbon dioxide – behind the USA and China . “An increase of global temperatures has already resulted in prolonged drought, heavy rainfall leading to floods and tidal waves in Indonesia , putting the archipelago's rich diversity at risk. Emissions resulting from deforestation and forest fires are five times those from non-forestry emissions. Emissions from energy and industrial sectors are relatively small, but are growing very rapidly.”
Friday 6 th July
Cool Earth is a new trust set up by Frank Field MP and businessman Johann Eliasch to enable people to become stewards of vast tracts of rainforest on behalf of the local people who farm it for its natural products. Sir David Attenborough said at the launch that rainforests are not only one of the great means of storing carbon, but they help mediate the planet's weather as well as producing 20% of the world's fresh water. Sir Nicholas Stern said that protecting rainforests offers the world one last breathing space while it learns to kick its dirty polluting habits. Cool Earth will produce a pack to enable members to lobby their suppliers, such as the big supermarkets and the providers of services. Donations can be sent to Cool Earth, 71 South Audley Street , London W1K 1JA or via the website: www.coolearth.com
Saturday 7 th July
Storm of Hope, a celebration of 25 years of Christian Ecology Link, takes place today at All Hallows by the Tower in London . After a service of thanksgiving, a forum chaired by Peter Day of the BBC will address some of today's challenges with a panel consisting of Dave Bookless, Director of A Rocha, Mary Grey, a theologian, Ann Pettifor, Director of Operation Noah and Chris Walton, editor of Green Christian. There will be discussion groups in the afternoon, followed by a musical toast and a final act of worship. For more information ring 01524 36241 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org To book a place send £17 (or £12 for CEL members) to CEL Booking Secretary, 17 Woodrows, Woodside, Telford TF7 5PG.
Sunday 8 th July
Father, you have made us stewards of your world and entrusted us with the wonders of your creation. Be with us in our efforts to guard your creation from waste and abuse, so that we may enjoy with thankful hearts the fruits of the earth and share them with all who are in need.
Monday 9 th July
Carbon offset schemes often involve planting trees. A 2005 study by S. Gibbard et al. published in Geophysical Research Letters suggests that tropical forests indeed absorb a lot of CO 2 and keep the earth cooler by evaporating a lot of water. Temperate forests, however, with generally darker foliage absorb more of the sun's heat due to the albedo effect, so heating the planet. The researchers concluded that:
By the year 2100, forests in mid and high latitudes could make some places up to 5 0 F. warmer than they would have been without forest cover;
Preserving and restoring forests is likely to be ineffective against global warming (though the benefits in terms of transpiring moisture and retaining rainfall are not denied).
Clearly, more research is needed.
Tuesday 10 th July
FoE has criticised carbon offsetting as “a smokescreen to avoid real measures to tackle climate change.” The Stern Review calculated the environmental cost of one tonne of emitted CO 2 at $85. BP's latest report announced profits of $24 billion. If a tax of $85 per tonne of CO 2 were applied to BP, it would turn a profit of $24 billion into a loss of the same amount. The carbon offsetting trade has been well likened to the sale of indulgences in the Middle Ages in the vain hope of releasing people from the consequences of the Last Judgment.
Wednesday 11 th July
Doubts about the efficacy of carbon offsetting should deter nobody from using it to raise the profile of sustainable energy solutions throughout the world. The magazine Ethical Consumer suggests that the best carbon offsetting agency is Atmosfair because it invests 80% of its income in Gold Standard projects under the Swiss certification scheme launched by 43 NGOs in 2003. The Atmosfair website ( www.atmosfair.de ) also provides an accurate Air Travel Emissions Calculator.
Thursday 12 th July
Exactly a month ago reference was made to super-insulated houses in Austria and Germany . Now the Building Research Establishment has unveiled five model houses at its innovation park, each built to different levels of the Government's voluntary code for sustainable homes. None of the houses needs radiators as they are completely airtight and swaddled in thick insulation. Ventilation is provided by a heat exchange system. The Lighthouse, the only house built to level 6, has an extensive photovoltaic array. The level 5 house has three wind turbines and some PV cells, the whole renewable energy equipment costing £40,000. Level 4 houses are 44% more carbon-efficient than homes built to current building regulations. The voluntary code will become mandatory by degrees from 2008. For more information ring BRE on 01923 664000 or email: email@example.com
Friday 13 th July
Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute in his new book called “Plan B” says that, to save our civilisation, we need to:
Restructure its economy;
Restore the earth's natural support systems;
Eradicate poverty and
This would cost an extra $161 billion a year – just one-third of the current US military budget or one-sixth of the global military budget.
Until all this happens, the world can do one useful thing. If we all joined Australia in replacing incandescent light bulbs with low energy bulbs, the drop in electricity demand by 2010 would permit the closure of more than 270 coal-fired power stations of 500MW.each.
Saturday 14 th July
Today a 1,000-mile Cut the Carbon March sets out from Northern Ireland on an 11-week march round Scotland , England and Wales , arriving at Bournemouth for the Labour Party conference and ending up in London . Christian Aid is scouring churches and communities for people willing to put their best foot forward for the first ever march for climate justice. They will join campaigners from the developing world to protest against the injustice which is wrecking poor people's lives by pumping into the atmosphere dangerous greenhouse gases from the rich world. For more information go to: www.christian-aid.org.uk
Sunday 15 th July
Father, we know that in all creation only the human family has strayed from the sacred way. We know that we are the ones who, working together, must come back to walk in the path you have set out for us. Father, teach us love, compassion and integrity, that we may heal the earth and heal each other.
Monday 16 th July
Desalination of sea water is increasingly seen as a solution to the growing demand for fresh water. A new WWF report “Desalination – option or distraction for a thirsty world?” estimates that 60% of fresh water needs in the Arabian Gulf are met through desalination. In Australia , the city of Perth aims to source one-third of its fresh water in the same way, while Spain devotes 22% of its desalinated water to agriculture, in addition to the water supply to holiday resorts in arid areas. The negative impacts of desalination include brine build-up, increased greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of prized coastal areas and reduced emphasis on conservation of rivers and wetlands. “Providing sustainable sources of water must start with protecting natural assets such as rivers, floodplains and wetlands. These natural systems purify and provide water as well as protecting against extreme or catastrophic events. . . Desalinating the sea is an expensive, energy-intensive and greenhouse gas emitting way to get water.”
Tuesday 17 th July
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was hailed as an important mechanism for tackling climate change. But governments handed out far too many carbon allowances to their industries and so caused the virtual collapse of the carbon market, resulting in very little, if any, reduction in carbon emissions. Now, in Phase 2, the Commission has sought stricter caps on emissions, but is allowing industries to buy massive amounts of credits from projects outside the EU, in order that European industry may not have to reduce its emissions at all. Dr. Keith Allott of WWF's Climate Change Programme comments: “There is a real danger that this will lock the EU into high carbon investments and soaring emissions for many years to come. If the ETS is to fulfil its potential, we must ensure that it leads to real carbon emission reductions within Europe . Climate change is an urgent priority and we can't afford to waste another five years before we get Europe 's emissions on a downward path.”
Wednesday 18 th July
The 200-plus local authorities which signed the Nottingham Declaration in January pledged themselves to “publicly declare the commitment to achieve a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from our own authority's operations, especially energy sourcing and use, travel and transport, waste production and disposal and the purchasing of goods and services.”
One of the signatories, the South Cambridgeshire District Council, has turned down a proposal to install 13 wind turbines which would have provided enough clean electricity for one-third of all homes in its area. The site is next to the busy A.11 and is already crossed by electricity pylons. Yet the planning committee claimed that the site was “a high quality landscape” and that wind farms could be built elsewhere in the UK . Last year the same council turned down an application for a wind farm at Boxworth on similar grounds. It ignored new national planning guidance prioritising climate change, strong backing for the project from the East of England Development Agency and the East of England's 2010 target for generating 14% of its electricity from renewables, including a large proportion from wind. FoE commented: “If the Conservative party wants to prove it has changed, we need more than green words from David Cameron. We need to see Conservative councils prioritising action on climate change at the local level.”
Thursday 19 th July
The new EU Environmental Liability Directive makes companies liable for damage to flora and fauna, water resources and natural habitats, and forces them to pay damages for infringements.
A report from the IUCN called “Biodiversity, the next Challenge for Financial Institutions” says that banks and insurance companies need to determine which of their client companies are at greater risk from this Directive if they are to avoid taking on the same risks themselves through their lending, investment and insurance activities. Two-thirds of the banks, NGOs and other stakeholders surveyed for the report believe that the financial sector risks its reputation if it invests in companies which have a detrimental impact on ecosystems. “There needs to be a big effort to make the financial sector more aware of biodiversity issues. Perhaps a Stern-like review of the economic costs of biodiversity loss and the financial benefits of conservation could be one trigger”, said Ivo Muller of the World Conservation Union.
Friday 20 th July
The Ministerial Miliband brothers, addressing voluntary organisations – the so-called Third Sector – encouraged them to sign a commitment to improve their own energy efficiency and help raise awareness of climate change among those they work with. Said David Miliband: “We know that climate change will hit the world's poorest and most vulnerable people first, both here and abroad.”
Ed Miliband said: “Today's declaration is an opportunity for the sector to make its voice heard and make a public commitment to use its talents to help tackle climate change. I hope this declaration will be a catalyst for action, and add to the growing momentum behind our national response to this crucial challenge.”
The Director of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said: “We are encouraging trustees, directors, staff and members to take steps to reduce environmental damage and to influence the millions of people they work with to take small steps together in tackling climate change.”
Saturday 21 st July
“The Earth is the Lord's: So how should we treat it?” is the title of a whole-day conference today at Wellington , Somerset . Speakers include Professor R.J. Berry, author of “God's Book of Works” etc., Steve Hughes, CEO of A Rocha and Jo Rathbone of Eco-congregation. The fee of £10 per person includes lunch. For a registration form and further details ring Simon Ratsey on 01823 666564 or email firstname.lastname@example.org before July 7 th .
Sunday 22 nd July
Lord, redeem us, by the power of your Holy Spirit, from the destruction we have wrought. Turn our hearts back to you and our lives to the earth, that therein we might learn our rightful place, and by living once more as part of your creation, we may be born again to the hope of salvation. The Earth is the Lord's. So are we.
Monday 23 rd July
A study by Mark Jacobson of Stanford University 's Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering finds that ethanol made from the sugars in corn, wheat and sugar cane may match or even exceed the negative health effects of petrol and diesel. A survey of 1) vehicles powered by petrol alone and 2) vehicles powered by 85% ethanol and 15% petrol (as is usual in the US ) found that:
The chemicals that caused cancers were different, but the number of cancers caused stayed the same;
When ethanol does not burn fully, it produces residues of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, both precursors to ground ozone, a known pollutant.
The higher levels of ground ozone increased premature deaths and triggered more cases of asthma and other breathing disorders. Hydrogen-fuelled cars have none of these effects.
Tuesday 24 th July
Indian researchers have produced the first commercial batch of ethanol distilled from the juice in the stalks of sweet sorghum. Sorghum requires only half the water needed to grow maize and one-eighth of that required by sugarcane. It is a cheap crop, costing one-fifth of sugarcane. Moreover, poor farmers are still able to use the sorghum grain for food, and so protect food security while earning additional income from selling the stalks. It is also carbon-neutral, as it takes in the same amount of CO 2 during its growth that it releases on its conversion to ethanol and eventual combustion. The research team intends to plant at least 4000 acres this rainy season. For more information, go to: www.scidev.net
Wednesday 25 th July
Every aircraft in flight contributes to global warming four times as much as the same weight of emissions from a lorry. This is because aircraft emit:
water vapour which turns into synthetic cirrus clouds or contrails, both of which trap warm air near the earth's surface,
carbon dioxide which, when released at high altitude, is nearly three times as damaging as when released at ground level, and
nitrous oxide which, at ground level, has 310 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide, but up to 3,400 times the global warming effect of CO2 when released at high altitudes.
European countries charge every aircraft entering their airspace with a stiff “overflight fee”, so encouraging aircraft to skirt round certain countries' airspace and in so doing to burn more fuel – according to some estimates, an additional 7%. If Europe switched to a “single skies” air control system, there could be a 6-12% reduction in Europe 's aircraft emissions.
Thursday 26 th July
There has been a chorus of complaints about Heathrow's interminable delays, long queues and chaotic terminals. Some blame BAA's obsession with profiting from shopping facilities at the expense of customers' real needs. Others suggest a simpler approach: Cut out all unnecessary flights! For example, there are over 30 flights a day to Paris, yet one can get there by train in 2.5 hours from London for less than £30. Manchester is easily reachable from central London in just over 2 hours by train, for prices as low as £12.50 and causing ten times less damage to our climate than by flying. When will common sense prevail?
Friday 27 th July
The batteries needed for electric vehicles are heavy in weight and toxic materials, so safe disposal is a problem. They also require frequent re-charging with electricity generated by power stations which release significant amounts of pollution.
And yet . . .
The Texas energy company EEStor has produced an “Electrical Energy Storage Unit” (EESU) which, it is claimed,
contains no toxic chemicals as it is made of a ceramic powder with a barium-titanate insulator coated with aluminium and glass;
can be re-charged in just 5 minutes, so using less electricity than conventional batteries;
has a range of 500 miles per charge and weighs less than 100 lbs.;
will outperform the best lithium-ion batteries now available in terms of energy density, price, charge time and safety, and will pack ten times the punch of lead-acid batteries at half the cost;
will operate in temperatures of minus 20 0 C. to plus 65 0 C.
The goal is to replace electro-chemical batteries in every application from electric vehicles to laptop computers and electricity storage. First deliveries to the Zenn Motor Company are due by the end of this year
Saturday 28 th July
Crematoria produce temperatures of 760-1150 0 C. for 75 minutes for each cremation. This uses around 285 kWh of gas or 15 kWh of electricity – the same amount of energy as the average UK citizen uses in an entire month.
Promession is one alternative. The body is frozen in liquid nitrogen, then shaken to a powder which weighs about one-third of the body. The powder is passed through strong electrical currents to remove metal substances such as amalgam fillings or prosthetics, then placed in a biodegradeable coffin in the ground. In 6-12 monhs the coffin and its contents have become part of the life-giving nutrients of the soil. A tree might be placed on the grave to feed on the nutrients and become a symbol of the person who has passed away. For more information on promession, contact Mary Slinn, Borough of Crewe and Nantwich Tel. 01270 212643 or email: email@example.com
Sunday 29 th July
Lord, we have violated your creation with chemicals that will not die. We have planted pollution like grain and are reaping a harvest of desolation. Redeem us, dear Lord, from the destruction we have wrought. Turn our hearts to you and our lives to the earth, so that by living once more as a part of your creation we may be re-born to hope and salvation. (from a Filipino liturgy)
Monday 30 th July
Depleted uranium levels at five Government monitoring stations in the UK quadrupled within a few weeks of the 2003 invasion of Iraq . All the levels were within official “safety limits”, but the findings suggest that these particles can, with a prevailing wind, travel thousands of miles from their source.
The use of depleted uranium in weapons violates several international conventions – and even US military law. The US is a signatory both to the Hague and Geneva Conventions and to the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol. Depleted uranium weaponry meets the definition of a weapon of mass destruction in two out of three categories under US Code Title 50, chapter 40, section 2302.
When will US citizens stand up and sue their Government for these violations?
Tuesday 31 st July
In 2002 the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Hillingdon recorded the highest rate of birth defects in Greater London. Elsewhere in London they increased by 6% from 1997 to 2002, but in Hounslow and Hillingdon they tripled between 1990 and 2002. The likely cause is Grundon's incinerator at Colnbrook which has been incinerating radioactive waste since 1988. Bexley and Greenwich had the next highest rate of birth defects – both boroughs situated downwind of the White Rose incinerator at Sidcup, which also burns radioactive waste – as do 32 other incinerators scattered throughout England , according to researcher Michael Ryan BSc. C.Eng. MICE.
Sources : BBC Wildlife
Green Health Watch Magazine
For further information and requests for prayer, please write or email:
Philip Clarkson Webb, 15 Valley View, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells TN4 0SY Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.christian-ecology.org.uk
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