“Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no-one can cross?”
The Lord said: “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them.
Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts.
They have followed the Baals, as their fathers taught them.”
Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
“See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water.
I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known,
And I will pursue them with the sword until I have destroyed them.”
“The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship,
Do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
(2 Timothy 4.3-5)
“Act as if everything depended on you; wait as if everything depended on God.”
( St. Ignatius Loyola)
Saturday 1 st March
The Asian tsunami, apart from the damage to lives and livelihoods, drew together many different nations, cultures and religions in the face of common threats. A shared sense of vulnerability and a dawning recognition that ripping-up natural defences can have deadly consequences, reinforce the growing awareness that we belong to one world. As we face the looming shock-waves of climate change, we can begin to understand that we either get through it together or not at all. Pray for scientists, diplomats and politicians as they struggle to build a consensus in the world's response to climate change.
Sunday 2 nd March
Lord, we pray that your people, whether they be ministers, scientists or lay people, may find the strength to give clear witness of the need to care for the world that you created. May they speak out courageously on the massive changes in our lifestyles that are now seen to be necessary to protect your creation.
Monday 3 rd March
“The Last Giant Oil Frontier: Access to a Trillion Dollars in oil and natural gas! Profit from the Biggest Energy Story of All Time!” reads an online advertisement referring to the estimated 40 billion barrels of oil and gas supposedly lying under the Arctic ice.
Nobody should underestimate the appeal of this type of message to those bent on extracting a quick buck, regardless of the consequent damage to the Earth's climate and to the prospects of future generations. “Do not be deceived,” wrote St. Paul (Gal. 6.7) “God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” And, in the next verse, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Tuesday 4 th March
In a speech to the European Parliament Prince Charles has called for an alliance between public authorities, private interests and non-governmental organisations to work on the crisis of climate change. “I only pray I may be proved wrong in believing that the doomsday clock of climate change is ticking ever faster towards midnight . We are simply not re-acting quickly enough.”
He focussed on the plight of the rainforests, describing them as global utilities that provide essential public services to humanity. “We are destroying our planet's air-conditioning system,” he said. The Prince's Rainforests Project, launched at Hampton Court last October, aims to work with the private sector, governments and environmental experts to find solutions to the destruction. “These need to provide credible incentives to rainforest nations, down to farmers on the ground, and must out-compete the drivers of rainforest destruction.” We can all play our part in refusing products implicated in rainforest destruction and supporting projects which protect the forests.
Wednesday 5 th March
“Losing Ground” is a new report from FoE, Savit Watch and Life Mosaic which exposes the human rights abuses fuelled by EU targets to increase the use of biofuels in transport. Oil palm companies in Indonesia use violence to grab land from indigenous communities. Families who were self-reliant on the forests around them are tricked into giving up their land with the promise of jobs and new developments. They end up being locked in debt and poorly-paid work while the pesticides and fertilisers used on the palm oil plantations are leaving some villages without clean water. FoE is calling on MEPs and EU Member States to reject the 10% target for biofuels when it comes before the European Parliament and Council. The EU should instead strengthen its proposals for emission limits on all new cars.
Thursday 6 th March
Prince Charles in his speech called for the nations to be put on a war footing. “If military policy has long been based on the dictum that we should be prepared for the worst, should it be any different when our security is that of the planet and our long-term future? If we are not courageous and revolutionary in our approach to climate change, the result will be catastrophe for all of us, but especially for the poorest in our world. This is surely comparable to war. Do we, as a world community, have the resolve to wage it?”
Accountants KPMG, in a survey of 200 corporate leaders, found that 85% rate climate change as a key issue, but only 22% aim to become carbon neutral. Prince Charles was told by corporate leaders that, while a market-based approach to climate change can make a difference, a proper framework is required, with governments setting consistent long-term targets and providing responsible and equitable regulation.
Friday 7 th March
The University of East Anglia , in research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, uses the term “tipping elements” to describe a critical threshold where a small change in human activity can have huge long-term consequences for the Earth's climate. These are the nine “tipping elements” with the approximate time when they might be expected:
Melting of all Arctic sea ice – 10 years
Decay of the Greenland ice sheet – over 300 years
Collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet – over 300 years
Collapse of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation ( Gulf Stream ) – 100 years
Increase in the El Nino Southern Oscillation – 100 years
Collapse of the Indian summer monsoon – 1 year
Greening of the Sahel and disruption of the W. African monsoon – 10 years
Dieback of the Amazon rainforest – 50 years
Dieback of the Boreal Forest – 50 years.
Source: Tyndall Centre for Climate Research.
Saturday 8 th March
In his speech to the European Parliament, the Prince asked: “Can we possibly allow another 20 years of business-as-usual before coal-powered generation becomes clean? Are we truly investing enough in renewable energy?”
The proposed Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in Kent is expected to receive Government approval by the end of April. It will not be built with CCS (clean coal) technology. Instead, it will be a “business-as-usual” plant. Jim Hansen, NASA's leading climate scientist, has described Kingsnorth as “a terrible idea”. Former US Vice-president Al Gore asks: “Why aren't there rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power stations?”
Sunday 9 th March
Show us, Father, what we must do to protect your wonderful world – not just the plants and animals, but the soil, air and water by which we live – so that no-one may exploit or pollute them for their own profit or convenience. Help us to cherish these necessities for our survival, and guide those in authority to ensure that the human spirit may not be starved in pursuit of material comfort and wealth.
Monday 10 th March
According to Ivan Illich, the car is the supreme object of the energy inequity that is at the heart of industrial civilisation. While promising freedom to millions, the rise in car ownership and use has brought congestion and pollution to much of the planet's built space, while pedestrians, cyclists, children and wild animals are denied quiet, unpolluted and safe space in which to move.
Yet no matter the cost to the climate, industrial governments are determined to extract every last barrel of oil from the earth, even when (as in the Arctic ) the costs are astronomical. A Canadian environment minister has said: “There is no environment minister on earth that will stop this oil from being produced.”
Meanwhile, in Nigeria , the country with Africa 's biggest oil reserves, the number of people living in absolute poverty (earning less than $1 a day) grew from 27% in 1980 to 66% in 1996.
Tuesday 11 th March
The Old Testament prophets lamented the destruction of the cedar forests to support the economic expansion of nations such as Tyre , Tarshish and Israel (eg Ezekiel 27). Today's fossil-fuel economy, like the ancient trade in cedars, requires a constant onslaught on natural resources, enriching the elites (oil companies and investors) but blighting the lives of ordinary people. However, present levels of oil production cannot be sustained. As prices rise and production declines, perhaps the people of the Middle East may at last enjoy peace – provided that the use of oil has not heated the climate to the extent that the whole region is reduced to desert.
Wednesday 12 th March
Michael Northcott in “A Moral Climate” points out that scientists – even climate scientists – rely heavily on power-hungry super-computers, on satellites using huge amounts of fossil fuels and on research trips to far-flung places in aircraft with high-level emissions far more damaging than greenhouse gases at ground level. They sincerely believe that, if they can describe our perils with sufficient clarity, the public and politicians will respond with policies to match the seriousness of the crisis. The problem is that we are used to scientific language speaking of ongoing success in bringing the planet into subservience to the desires of our growth-led technological society. Yet the depth of the crisis requires not only clear talking but truthful action, including radical measures to conserve energy and reduce wasteful consumption activities by all of us – including the scientists who claim that there is a problem.
Thursday 13 th March
“In an advanced industrial country, a policy of economic growth promotes mindless labour and mindless leisure” (Martin Borgmann in “Character of Contemporary Life”). According to Michael Northcott, the liberal quest for a just society involves a bargain with technology in the belief that more technology will produce a better society. “But this does not happen, because technological rule requires that liberal democracies give up deliberation over ends . . . Technological modernisation sustains the illusion that it is possible to create policies that ensure that such good ends as justice or prudence can be achieved without the people being good. This illusion is further sustained by the endless deferrals of agreed social goods in the collective pursuit of technological advancement.”
Friday 14 th March
The spread of carbon trading is leading, according to Northcott, to “carbon colonialism”, which effectively commodifies the earth's atmosphere and forests, privatising a common resource in the form of carbon credits to be traded between governments and corporations. The creation of a market in carbon represents a tragic distraction from the urgent need to re-regulate the money supply and re-invent industrial manufacture so that they are brought back into relation to the energy and nutrient flows of the earth system. Carbon taxation, he maintains, does not require the creation of new markets in carbon permits with the expensive and invasive bureaucracy and surveillance required by carbon trading. “A shift in taxation from profits and jobs to carbon would . . . dramatically increase the price of the most climatically harmful activities such as air travel, car travel, electricity consumption, space heating, meat eating and long-distance transportation of food and manufactured goods.”
Saturday 15 th March
It is generally agreed that the poorest and most vulnerable people stand most at risk from climate change caused largely by the activities of developed nations, who therefore have a moral duty to compensate them with resources to enable them to adapt to climate change. But, as Northcott points out, the issue of compensation is a distraction from the more fundamental issue of the wasteful and destructive course on which industrial civilisation is based. So long as economic exchange is governed by techniques which neglect human and ecological welfare, it will be impossible to bring our energy demands into line with earth's carbon capacity or to bring justice to those who will suffer from climate change.
Sunday 16 th March
Lord, as we begin to see the radical transformations needed in our society if we are to meet the crisis of climate change, we pray and beseech you to raise up and empower the leaders of the future who will challenge the forces of inertia and inspire us all to think and act as if we, individually and collectively, bear full responsibility for the lifestyle changes that we must all make if coming generations are to survive.
Monday 17 th March
According to Northcott, “The economistic neglect of biological laws and of the regenerative powers of ecosystems arises from the exclusive devotion of modern societies to economic above moral or spiritual ends. . . When wealth turns into an absolute good, it becomes a spiritual force, influencing the human spirit from within . . . This misplaced devotion comes at a great price in terms of the enslavement of the earth and its creatures to wealth accumulation. And it is not only the poor who suffer. The wealthy also suffer intellectually, morally and spiritually from their misguided devotion. As Bulgakov suggests in ‘The Economic Ideal' a life without ideals is the inevitable logic of hedonism.
Tuesday 18 th March
As Dave Bookless reports in “Planetwise”, there have been extraordinary stories of how the land can transformed when a community turns to God in repentant prayer and renewed obedience. At Almolonga in Guatemala , for example, almost sterile land has been transformed into fertile fields yielding huge vegetables as the local community turned from crime and immorality to Christ. (see www.sentinelgroup.org ) The key to unlocking the riddles of climate change lies not in human technological cleverness but in repentance and obedience.
Wednesday 19 th March
We may believe, as Dave Bookless suggests, that the earth is the Lord's (Psalm 24), but it's easy for this to stay in the room labelled ‘faith' and never cross into rooms labelled ‘work', ‘lifestyle', ‘politics' and so on. We may worship God with our lips, but our lives often give the message that we're working for our careers, houses, cars, bank accounts, our own bodies, and ultimately ourselves. We may proclaim that ‘Jesus is Lord', but still have secret rooms in our lives which we keep firmly locked. He suggests that Western culture has effectively shut Jesus out of being Lord of all our relationships with material possessions and with the natural world. We may be richer in our pockets, but much poorer in our relationships with God, with one another and with His creation.
Thursday 20 th March
“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4.19) But it wasn't only us that he loved, for “God so loved the kosmos (the universe) that he sent his Son (John 3.16) As we focus on what God's Son did for us on Calvary, we remember that he died not just for us, but for the whole of creation “whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1.20). And all of that creation was his handiwork, for “through him all things were made” (John 1.3) How can we fail to care for an earth redeemed at such a price?
Friday 21 st March. Good Friday
Lord Jesus, as we dwell on your great love for us treading the path of the Cross for the sake of humanity and for all your living creation, help us to take up our crosses in the struggle to protect your beautiful world. Give us stregth of purpose and the courage to go on even when the path ahead seems beset with difficulties.
Saturday 22 nd March
A study commissioned by the European Environmental Bureau and FoE Europe finds that achieving the EU recycling target of 50% of municipal waste by 2020 could save emissions equivalent to 89 million tonnes of CO 2 per year – the same as taking 31 million cars off the road. FoE comments: “Recycling our waste helps to tackle climate change and this study shows the massive benefits of targets for municipal waste. However, it is crucial that targets for business waste are also agreed.” The EU has also set a minimum recycling rate of 70% for industrial, commercial, construction and demolition waste by 2020.
Sunday 23 rd March Easter Day
Lord God, by whose authority Christ was raised from the dead, so that the worst that men could do had no power over him, lay your hand this day on all who need this message most:
For those who have lost their dear ones and whose hearts are sad;
For those who have lost their health and vitality;
For those who have lost their livelihood;
For those who have lost patience;
For those who have lost their faith;
For all who are wounded in the battle of life and are near to despair.
Give to us all a vision of Christ's risen glory that we, too, may trust in his power; that we, too, may be assured that nothing can separate us from your loving purposes or frustrate your will for us. Amen.
(Leslie Weatherhead – adapted)
Monday 24 th March
The attempts of modern states to draw competing private interests into public provision of care and justice is morally hazardous, according to Leo Strauss in “Liberalism Ancient and Modern”. Only moral individuals – acting as good neighbours or (in the case of corporations) from the profit motive – can ensure that basic social needs are met without compromising fundamental liberties. The pooling of sovereignty under bodies such as the European Commission and the WTO has given still more power to corporations, many of which produce more carbon emissions than small, developed nations such as Croatia. Yet, in spite of this, corporations are not formally required to reduce their emissions in parallel with nation states. This can no longer be allowed to continue after the Kyoto Protocol is replaced in 2012.
Tuesday 25 th March
The car, according to Michael Northcott, is the single largest source of luxury emissions. Of the more than 500 million cars in the world, 75% are owned in the developed world, while of the 1.2 million deaths caused annually by road accidents, 85% occur in the developing world. “The modern obsession with mechanically-derived speed is such that it eviscerates moral deliberation over its ecological and human costs. Speed produces an altered state of consciousness or what Sandy Baldwin calls ‘a delirium broken only by the crash.' Speed, according to Milan Kundera, is ‘the form of ecstasy the technological revolution has bestowed on man.' This generates detachment from the violent effects of the ownership and use of speed devices on the millions killed by them and from their systemic effects on the earth's ecology.”
Wednesday 26 th March
A leaked UN report shows that international shipping now accounts for 4.5% of global CO 2 emissions, though aviation is still responsible for more climate damage once the multiplier effect of emissions at high altitude is included – 2-4 times greater than CO 2 emissions at ground level.
Yet the Climate Change Bill includes neither shipping nor aviation emissions. Both WWF and FoE are calling for these emissions to be included, and for the Bill to include a commitment to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050, not the current 60%. WWF is also calling for shipping and aviation emissions to be included in the successor to the Kyoto Protocol – due to expire in 2012 – and for shipping to be brought into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Thursday 27 th March
A new FoE report entitled “Who benefits from GM crops?” finds that the vast majority of GM crops commercialised so far are destined for animal feed for the meat and livestock markets in rich industrialised nations rather than for feeding the poor. GM crops, as part of the intensive farming model, contribute to small farmers losing their land and livelihoods and do not alleviate poverty. Even the US Department of Agriculture admits that no GM crop on the market has been modified to increase yields. The main factors influencing crop yields are weather, irrigation and fertilisers, soil quality and farmers' management skills. A review of biotechnology in the EU in 2007 confirmed that the GM crop sector is not performing well. Yet green farming methods such as organic farming are creating more jobs, boosting rural economies and are safer for the environment.
Friday 28 th March
Applications can be made now for grants under Phase 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. Details are available at: www.lowcarbonbuildingsphase2.org.uk Click on ‘operational status' to see how much of the £50 million has been allocated. Grants for micro-generation installations are available for schools, hospitals, housing associations, local authorities and charities. The technologies for which grants are to be made are:
Solar photovoltaic; Solar thermal; Wind turbines; Ground source heat pumps; Automated wood pellet stoves; Wood-fuelled boilers.
It is understood that applicants are getting about 50% of their costs covered by a grant, if they are successful.
Saturday 29 th March
Today at 8 pm – Earth Hour – major cities including Brisbane , Chicago , Copenhagen , Manila , Melbourne , Sydney , Tel Aviv and Toronto will be turning off all lights for an hour as a symbol of their determination to combat global warming. To sign up and join the movement, visit: www.earthhour.org/sign-up
For useful tools, tips and information, visit the CEL events diary at: www.christian-ecology.org.uk
Sunday 30 th March
O God of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry.
Our earthly rulers falter, our people drift and die.
The walls of gold entomb us, the swords of scorn divide.
Take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride.
From all that terror teaches, from lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches that comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation of honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation, deliver us, good Lord.
Monday 31 st March
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people . . . will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”(2 Chron.7.12)
“Healing the environment comes about not primarily by recycling, down-sizing or resource management, but by repentance and returning to God. The land can only be healed when its inhabitants recognise whose land it is, and repair their broken relationship with God and each other. . . Our small actions may seem too little too late, yet God is committed to including us in his plans. He can take our small efforts and weave them into his purposes in sustaining and renewing the earth.” (Dave Bookless in “Planetwise”)
Sources: “A Moral Climate” by Michael S. Northcott (publ. DLT)
“Planetwise” by Dave Bookless (publ. IVF)
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