Scroll down for October’s prayers.
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“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
Do not fret – it only leads to evil.
For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”
(Psalm 37. 7-9)
“When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6.6)
Saturday 29th September
Helen Browning, CEO of the Soil Association, made these points about other chemicals in widespread use:
- The water companies spend a fortune trying to strip the slug killer metaldehyde out of our drinking water.
- New technologies such as GM are sold on the claim that they will allow us to reduce herbicide use, but farmers in countries where GM is allowed have found that short-term gain soon reverses into resistant ”superweeds’ and the need for ever more powerful herbicides.
Sunday 30th September
Father, we pray, for each one of us, for an honest appraisal of our own lifestyle, that we may admit, to ourselves and to you, all that we are contributing, directly and indirectly, to the pollution of your world. Help us to bear witness, by our example, to our resolve to amend our lives, so that others may take heart and act accordingly.
Monday 1st October
Speaking at Birmingham last month, the Prime Minister pledged to cement Britain’s position as a ‘world leader’ in low-emission technologies and to work with other countries to accelerate the global roll-out of green transport systems. Carolyn Fairbairn, director of the CBI, commented: “The transition to zero-emissions is not just about ensuring we build the vehicles – that’s only half the story. The other half is about ensuring demand through making vehicles affordable and investing in charge points across our road network.” Greenpeace commented: “The Government has missed this opportunity to bring forward the date for phasing out petrol and diesel cars. A 2040 ban is behind other countries and too late to help Britain meet its climate targets, protect the health of our children and give British industry an edge in the race to develop clean transport.”
Tuesday 2nd October
Britain’s first all-electric flying taxi has completed an unmanned test flight over the Cotswolds. Vertical Flight, the developers, plan to work with regulators to operate piloted short-range routes for the electric aircraft by 2022. The aim is to target the growing demand for short-haul flights with zero-emission air transport. CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick said: “With the right support from government, regulators sand the wider engineering community, the UK can lead the way in personal, on-demand and carbon-free air travel.”
Wednesday 3rd October
California, the world’s 5th largest economy, has passed a law which aims to provide a zero-emission economy by 2045. Governor Brown said: “This target will be met through continued reductions of carbon pollution, increased carbon sequestration in forests, soils and other natural landscapes, and programs focused on improving air quality and public health, especially in California’s most impacted communities.” The former chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, said: “From the standpoint of an economist, the most efficient way to tackle climate change is to tax emissions. It’s the right solution to a problem, and it’s collected in a way that is practical and feasible.”
Thursday 4th October
A UK survey has shown that 62% of households want to install solar panels on their homes, and it becomes ever cheaper to do so. But while surplus electricity is currently sold to the grid, new government proposals will end this, meaning that the electricity companies will get this for free. When support ends for the installation of solar panels, the certification system also ends, so that there is no quality control over the installation industry. Greenpeace comments: “As most people outside Westminster know, solar will be one of the main energy sources of the future. When the government undermines the solar, they’re not just punishing the solar industry, they’re punishing the entire British economy, and indeed the entire global climate.”
Friday 5th October
A study from Imperial College and Ovo Energy called ‘Blueprint for a Post-Carbon Society’ argues that new smart flexibility technologies could save £7bn a year by better managing domestic supply and demand for electricity. These could sharply reduce the cost of grid upgrades and allow the UK to maximise use of the cheapest form of generating capacity – namely wind and solar farms. Smart electric vehicle charging could save £1.1bn, vehicle-to-grid charging £3.5 bn, smart electric heating £3.9 bn and in-home batteries £2.9 bn.
Saturday 6th October
Today Green Christian hosts an event called ‘On the Road Together’ at Faithspace Community Centre, Bristol BS1 6PB. The day is open to all interested in finding out more about Green Christian, its wide range of resources and its many activities and events. There are sessions on the Green Christian Way of Life and on ‘Joy in Enough’, a campaign dedicated to human flourishing and the common good rather than the constant pursuit of more. For details and booking go to: www.greenchristian.org.uk/green-christian-on-the-road-together
Sunday 7th October
Protect us, O Lord, from thoughts without action,
Guard us, O Lord, from words without feelings,
Defend us, O Lord, from ideas without results,
And surround us with your presence. (David Adam)
Monday 8th October
The revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published in July, according to FoE makes it ‘virtually impossible’ for councils to refuse local fracking schemes, fails to rule out future coal developments and introduces harsh new rules for wind energy schemes. A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is required by EU law for public plans relating to land use and planning, and is required whenever policies are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. FoE has filed a claim in the High Court to compel the Government to undertake an SEA, consult the public and modify the NPPF based on those findings.
Tuesday 9th October
The Washington-based Cato Institute and the Initiative for Free Trade have together published plans for an ‘ideal’ post-Brexit trade deal with the US which would strip out many of the environmental protections in existing trade agreements. In spite of Government assurances that it will pursue a ‘green Brexit’ and maintain high environmental standards on leaving the EU, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said that the UK should roll back environmental regulations on business in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Amy Mount of the GreenerUK coalition comments: “Flooding our supermarkets with chlorinated chicken, undercutting our farmers and lowering environmental standards seems a strange way of taking back control. The UK has benefited from trade deals that embrace high standards and enjoyed high quality food and safer products as a result. Our blueprint for post- Brexit trade should be defined by a lighter footprint on the global environment, not a low-standards free-for-all.”
Wednesday 10th October
A conference on Caring for God’s Earth takes place today from 9 to 4.30 at the Michaelhouse Centre, St. Michael’s Church, Trinity Street, Cambridge CB2 1SU. Organised by the Diocese of Ely, the day is intended to provide resources, best practice and eco-audits in relation to:
- Worship and teaching
- Management of church buildings
- Community and global engagement
- Management of churchyards.
Speakers include representatives of A Rocha, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Green Journey. The fee of £7 includes morning refreshments and lunch. For details, contact Holly Isted on 07948 350211 or email Holly.firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 11th October
A landmark case in the US has found Monsanto’s glyphosate weedkiller responsible for a man’s terminal cancer and that Monsanto knew that its glyphosate products could be dangerous. Helen Browning of the Soil Association comments: “What farmers need now is help to get off the pesticide treadmill, and that requires a wholesale rethink of our food and farming systems.”
Friday 12th October
Lord Deben, chair of the committee on Climate Change, speaking at a Packaging Innovations conference, said that there was no ‘silver bullet’ to replacing single-use plastics that would appease both consumers and policymakers. However, Sainsbury’s have a declared goal of reducing the volume of own-brand packaging by 50% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels, and to eliminate single-use packaging by re-design by 2025. All the same, Sainsbury’s head of packaging said that there was ‘work to be done’ before biodegradeable or compostable materials could become mainstream in supermarkets.
Saturday 13th October
A survey commissioned by packaging firm TPA found that 56% of consumers believe that existing measures to reduce plastic waste, such as the 5p. charge for plastic bags, do not go far enough. Nearly a quarter said that plastic waste should be eliminated within 5-10 years. A report from waste management firm Veolia and charity RECOUP called ‘Plan for Plastics’ calls for simplifying recycling processes and standardising packaging design to increase the use of recycled material. Meanwhile, Parliament plans to replace single-use plastic cutlery, coffee cups and takeaway food containers across its catering services.
Sunday 14th October
Dear loving Father, we are sorry
For destroying your world
For the pollution of the sea and for pouring gallons of oil into it every year
For the car fumes in the atmosphere, for acid rain and all the things it destroys
For the destruction of animals and their homes, and for litter in the streets.
Please help us to make our world a better place. Amen.
(Geraldine Murphy, aged 10)
Monday 15th October
A team of scientists at Kew Gardens have compiled a paper showing how different organisms can decompose plastics and clean up radioactive material. Last year Chinese scientists found a fungus called Aspergus tubingensis on a rubbish dump in Pakistan which breaks down bonds between plastic molecules and then splits them using its mycelia. The process takes weeks rather than decades. Dr Ilia Leitch of Kew Gardens said: “We are in the early days of research, but I would hope to see the benefits of fungi that can eat plastics in 5-10 years.”
Tuesday 16th October
Veolia has converted two of its waste-collecting diesel lorries to run on electricity generated from non-recyclable waste. The waste is taken to Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facility in Sheffield where it is burnt in an incinerator underneath a large boiler, which generates enough steam to power a turbine. The electricity generated is enough to power 22,000 homes as well as providing heating and hot water for 150 buildings including Sheffield Town Hall.
Wednesday 17th October
The world’s largest offshore wind farm opened last month off the coast of Cumbria. Covering 56 square miles, it will generate enough electricity to power 600,000 homes. Together with Orsted’s Walney 1 and Walney 2 wind farms, this stretch of sea off Cumbria will have a power capacity of 1.5 gigawatts, enough to keep the lights on in 1.2 million homes. More than 250 people will work on the maintenance and operation of the new wind farm and more than 50 local suppliers were involved in its construction. As the world leader in offshore wind, Britain now has the opportunity to compete on the global stage.
Thursday 18th October
More than 5,500 churches, chapels and cathedrals in Britain have shifted to using renewable electricity. It is now easier than ever for churches to find and switch to a renewable energy tariff. The average annual church electricity bill is around £1,000, so it is estimated that churches so far have diverted more than £5 million from fossil fuel providers to clean energy. If more churches switch to green energy, this will encourage government and businesses to support renewables with increased investment.
Friday 19th October
A new analysis from Policy Exchange argues that investment in cost-effective hydrogen production could present big opportunities for decarbonising the economy. Large-scale electrolysis, which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using clean power sources, could be one way forward. If natural gas currently used by industry was replaced by hydrogen, it could cut industrial emissions by as much as 71%, But more R & D on hydrogen infrastructure is needed to tackle this as a cost-effective option for businesses. The report concludes that hydrogen development should be prioritised in parts of the economy where it is cost-effective, such as long-distance heavy transport as well as trains and shipping.
Saturday 20th October
The Planning Inspectorate has rejected an appeal against a local council’s decision to refuse permission for an extension to an existing opencast coal mine near Caerphilly that would have covered 1,190 acres and produced 6 million tonnes of coal. FoE Cymru said: “We can’t go on digging up more and more coal. The local impacts are devastating and the global effects are terrifying. Fossil fuels must be left in the ground if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change. Old King Coal has had his day in Wales and this marks the end of new opencast coal mines. We must embrace a positive future of renewable energy and sustainable development to build a cleaner, safer future for us all.”
Sunday 21st October
“For four centuries all world societies have been held hostage to a myth, the myth of progress and uninterrupted growth. Countries must show higher rates in the production of goods and services every year. That is the standard for judging whether a country is developed, under-developed or just plain backward. Such progress follows the iron logic of maximising benefits while minimising costs. All productive forces have been harnessed to draw from the Earth all that it can provide. A systematic assault has been mounted on its wealth in the soil, the subsoil, the air, the sea and the outer atmosphere. War has been waged on all fronts. Victims have been produced on an unprecedented scale: the working class oppressed world-wide, peripheral nations exploited, the overall quality of life in decline and nature plundered.” (Leonardo Boff)
Father, forgive us and show us a better way.
Monday 22nd October
A ‘People’s Manifesto for Wildlife’ has been published by Chris Packham and 17 experts and scientists. Citing the 2016 State of Nature report, which showed that between 1970 and 2013 there was a 56% decline in UK species and that 15% of them were threatened with extinction, it calls for action across many areas including education and schools, access to and improvement of green spaces, reform of shooting licences and strengthening of the legal system addressing environmental issues. It proposes a pesticide tax to be used to fund an independent advisory service for farmers wanting to test the effectiveness of pesticide reduction measures. It proposes the creation of a body called LIFE UK which would address climate change, biodiversity loss, conservation management and wildlife crime, to be funded by an independent tax payable by all UK adults akin to the licence fee.
Tuesday 23rd October
The Co-op has unveiled plans to phase out its own-brand single-use plastics by 2023 and to introduce a minimum of recycled plastic in its bottles, trays and punnets by 2021. All its black plastic packaging will be eliminated by 2020. Electricity in all its stores is already 100% sourced from renewables. Its new strategy is focused on tackling emissions through its logistic operations as well as curbing energy, water and waste across its supply chain.
Wednesday 24th October
Almost 30% of Egypt’s 99 million citizens live below the poverty line and its illiteracy rate is 20.1%, but higher for women. As its government struggles to provide education, healthcare and housing, it has announced plans to curb its rapid population growth as part of its Sustainable Development Plan. The government recognises the challenge of overcoming religious and cultural resistance to birth control and is attempting to leverage Islamic media and leaders to raise awareness of the benefits of family planning.
Thursday 25th October
By contrast, South Korea’s government, concerned that the country’s human fertility rate will fall to 0.96% this year, is calling for more children. Its population is half the size of Egypt’s but its land area is only a tenth of Egypt’s. Its environmental problems are exacerbated by high population density, rapid deforestation, soil erosion, climate change and air and water pollution. However, economists fear the prospect of underfunded pensions, plummeting GDP and increasing debt as inevitable outcomes of a low birth rate. Critics say that pushing for more births is a short-sighted and ultimately counter-productive response to low fertility, driven largely by a mindset of a growth-at-all-costs economic system. Ageing populations do indeed bring challenges, but careful planning can cope with them without inducing economic collapse.
Friday 26th October
“Jobs versus the environment” has for many been an article of faith. The think tank Green House has produced reports for the Isle of Wight, then for Sheffield and now for each area of the UK, assessing the effect on jobs if electricity generation, transport, farming and forestry and waste management were transformed in the way they need to be if we are to achieve a net zero-carbon economy. While some job opportunities are tied to particular areas such as turbine manufacture in the Isle of Wight and the Siemens plant in Hull, most jobs required for a transition to zero-carbon are widely spread. Everywhere there will be jobs in retrofitting buildings with energy efficiency measures, in re-use and recycling and in clean transport. An economic strategy based on transitioning to zero-carbon would create jobs in smaller communities, not just in big cities where job creation is currently concentrated. It could shift development from urbanisation and strengthen local economies at the community and city region level.
Saturday 27th October
As part of Manchester’s ambition to become a carbon-neutral city region by 2038, the Centre for Alternative Technology made a presentation of the findings of its Zero Carbon Britain report to some 30 key people from across Manchester. There were conversations about building new zero-carbon homes, an emissions-free bus fleet, retrofitting existing homes to a high standard, increasing charging points for electric vehicles, transforming cycling and walking in the city-region and engaging with the arts and creative sectors. The Mayor of Salford, where the conversations took place said: “Climate change is often treated in a negative, defeatist way. It was encouraging to hear that ‘the trend is our friend’ while acknowledging that we need to go much faster.”
Sunday 28th October
Lord Jesus, you have called us to be your witnesses on earth. Help us to proclaim, by word and deed, the message of your love to all humankind, and to declare your lordship over creation and our responsibility as your stewards.
Monday 29th October
In May the Government set out plans to streamline the planning process for fracking by re-classifying exploratory drilling as Permitted Development, thus removing the need for full planning permission and by-passing local council’s decision-making powers and their ability to reflect the wishes of their community. However, a report from the House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee says that ‘moving decision-making on fracking planning applications to a national level contradicts the principles of localism and would likely exacerbate existing mistrust between communities and the fracking industry’.
Tuesday 30th October
CPRE has long argued that fracking should be stopped unless it can be clearly demonstrated that these criteria are met:
- It helps to secure the radical reductions in carbon emissions required to comply with planning policy and meet legally-binding climate change targets;
- It does not lead to cumulative harm for particular landscapes or for the English countryside as a whole;
- It is carefully controlled by effective systems of regulation and democratic planning, which are adequately resourced at both local and national levels
Currently, iconic landscapes such as the North York moors, and the Fylde Coast are under immediate threat from fracking. To sign the petition: http://www.cpre.org.uk/what-we-do/energy-and-waste/fracking/frackturedcommunities
Wednesday 31st October
Next month sees a series of retreats inspired by Pope Francis’s recent letter inviting us to challenge the culture of consumerism, to care for our common home and to find time for our own holiness. The retreats are free of charge and all are welcome, whether or not you have been involved in CAFOD’s campaigns. For details, go to https://cafod.org.uk/News/Events
- Clean Slate (CAT)
- CPRE Field Work
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