Fossil Free Nativity comes to Methodist Central Hall!

Saturday 6th December 2014 saw actors and activists assemble for Christian Climate Action’s Fossil Free Nativity in front of Methodist Central Hall in London.

The Methodist Church along with the Church of England will decide in 2015 whether or not to disinvest from fossil fuels.  Christian Climate Action wanted to celebrate their willingness to join the growing number of Churches and institutions prepared to withdraw their financial interest in the destruction of the climate.

                        What’s that you say?  Do my ears deceive?
                        Rumours of a fossil free C of E?
                        Perhaps with Bishops on the ball
                        There is some good news after all!
 
                        And like a branch snatched from the fire
                        it’s not just these Bishops that conspire.
                        Knowing cleanliness is next to Godliness
                        Methodists ponder whether to disinvest.

 

The Fossil Free Nativity is a fairly standard Nativity play featuring all the professionalism and production values you might expect from a primary school production except there are a few variations and some Fossil Free Carols.FossilFree620x461

                       Bad King Herod once looked out
                        Of his bedroom window
                        Saw the sky was filled with fire
                        Wondered what should he do
 
                        Called BP and EDF
                        In they walked together
                        Said there was no climate change
                        Only dodgy weather
 

The cast pose for a final photo inside Methodist Central Hall with Charles Wesley himself, who called for the ethical use of money.

 

If you want to have a read then look here for the script.

You can watch the video here and the final song here.

For more information about Christian Climate Action then why not look us up on Facebook or email christianclimateaction@gmail.com. Come to our training day – NVDA and the Gospel on January 10th!
Report by Church Times

Westley Ingram

Photos free for non-commercial use, all other enquiries to Rikki at indyrikki.wordpress.com where more photos can also be found.

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PRESS RELEASE : HOUSING AND ENERGY – FAIRNESS FOR ALL – Workshop 24th January 2015

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HOUSING AND ENERGY – FAIRNESS FOR ALL – Workshop 24th January 2015

Green Christian will be holding another workshop in the “ecocell” series in the New Year, this time on the topic of energy use in the home environment and how this ties in with economic justice in the housing sector.

British under-25s are becoming progressively economically disadvantaged, as their job security has decreased, their wages have not kept pace with inflation, social benefits are being treated to austerity measures, private landlords are charging mortgage-level rents, and the retired “baby boomers” are sitting in over-valued houses.

In addition, much housing stock is highly energy-inefficient, private landlords and even some social landlords will not renovate homes for energy efficiency, even under the new Green Deal scheme, energy costs are rising, and several successful Government schemes to “cut the carbon” have been axed.

An expert panel on these aspects of Fair Housing will assist with workshops for Green Christian on Saturday 24th January 2015, between 11.00am and 4.30pm. The event will be held at St Aloysius Church, 20 Phoenix Road, London NW1 1TA, just around the corner from Euston station, and is open to the public, but places will need to be reserved.

Tony Emerson of Green Christian asked, “How do we put adequate roofs over all our heads, without damaging the global ‘roof’ that protects us from climate catastrophe? The younger generation in particular needs adequate ‘roofing’ of both types.”

Angus Hanton of the Intergenerational Foundation, supporting the event, says that, “For millions of young people housing has become their biggest concern, but the older generation, mostly comfortably-housed, are ignoring it. How we use our housing speaks volumes about our priorities – through it we can share, we can downsize and we can slash our energy use.”

For the Intergenerational Foundation, fairness between the generations is the new focus of social justice, “the older generation have been disregarding the young for too long and are now realising the scale of the debt and debris we are handing on to our children and grandchildren. Many people want to leave their homes to the next generation, but the young need housing now. The young are the new poor. The older generation are hogging housing and jobs, perhaps without even realising it.”

This Green Christian event is designed for all who are interested in exploring, within a faith-based context, the concept of intergenerational justice, including issues such as how we can make best use of our homes, and the impact on our energy footprint.

Angus Hanton emphasised, “Housing and energy are vital to all of us and at this workshop we are hoping to come up with ideas about how to ‘do them better’ and, more adventurously, how our government could do them better.”

In the morning, small groups and a panel discussion will answer questions on social justice, such as asking where the justice is in many people going homeless, or living in crowded housing, while some houses are kept deliberately empty? Have the young and future generations been dealt an unfair hand with current housing policies and social changes? Is it fair that some housing is very much under-occupied?

The afternoon session will ask : Can construction programmes solve these issues : will building more houses help – or just add to climate damage and other environmental problems? And what we can do about energy use in our homes, as this is one of the main contributors to carbon emissions and climate destabilisation?

We will have several speakers, plenty of time for discussion and an inter-generational game. The aim of the day is to explore creative solutions to housing and its related climate emission issues – from a Christian perspective – which ensure intergenerational justice.

A panel of speakers at the workshop will include :-

Ann Morisy, an associate of PSALM, (Project for Services Around Long Life Ministry) a London wide ecumenical organisation working with churches to encourage thoughtful responses to the challenges and opportunities that come in later life. Ann grew up in Bootle but now lives in south London. She is a freelance community theologian and is an internationally acclaimed lecturer and writer. Her presentations are always down to earth but informed by scholarship and honest faith as well as engaging and light-hearted.

Angus Hanton is a Co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, a vehemently independent and non-party-political think tank that focuses on intergenerational fairness in the UK. A self-confessed baby boomer, Hanton believes that successive governments have unwittingly overseen the transfer of assets, benefits and resources to older generations, whilst passing increasingly unsustainable liabilities to younger and future people. From housing to education, employment to benefits, taxation to democratic participation, health care to the environment, Angus believes intergenerational inequality is increasing and will affect generations to come unless long term thinking wins out over short term political gain. Angus has appeared on national TV and radio to debate intergenerational fairness. He is an economist, businessman, and parent, who feels that we are not meeting our duty to safeguard the future for generations to come.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Tony Emerson
tony@greenchristian.org.uk

Amy Willshire, Information Officer for Green Christian
info@greenchristian.org.uk
0845 45 98 460

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Green Christian is a registered trading name of Christian Ecology Link (CEL) :-

http://www.greenchristian.org.uk

2. Christian Ecology Link (CEL) is to officially change to using the Green Christian name from :-

1st January 2015

3. The webpage for this event :-

http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/archives/7384

4. Booking is essential as space is limited. The deadline for registration is :-

17th January 2015

5. To register for your place at this event :-

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/housing-energy-fairness-for-all-tickets-13897974215

6. The event is open to the public.

7. The event is free of charge, but donations on the day are welcome.

8. Drinks are served, but participants are invited to bring food to share at lunchtime.

9. The workshop is jointly organised by CEL/Green Christian and the Intergenerational Foundation.

10. Intergenerational Foundation is a London-based charity which researches fairness between generations.

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Go thrifty, healthy and green in 2015!

Broken promises Project 365(3) Day 324

After the Christmas splurge of chocolate, cash and carbon, here are some New Year resolutions that are good for your body, your bank-balance as well as our beautiful world:

  1. Cancel the gym membership! (Unless you live next door, or cycle there). Can you find a way to exercise that doesn’t require getting into your car? I keep fit by cycling to things when they are close enough and doing step-aerobics in the privacy and convenience of my sitting room on a step which cost £20 twenty years ago.  Walking costs 2p per mile in boots!
  2. Pile on the pulses instead of the ounces.  Serving lentils, chickpeas or beans with a grain of some sort (rice, couscous, pasta) makes a complete protein meal at a fraction of the price of meat.  Pulses are also naturally low in fat and high in fibre and minerals. And since animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, each time you choose the vegan option, you are being kind to the world.
  3. Insulate yourself!  Trawl second hand shops for big fluffy jumpers and fleecy blankets and see how many layers you can wear at once.  Now you will have to turn the heating down!  Every degree you lower will save you about 10% of the energy – thus saving carbon and money.
  4. Stay grounded.  Consider holidaying by car or train this year, rather than flying. It could be cheaper, it could be healthier, especially if it means you don’t get sun-burnt, but, most importantly, it will cut a whopping big hole in your carbon footprint and will probably be the kindest thing you can do for the earth and its future inhabitants.
  5. Actually, that’s not true.  An even more effective way to care for the earth is to demand a better world.  Spend the cost of a stamp or an email, or a train ticket to join a rally, vigil or protest, and campaign on behalf of future generations.  Support a charity that you like the look of (e.g. Green Christian, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, Operation Noah, WWF, RSPB) and join your voice to the millions calling on the government and other institutions to act on climate change.


Photo credit Keith Williamson

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Sustainable Living : Workshop on Campaigning

On Saturday 22nd November 2014, CEL (or, as it will be renamed in January  2015,  Green Christian ) held our Annual Members Meeting, and after official business was over, we were treated to an address by Ian Christie of the Sustainable Living Research Group at the University of Surrey.

Following his thought-provoking words, the meeting broke up into three groups considering recommendations for actions in the three domains of : Church, Community and Campaigning.


How can we reconcile the 3-way stand-off (Government, Business and Citizen) through what we say and the ways we say it

What successful campaigns has CEL been involved with?

One is LOAF.

Why has it been successful?

  • catchy acronym
  • everyone is impacted by food
  • concept easy to grasp

We have learned that we need to:

  • keep the campaign ‘story’ going – otherwise it becomes a blip
  • stitch it into a wider narrative, influencing lifestyles, clear relation to carbon emission savings and to scripture
  • impact people with an idea which affects them as individuals or as families…and in a positive way.

Specifically, as regards the 3-way stand-off we need:

  • a shared understanding of the terminology used (eg what is ’sustainable development’ for the Governments, Local Authorities and Business may not be the same for the Citizen)
  • to take ownership of projects – parts of projects – as a church (eg in conservation projects)
  • to be seen as helping one or two of the other players (eg making recommendations re local environmental or neighbourhood development projects)

And remember that within the Citizen group there may be several opposing parties (eg building a new runway may have people against for green and noise reasons but in favour in terms of local employment).

And that may also be the case within the Business group, with some in favour of projects and others against.

What can we do specifically as Green Christians and/or church members?

  • influence the ‘key opinion formers’ (who may be local Councillors or Bishops or others)
  • use resources which are freely available at either Diocese or other levels (eg CofE ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ website, DEO’s)
  • highlight to fellow Christians that this is all biblical and is what we should all be doing! (eg as CofE’s 5th Mark of Mission – caring for creation)

And important advice from Ian Christie….

Write to our MP’s and get others to do so using similar (but not the same) words (eg ‘….’my vote goes to the best party to offer a green deal for COMMUNITIES rather than houses).

If even only 20 letters are sent in a similar vein, MP’s will seriously consider the matter.

amm-2014-very-small-25

The Group discusses campaigning

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Hands on – e-journal article

It is an irony that when we are all being exhorted to cut down on energy for the sake of the planet, more and more of us are using technology which consumes energy.

In the last thirty years or more, things hand-driven tools have given way to tools which are petrol-driven, electric, electronic or battery-driven in the following areas, among others: care of the land, washing, drying and ironing clothes, washing up, cleaning the house, food preparation, communication, telling the time, photography, getting around, cleaning our teeth and cleaning the house, drying the hair on our heads and disposing of the hair on our faces.

Some of this technology, like lawnmowers, goes back well over a hundred years.  There was a time when lawns hardly existed except for the very wealthy, and then they would often be kept cut by sheep.  The invention of the motor mower meant that everywhere lawns sprung up where before there might have been gravel.  These motor mowers are now used on the smallest patches of grass where a hand mower would be just as efficient.  More recently the strimmer has become almost universal where in the past scythes or long-handled shears would have been used.  A friend of mine was told off for wasting his time wielding a scythe;  he replied that it was no less wasteful than wielding a golf-club and a good deal more beneficial to land use.  Accompanying strimmers are electric hedge cutters which have largely phased out the manual version.  All these tools have the further disadvantage of adding greatly to noise levels.

Very few people in our society would dream of washing clothes in anything except a washing machine, though there are many in developing countries who have to survive without them.  It is believed that except for six weeks before and after Christmas it is usually possible to hang clothes outside to dry rather than using a tumble dryer.  Dishwashers, which we have inherited from the Continent, are a more recent acquisition, often coming with green credentials.  Those of us who prefer to stay with the old ways claim that washing up by hand can be either an opportunity for meditation or conversation, and that the greenest of machines have to be manufactured using plenty of electricity, and also, like all machines have to be replaced from time to time.  In the preparation of food there is still a balance between hand and machine, though here also machines are gaining ground. Examples of machines are bread makers, food processors, blenders and toasters.  Another machine which has gained dominance is the vacuum cleaner and even carpet sweepers often now have batteries.  We find that for most purposes a hand driven carpet sweeper is adequate.

Perhaps the biggest transformation is in communication.  Everybody in the UK is being urged by the government to get into computers, sometimes with the argument that it is in fact greener than writing letters by hand on the grounds that less paper is used.  However it has been estimated that 9% of the energy used in the USA comes from the use of computers.  Sending emails, engaging in the social media and looking things up on the net all have a hidden energy deficit, but few of us would think now of doing without them.  This deficit is even more striking in the use of phones, which not only use energy but which, it is believed by some, can be a serious hazard to health, especially the ones which are being charged up in our homes.  We stick whenever possible to the land line phone with cord.  Most of us have front door bells which are operated by electricity, some of us have garage doors which open in response to an electronic signal and others have gates which are opened electronically as are most car doors and windows.

When did any of us last wind up a watch, or wear one which was self-winding?  In watches and clocks, batteries hold sway.  These not only have to be made and use energy, but also have to be disposed of.  Slightly more people still have clocks that are powered by hand-winding, but even they are a dying breed as indeed are traditional cameras.  For thirty five years I had a camera which needed a battery only for the flash, but now such things belong to the age of the ark.  There is no doubt that satnavs have been a boon to people driving on their own to unknown places, but not only have they made the traditional knowledge of the taxi driver irrelevant but  many lorry and car drivers no longer know how to use a map.  At the moment the government is increasing the cost of public transport except for planes in comparison with the cost of motoring so there is little chance that the amount of journeys done by cars will decrease, nor does there seem to be a significant increase in walking or biking except for leisure.

There are occasions when dentists may for good reason tell their patients to use an electric toothbrush, but for most of us a good minute or two with a traditional brush is just as effective.  While for men the gadget which has been most universally abandoned but is the greenest of all is the cut-throat razor.

It is obviously impossible for us all to go back one hundred years, or even thirty, but there is no reason why we should not think about using some alternatives.  One interesting example is that it is now possible to have radios that are powered by the sun or wound up by hand.  Thirty years ago this was not possible.  So it is not all bad news.

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Sustainable Living : Workshop on Churches

On Saturday 22nd November 2014, CEL (or, as it will be renamed in January  2015,  Green Christian ) held our Annual Members Meeting, and after official business was over, we were treated to an address by Ian Christie of the Sustainable Living Research Group at the University of Surrey.

Following his thought-provoking words, the meeting broke up into three groups considering recommendations for actions in the three domains of : Church, Community and Campaigning.

Here follows the write-up of the Churches breakout group, helpfully contributed by Simon Court :-


“Sustainable Living : Why we struggle and how we can change”

Notes from the Breakout Group Workshop – Churches responding to the challenge

What are the stories the churches tell? These are stories which help us explore the question of how we draw closer to Christ.

Churches need to move from telling personal stories of redemption to telling the story of our redemption through our belonging to creation. Churches need to provide narratives which resonate with congregations but we recognise that some churches are unlikely to move beyond stories of personal redemption.

It will be powerful if we can gain some agreement about the behaviours which flow from the Church’s relationship with creation. We need to walk the walk as well as talking the talk.

If we can get the narrative right then our discipleship will develop in the context of that story. It is best to demonstrate the Gospel in how we live our lives, and to guard against “nagging” on environmental issues.

 

amm-2014-very-small-23

Group discussing “Churches responding to the challenge”

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Sustainable Living : Workshop on Community

On Saturday 22nd November 2014, CEL (or, as it will be renamed in January  2015,  Green Christian ) held our Annual Members Meeting, and after official business was over, we were treated to an address by Ian Christie of the Sustainable Living Research Group at the University of Surrey. on “Sustainable Living : Why we struggle and how we can change”.

There were three breakout group workshops after his address, one on Church, one on Community and one on Campaigning. I tried to act as a facilitator for the Community breakout group, and the conversation was really interesting and fast-paced, which was a good thing as we did not have all day to explore the multiple issues and opportunities. Here is the write up of my notes – which is open to corrections and additions :-


Sustainable Living : Why we struggle and how we can change”amm-2014-small-24
Workshop on Community
22 November 2014

What is your recommendation for our Green Christian actions ?
What is your recommendation for the Churches in theirs ?

Community : in faith-led outreach to householders and the church, and in new “rites of transition” ?

The workshop focussed on the following areas :-

1. Learning by doing and structured activities

The group preferred doing rather than just talking. Suggested activities were :-

– Visits to renewable energy facilities – such as biogas production plant, wind turbines, solar farms
– School groups being invited to visit churchyards
– Jumble sales as the ultimate in recycling
– “Swishing” events – to swap high quality unwanted clothes
– Bicycle repair workshops at church
– Church-organised draught-busting workshop
– Starting and managing a community garden
– Walking in the fells
– Guerilla gardening
– A church project, for example on energy, insulation or food

“Wouldn’t it be better that the church be setting an example ?”

2. Non-directed learning – emergent dialogue

The group thought that it would be good for churches to provide a welcome, a setting, for conversations to emerge, rather than introducing programmed instruction or dictating the outcomes.

It was thought that just starting a conversation, just talking with people, could bring a number of issues and their potential solutions to the surface : “talking about climate change can happen within that context”.

However, there were some models of engagement that were proposed :-

– EcoTeams (from the Global Action Plan)
– ecocell (from Green Christian)
– Transition Towns
– Skillsharing – a chain of teaching : in other words, one person teaches another how to fix a dripping tap, or draught-proof a window/door, or grow vegetables; that person then teaches another and so on.

However, it was thought that some specific topics were important enough to merit deliberate discussion initiatives and meetings – and that messaging about them were still important – such as the use of coal for energy – and how to keep it underground through lifestyle changes, different approaches.

There was also suggestions that organisations should formally work together on educational aspects of climate change – schools and churches for example.

3. Rites of transition

Funerals were thought to be the most appropriate and relevant place to bring up environmental questions – interments frequently being held outdoors. The type of messaging given at a funeral was very important – the question of different life courses, and futures. Also the question of “where there’s a funeral, there’s a legacy”.

4. Dispersed church

The group raised the thorny problem : how can the church function properly as a transitioning community when its members travel from so far to the meetings, and don’t live close to each other ? It was suggested that perhaps the churches should inspire people about street-based projects, local allotments, and that maybe the church should act like [a collection of localised] cell groups.

 

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20 Letters

At the Green Christian Annual Members Meeting today, Ian Christie offered encouragement for campaigning on environmental issues and living green lifestyles.

In particular, he mentioned that as few as 20 letters in the post bag of a Member of Parliament on one subject could be taken as a change of political climate.

Jo Abbess, Information Officer, has written up her version of events here…

http://www.joabbess.com/2014/11/22/20-letters/

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