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“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” (Psalm 24.1)
“God desires that all the world shall be pure in his sight. The earth should not be injured. The earth should not be destroyed.” (Hildegarde of Bingen)
“Our world needs to be astonished by love rather than be sickened by evil.” (Roy McCloughry)
“The fruit of Silence is Prayer,
The fruit of Prayer is Faith,
The fruit of Faith is Love,
The fruit of Love is Service,
The fruit of Service is Peace.” (Mother Theresa)
Saturday 25th June
An Eco Church project for the Diocese of Rochester is to be launched today at St. John’s Centre, Wrotham Road, Meopham DA13 0AA from 10 am to 1 pm. Under the title “Your Church Caring for God’s Earth” Dr. Ruth Valerio of A Rocha will lead practical and theological reflections. To book a place, email: email@example.com or ring her at 01634 560000.
Sunday 26th June
As tools come to be sharpened by the blacksmith,
So may we come, Lord.
As sharpened tools go back to their owner,
So may we go back to our everyday life,
To be used by you, dear Lord. ( A prayer from Africa)
Monday 27th June
Last year the NFU successfully lobbied the Government to allow the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on oilseed rape in a limited area, despite evidence of their effects on bees. This year the Government has rejected, on advice from the Expert Committee on Pesticides, an application by farmers to use these banned pesticides on oilseed rape. However, both the application and the evidence are being kept secret from MPs and the public, while the NFU says it will try again to lift the ban.
Tuesday 28th June
The Government has launched an “Eatwell Guide”, defining its advice on healthy eating and containing a visual representation of the foods that contribute to a healthy diet. The advice applies to healthy adults and children over 5. More details can be found at the NHS Choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx
Wednesday 29th June
Protein is fundamental to human health, but the way we currently produce and eat it is putting a heavy strain on land and sea resources. Forum for the Future has worked with dairy company Volac and many other organisations on a project called ‘Protein Challenge 2040′ to transform the protein system. They outlined six areas for innovation:
- Increasing the proportion of plant-based protein consumption with consumers.
- Scaling up a sustainable feed innovation to meet the demand for animal protein.
- Closing the protein nutrient loop – for example, by reducing waste rich in protein by finding new ways to feed it back into the production cycle.
- Developing indigenous plants as protein sources for local communities.
- Scaling up sustainable aquaculture for food and animal feed.
- Restoring soil health.
“We are calling for more stakeholders to bring their resources and expertise to focus, initially, on the first three areas. We want to change the conversation from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ protein sources towards a better balance of sustainable protein. We aim to catalyse action and investment in sustainable solutions.” Anyone wanting to be involved in the next stage should contact Simon Billing via the website www.forumforthefuture.org/project/protein-challenge-2040/overview
Thursday 30th June
Tomorrow Operation Noah’s AGM and Supporters’ Day takes place at St. Andrew’s, Short Street, Waterloo, London SE1 8TY from 10 to 4.30. after a brief AGM, there will be updates on the Paris Agreement, the Pilgrimage to Paris, post-Paris events and the Bright Now campaign on disinvestment, with plans for the future. Bring your own lunch.
Operation Noah is an ecumenical Christian charity, providing leadership, focus and inspiration in response to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change.
Friday 1st July
Today Operation Noah’s AGM and Supporters’ Day takes place at St. Andrew’s, Short Street, Waterloo, London SE1 8TY from 10 to 4.30. There will be updates on the Paris Agreement, the Pilgrimage to Paris, post-Paris Events and the Bright Now campaign on disinvestment with plans for the future. Bring your own lunch.
Saturday 2nd July
A new report from the World Bank called “The making of a riskier future” notes that annual damages from disasters have been increasing for decades, and by 2050 1.3 billion people and $158 trillion in assets could be at risk from river and coastal floods. It is releasing an open source platform (www.thinkhazard.org) to provide information and recommendations on how to reduce risk across eight hazards including earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and cyclones for 196 countries. “The drivers of future risk are within the control of decision makers today. They must seize the moment.”
Sunday 3rd July
In these troubled days, dear Lord, we turn to thee. Grant to our nation a clear vision of her highest good and to our leaders a clear judgement as to how that good may be attained. May the temporary triumphs of parties and special interests, and the transient success of individuals, be surrendered to the common welfare. Make our dear land the instrument of thy will and our people thy people, working willingly for the good of all, sharing thy goodness, serving one another and dwelling in peace and joy.” (Leslie Weatherhead – adapted)
Monday 4th July
A report from the World Bank titled “High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy” finds that the combined effects of growing populations, rising incomes and expanding cities will see demand for water rising exponentially, while the supply becomes more erratic and uncertain. Unless action is taken soon, water will become scarce in regions where it is currently abundant – such as Central Africa and East Asia – and scarcity will greatly worsen where water is already in short supply – such as the Middle East and the Sahel. These regions could see their growth rates decline by as much as 6% of GDP by 2050 due to water-related impacts on agriculture, health and incomes. Water insecurity could multiply the risk of conflict. Food price spikes caused by droughts can inflame latent conflicts and drive migration.
Tuesday 5th July
But, according to the report, there is a silver lining. “When governments respond to water shortages by boosting efficiency and allocating even 25% of water to more highly-valued uses, losses decline dramatically and for some regions may even vanish. Improved water stewardship pays high economic dividends. This includes better planning for water resource allocation, adoption of incentives to increase water efficiency and investment in infrastructure for more secure water supplies and availability.
Wednesday 6th July
A report from UNEP and the Global Footprint Network finds that the world is likely to suffer from higher and more volatile food prices resulting from a growing imbalance between supply and demand. Rising populations and incomes will intensify demand for food while climate change and resource scarcity will disrupt food production. The five countries likely to be worst hit if food prices double are all in Africa. China will see $161 billion wiped off its GDP – equivalent to the total GDP of New Zealand . India will see a $49 billion reduction while, overall, Egypt, Morocco and the Philippines will suffer most. Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia, Canada and the US would benefit to a lesser extent. It is ironic that countries whose populations have the highest consumption of natural resources, and are therefore most responsible for environmental damage, tend to face the lowest risk from rising food prices.
Thursday 7th July
Today a free conference takes place in Exeter to explore opportunities for churches and others to engage in community energy projects. It takes place between 10.30 and 4.30 at Pinhoe Baptist Church, Exeter EX4 7HZ. The Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt. Rev. Nick McKinnell, will open the conference which includes representatives from Climate Works, Regen SW, DARE, Abundance and Divest to Reinvest. Bookings to Joan Harris tel. 01392 294940 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org See also www.ecochurchsouthwest.org
Friday 8th July
Last year a record 147 gigawatts of renewable power capacity was added globally, plus 38 GW-thermal of renewable heat, despite tumbling prices of fossil fuels. At the Paris conference in December, 189 countries submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions towards combatting climate change. 147 of them mentioned renewable energy, 167 mentioned energy efficiency and some countries committed to reforming subsidies for fossil fuels. Employment in the renewable energy sector increased to around 8.1 million. The leading employers were China, Brazil, the US and. India.
Saturday 9th July
The UN Environment Assembly, meeting in Nairobi, passed far-reaching decisions on issues such as marine litter, illegal trade in wildlife, air pollution, chemicals and waste, and sustainable production and consumption – all key to implementing the Paris Agreement. UNEP launched a new campaign at https://wildfor.life to engage the public in ending the illegal trade in wildlife. The full list of resolutions passed is at http://web.unep.org/unea
Sunday 10th July
Father, you have made us stewards of your world and entrusted us with the wonders of your creation. Be with us in our efforts to guard your creation from waste and abuse, so that we may enjoy with thankful hearts the fruits of the earth and share them with all who are in need.
Monday 11th July
Today is UN World Population Day. This year’s theme is “Investing in teenage girls”. A tradition of child marriage often forces teenage girls out of education, damaging their future prospects. Even among girls who stay in schools, information about their health, human rights and reproductive education can be hard to come by, leaving them vulnerable to illness, injury and exploitation. Yet when teenage girls are empowered, knowing about their rights and given the tools to succeed, they become agents of positive change in their communities. UNFPA programmes have helped 11.2 million girls aged 10-19 to gain access to sexual and reproductive health information. Its programmes aim to end child marriage, curb adolescent pregnancy and empower girls to make informed choices about their health and lives.
Tuesday 12th July
According to the UN, Nigeria’s population is set to reach 300 million by 2030 and by 2050 to become the world’s most populous nation after China and India. To cope with the increase, Nigeria would need to double the number of its schools, hospitals and roads.. Its economy would need to grow by at least 10% a year to provide sufficient jobs, but in 2015 the economy slumped following the collapse of oil prices. Osaretia Adoriri, representing the UN Population Fund, said: “We have a pool of young people that are not well educated and others who are educated but do not have jobs. They become a ready army for the insurgencies and disturbances we are seeing in parts of the country.” In addition, Boko Haram is driving refugees south, where the population of Lagos has topped 23 million and is rising fast.
Wednesday 13th July
Unemployment among the world’s burgeoning population of young people can act as a potential opportunity for terrorist groups such as Isil. China, however, is investing heavily in robotics. Since 2014, 505 factories across Dongguan in Guangdong province have invested £540 million in robots, so displacing thousands of workers. A Government official has said that one factory in S. China has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots. Consultants Deloitte suggest in a report that 35% of all jobs globally are at risk over the next 20 years.
Thursday 14th July
Green Belt designation was introduced in 1955 to prevent urban sprawl, but now 275,000 new homes are planned for England’s Green Belts – an increase of 50,000 on last year’s total and nearly 200,000 more than when the Government introduced its planning reforms in 2012. Some councils have claimed that economic growth justifies the “exceptional circumstances” needed for planning permission on the Green Belt. Everyone recognises that young families need affordable homes, but Government could and should encourage councils to prioritise building on brownfield sites, where at least 1 million new homes could be built.
Friday 15th July
A new report from the International Resource Panel highlights the loss of 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil and 15 billion trees every year, and calls for a better understanding of the potential of land resources to raise food productivity, promote biodiversity and increase resilience to climate change. “No farmer or nation can afford to invest in land management that ignores existing knowledge. To feed the world’s people, we need to get the best we can out of the land. But to make sure we leave the environment in a healthy state, so that future generations can also feed their people, breathe clean air and build resilience to climate change, we need to do our best for that land.”
Saturday 16th July
A series of reports from UNEP highlight the different lines being taken to build low-carbon, resource-efficient economies. China’s plans, for example, foresee that by 2020 23% of the country will be covered in forests, water consumption will decrease by 23%, energy consumption by 15% and CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 18%. By the end of 2014, 38% of all China’s new buildings incorporated energy-saving devices. Now it plans to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2020 and to build a green manufacturing system that is efficient, clean, low-carbon and circular. Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, said: “If China succeeds in achieving these targets, it will have taken a major step towards shifting to a greener economy that uses its resources more efficiently, limits the risks of climate change and improves the health of its people.”
Sunday 17th July
Father, we know that in all creation only the human family has strayed from your sacred way. We know that we are the ones who, working together, must come back to walk in the path you have set out for us. Dear Father, teach us love, compassion and integrity, that we may heal the earth and heal each other.
Monday 18th July
Today a 5-day Christians Aware Summer School begins at Parcevall House, Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales under the title “Hope for Our Planet?” There will be bible studies, talks and a visit to Fountains Abbey. Speakers include Bishop James Bell, Professor Richard Bushby, Professor Stuart Egginton, journalist Ellen Teague, Tim Bevan of the Soil Association and Alison Skinner of Global Justice Now. For details, write to: Christians Aware, 2 Saxby Street, Leicester LE2 0ND or email Rob@christiansaware.f9.co.uk or ring 0116 254 0770..
Tuesday 19th July
The 2015 Paris Agreement left out any reference to aviation despite the fact that emissions in this sector are growing fast and must be reduced to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees C. This autumn the International Civil Aviation Organisation meets to decide on market-based measures to cap CO2 emissions from international flights at 2020 levels. WWF is calling for ICAO to send a clear signal that these market-based measures will only recognise carbon credits and alternative fuels that achieve real emissions reductions and promote sustainable development, Its CEO, David Nussbaum, said: “Carbon projects in the fossil fuel sector and conventional crop-based biofuels are not the answer. The ICAO should finalise as soon as possible binding sustainability criteria for both credits and fuels.”
Wednesday 20th July
Leo Murray of the Centre for Alternative Technology claims that there is no way to tackle emissions from aviation without reducing the overall number of flights. According to the Department of Transport, just 15% of British people are responsible for over 70% of all our flights. This group is dominated by the wealthiest sections of society, while half of us take no flights at all. Business flights make up just 11% of our plane trips abroad, while demand for leisure flights surged by 85% between 1990 and 2007. Under a new Frequent Flyer Levy, each passenger at UK airports would be allowed one tax-free flight a year, with tax kicking in for a second flight and rising incrementally for every flight thereafter. Some of the poorest in our society could then afford foreign holidays for the first time. Over 85% of the population would be better off. We could use the tax revenue to fund sustainable alternatives to flying. No new runways would be needed.
Thursday 21st July
Currently the Air Passenger Duty (APD) brings in almost £3 billion a year, but the Scottish Government has pledged to scrap the tax at Scottish airports and the Welsh Assembly hope to follow, so pressurising the UK Treasury to do the same. Even if climate change was not a serious concern, scrapping a tax which falls primarily on the wealthy would seem a bad idea. A campaign to persuade politicians not to scrap the APD without substituting a Frequent Flyer Levy has been launched at www.afreeride.org
Friday 22nd July
Major UK supermarkets and some of the world’s biggest fishing fleets including Norwegian and Russian enterprises have reached a deal to protect parts of the Arctic around Svalbard from industrial fishing for cod. Greenpeace campaigner Danielo Montalto said: “This unprecedented alliance has taken a stand for the fragile Arctic environment and set an important precedent for other industries eyeing up the region. The melting ice should be a stark warning of the dangers of climate change, not an opportunity to plunder this fragile ecosystem.” In the absence of political action by the Norwegian Government, Greenpeace welcomes the temporary stop-gap this agreement brings.
Saturday 23rd July
Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies estimate that mass bleaching has killed 35% of corals on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef. This is the third time in 18 years that the Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming, and the current event is much more extreme than anything measured before. These events have all occurred while global temperatures have risen by just 1 degree C. above the pre-industrial period. Bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and photosynthetic algae known as zooxanthellae are able to recolonise them. Otherwise the coral may die.
Sunday 24th July
Loving Father, redeem us by the power of your Holy Spirit from the destruction we have wrought. Turn our hearts back to you and our lives to the earth, that we may learn our rightful place in it and, by living once more as part of your creation, we may be born again to the hope of salvation. The Earth is yours. So are we.
Monday 25th July
The Paris Agreement, if ratified by 55 countries that produce 55% of global emissions, sets us on a course to limit global warming just short of 3 degrees C. above pre-industrial levels. This will lead to continued sea level rise, rapid rise the frequency and magnitude of extreme events and the possibility of large-scale discontinuities in the global biosphere. From this there may be no way back if we unleash feedbacks that would lead to irreversible consequences and possibly the doomsday scenario of runaway global warming. Even keeping below 2 degrees will not prevent long-term sea level rise, irreversible changes in the terrestrial biosphere and a continued litany of floods, heatwaves and storms. NASA has confirmed that each of the 6 months up to April 2016 broke all previous temperature records, while this April beat the previous warmest April by the biggest margin ever.
To achieve net negative emissions will require a global mobilisation of scientific and technological endeavour coupled with economic and societal change requiring unprecedented international cooperation and trust. Most of the technology required already exists. This now needs to be turned into an undeniable business case for the necessary investment.
Tuesday 26th July
According to World Vision, severe water scarcity in India has led to 330 million people being hit by drought this year. India holds 18% of the world population, but only 4% of its renewable water resources. 600 million Indians make their living from agriculture and lack of water has led to crop failure, forcing farmers to borrow at high interest rates or migrate to overcrowded cities. 1,430 farmers have committed suicide in one district of Maharashtra state since 2014. World Vision is working with farmers to construct better water infrastructure by building check dams, submersible pumps and practising rainwater harvesting.
Wednesday 27th July
On October 10th in Brisbane the International Water Association and the Australian Water Partnership is convening a meeting of governments, business leaders, NGOs and scientists from all countries, regions and districts affected by water scarcity. “Drought management is not just about new infrastructure and technologies, but also about demand management and water allocation policy. It’s about building systems that are resilient to drought, managing demand as well as improving supply. . . Managing these situations can be turned into a major opportunity for development, business and communities.”
Thursday 28th July
This year’s Ashden Awards went to 12 pioneering sustainable energy enterprises spanning 4 continents. One of the winners, Nazava Water Filters, enables lower-income households in Indonesia to purify their well or tap water without needing to boil it by burning wood or using electricity. Around 15,000 Indonesian children die annually from waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea. See www.ashden.org
Friday 29th July
Experts at Birmingham University have developed the “Duo Fluor” device which reveals unsafe sources of drinking water within 30 seconds. The device uses water’s natural fluorescence to ‘scan’ the water and highlight pollutants, revealing almost instantly whether supplies are safe to drink. The researchers are collaborating with experts from Oxfam and the Diageo Foundation to refine the instrument and make it suited to disaster relief situations and areas of poor sanitation.
Saturday 30th July
Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug, who inaugurated the ‘Green Revolution’ based on improved grain strains and heavy use of fossil fuels, spoke about population growth in his Nobel Prize address: “There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort. Fighting alone, they may win temporary skirmishes, but united they can win a decisive and lasting victory to provide food and other amenities of a progressive civilisation for the benefit of all humankind.”
In 1968, when Paul Ehrlich’s ‘Population Bomb’ was published, the world’s population was 3.5 billion. Now it is 7.4 billion. The Food & Agriculture Organisation estimates that as many as 2 billion people are malnourished and 800 million are seriously underfed.
Overconsumption and overpopulation are but two sides of the same coin. As more people aspire to better lifestyles, they consume more. Paul Ehrlich now believes that a solution lies in strengthening the UN so that it can tackle the really tough questions such as the sustainable use of natural resources and equal rights for women.
Sunday 31st July
Loving Father, help us to see beyond the multifarious challenges that face us as we try to deal with environmental problems, and to understand that you hold all of us in your loving care and that, as we seek to follow your Son day by day, the path ahead will become clearer as we walk in faith, for you are with us all the way.
Clean Slate (Centre for Alternative Technology)
The Environment (CIWEM)
Population Matters news
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