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April 2018       Small Doc      Small Pdf      Large Doc      Large Pdf


Saxifrage

“God said to Noah and his sons: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants. Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood. Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’”.                           (Genesis 9.8-11)

“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt . . . For two years now there has been famine in the land and for the next five years there will not be ploughing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”  (Genesis 45.4-7)

“These stories teach us that prophets of climate change must be heeded with a change of heart leading to prudent and responsible action to mitigate disaster. Without a change of heart and a new sense of humility before the forces of this wondrous planet, we will not be able to achieve the transformation that is needed if planetary meltdown is to be averted.”  (Professor Michael Northcott)

 


Sunday 1st April. Easter Day.

Lord God, by whose authority Christ was raised from the dead, so that the worst that men could do had no power over him, lay your hand this day on all who need this message most:

For those who have lost their dear ones and whose hearts are sad;

For those who have lost their health and vitality;

For those who have lost their livelihood;

For those who have lost patience;

For those who have lost their faith;

For those who are wounded in the battle of life and are near to despair.

Give to us all a vision of Christ’s risen glory, that we too may trust in his power; that we too may be assured that nothing can separate us from your loving purposes or frustrate your will for us. Amen. (Leslie Weatherhead – adapted)

Monday 2nd April

The 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries, states that signatories ‘must aim to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.’ Unfortunately, few realise the scale of the gap between the Paris targets and what those 195 nations have so far pledged. According to the Carbon Action Tracker, if all other countries fully implement their pledges, and America does nothing, average global temperatures will increase to 3.2°C above pre-industrial levels, which would spell disaster for our world. If the goals of the Paris Agreement are to be achievable, there must be an urgent acceleration of short-term action and longer-term ambition. COP 24, meeting next December in Katowice, Poland, has an immense task ahead.

Tuesday 3rd April

COP 23, hosted by Fiji, saw a new kind of leadership emerging. States, regions, cities, businesses and civil society are pressing ahead with delivering bottom-up solutions. In the UK, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Yorkshire have declared Zero Carbon goals and shown that we already have the technical solutions and understand how to overcome the barriers to achieving them. Vital for the success of COP 24 will be the actions of ordinary citizens to increase awareness of the pledges currently offered and to press governments to build on those pledges. Zero Carbon Britain is holding a course from May 2nd to 4th for anyone wishing to find out what works and to highlight best practice. https://courses.cat.org.uk/

Wednesday 4th April

Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, asks how the Grenfell Tower disaster relates to a Zero Carbon Britain. Building tower blocks involves massive embodied energy in their steel, glass, concrete, plastic and metals. They are expensive to heat; so they need proper cladding. Just 5 minutes walk from Grenfell Tower, three 23-storey tower blocks are clad with Rockwool and solar panels. Fire tests have proved them to be safe and each has a permanent concierge on site. Britain has 10,000 high rise blocks over 5 storeys high, but many careless decisions have been made. We must, she believes, protect and preserve our high-rise flats as they save space, offer cheap rents and provide sound homes all over Europe. They can and must be made energy-efficient. Renting should be made as attractive as owning since it takes up less space, encourages sharing, helps lower-income tenants and can be made secure and of decent quality.

Thursday 5th April

A report from the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, says that air pollution contributes to 30,000 UK deaths a year from cancers, lung and heart diseases. Her advice to families:

  • Use smartphones with care;
  • Turn off all tablets and computers at night;
  • Ditch single-use plastics;
  • Cut car use and avoid engines idling.

“I note that there is increasing concern about the impact of smartphone screen use and of ‘blue light’ upon human health.”

Friday 6th April

Friends of the Earth, recognising that air pollution is one of the biggest killers in the UK, has produced a Clean Air Kit which enables anyone to measure the pollution from vehicles in busy streets and to compare the results with other areas in the UK. Kits are available online at: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/clean-air/clean-air-campaign-order-clean-air-kit

Saturday 7th April

The Chancellor has launched a public consultation on how changes to the tax system could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastic being thrown away. FoE comments: “Besides the coffee cup lids and drinks bottles, which should be easiest to deal with, there is a huge range of products including clothes, sunscreen, paints and tyres contributing to the millions of plastic pieces polluting our oceans. Suggested measures include:

  • Shifting tax and other financial pressures onto manufacturers and retailers
  • Making plastic manufacturers contribute far more to the cost of recycling and cleaning up plastic waste
  • Taxing the use of virgin plastic to incentivise the use of recycled materials
  • A ‘latte levy’ charge on single-use plastic-lined cups to discourage their use
  • A bottle deposit scheme to encourage the return of bottles to be refilled or recycled.

In other countries, household recycling services are often fully funded by the producers. In the UK producers bear hardly 10% of these costs, and local authorities see little benefit from these services.

Sunday 8th April

Dear Father, prayer is a mystery. We do not understand how it works or how our feeble petitions reach you, the Creator of the universe. We only know that Jesus prayed and opened the way into your presence. Help us to follow his example and his teaching, and to learn to pray as we breathe – more naturally, more readily and more often, and always in your Name. Amen. (Llewellyn Cumings)

Monday 9th April

Wildlife trafficking is a business worth over £15 billion a year. Not only elephants and rhinos, but countless other species are under threat from trafficking, accelerated by online. access to consumers who may be unaware that the product they are buying could be devastating species populations and funding crime gangs. It takes just a few minutes to find illegal wildlife products for sale online. Now 21 global technology giants including Google, Microsoft, eBay, Facebook and Instagram have joined the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking and have pledged to bring down the online illegal trade in wildlife by 80% by 2020. This October, the UK will host a conference on the illegal wildlife trade where WWF hopes world leaders will make strong commitments to end wildlife crime once and for all.

Tuesday 10th April

A report from the European Food Safety Authority confirms that neonicotinoid pesticides, known to be harmful to bees, can drift as dust or remain in the soil, so the chemical can turn up in the pollen or nectar of nearby flowers or even in succeeding crops. Other studies have shown risks to birds, butterflies and earthworms. British rivers too are contaminated with neonicotinoids, putting aquatic life at risk. In February the Government published a consultation on proposals for farming policy post-Brexit. FoE says that these must include ambitious targets to reduce all pesticide use so as to protect our pollinators and other wildlife.

Wednesday 11th April

Fracking for oil and gas is currently banned in our national parks, but some oil and gas companies have developed a new drilling technique using diluted acid to dissolve the rocks and release more oil. This lets them get around the restrictions on fracking and allows them to drill for oil in some of Britain’s most precious places. They already hold licences to drill covering nearly 180,000 acres of protected land in the south-east, including national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest. Acid drilling carries similar risks to fracking but is completely unregulated. The broad issue is that, if we want to avoid climate breakdown, new oil supplies must simply stay in the ground.

Thursday 12th April

Smartphones powered by lithium-ion batteries contain a range of so-called ‘conflict minerals’ such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, all of which are mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there have been numerous human rights abuses. These led to the 2010 US Dodds-Frank Act, as a result of which the Congolese President banned all mineral exports from Kivu and Maniema provinces, leading to massive unemployment. Now, a social enterprise called Fairphone is marketing a mobile made entirely from conflict-free materials. It examines one material at a time to ascertain transparency and responsibility in the supply chains. Now, bigger players such as Apple are auditing supplies of cobalt in a similar way. For more information, go to: www.amnestyusa.org/reports/time-to-recharge/

Friday 13th April

Many scarce metals are lost from end-of-life vehicles due to the lack of incentives for recycling. Gold and other precious metals in electronic equipment are required to be recycled under EU laws, but there is no such requirement for recycling gold and other metals from vehicles, although in 2015 there were an estimated 400 tonnes of gold in Europe’s vehicle fleet. Ljungreen Soderman, an environmental systems analyst at Chalmers University of Technology, reports that new vehicles use increasingly scarce metals such as neodymium (one of the rare earth metals), 18,000 tonnes of which will be required in vehicles by 2020. Metals in vehicles may however be spread out in small quantities, making them difficult to recycle. Nevertheless, automotive manufacturers and the recycling industry need to work together to ensure that recycling rates for vehicles come nearer to those already achieved for electronic equipment.

Saturday 14th April

At a Green Brexit conference last month, James Thornton of ClientEarth proposed that trade agreements which allow companies to sideline domestic courts and sue governments over environmental standards should be made illegal in post-Brexit Britain. He also proposed:

  1. a new environmental watchdog that will hold the government and public authorities to account on environmental standards;
  2. bringing forward the ban on diesel cars from 2040, so as to signal to manufacturers that they need to switch to cleaner forms of transport as soon as possible; and
  3. increasing the number of electric charging points to 1 for every 10 parking spaces in new developments.

“These policies could position the UK as a world leader on the environment and inspire other nations after Britain leaves the EU.”

Sunday 15th April

Lord of all life, we pray for young people in each generation as they seek to discover your will for their lives, so that their energies may be used creatively in your service and their choices based on what is true and of lasting value.

Monday 16th April

According to the National Grid, on March 17th, when Britain was in the grip of the ‘Beast from the East’, wind power supplied more than one-third of UK electricity demand. 35% of our electricity was generated from wind, 20.3% from gas, 17.6% from nuclear and 12.9% from coal. Renewable UK commented: “Yet again, wind is playing a key role in keeping Britain going during a cold spell. We’re harnessing a reliable, home-grown source of power which reduces our dependence on imports to maintain the security of our energy supplies.”

Tuesday 17th April

Palm oil is used in roughly half the products found in our supermarkets and most of it comes from Indonesia which has more threatened and endangered species than any other country. Between 1990 and 2015 around 24 million hectares of Indonesia’s rainforests were destroyed – an area nearly the size of Britain – in order to make way for palm oil plantations. In 2014 Indonesia had the 4th largest greenhouse gas emissions in the world, largely due to deforestation. In January Greenpeace asked 16 leading palm oil suppliers to disclose the sources of their supplies. Eight of them have named their sources and all have forest-destroyers in their supply chain. Carex, the UK’s leading handwash supplier, has provided no information and is the subject of a petition found at: http://act.gp/2pqyRZL

Wednesday 18th April

Antarctic krill are the basis for the entire Antarctic food web, where they are eaten by penguins, seabirds, seals, fish and whales. Blue and humpback whales migrate to the Antarctic annually from warmer waters just to eat krill. Every night, krill migrate to the food-filled surface and play a vital role in capturing carbon and taking it down to the sea floor. Yet they are being scooped up in their thousands to be made into omega-3 pills and fish meal. This year we have a last chance to put a massive part of Antarctic waters off limits to industrial fishing as a protected ocean sanctuary. Http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/10-amazing-things-antarctic-krill/

Thursday 19th April

Several consumer surveys have revealed the difficulty people have in recognising sustainable foods in pubs and restaurants. Now a thousand restaurants and high-profile chefs including Raymond Blanc have launched a One Planet Plate campaign to help people understand what sustainable food looks, smells and tastes like.  Diners can find restaurants serving One Planet Plates from a map on their website, which also provides dozens of recipes designed to eliminate waste.  Meanwhile, in Scotland, a doggy bag scheme aimed at tackling the £64 million worth of leftover waste each year has seen 42,000 boxes go into circulation for re-use in its first year alone. Zero Waste Scotland’s chief executive said: The ‘Good to Go’ scheme has demonstrated the tremendous appetite for doggy bags – not just from consumers, but from restaurants, who find that it enhances their customer service and helps them monitor and deal with food waste.”

Friday 20th April

The Government has launched a consultation on plans to halt the installation of fossil fuel heating systems in the 2020s. Around 1.1 million homes are currently heated with oil, which is the most carbon-intensive heating option for properties not connected to the gas grid. Another 170,000 homes rely on coal or other solid fuels for warmth. Energy Minister Clare Perry said: “Phasing out high carbon fossil fuel heating may be a challenge, but it is also an opportunity for new jobs, new skills and investment in innovation, as well as greater comfort and convenience for the end-user.” A new government report later this year will lay the groundwork for either a large-scale hydrogen or biomass grid, or the mass use of heat pumps.

Saturday 21st April

A report from the ‘Fit for the Future’ network of 102 charities and not-for-profit organisations shows that last year they collectively saved £697 million on energy costs thanks to on-site renewable arrays. Together they generated 48.5 gigawatts of renewable energy – enough to power a National Trust mansion for 138 years. Twelve percent of the National Trust’s heating requirements were met by on-site renewable energy sources, while reducing its oil consumption by 50% of 2009 levels. The chair of the network said: “Member organisations are demonstrating that operating without damaging the environment is possible. Moreover, it makes business sense.”

Sunday 22nd April

Lord God, when you give to your servants any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same until it be thoroughly finished which yields the true glory, through him that for the finishing of your work, laid down his life, thy Son Jesus Christ. (A prayer of Sir Francis Drake)

Monday 23rd April

Twenty-four major US and Chinese companies including Apple, IBM, KraftHeinz and Walmart have teamed up for a campaign called ‘Race to Zero’ with three aims:

  1. To encourage US and Chinese firms to make meaningful commitments to reduce emissions and waste
  2. To support companies in achieving these commitments
  3. To highlight the sustainability leadership demonstrated by participating firms.

To join the group, companies must submit a written pledge to uphold these principles and to develop a new emissions and waste reduction commitment by next September. One such commitment might be to source 100% of its electricity from renewables and to double its energy productivity across its supply chain. To survive and thrive, businesses must utilise products that use less, last longer and can be reused or recycled. Race to Zero commitments can help the company realise the cost savings of resource efficiency.”

Tuesday 24th April

A masterclass for communicating climate change to faith communities takes place today from 10.30 to 2.30 at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford. It will be an interactive event led by George Marshall, co-founder of Climate Outreach and author of ‘Don’t Even Think About It’. Participants from faith groups, environmental organisations and places of worship will together be introduced to research and effective narratives for engaging people of faith on climate change. They will gain access to principles of communication with faith groups and they can work in pairs or groups to discuss their work and their shared values. To register, go to: https://records.climateoutreach.org.uk/civicrm/event/register?reset=1&id=108  Cost for individuals and small charities, including refreshments and lunch: £45.

Wednesday 25th April

The Global Covenant of Mayors headed by Michael Bloomberg, the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action, is to develop a new City Research and Innovation Agenda to give access for cities around the world to critical knowledge and data to enable them to take accelerated and more ambitious climate action. “Mayors recognise that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Data allows them to identify challenges and opportunities, and then respond. This new collaborative effort gives cities access to critical resources that will help them to do more, faster, to take on climate change.”

Thursday 26th April

The Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, has used the city’s first Green Summit to unveil a raft of new environmental goals, including:

  • Delivering a zero-emission bus fleet and investing up to £50 million over 3 years to introduce cycle lanes.
  • Ending the use of single-use plastics from 2020.
  • Setting up a consortium to help smaller businesses to buy reusable materials and packaging in bulk.
  • Launching an energy efficiency retrofit programme for existing housing and a zero-carbon homes and buildings target for Greater Manchester.

Friday 27th April

Seventeen supermarkets, food processors and industry groups have jointly called on the Government to include strong monitoring measures in the new Fisheries Bill. In particular, the wasteful practice of discarding dead or dying fish at sea because of quota limitations will become illegal after next January under the Landing Obligation, but for this to be effective, improved monitoring with cameras and remote sensors is essential. There needs to be a review of how fishing quotas can be better managed, so that vessels can avoid species for which they have no or limited quota. WWF commented: “Without the Landing Obligation legislation being implemented and monitored effectively, the result could be overfishing of stocks that we have spent years trying to rebuild and manage sustainably.”

Saturday 28th April

Eco-Congregation Scotland’s annual gathering takes place today from 10.30 to 4 pm at Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL. It is an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and discuss the future during this International Year of Young People. Ruth Valerio of Tearfund and Green MSP Ross Greer will be speaking and leading the day’s programme. There will also be a photo competition. There is no booking fee, but donations are invited to cover the costs. Http://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/get-involved/2017-annual-gathering

Sunday 29th April

Lord, as we pray and reflect on the natural disasters which over the past year have brought such suffering to the peoples of south-east Asia, sub-saharan Africa and the Caribbean, help us to understand the connections between our current lifestyle and the increased vulnerability to natural disasters around the world. Help us to live more simply, that others may simply live. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Monday 30th April

Plans for an opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland have been rejected by the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid. He said that overall the scheme would have an adverse effect on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change of very substantial significance. “This is the first major infrastructure project of any kind to be rejected because of its climate change impacts” commented FoE. “and a vindication for everyone who has been campaigning for fossil fuels to be left in the ground.” There are clear implications here for the UK oil and gas industry.

Sources:

www.businessgreen.com

www.edie.net

www.climateoutreach.org

www.greenpeace.org.uk

www.wwf.org

 

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