Saving Wildlife and Biodiversity

Saving Wildlife

(You can also download this post as a triptych leaflet to display in your church)
See also Green Christian’s “100 churches project to raise money for habitats under threat”


Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;

let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.

Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy.’


Earth has lost ½ its wildlife in the past 40 years: More specifically:  ‘in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half’ The Living Planet Report 2014-WWF

  …. how can we help?


►    What is Biodiversity?

Bio-diversity simply means the variety of life on earth’. Bio-diversity means our Life-Support Systems. e.g without bees, there would be little pollination and therefore few fruit.

Populations of wild animals are falling because of the following: (from WWF Living Planet report 2014)




►    What are the main causes of actual species extinctions?

– (As opposed to decrease in population size-)
a)  Habitat loss, b)  Invasive species, c)  Pollution.

►    How many species exist in the world?

Low estimate: 12 million, but many species have not yet been discovered. Humans, other animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms all depend on each other.

►    How many species are threatened?

Over 18,000 species are threatened with extinction (IUCN 2010):   1 in 3 amphibians, ½ of all freshwater turtles, 1 in 8 birds, 1 in 4 mammals, 1 in 5 plants.  Extinction means the final, irrevocable disappearance of a species from the earth. It is possible that we are facing a major extinction event.

►     What is the UK habitat loss in the last 60 years?

Lowland peat bogs: down 95% Lowland heathland: down 40%
Lowland wet grassland: down 60% Species rich grassland  hay meadows down 98%
Chalk downland: down 70% Native pinewoods: down 70%

Local authorities have set up Local Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) to protect what is left of these habitats.

►    Plants

Without plants, life on Earth would cease to exist. Biodiversity is not just about different species; it includes variation within species. This genetic diversity enables a species to survive in face of adversity, such as pests, disease, drought and climate change. Kew Gardens’ Millennium Seed Bank Project is gathering and storing seeds from plants most at risk across the world.

Regulations restrict the sale of vegetable seeds to a few registered varieties. The Heritage Seed Library at Garden Organic exchanges UK seeds from 700 unregistered vegetables they are not allowed to sell. National fruit collections keep our genetic heritage safe: Brogdale in Kent grows 2,500 different apple varieties, plus pears, plums and soft fruit; Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate preserves the UK rhubarb collection.

►    Birds

 ‘The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon which he planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees.’  (Ps. 104:16-17)

In the last 20-30 years the numbers of UK farmland birds have declined by 42% and woodland birds by 15%. House sparrows and starlings are in serious decline. Others like the magpie, carrion crow and woodpigeon are on the increase. The loss of farmland birds was largely caused by:

effects of pesticides on the insects eaten by birds

loss of mixed farms with their range of habitats

change to autumn-sown crops from spring-sown

►    Other animals

‘The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the badgers.’ (Ps. 104:18)

Examples of UK Extinctions since 1900: Exploding bombardier beetle 1928; Horned dung-beetle 1955; Burbot (a fish) 1972; Ivell’s sea-anemone 1983 (now globally extinct); Mouse-eared bat 1990; Essex emerald moth 1991

World Extinctions since 1900: Passenger Pigeon 1914; Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) 1936; Caribbean Monk Seal 1952; Golden Toad 1966; Javan Tiger c1980; Tecopa Pupfish 1973; Pyrenean Ibex 2000; Baiji Rover Dolphin 2006; Zanzibar Leopard 2012

►    Sea Creatures

‘Yonder is the sea, great and wide, which teems with things innumerable.’ (Ps. 104:25)

We know more of the moon than we do of the deep mysterious oceans. Industrial fishing and fish farming are increasing. Fish stocks are plummeting, coral reefs are being destroyed by pollution, dynamite fishing, tourism and souvenir hunters. Non government organisations and campaigning groups have battled long and hard to protect large sea mammals.

►    See the ‘Part 2′ Leaflet (which will be posted as a web page shortly) for:

Eco-biblical quotes, and details of the Rainforest Fund


►  Word Search




1 Elephant 9 Fruit 17 Amazon
2 Brazil nut 10 Dodo 18 Pet
3 Leopard 11 Honey 19 Beef
4 Orang-utan 12 Moth 20 Soya
5 Bongo 13 Ginger 21 Goat
6 Monkey 14 Frog 22 Palm Oil
7 Bat 15 Ant 23 Logging
8 Mahogany 16 Ape 24 Zoo




10 Top Steps  for Saving Wildlife

Write down any you might plan to do


  1. Encourage prayers & church services to include God’s earth, & people struggling to protect bio-diversity e.g. farmers, politicians, lawyers.
  2. Encourage your church to have a fund-raising event for a habitat conservation charity in GC’s 100 Churches Rainforest Fund Project. Raise £100 to save 1 acre of habitat under threat or buy 1 acre of rainforest – thus showing that respect for Creation is part of Godly living.
  3. Support conservation charities local, national and international, and actively support their campaigns.
  4. Ensure any savings are ethically invested and not invested in firms destroying wildlife, e.g. land grabs to buy and destroy forest.
  5. Manage your churchyard to benefit wildlife. Plan a
    Nature Trail. Carry out a GC Church Wildlife Survey
  6. Grow old, rare fruit varieties from Brogdale.
  7. Garden organically, use peat-free compost, dig a
    pond; leave wildlife habitats. Remove slabs of
    Allow plants to seed in the autumn for birds
    to feed. Tidy up later! Compost. Grow vegetables.
  8. Play nature games at Sunday School & Messy Church. Enable old people in care to go on trips in the outdoors. Walk outdoors yourself each day.
  9. Learn to identify and appreciate local wildlife
  10. Buy food that is ‘Wildlife friendly’. Go  more vegan!


Why does bio-diversity matter to Christians?

‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.’ (Ps. 24:1)

Some would argue that the extinction of a dung beetle is insignificant or that extinctions are all part of God’s plan. Psalm 8 describes people as ‘rulers over the works of God’s hands’. Everything is ‘under their feet’ (v. 6). But in the first and last verses the Psalmist proclaims that the earth is God’s. We are accountable to God for how we use other creatures. John Calvin (d. 1564) wrote in his commentary on Genesis, The custody of the garden was given in charge to Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition that, being content with the frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain.’

No species lives in isolation. For example birds depend on a variety of other species to provide their food — from grasshoppers and seeds to fish and rabbits. We need biological resources to feed and clothe us and provide housing, medicines and spiritual nourishment. But according to the Bible all creatures are good in themselves. They are not just for our use. All creation from wild animals and cattle to fruit trees and people praise God by living their natural lives. As Pope John Paul II said, ‘Nature should be respected and preserved so that by establishing a healthy proper relationship with it, people can be led to contemplate the mystery of God’s greatness and love.’

Archbishop Rowan Williams has said: ‘The Earth is a gift of God to all creatures, and clearly our human duty is to appreciate it, cherish it, celebrate it, take care of it, and share it, not just amongst ourselves but all creatures of God, present and future.’

Pope Francis has written, in June 2015, the Papal encyclical  Laudato Si – Care for our common home which is well worth reading, or send off for a printed copy (£4-95 plus postage) 

e,g, paragraph 13:

13. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.


To think about… Churchyards often contain the last ‘unimproved’ grassland in an area. Some parishioners want to manage part of the churchyard as a meadow, cutting the grass only late in summer so wildflowers can seed, and to encourage Sunday School children to observe wildlife. Others like the churchyard to look tidy with short grass and think children wandering around graves looking for insects and lichens is disrespectful to the dead. What do you think?


Global & national action plans

Along with over 100 other countries the UK signed the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This led to the establishment of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) which aims to maintain and enhance bio-diversity. We are now in the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity 2011 – 2020

Useful website for news:

Useful book: The Death of Life: Extinction is Forever by Sean McDonagh

Organisations active in this area:

A Rocha; Biodiversity Action Plan, Brogdale Horticultural Trust; Living Churchyards Project; The Wildlife Trusts; Natural England; Heritage Seed Library (Garden Organic) Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Project; RSPB; Plantlife International; WWF; United Nations Environment Programme; IUCNbiod14

You can also download this post as a triptych leaflet to display in your church)



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1st Sept: A Prayer Walk for the Care of Creation?

poster-for-eco-walk-1-sep-aWhat are you and your church planning for Tue 1st Sept (or a Sunday nearby) for the 1st day of “Creation time” and the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation?”  Do let Green Christian know.

Churches Together in Settle are holding two eco/prayer walks on 1st Sept – a wheel chair accessible one at 2pm and a more challenging one up Castleberg Crag  at 5.45pm

In doing so they are joining up with people around the world who are going on pilgrimages to raise awareness of Climate Change  – see The Peoples Pilgrimage

Click for:-

  1. More details of 1st Sept event at Settle
  2. Details and pictures  of similar walk held on 23 July – lower down this post.
  3. Instructions for walk leaders for these and similar “Walks for Creation”
  4. Peoples-Pilgrimage-logo-text.x115 (1)Website for Peoples Pilgrimage - list of pilgrimages all over world leading up the COP21 UN climate meeting in Paris this December.
  5. Details of the Morecambe Bay People’s Pilgrimage Itinerary   including Cark, Leighton Moss, Yealand, Morecambe Prom, Heysham


20150723-209-by-J-AllinsonOn 23h July Churches Together in Settle and District organised a prayer walk for the care of creation. See details and more pictures here.

Sept 1st has been chosen for the next one because:

1)  Many churches are holding Pray and Fast for the Environment events on the 1st day of each month

2) 1st Sept is the first day of “Creation Tide” celebrated by  the Protestant and Orthodox churches in Europe (Council of European Churches)

3) Pope Francis says Catholic Church should treat 1st Sept as “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”

4) 1st Sept is the first day of the year for many churches (e.g. Methodist Church)

5) It is a great thing to do.

A preparation sheet for this particular walk is available to downloaded Walk-for-creation – In a nutshell, this was a walk with 3 meditation/discussion stops (in groups of 3-6)  in the environment – and finishing with  a cafe tea and cake.. We were able to split into two groups so one could go on a longer walk, whilst the shorter walk we carried chairs to sit on.

The meditation/ discussion and silent appreciation was structured so that that all in the group could contribute.






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What are you especially grateful for today?

That’s all this post is.

A question.

“What are you grateful for today?”

Write your answer in the comments section of this post

..or write it in a journal or diary

And thank God in your prayers.


Posted in Take Action | Tagged | 2 Comments

Greenbelt 28-31 Aug: GC stall: All welcome – Could you volunteer a few hours?

Green Christian welcomes you at the GC stall at Greenbelt. – 2015  – 28-31 Aug

We also very much welcome volunteers who can volunteer to help on the stall for an hour or a few hours. It is a good way of meeting lots of people and being helpful.

Please contact if you can help

greenbelt2014agreenbelt2014b Above: pictures from 2014

If you would like to help on Green Christian’s stall at Greenbelt 2015  – 28-31 Aug please contact

Please also email that address if you would like to be put in contact with other Green Christian members who will be going.

Here is the offical Greenbelt website

Those who have been to Greenbelt before might like to see reports of Green Christian / Christian Ecology Link  Activities at previous Greenbelts:

Greenbelt 2014 by David Beattie
Greenbelt 2013 – by Ruth Jarman
Greenbelt 2012 – by Ruth Jarman
Greenbelt 2011 – by Martin Davis
And from our archives..
Greenbelt 2010
Greenbelt 2009
Greenbelt 2008 -by Judith Allinson
Greenbelt 2007 Greenbelt 2004

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14 Ideas that could help create a joyful green society

Many of you may have read a very interesting article by Charles Ledbetter in the Observer last month:

Now my intention here is not to be party political. But I think this set of imaginative ideas stands up free of parties and I think are very relevant to the kind of society in which many would wish to live in or at least aspire to.

Could they be added into the Joy in Enough (JiE) mix for discussion? Without wishing to sound like old Mr Grace from that dreadful 70’s sitcom ‘Are You Being Served?’ I really do feel that this is wonderful and challenging work that you are all doing. I am full of admiration.

God bless all of you,

George Dow


Posted in JiE Discussions | 1 Comment

Growing Them Green- a Green Christian ‘EcoParent’ Initiative

The Growing Them Green Facebook page is a small initiative that has grown out of the Green Christian Xistence Project, which aims to understand how we can better serve people in their 20s and 30s who are interested in environmental justice.

We have been looking at what resources there are available for parents who identify as Christian and who also have an interest in sustainable living. Whilst we found lots of resources about eco-parenting, and about Christian parenting, we have found very little that brings the two together (but we would be grateful to know of any resources that there are out there!).

Our hope for the Growing Them Green Facebook page is that it will become a place where parents can share ideas, resources and encouragement with each other as part of the journey to nurture our children to love and care for God’s creation.We are also inviting group members and guests to blog about different topics relevant to Christian eco-parenting each fortnight, so please let us know if you would be interested in making a contribution- or just post and blog away!

There can be little else that is more important than nurturing in our children a fascination and wonder at God’s creation at this crucial time. We often hear about how much we stand to lose from the effects of climate change and environmental degredation- but we also stand to gain so much if we can truly embrace God’s call to celebrate a Gospel that is for all of creation. From nappy changing to supporting our child to discern their life vocation, we hope this Facebook page will be an opportunity for us to join together in discovering what a greener future looks like for us, our children and our whole communities.

To join the group search ‘Growing Them Green’ on Facebook, or go to


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You might have seen today’s news item about Australia’s war on feral cats (link copied below): the Australian government intends to cull millions of cats by 2020 to protect local fauna. I understand the predicament and this is all very sad but unfortunately it’s not only feral cats that endanger wildlife, but most cats… I have a (house) cat that only goes in the garden with me and so it doesn’t hunt. But I am worried about the effect of the ‘free to roam’ neighbourhood cats on the bird population. It has been really silent in the morning. How do you raise awareness about collars for cats or any other methods that can prevent them from hunting birds please? I have removed bird feeders after seeing my neighbour’s cat waiting patiently in front of the tree…

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Pudding anyone?


“From the four corners of the earth come inter-connecting stories of human beings living with the wild, unpredictable effects of climate change…

Scientists, farmers, oil magnates, climate warriors, prophets, mothers, journalists and others just like you and me – we’re all in the mix and hungry for a recipe of hope in the struggle about power. Some will sound the warming bell, some blow hot and cold, while others make a pudding of the planet.

Through the richly entertaining world of BAKED ALASKA, the realities of climate change are served up with flair and clarity about the temperatures involved. Riding Lights are creating an inspiring show which is challenging but fun, urgent but hopeful.”

BAKED ALASKA is touring churches across the UK this autumnserving up a recipe for hope ready for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change taking place in Paris this December. The Riding Lights Theatre Company has been bowled over by how much interest there has been in the tour.

And it comes to our own/local/nearby Church xxxxxx on xxxxxx starting at xxx pm.

Riding Lights Theatre Company is one of the UK’s most productive and long-established independent theatre companies. Founded in York over 30 years ago, partly through the initiative of a city-centre church, the company continues to take innovative, accessible theatre into all kinds of communities far and wide.

The Company’s stated aims are to create unforgettable, entertaining theatre in response to current issues and the hopes and fears of the world we share. Baked Alaska certainly promises to meet that aim, and will be a highly creative way of helping audiences to actively engage with the issues of justice and responsible sustianable living that are raised by the reality of global climate change.

The show is sponsored by Christian AidOperation Noah and the Diocese of Lichfield.

There will be more than 50 performances of the show covering a significant amount of England and Scotland, plus a brief trip into Wales. A full list of the tour dates can be found at

Why not start planning a trip to one of the performances? We’d love to see you there, where you will be welcomed by local Christian Aid and Operation Noah supporters.

Tickets are on sale now at and from your local church at xxxxx

Posted in Action, Church Magazine, Climate Change, Plays, Take Action | Leave a comment