News Page reporting events of Autumn 2000|
CEL PATRON, JONATHON PORRITT, who was appointed Tony Blair’s on the environment in July, is reported to have said that the Government should have drawn up an ‘explicit communications and leadership strategy to sell these policies, instead of hiding in the bunker’ (Daily Telegraph, 16 Sept.). He was ‘alluding to the fact that Mr. Blair has not once referred to Britain’s commitments to tackle climate change or the dangers that global warming poses to Britain while defending high fuel taxes’. The Telegraph report continues: ‘Mr. Porritt, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, describes the apparent victory of the fuel protesters as "the biggest crisis the Government’s transport and climate-change strategies have faced. They have tried to take the leadership on climate change but have not tried to explain what this involves for ordinary consumers. There seems to have been a view that we’re not going to explain the case for higher fuel taxes for dealing with climate change. This was a mistake."’
A Christian Aid briefing paper, reported on in The Church Times, points out that ‘many environmental disasters, for example the droughts in India, should no longer be termed "natural", now that we are aware of the creeping menace of global warming... caused by the burning of fossil fuel’. This was further emphasised by the Bishop of Hereford, an environmental spokesman for the Church of England, when interviewed on BBC Radio 4 about the fuel crisis (17th September). The bishop reinforced the link between the burning of fossil fuel and global warming.
Baptist cleared at GM trial
Baptist Minister Malcolm Carroll was among the 27 Greenpeace protesters, including Lord Melchett, cleared by a jury verdict of causing criminal damage by destroying genetically engineered (GM) crops growing on a Norfolk farm. The protesters had been cleared of the charge of theft at an earlier trial, after arguing that they had acted to prevent pollen polluting nearby crops and gardens. Lord Melchett said afterwards, ‘We acted to protect the environment, the countryside and British farming from GM contamination, and we were right to do that’ (The Times, 21st. Sept.).
Catholic groups warn on GM
‘Companies engaged in the research and marketing of GM food are seriously endangering the livelihoods of millions of people’ according to a report by CAFOD, and the Catholic Institute for International Relations, reported the church weekly paper The Universe. In Biopatenting and the Threat to Food Security it says that ‘the aggressive tactics and marketing by the companies represent "a real threat of injustice against the world’s poor" ’ ‘These groups have called for patents on all life forms (biopatents) to be excluded from the patenting legislation of the World Trading Organisation’ and that measures are taken ‘to ensure that a few corporations cannot dominate and control the food chain.’
Some 75 people watched the planting of a mulberry tree, complete with small plaque, in the garden of St. Paul’s Cathedral, to launch the Eco-congregation programme, represented by Rev. David Pickering.
Speeches by Professor Graham Ashworth, Chairman, and Alan Woods, Chief Executive of Going for Green (GfG), were followed by a dedicatory service in St. Faith’s Chapel in the crypt nearby, including a sermon by the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres (Bishop of London) and a further address by Professor Ashworth (who is also President of the Baptist Union). Members of GfG’s steering committee were blessed by Monsignor Arthur Roche, Secretary to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The joint president of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council, and Sam Berry of the Environmental Issues Network, also participated.
Orthodoxy and ecology
The Ecumenical Patriarchate have published a number of articles on ecology based on talks given by Patriarch Bartholomew and others on Orthodoxy and ecology. Notably it includes the text of the service for the environment on September 1st in English.
Animal theme fills Southwark Cathedral
An ecumenical service for animal welfare, held in Southwark Cathedral on 23rd September attracted a congregation of over 250 people. The event was organised by the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (ASWA) and introduced by the Society’s President, the Rt. Rev. John Austin Baker, former Bishop of Salisbury. A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, acknowledged that ‘Christians and others have become concerned with animal issues to do with transportation, endangered species, battery chickens, animal feeds, hunting and genetic engineering.
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