November 2003: Christian Ecology Link: A Daily Prayer Guide for the Care of CreationHome What's on? Ideas About CEL Resources Sustainable Transport Magazine Links Tourism GMOs Climate Change ChurchLink News Search Sitemap email CEL
"Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods.
Then the Lord's anger will burn against you and he will shut the heavens
so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce,
and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you."
(Deut.11.15-17)"Coming before God in prayer is the central God-given human task, the one by which, whether spectacularly or quietly, everything is transformed."
(Bishop Tom Wright)"Some people think of prayer as the means by which we get God to do things for us. That is not the primary purpose of prayer. The primary purpose is to bring the whole of life into the presence of God for cleansing and decision-making."
Saturday 1st NovemberPray for all who are taking part in today's Christian Ecology Link members' meeting in London on the theme "Sowing the Seed", that the seeds sown today may, by God's grace, bring forth fruit abundantly.
Sunday 2nd NovemberWe give you thanks, Father, for the men and women of resource and determination who have taken the lead in the struggle to protect your creation from exploitation and degradation. Help us in our turn to give of ourselves, not counting the cost, for the sake of your Son who died to redeem us.
Monday 3rd NovemberLast May the "Just Values" project was launched by BT and Forum for the Future. It gets to grips with the question "Is there a sound business basis for sustainability? Should business reflect moral values?" The report suggests that if a company's business case does not have a moral foundation, it will ultimately fail - primarily for lack of trust. Trust is something increasingly recognized as of great value to business and is increasingly perceived as being abused by cynical and even criminally-corrupt corporate behaviour. The full report is available at: www.btplc.com/betterworld
Tuesday 4th NovemberThe case for "Just Values" rests on four foundations:
Wednesday 5th NovemberA spate of high-profile corporate scandals and controversies over top executives' values and behaviour has seriously damaged public trust in big business. Even the vogue for corporate social responsibility (CSR) seems driven by hard-nosed commercial considerations.
Yet Sir Geoffrey Chandler, lately with Shell and now with Amnesty International, says that making the business case for CSR seem prior to the ethical case is deeply damaging to public trust in companies and to the long-term health of capitalism:
Thursday 6th November"What" asks Ian Christie of the New Economics Foundation, "should a company do when faced with a clash between the business case and the ethical case for some form of CSR?"
He suggests making the desired action one universally shared, i.e. creating a level playing field either by government regulation or by self-regulation by peer companies forming "coalitions of the willing", so transforming the market environment.
A new report from the World Resources Institute supports the view that effective government regulation is behind all effective business disclosure, whether mandatory or voluntary. Pray for all who, whether in government or in business, are concerned to uphold moral standards in corporate policies and behaviour.
Friday 7th NovemberLabelling environmentally-friendly products with eco-labels has concentrated the minds of manufacturers and retailers, according to Alan Knight, chair of DEFRA's advisory committee on consumer products.
The compulsory labelling for energy-efficiency on refrigerators and washing machines has transformed that market. B & Q's labelling scheme for paints, which details their VOC (volatile organic compound) content, has led to a reduction of 21% in the VOC content of the paints they sell. Now Knight suggests an energy-efficiency labelling scheme for cars and houses. He believes manufacturers and retailers will co-operate if they believe it will benefit their product. "What an eco-label can do is protect and enhance a brand's reputation. And that is something akin to gold dust."
Saturday 8th NovemberAccording to the National Trust report "Blue Skies: Air Travel & Tourism" it is now cheaper to fly from London to South-West France than to take a train to Bath. Fuelled by cheap air fares, demand for air travel has soared, leading to the prospect of massive airport expansion.
Tourism and leisure traffic accounts for 76% of current flights, but the growth has all been outward from Britain.
Inbound foreign visits have been falling since 1998, creating a £15 billion balance of payments deficit. The Trust believes that promotion of holidays in Britain could limit the damaging effects of aviation as well as helping to regenerate local economies and communities. New fiscal measures, such as VAT on air tickets and duty on aviation fuel, would also benefit communities where tourism is a vital source of income.
Sunday 9th NovemberFather, we pray for a vision of your world as your love would make it:
A world where the weak are protected and none go hungry or poor;
A world where the benefits of life are fairly shared;
A world where nations, races, cultures and religions live with mutual respect;
A world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love;
And that we may have the courage and inspiration to play our part in building it.
Monday 10th NovemberThe 1st European Social Forum took place in Florence a year ago, when 60,000 activists gathered to discuss how to build another world and to organize opposition to globalisation and war. This year's ESF begins today in Paris and is likely to attract even more people. There will be hundreds of debates, meetings and cultural events. For details visit www.mobilise.org.uk
Pray for positive and peaceful outcomes from all the events in Paris this week.
Tuesday 11th NovemberOf the world's 531 million cars, a quarter are in the USA. In 2000 US cars consumed 287 million gallons of fuel a day and emitted 302 million tonnes of carbon dioxide - an amount equal to the total carbon emissions of the entire Japanese economy (itself the 4th largest emitter of carbon dioxide). Each year US truckers use 1.5 billion gallons of fuel merely to keep their engines idling overnight so as to enjoy the heating or air-conditioning.
Wednesday 12th NovemberThe UK currently scraps around 450,000 tonnes of tyres a year, of which only two-thirds are recycled or recovered. A ban on the disposal of whole tyres in hazardous landfill sites took effect in July, and all dumping of tyres in landfill must end by 2006, while incineration of tyres must end by 2008. Will our countryside be turned into a vast illegal tyre dump - or will we come up with constructive solutions?
Thursday 13th NovemberBritish designer Julie McDonagh turns tyre inner tubes into fashion accessories. Remarkable Recycling has, within ten months, transformed 24 tonnes of tyres into mouse mats and pencil cases. Others have made them into roof tiles, carpet underlay, tennis courts and boat fenders. Yet this is mere nibbling at the problem. Retreaded tyres are already accepted as good as new by the truck and aviation industries, but many still need convincing - even though it takes 3 times as much oil to make a new tyre as it does to do up a part-worn tyre. For more information ring 01782 417 777 or visit www.retreaders.org.uk For information on recycling generally visit www.wastewatch.org.uk
Friday 14th NovemberToday begins a 3-day course on building your own Solar Hot Water system. Participants take away all the elements of a solar water-heating system, having constructed their own panels, control and pump sets, and with a detailed manual containing all the necessary information to install and maintain their system. Contact: Low-Impact Living Initiative, Redfield Community, Buckingham Road, Winslow, Bucks. MK18 3LZ. Tel.01296 714184. Or visit www.lowimpact.org
Saturday 15th NovemberFor householders, solar water heating is one of the most affordable renewable technologies. The Solar for London scheme offers a £500 Solar Reward in some areas of London. In addition the Government will provide £500 grants to householders through its Clear Skies programme, and cover up to 50% of the installation costs for social housing. A home solar water-heating system will cost £2,000-2,500 and can reduce energy needs by 10%, providing 90% of hot water demand in summer, 50% in spring and autumn, and 10% in winter. Solar for London is a collaboration between Sustainable Energy Action (SEA), the Energy Saving Trust, 27 London boroughs and London Electricity plc. SEA is also training plumbers to create a network of professional solar installers.
Sunday 16th NovemberFather, we thank you for your great gifts of wisdom and ingenuity. Help us to place them wholly at your service in the quest for technologies to protect the world that you created, and all the creatures that live in it.
Monday 17th NovemberThe Government's Renewable Obligation requires electricity suppliers to source an increasing percentage of their supplies from renewable sources - rising from 3% in 2002/3 to 10.4% by 2010/11.
The Government's "aspiration" is that this will rise to 20% by 2020, but there is as yet no obligation on suppliers.
Renewable Energy Certificates (ROCs) are proof that suppliers have met their quotas: those that haven't must buy ROCs on the open market. The fear is that, as things stand, ROCs will lose much of their value after 2010. Even the target of 10.4% by 2010 will be hard to achieve without a substantial investment by financial institutions, and so far this looks unlikely. The Renewable Energy Association believes that the 10.4% target acts as a cap on installing a new generation of renewables: instead, rolling targets are needed, designed to give investors the confidence to lend over a longer term than the 7 years to 2010.
Tuesday 18th NovemberPatricia Hewitt, the Trade & Industry Secretary, has pledged to amend building regulations to require the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells in all new housing.
If this were accompanied by a decision to include solar PV in the Government's capital allowances programme, as happens in Japan and Germany, we could see our solar PV capacity approaching theirs. Germany installed 20 MW. of solar capacity this June alone, while Britain has just 4 MW. of total solar capacity.
Wednesday 19th NovemberThe Government announced, in July, plans to build more than 2,000 giant wind turbines in three offshore zones - enough to supply electricity to 15% of Britain's homes.
However, it is at least 30% more expensive to build turbines offshore than on land, although power yields are 20-40% higher because of steadier and more predictable winds. Also, Britain lacks the industrial base that exists in Denmark and Germany, though recently the Danish firm Vestas opened a turbine assembly plant in Scotland and DeWind of Germany plans another in Loughborough.
The continuation of the Government's Renewable Obligation after 2010 is critical to the programme in order to attract the billions required for the next generation of offshore wind farms.
Thursday 20th NovemberColtan is an essential component of mobile telephones. Miners in the Kahuza Biega National Park of Congo are responsible for the killing of thousands of endangered lowland gorillas for the bushmeat trade.
Now the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has drafted a plan for the gradual withdrawal of the miners from the Park and for support for alternative work.
Friday 21st NovemberTwenty-three nations including Britain have called on Iceland to stop whaling. Iceland claims that scientific whaling activities are necessary to assess the amount of fish that minke whales eat, with the aim of making a cull in order to protect fish stocks. According to the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society, this argument misses the point that abundant whale stocks and abundant fish stocks have co-existed for millennia. What is upsetting the balance is human interference. For more information visit www.wdcs.org
Saturday 22nd NovemberAfter hearing evidence of the damage caused to whales, turtles and fish by the US Navy's use of Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) to detect submarines, a US federal court judge has ordered the US Navy to meet objectors in order to agree areas where LFAS training would cause least damage.
It was shown that marine life 400 miles away from the source of LFAS suffers 140 decibels of sound pressure - the noise produced by an earthquake - and that whale strandings in the Bahamas three years ago were due to trials of a less powerful sonar.
Now Britain's Ministry of Defence is planning to install LFAS in twelve warships, opening up the prospect of operating the systems where the US Navy is prevented from operating them. A motion in the European Parliament tabled by Green MEP Caroline Lucas and calling for a moratorium on the use of LFAS has the support of 60 MEPs. We are asked to raise the issue with our own MP asking him to write to the MoD and to Elliott Morley at DEFRA. For more detail visit www.wdcs.org or ring 0870 870 0027.
Sunday 23rd NovemberForgive us, Father, for the damage we have done to the earth.
Forgive us that rivers and seas have been polluted by the waste of our civilization.
Forgive us that the air has been polluted by the emissions for which we bear responsibility.
Forgive us that flowers, fauna and wild creatures have become extinct through our relentless invasion of their natural habitat.
Forgive us that too often we have valued profit more than the quality of the environment in which people have to live.
Monday 24th November"Invest in Fish" is a partnership between WWF, the Cornish fishing industry, local fish retailers, Unilever and Marks & Spencer, formed to investigate ways of bringing about the long-term recovery of fish stocks. The quota system imposed by Brussels has manifestly failed.
The project will test various approaches, such as no-go fishing areas, changing types of fishing gear, avoiding certain species and temporarily tying up boats.
"The Common Fisheries Policy has been managing fisheries on a crisis basis, without any long-term objectives", declares Louise Heaps of WWF. "This project is an opportunity for all stakeholders in healthy fisheries to seize the initiative and support solutions that work for them all." Final proposals are due to be delivered in 2006.
Tuesday 25th NovemberOver 70% of the coffee consumed in the world comes from smallholdings of less than 25 acres. At current rates the 7-10 million coffee farmers earn on average $0.65 for every pound of coffee sold, i.e. just 1% of the price we pay for freshly-ground coffee in the shops.
Coffee now trades at just 25% of its 1960 level. Last year the World Food Programme blamed the coffee crisis for malnutrition and food security issues in Honduras, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Peru and Venezuela. Coffee growers supplied 9% more coffee than people consumed, and this global over-supply is still increasing. Yet some coffee producers manage to thrive: these supply coffee to the fairtrade market, so getting a guaranteed minimum price far higher than in the open market.
The market share of Fairtrade coffee has risen from 5% in 1999 to over 12% in 2002. However, the number of coffee farmers benefiting from the fairtrade scheme is limited by the number of UK customers willing to pay the premium.
Wednesday 26th NovemberAmericans now consume the equivalent of 53 teaspoonfuls of sugar a day - two-thirds of which is hidden inside processed foods.
The biggest exporters of sugar are Brazil, the EU, Thailand and Australia. EU production subsidies are worth £1 billion a year to sugar producers and ensure a guaranteed minimum price more than three times the world market price.
In 2001 EU countries produced 17 million tonnes, but 7 million tonnes had to be dumped on world markets at a huge cost to EU taxpayers and serious damage to Third World sugar producers.
Eliminating US subsidies alone would raise world prices by 17% and increase the export earnings of developing nations by $1.5 billion.
Pray for an end to the subsidy system by which rich countries produce huge surpluses and create havoc in Third World economies.
Thursday 27th NovemberMany studies have shown a connection between sugar and heart disease, osteoporosis, mental health problems, gallstones and dental caries.
Now an Australian report shows that run-off from sugar cane plantations has caused a decline in up to 60 species of coral in the Great Barrier Reef, where for over 15 years nitrogen levels have risen at least 300% and phosphorus more than doubled.
In the USA, phosphorus-laden water from Florida's sugar plantations has already caused damage to the Everglades costing billions of dollars to remedy. Elsewhere, sugar monoculture has caused water pollution in Buenos Aires and damage to river estuaries in Brazil and waterways in the Philippines.
Questions for consumers:
Friday 28th NovemberThe EU Landfill Directive of 2001 requires Britain to phase out the use of landfill for waste disposal. The new Household Waste Recycling Bill, drafted by FoE and passed by Parliament last month, will require local councils to provide every home with a doorstep recycling collection of at least two recyclable materials by 2010. This may stave off the threat of dozens of new waste incinerators across England, with dire implications for human health.
FoE comments: "Now every home in England will have its recycling collected. This should lead to a dramatic increase in the UK's recycling rate, which is one of the worst in Europe."
However, it may be a little time before all councils follow the lead of Daventry, where there is a doorstep collection of 8 different materials from all its 30,000 households.
Elsewhere in England, only 40% of households get any collection at all of recyclable materials.
Saturday 29th NovemberThe City of Edmonton in Canada operates a system which within a few years has resulted in a 70% reduction in waste. Waste is collected and sorted into three categories:
Any remaining matter is composted to reduce its bulk and make it biologically inert. It can then be applied as landfill cover or used as landscaping material.
At Wye, in Kent, a combination of recycling, composting and community-based collection has seen waste cut by 75%.
Sunday 30th NovemberFather, in your creation you have made us rich
And yet we have made ourselves poor
In our reluctance to credit others with value;
In our failure to look beyond the material and accepted standards of our day;
In our deafness to hear only the sounds pleasant to our ears;
In our noise and business, failing to listen
to the unuttered cries of hurt and pain;
In our lifestyle putting the pleasure of palate before the real cost to
individuals in another part of the world.
We live as though our well-being matters most.
Because of that, the rest of creation suffers.
Father, forgive us.
Help us to visualize your values, to appreciate your resources,
But above all to credit all humankind as members of the family,
Valuable and indispensable.
(By kind permission of Rosemary Wass)For further information and prayer requests, please contact Philip Clarkson Webb at 15, Valley View, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells TN4 OSY or e-mail: email@example.com This Prayer Guide may be viewed on the Christian Ecology Link website at: christian-ecology.org.uk
Sources:BBC Wildlife magazine.
For further information and prayer request please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to:
Philip Clarkson Webb
15 Valley View
Kent TN4 OSY
Copyright © 2003-2007 Philip Clarkson Webb and Christian Ecology Link and last prayer Rosemary Wass
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