“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1.31)
“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.” (Psalm 145. 13-16)
“If the creation is the work of love, then its shape cannot be predetermined by the Creator, nor its triumph foreknown. All faith in its triumph is neither more nor less than faith in the Creator Himself – faith that He will not cease from His handiwork nor abandon the object of his love.” (W.H. Vanstone)
Thursday 1st April.
“Our myths tell us that humans are the point and purpose of the planet and that ‘humanity' is separate from something called Nature, which is a resource for our use. They tell us that there are no limits to human abilities, and that technology, science and ineffable wisdom can fix everything. Above all, they tell us about human centrality and that we are in control. But they're wrong. They're just myths.” (Nick Reeves, CEO of CIWEM)
Christians however do not need myths, for we live in hope that, in the words of St. Paul , “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8.21)
Friday 2nd April. Good Friday
Lord Jesus, let us be with you, wherever you are crucified today,
Wherever the will of man crosses the will of God,
Wherever the will to violence crosses God's will for peace,
Wherever lying and corruption cross God's will for truth,
Wherever greed and possessiveness cross the use of God's plenty,
Wherever we live not for others but for ourselves,
Wherever ugliness and disease cross the will of God for beauty and well-being.
There let us find you, be with you and share your pain, and help to bring about that redemption which, by your sacrifice, you have accomplished. (Margaret Cropper)
Saturday 3rd April
Heavenly Father, sometimes we are discouraged, believing that nothing good can ever be achieved. Sometimes we are proud, believing that only we are capable of doing what should be done.
Fill us with humble grace to do whatever you ask us to do, secure in the hope that your spirit is alive and active in the world today.
Sunday 4th April. Easter Day.
Heavenly Father, Creator of all life,
We praise and bless you that you sent your Son to die for us on the Cross and by his resurrection to destroy the power of death and to win for us the hope of everlasting life. Help us to go forward in the confidence that all your creation will be redeemed from the bondage of decay and, with us, will obtain the joy of true freedom. Amen.
Monday 5th April
“The line on graphs showing population growth, CO 2 concentrations, water use, deforestation, loss of species and exploitation of fisheries, all point the same picture – a rapacious human economy that is bringing the world swiftly to a state of chaos. Yet too many of us still believe the myth that we will be able to continue living more or less the same comfortable lives if we only embrace ‘sustainable development' and green technology, and then extend it to the 3 billion people who will soon join us on this beleaguered planet.” (Nick Reeves)
Tuesday 6th April
“Attempts, so far, to tackle climate change have been too little, too late, and negotiations too protracted. Action to deal with population growth and consumption, which are the underlying causes of all our environmental problems, has been non-existent because we've barely begun the discussion. Craven politicians continue to regard people as economic units, contributing to GDP . The answer is not technofix solutions but to prepare for the move to a new era that will require a huge cultural shift and innovative thinking.
Wednesday 7th April
Mohammad Naseed, president of the Maldives , has spoken of the likely disappearance of his nation if temperatures rise by 2oC. “We want to focus less on our plight and more on our potential. We want to do what is best for the planet and best for our economic self-interest. This is why we have announced plans to become carbon neutral in 10 years. We will switch from oil to 100% renewable energy, and we will offset aviation pollution until a way can be found to decarbonise air transport. If vulnerable developing countries make a commitment to carbon neutrality, those opposed to change have nowhere to hide. If those with the least start doing the most, what excuse can the rich have for continuing inaction?”
Thursday 8th April
The Eden Project has become a partner of the Maldives in its mission to create the world's first carbon neutral country. Tim Smit said: “We will be working to help communities master the problem of waste and so protect the coral reefs, and encourage the growing of food with revolutionary approaches to greenhouse design using salt water evaporation. We will work with others to create smart renewable energy systems. All this can be done and more.”
Friday 9th April
Each week 1.58 million extra people are added to the global population and the world total is expected to reach 9.15 billion by 2050 – an increase equivalent to the entire world population in 1950. According to the UN Population Division, some 200 million women worldwide want but lack contraception and education. Jonathon Porritt underlines what needs to be done:
Increased funding for girls' education
Improved reproductive and other health interventions for women
Assured access for women to a choice of reliable and cheap (preferable free) contraceptives.
“The lives of countless women are devastated by their inability to manage their own fertility, and hundreds of thousands die every year because of illegal abortions or complications from unwanted pregnancies. But their voices go unheard. Every one of our environmental problems is exacerbated by population growth, and the massive challenge of achieving an 80% cut in greenhouse gases by 2050 is rendered fantastical by the prospective arrival of another 2.5 billion people over the next 40 years.”
Saturday 10th April
The Chartered Institute of Water & Environmental Management (CIWEM) has published a manifesto for legislators and decision-makers, identifying 5 key areas where urgent action is needed over the next 5 years. The Low Carbon section includes:
Fast-tracking offshore wind, wave and tidal energy production
Educational and citizenship programmes on the environment for the entire population
Mainstreaming of low carbon concepts within all tiers of government
Strengthening of food security.
Sunday 11th April
Lord, for too long we have stood by while our money is used to harm the world you created. Give us the will and the determination to put our money where our faith prompts us and to encourage our fellow-Christians to do likewise.
Monday 12th April
The Buildings section of the CIWEM manifesto includes the following:
Eco-towns to be refocused on the application of the highest building standards and sustainable design in existing towns and cities
A national programme of retrofitting energy and water-saving technologies
Improved environmental standards for all types of building
Stronger incentives for community-based low carbon energy programmes.
The Infrastructure section includes:
A holistic transport policy for fast-tracked mass transit and other forms of public transport
An end to new airport capacity and aviation subsidies
A reversal of the decision to abandon road charging
An increase in the use of rail for freight.
Tuesday 13th April
The Stern Review identified deforestation as the biggest threat to the global economy and could double the cost of averting dangerous climate change by 2030, even if industrial emissions were reduced to zero. “Without prompt action, emissions from deforestation between 2008 and 2012 are expected to total 40 gigatonnes of CO2, which is greater than the total of aviation emissions from the invention of aircraft to at least 2025.” CIWEM calls for:
Government support to help developing countries reduce their CO2 emissions
Government enforcement of regulations to ensure that timber products are imported only from legal and sustainable sources
Lack of secure land tenure is driving deforestation in many nations. Reinforcing people's rights is one of the most effective and cheapest ways of protecting forests. Eligibility for forest payments should be conditional on the protection of local communities.
Wednesday 14 th April
David Barnes and Peter Willes, two of the largest dairy producers in Britain, have bought 22 acres in Lincolnshire to build the biggest dairy unit in the UK, housing 8,100 cattle in permanent indoor accommodation to produce 25,000 litres of milk a day. When asked on BBC Radio Humberside why the cows were not to be in fields, Peter Willes replied: “Cows don't belong in fields.” 40 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling for refusal of planning permission.
Thursday 15 th April
The decline in numbers of honeybees is putting many of our crops at risk. Sainsbury's new eco-store in Dursley, Gloucestershire, is to have, around the store, eight beehives made of sustainably-sourced timber and recycled materials. The area is one of the UK 's main fruit- and vegetable-growing areas and farmers rely on bees to pollinate their crops. The surrounding land has been landscaped to provide the bees with a varied diet of pollen and nectar. The store has a rainwater harvesting system to irrigate its plants and supply its toilets, while cold air from the food chillers is recycled to keep the store cool in summer.
Friday 16 th April
This weekend at Hilfield Friary, Dorset, a Franciscan community, Tim Gorringe, Professor of Theology at Exeter University, will be leading a seminar on “Grace and the Common Good: strategies for living responsibly in God's world”. Participants will be thinking about planning, farming, the houses we live in and the way we travel – all in relation to the common good. For details email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday 17 th April
Some supermarkets are selling plastic bags as “biodegradeable” when they are no such thing, according to government-funded research by Loughborough University . Oxo-degradeable plastics include additives to speed breakdown, but the report finds that the incorporation of additives into petroleum-based plastics does not improve their environmental impact and can give rise to negative effects. The Co-Op has pledged to stop using plastic containing the oxo-biodegradeable additive and, with the support of customers and staff, has reduced carrier bag numbers by 60% in the last 3 years.
Sunday 18 th April
O God of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry;
Our earthly leaders falter, our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us, the swords of scorn divide;
Take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride.
From all that terror teaches, from lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches that comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation of honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord. (G.K. Chesterton)
Monday 19 th April
Later this year representatives from 10 north European nations including Britain will meet to set up a 6,000 kilometre network of undersea cables linking German and British offshore windfarms, Norwegian hydro-electric plants and Belgian and Dutch tidal power stations. This £26.5 billion supergrid would offset weather fluctuations and guarantee northern Europe a reliable renewable energy supply. Excess energy could be used to pump water uphill for storage until energy demand increased e.g. during the winter. Offshore wind turbines under construction in the North Sea will have a total capacity of more than 100 gigawatts. The new supergrid will allow power trading between countries and prepare the ground for a future link to huge solar farms in Spain and North Africa .
Tuesday 20 th April
The Mayor of London has announced a £70 million plan to procure 1,000 electric vehicles for the Greater London Authority fleet and to secure 8,500 charging points around the city. There is an option for other local authorities to benefit from cost efficiencies delivered by the London framework. “The next 12 months will see 1,600 electric vehicle charging points across the city. By 2013 this will become 7,500 and by 2015 we want 25,000 in place.”
Wednesday 21 st April
Illegal dumping of waste has long been a problem. Since 2008 the Environment Agency has closed 1,500 illegal waste sites and fines have doubled to more than £3 million a year since 2003. A new technology called resistive tomography has uncovered a large area of buried waste in the New Forest . The EA estimates the cost of clearing it up will be over £500,000. This will be passed to the landowner who illegally dumped the waste.
Thursday 22 nd April
Today is the 40 th annual Earth Day – the most widely-observed secular festival in the world, with over a billion people taking part in 190 countries. This year's pledges of action range from tree-planting to mass lights-out campaigns, water-saving initiatives and home energy retrofits. The Billion Acts of Green campaign, with the support of communities, universities and businesses, will send a powerful message to global leaders that, despite the obstacles revealed at Copenhagen , people all over the world are determined to protect the earth, whatever it costs.
Friday 23 rd April
Today and tomorrow the Ideal Green Home Show will be exhibiting in Oxford Town Hall a range of local eco-renovation ideas and experiences. Organised by Oxfordshire ClimateXChange and the Climate Outreach Information Network (COIN), it will be a place to get advice, talk with suppliers and get inspiration from people who have eco-renovated their homes.
Saturday 24 th April
The annual Future Friendly Awards scheme offers a share in a £20,000 prize fund for green community projects. The shortlist includes:
The CAIAPark free bike refurbishment scheme in Wrexham, which also organises river clean-ups, an allotment project and an annual garden competition
The 1st Clanfield Scout Group which is building a new HQ heated by a ground-source heat pump with solar panels for electricity plus a rain-harvesting system to flush the toilets
Community Connections, a Bridgend-based project which collects furniture, household goods and clothes, and delivers them free to needy and disadvantaged people in the surrounding area.
For more details, visit www.futurefriendly.co.uk
Sunday 25 th April
Christ has no body now on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours;
Ours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion looks out on the world;
Ours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Ours are the hands with which he blesses his people daily.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Amen.
Monday 26 th April
At the recent CITES conference, a proposal to ban trade in the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna was heavily defeated. 80% of the catch goes to Japan , where it is prized as a delicacy.
The meeting also defeated proposals to allow Tanzania and Zambia to sell their stockpiles of elephant ivory. Illegal sales of ivory have been on the increase for several years, fuelling poaching of elephants. In February, two game guards and fourteen elephants were gunned down in Bouba Ndjidda National Park , Cameroon . WWF said: “The sight of ivory openly on sale in many cities of Central and West Africa sends a potent signal to poachers, smugglers and consumers that it is legal to buy and sell unregulated ivory.” Figures released by the Elephant Trade Information System have highlighted the failure of law enforcement in key elephant areas, where there is an increasing threat from organised crime and unregulated markets.
Tuesday 27 th April
The polar explorer Pen Hadow and a team of scientists have set up a base 750 miles from the North Pole to study the impact of ocean acidification on marine life in cold waters. Scientists believe that the pH of the world's oceans could by 2050 reach levels not seen on earth for 20 million years and that this could have disastrous consequences for marine life everywhere.
Wednesday 28 th April
According to Timothy Wix of Tufts University , the central contradiction in the cheap food policy pursued by most governments is that, for growers, the less they get for their crops, the less their families have to live on. So farmers are going out of business at an alarming rate. Result: food insecurity for everyone.
If a country decides it can get food more cheaply by importing it, its own farmers are put out of business. By 2008 the Philippines had stopped producing enough rice to protect themselves from fluctuating world markets. So, when rice prices rocketed, they couldn't get the rice they needed to feed their people. The Philippines is now on a long-term campaign to restore self-sufficiency in rice production.
Other countries should take note.
Thursday 29 th April
Since 1980, global production of meat has more than doubled. Livestock production uses 30% of the Earth's land surface and 70% of all agricultural land. One-third of all greenhouse gas emissions can be traced to agriculture and to changes in land use attributed livestock and crop production. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found that keeping off meat and dairy products for just one day a week led to a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to not driving 1,163 miles. Reducing or even excising animal products from our plates may be the most effective individual measure against global warming.
Friday 30 th April
During the Copenhagen talks, the “Copenhagen Wheel” was launched. It converts any bicycle into a ‘smart bike' by using hybrid technology to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking into a battery, which is then used to boost the energy required for e.g. towing a trailer with children or carrying heavy shopping. This June, Copenhagen will be hosting Velo-City Global 2010 – an international conference to promote cycling in cities. For more details, go to: www.velo-city2010.com
Picture at top:Pasque flower - Pulsatilla vulgaris at Kew Gardens . by Poppy Pickard.
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