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February 2018       Small Doc      Small Pdf      Large Doc      Large Pdf

Marsden Moor in the snow


“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

(Hebrews 10.23-25)

“When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don’t, they don’t.”

(William Temple)

Thursday 1st February

The world’s biggest asset manager, Black Rock, with $6 trillions of assets, has written to business leaders warning them that they can no longer rely on investment by Black Rock if they fail to adequately explain their social purpose. “Many individuals across the world are facing a combination of low rates, low wage growth and inadequate retirement systems. For millions, the prospect of a secure retirement is slipping further and further away. Society is demanding that companies, both private and public serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all, including shareholders, employees, customers and the communities in which they operate. Companies must ask themselves: What role do we play in the community? How are we managing our impact on the environment? Are we working to create a diverse workforce? Are we adapting to technological change?”

Friday 2nd February

The Mayor of New York has announced that the city’s $200 million pension fund will be divested from fossil fuel investments. Furthermore, the city will take out a lawsuit against the biggest oil and gas companies for the damage caused by climate change. New Yorkers have first hand experience of such damage when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the city causing widespread damage. Since 2012 nearly $46 trillion in endowments and portfolios has been divested from fossil fuels, the largest portion being Norway’s state pension fund. Now, the World Bank has announced that within two years it will have ceased financing oil and gas exploration.

Saturday 3rd February

Today from 11 to 4.30 a Green Christian open meeting takes place at St. Aloysius Church, 20 Phoenix Road, London NW11 1TA (near Euston station). The programme includes a session on ‘The Green Christian Way of Life’, Providing a Framework for Prayer, Living Gently on the Earth, Public Witness and Encouragement, plus a session on ‘Joy in Enough’, a vision of a society dedicated to human flourishing and the common good rather than the constant pursuit of more. To book a place, please email:

Sunday 4th February

Loving Father, who sent your Son to share the suffering of humanity, come close to all who have lost loved ones in earthquakes, floods, droughts, and other natural disasters, all who have become refugees and all who are suffering from the devastation of war. Uphold those who minister to their needs, and help us all to remember that in serving the least of your children we are serving you. Amen.

Monday 5th February

The Committee on Climate Change has warned that the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy is inadequate to meet the UK’s emission targets in the 2020s and the 2030s. Specifically, the CCC calls for the Government to firm up on its pledge to phase out sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 and its plans to deploy Carbon Capture & Storage and to generate 85% of UK electricity from low-carbon sources by 2032. But, even if all this is done, new policies will be needed to improve energy efficiency in buildings and to boost commercial uptake of low-carbon vehicles. The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit highlights three easy wins:

  • Cutting company car tax for electric vehicles
  • Repealing the ban on onshore wind power (the cheapest form of electricity generation)
  • Re-booting the Zero Carbon Homes standard.

Tuesday 6th February

Consultants McKinsey predict that electric vehicles’ share of the world market will increase from 3% in 2020 to 20% by 2030, but these gains will be offset by continued increases in the global demand for energy, meaning that greenhouse gas emissions will not plateau until 2030. “As developing countries continue to rely heavily on cheap coal, non-OECD countries’ energy demand will replace the efficiency gains made by OECD countries. To realise the 2° pathway scenario, we’d have to see much broader and more disruptive change than what we’re seeing now.”

Wednesday 7th February

“Faith for the Climate” is the title of an Interfaith Climate Symposium meeting today from 5 to 9 pm at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, 28 St. John’s Wood Road, London NW8 7HA. The speakers include Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, the Bishop of Kingston, the chairman of the London Sustainability Commission, Shaykh Mogra of the Muslim Council of Great Britain and Rabbi Alexandra Wright. There will be workshops on a wide range of topics provided by EcoChurch, EcoSynagogue and the Climate Coalition. Tickets of £5 each include a vegetarian, kosher or halal supper bookable online. Http://

Thursday 8th February

“How can we use wind power when there’s no wind?” is a common question. Greenpeace suggests three solutions:

  • Build more interconnectors with countries offering surplus energy. We already derive benefit from Norway’s huge surplus of hydropower. New connectors with France and Spain would give us a share in those countries’ solar capacity.
  • Use giant batteries to store electricity. Other alternatives are compressed air storage, giant flywheels and molten salt storage.
  • Shift power demand away from peak times. For example, if supermarkets agreed to turn down their fridges for just two hours at peak times, the food would stay fresh and grid balance would be achieved.

Friday 9th February

Norway’s airport operator Avinor has announced that all flights of under 1.5 hours must be made in 100% electric aircraft by 2040. It will start testing the commercial viability of electric flight from 2025 by opening up routes for small electric aircraft with just 19 seats. Airbus, Rolls Royce and Siemens are already working on a hybrid electric plane to be ready to demonstrate in 2020. Meanwhile, EasyJet has revealed plans to fly electric passenger planes on short haul routes within the next decade in partnership with US firm Wright Electric.

Saturday 10th February

Swedish construction firm Skanska, in partnership with Polish firm Saule Technologies, is to cover office buildings with semi-transparent solar cells made of perovskite. Saule’s founder and CEO explains: “Perovskite solar cells offer new opportunities to architects and builders. The modules are lighter, thinner and more design-friendly than the most popular silicon solar cells. We can customise the shape, colour and size of the module depending the customer’s needs. We can install them wherever there is a free area on the building. They need not be on the roof. Integration of perovskite technology into a building’s facade marks a significant milestone towards delivering zero-energy and carbon-neutral office environments, providing occupants with lower energy costs, lower carbon footprints and lower energy consumption.”

Sunday 11th February

Give us, dear Father, the wisdom to use technology to further your deep purposes for humankind and for the creatures entrusted to our care. Deliver us from over-reliance on our own cleverness in science and technology. Banish our fears as we face new challenges, and keep our feet always on the path of justice and peace, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday 12th February

Iceland has become the world’s first major retailer to pledge to eliminate plastic packaging from its own products by 2023. New food ranges will feature paper-based food trays instead of plastic. Managing director Richard Walker said: “The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change. The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.”

Tuesday 13th February

Tesco has joined Iceland and the Co-op in publicly endorsing plans for a cost-effective plastic bottle deposit return scheme. However, Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium warned that packaging plays a key role in the prevention of food waste.  John Sauven of Greenpeace commented: “The tidal wave of plastic pollution will only start to recede when they (retailers and food producers) turn off the tap. They know the scale of systemic change we need and yet the responses have been timid and piecemeal. Iceland has offered a more radical solution that shows the way forward.”

Wednesday 14th February

Greenpeace, while welcoming the Iceland initiative, pointed to other steps that supermarkets can take to eliminate plastics, such as:

  • Trialling refillable containers in store and via home deliveries;
  • Pushing national suppliers to eliminate non-recyclable plastics and to stop using single-use plastic altogether;
  • Installing free water fountains and water refill stations to cut down on the number of bottles in circulation.

Thursday 15th February

Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, has launched a strategy designed to modernise plastics production and collection. He said that the priority was to clamp down on ‘single-use plastics that take 5 seconds to produce, 5 minutes to use and another 500 years to break down.’ The EU budget commissioner suggested that a levy on plastics could be a way to fill the €13 billion hole in the EU budget left after Brexit, and Timmermans promised to study this.

Friday 16th February

Belize’s Barrier Reef World Heritage site, the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, has been for some time at risk of irreversible damage. Now the government has passed a law banning all oil exploration within its waters. WWF commented: “Ending oil activities will encourage other countries to take the urgent action that is needed to protect our planet’s oceans. Nearly half of natural World Heritage sites are threatened by industrial pressures. If we don’t put an end to this, their unique wildlife and landscapes could be damaged for ever.” However, urgent action is still needed to strengthen mangrove protection and to eliminate sales of public land in World Heritage sites.

Saturday 17th February

China has been the world’s largest ivory trade market, but it is now illegal to buy and sell ivory in china. This is a big milestone in the fight against poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. In the UK, 60,000 people responded to the Government’s consultation on the ivory trade. The Government is therefore expected to announce stricter controls, possibly banning the sale of ivory altogether.

Sunday 18th February

Father, we pray for all who teach children about you, whether in church or in school. Give them honesty, sincerity and a love for you and for their pupils which will convey the good news of Jesus as strongly as the lessons they teach. We pray too for young people growing up in an unstable and confusing world. Show them that your ways give meaning to life where the ways of the world give none, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish and illusory goals. Help them to take failure not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you and to keep alive their joy in your creation. This we ask in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday 19th February

The UN Billion Tree Campaign was inspired by Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for 2004 and founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, which planted over 30 million trees in 12 African countries. The Billion Tree Campaign was launched in Nairobi and was handed over to the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation in 2011. In its first 5 years there were 12,585,293,312 trees planted and registered on the Foundation’s website: At the UN in 2011, 9-year old Felix urged delegates to fight against the climate crisis with concrete actions. More than 63,000 children aged 9-12 are officially UN Ambassadors for Climate Justice who pass on their knowledge to other children. The website includes practical information about reforestation with links to partner organisations best equipped to give locally-tailored advice.

Tuesday 20th February

Next October the Antarctic Ocean Commission meets to discuss the creation of an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary which would be the largest protected area on earth. Whales, penguins and giant squid are some of the many animals that call it home, but all depend, in some degree, on the abundance of krill – shrimp-like animals which already being exploited by the international fishing industry. Other threats to the area include plastic pollution and climate change. The news that only two chicks survived last year out of a colony of 40,000 Adelie penguins is a sign that something is very wrong in the Antarctic.

Wednesday 21st February

To investigate the state of wildlife in the Antarctic Ocean and the threats facing it, Greenpeace has sent the ‘Arctic Sunrise’ on a fact-finding mission to provide evidence for the Antarctic Commission. Currently just 3% of the world’s oceans are protected, despite the fact that oceans are vital for the health of our planet. Creating the world’s largest protected area would be a major step towards a longer-term goal – that at least 30% of our oceans be protected by 2030. This will require a UN Oceans Treaty, which it is hoped to negotiate by 2020.

Thursday 22nd February

In just three weeks of May 2015, more than 200,000 saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan mysteriously died. This was more than 60% of the world’s population. The cause of death was a haemorrhagic septicaemia caused by a pathogen which until then had been living harmlessly in the animals’ tonsils. As in previous cases, the die-off coincided with unusually warm and humid weather. Mass fatalities like this tend to occur during calving. Due to the extreme continental climate, calves develop quickly and this places additional strain on the mothers’ physiology. Other factors include high levels of poaching since the 1990s and increasing development of railways, roads and fences which interfere with their migration.

Friday 23rd February

As a contribution to relieving the homeless, the Intu shopping centre in Nottingham has installed a vending machine with food and other essentials available free to homeless people with a special keycard. This is provided by the charity Action Hunger for those who are truly in need. The food is sourced from redistribution organisations committed to reducing food waste, and other items come through donations. Local resident 29-year old Huzaifah Khaled persuaded N & W Global Vending to donate the £10,000 machine. He hopes to have 25-30 machines installed in the UK during this year and is seeking a partnership with National Rail.

Saturday 24th February

“God’s Earth, Our Mission” is the title of an Eco-Church conference taking place from 10 to 4 today at Holy Trinity Church, Leicester. There will be workshops offering practical ideas on how we can incorporate our mission into areas such as ‘Children and Youth’, ‘Families’ and ‘Food’, as well as existing ministries. Rodney Green, former Chair of Leicester City Council, a trustee of A Rocha and a passionate advocate of caring for God’s earth, will be one of the speakers. For more details, go to:

Sunday 25th February

Spirit of God, set at rest the crowded, hurrying thoughts within our minds and hearts. Let the peace and quiet of your presence take hold of us. Help us to relax, to rest, to become open and receptive to you. You know our inmost thoughts, the hidden unconscious life within us, the forgotten memories of hurts and fears, the frustrated desires, the unresolved tensions and dilemmas. Cleanse and sweeten the springs of our being, that freedom, life and love may flow into both our conscious and our hidden life. Lord, we lie open before you, waiting for your healing, your peace and your word.  (George Appleton)

Monday 26th February

The World Meteorological Society has announced that 2017 was one of the three hottest years on record, and the hottest year of all without the El Nino effect. WWF commented: “2017 saw extreme weather events made even worse by climate change, from monsoons in South Asia to severe hurricane activity in the Caribbean and heat waves across Europe. While we have made progress recently with increased renewables, we need to go further and break our addiction to polluting fossil fuels. In the UK we need to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 to ensure we pass on a cleaner world to our children.”

Tuesday 27th February

The Scottish Government has announced a £60 million pot of funding for large-scale green projects that must be fully operational by September 2021. The projects include low-carbon heating solutions, integrated energy systems and low-emission vehicle charging infrastructure. WWF Scotland commented: “Innovation in heating, transport and electricity will help us cut emissions, create new jobs and build new industry. We know there will be challenges in implementing the transition to a low-carbon economy, but we should grasp the opportunity to build solutions for the rest of the world to adopt.”

Wednesday 28th February

The EU aims for 55% of all plastics to be recyclable by 2030 and for member states to reduce the use of bags person from 90 a year to 40 by 2026. It will promote easy access to tap water on the streets of Europe to reduce demand for bottled water and will demand clearer labelling for plastic packaging, so that consumers are clear about their recyclability. New port facilities will aim to streamline waste management so as to ensure that less waste gets dumped into our oceans.



The Futures Centre

Business Green

The Ecologist



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