Thursday 1st October
The threat of catastrophic climate change means that this is the time for all Christians to join in united prayer for God’s world in the run-up to the critical talks in Copenhagen this December. Next Sunday from 12 to 6 is to be a Day of Prayer when we are encouraged to meet, meditate and pray – and perhaps to fast – in any quiet place. Information, publicity material and guidelines can be found at: www.christian-ecology.org.uk/day-of-prayer.htm
Friday 2nd October
Linda Jones of CAFOD says: “Prayer is at the heart of all our actions and this call to prayer comes at a good time. We pray that we may recognise our responsibilities towards others and towards creation itself which, in its beauty and diversity, mirrors the glory of God. Dr. Isabel Carter reminds us that much of the negotiating and decision-making takes place well before the Copenhagen summit. Hence, the crucial need for prayer over the next three months.
Saturday 3rd October
“Resilience and Climate Change: Presenting a Green Agenda for the Copenhagen Climate Summit” is the title of today’s Resurgence conference from 11 to 5 at Cecil Sharpe House, London NW1 7AY. Speakers include Crispin Tickell, Caroline Lucas MEP, Tony Juniper, George Marshall and Satish Kumar. To book a place, go to: www.resurgence.org Cost: £25 or £15 concessions.
Sunday 4th October
Father God, Ruler of Heaven and Earth, bless all whom you have called to be leaders of the nations at this critical time in our history. Inspire them to put aside every other consideration but the necessity to act wisely in the world’s long-term interests. In serving their peoples, may they also be serving your purposes for this world, which your dear Son died to save.
Monday 5th October
“Climate Change and its implications for People and Poverty” is the title of today’s
Practical Action (formerly Intermediate Technology) course from 9 to 5.30 at the
Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA. The course clarifies the basics of
weather and climate impacts and explores the myriad of factors that affect the negotiations
between governments as they discuss the global crisis. To book a place (cost £180) by September
28th, email Sophie Peachey at
email@example.com or call 01926 634403.
Tuesday 6th October
A new World Bank report called “Development and Climate Change” says that climate change should not be seen as an insurmountable problem. “The world need not decide between growth/prosperity and preservation” it argues “so long as it takes action immediately, works together and transforms its energy systems. . . Countries can continue to develop by employing climate-smart policies that reduce vulnerability to climate change while pursuing low-carbon growth. We will need to call on all the ingenuity and innovation that we are capable of. Creating new and distributing existing technologies is a major part of achieving a climate-smart world. Investment in R & D needs to be drastically increased from $53-73 billion a year to several hundreds of billions.”
Wednesday 7th October
A report from the University of East Anglia, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology finds that planting perennial biomass crops such as Short Rotation Coppice willow and miscanthus to generate electricity leads to net savings in greenhouse gas emissions. SRC willow has positive effects for butterflies and most bird species. The water requirements of SRC willow are similar to cereal crops, while miscanthus is comparable with woodlands. One of the outcomes of the research is detailed mapping across England to identify areas which could be suitable for growing energy crops. “We could meet government objectives of growing 350,000 hectares of these for electricity without impacting on food production.”
Thursday 8th October
Today in Manchester Cathedral from 9.30 to 4 and event takes place called “Arks Apostles Action”. It consists of three strands:
• Creating greener buildings, starting with our churches;
• Commissioning by the Archbishop of York of ‘Green Apostles’
• Acting for global justice: Copenhagen and the gospel.
The event is being run by Faiths4Change, Manchester Cathedral, the Diocesan Board of
Church & Society, Sustainable Schools NorthWest and Manchester Environmental Education Network.
To get involved, ring John Hughes on 0161 8720500 or email:
Friday 9th October
The Government’s Committee on Climate Change has publicly declared that UK aviation emissions must be capped at 2005 levels. Long-term emissions trading is not the answer. Instead, the UK with other developed countries needs to plan for deep cuts in its CO2 emissions. Greenpeace points out that even allowing the aviation industry to operate at 2005 levels will require other sectors to make cuts of 90% or more. Why is aviation so privileged? If the energy industry has to make deeper cuts as a result, energy customers could end up paying for the right of the richer section of society to continue flying.
Saturday 10th October
The Government has announced that the world’s biggest wind turbines will be made in Britain with Government backing. FoE comments: “We could be a world leader in developing green power and reap huge economic and environmental benefits. Mr. Miliband is right to be concerned about the number of onshore wind turbines being turned down by councils, and this is why new planning guidance is needed. Obligatory renewable energy targets should be set for local authorities, and they should be allowed to allocate potential local sites for green energy developments to make sure they meet their targets.
Models for community-owned wind farms already exist in the Baywind Energy Co-Operative in Cumbria and the Westmill Wind Farm Co-Operative in Oxfordshire.
Sunday 11th October
Eternal God, you alone are the source of all truth and understanding. Guide by your Holy Spirit all who are engaged in scientific and technological research, that as they uncover more of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, they may further the purposes of your love.
Monday 12th October
Rare earth elements consist of 15 metals which are fundamental to the manufacture of electric cars, wind turbines and low-energy light bulbs, and are also used in military equipment. Extracting them is a dirty and expensive business. About 75% of production comes from China’s Inner Mongolia region, and China has declared its intention to impose export quotas. Major Japanese industries such as Toyota and Panasonic rely heavily on rare earth metals for their automotive and high-tech factories and are being increasingly forced to rely on smuggled or illegally-mined material. Carmakers, electronic companies and producers of wind turbines may be forced to move factories to China to avoid new export restrictions on these critical materials.
Tuesday 13th October
A poll of 8,000 adults by YouGov found that 80% of people would consider recycling more, while 33% might use public transport more. The cost of running a car, fears about congestion, faster and more reliable buses and trains were all more likely to persuade people to use public transport than any fears about air pollution or climate change. Top of people’s priority problems was the state of the economy followed by fear of crime, the state of the NHS, the education system and levels of taxation. Environmental issues were below all of them. The findings provoke questions about the wisdom of promoting “environment” as an issue in itself when the real issue may be the impact of ever more people on diminishing resources.
Wednesday 14th October
3,750 households in Windsor and Maidenhead can now earn £130 worth of vouchers a year if they recycle more waste. The vouchers are redeemable at local shops and restaurants or can be donated to charities. Cllr. Liam Maxwell said:
“The appetite to recycle more is clearly there, and using the carrot, not the stick, is our way of energising the community and bringing meaningful benefits to households and businesses. The RecycleBank scheme is a pioneering step forward. We are proud to be the first in the UK and hope that other local authorities will follow our approach.”
Thursday 15th October
All local authorities in Wales have already achieved DEFRA’s 2010 targets for reducing the landfill of biodegradeable waste. The Landfill Allowance Scheme means that the amount of biodegradeable waste landfilled must be cut by 75% by 2010. Wales is now 16% below the target for 2010. Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson said: “The idea that we can simply bury waste in the ground and leave it to rot is from another era. To protect this beautiful country for future generations we need to recycle as much as possible.”
Friday 16th October
The new Marine and Coastal Access Act gives the Welsh Assembly power to set up Marine Conservation Zones, to place restrictions on potentially damaging activities and to weigh them against social and environmental considerations. It can also set a blanket ban on certain activities within each site rather than protecting individual species or habitats. Jane Davidson said: “Our coast and marine environment makes a significant contribution to our economy. It is estimated that the marine environment supports 92,000 jobs in Wales, contributing £2.5 billion a year to the Welsh economy. The UK has committed itself to creating a coherent network of marine protected areas by 2012. Wales is already making a significant contribution: the new powers to create Marine Conservation Zones will allow us to complete the journey.”
Saturday 17th October
Tearfund is asking its supporters to join the Climate March through London on December 5th. Throughout the year negotiators have been rehearsing their positions in the run-up to the Copenhagen Summit, with pitiful results so far. Tearfund calls for committed and persistent prayer:
• For effective negotiations leading up to the Copenhagen talks;
• For the needs of the poorest communities to be addressed at Copenhagen;
• For a strong and fair deal to be agreed at Copenhagen.
Richard Weaver of Tearfund says: “Success of this deal must be measured by how it benefits the poorest and most vulnerable – those who are already most affected by climate change. If it doesn’t work for them, then it’s not a good deal.”
Go to the website www.tearfund.org/deal for progress to date.
Sunday 18th 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 19th October
The UN Climate Change Conference meets in Copenhagen from December 7th to 18th to finalise a new treaty for the global reduction of carbon emissions. Many organisations are creating petitions to world leaders and raising awareness. “TckTckTck” is an unprecedented alliance of NGOs, trade unions, faith groups and individuals calling for an ambitious, fair and binding climate agreement. It aggregates data from all the petitions to present to world leaders as evidence of the support they will have in making the right deal.
Tuesday 20th October
Re-cycle, an Essex charity, has just shipped its 30,000th secondhand bike to Africa. It collects unwanted bikes (including Royal Mail bikes), thoroughly checks and repairs them, then ships them to locations across Africa including Ghana, Namibia and Liberia, where its African partners distribute them and offer repair and maintenance training. Bicycles can enable health workers to visit patients in remote areas and greatly reduce the time needed for children to go to school and for farmers to bring their goods to market. Contact: Re-Cycle, Unit A Global Park, Moorside, Colchester CO1 2TJ or ring 01206 86311.
Wednesday 21st October
For over 17 years Tools for Self-Reliance has been supplying reclaimed tools to developing countries. From the Orkneys to Jersey there are groups collecting, mending and cleaning good quality
equipment such as spades and shovels for building, metalworking tools and bicycle repair kits. The Clun group of 12 volunteers meets for two refurbishing sessions a week and puts together 6 to 8 kits a year. With every shipment the organisation moves a step nearer to putting the rural poor of Africa on the path to prosperity and self-reliance.
Thursday 22nd October
Innovative water systems which double up as merry-go-rounds for children make the chore of
collecting water quick, enjoyable and easy, allowing young people to use their time more
productively. While spinning on the merry-go-round, the children activate a pump capable of
lifting 1,400 litres an hour for storage in nearby tanks. The sides of the tanks carry health
and educational messages plus advertising, which pays for the pump maintenance. Play Pumps
International plans to instal the systems across 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, so
providing clean drinking water for up to 10 million people. Contact: Play Pumps International
UK c/o The One Foundation, 5th floor, 53 Parker Street, London WC2B 5PT or ring 020 7070 2484.
Friday 23rd October
The BIXI (an abbreviation of Bike and Taxi) is a small electric runabout developed in Montreal as a user-friendly, affordable alternative to the car. 3,000 Bixis are located at 300 stations around the city and, for a daily, monthly or annual subscription, can be borrowed from one station and returned to any other – with no time limited, provided the payment covers the period needed for the journey. Each Bixi contains a GPS chip which brings the vehicle to a halt if it is stolen and not returned. Ottawa has taken up the idea and London and New York are considering it as a model for their own self-serve systems. Website: www.bixi.com/home
Saturday 24th October
Today’s International Day of Climate Action is co-ordinated by 350.org which hopes to unite the media and political leaders behind the goal of stabilising CO2 concentrations at 350 parts per million. They are now 390 ppm and rising. Groups around the world have set up events to highlight the number 350. Schoolchildren in Bangladesh are planting 350 trees, Buddhist monks are forming a huge 350 against a backdrop of the Himalayas etc. Other events include cycling rallies, trash clean-ups and art exhibitions. For more ideas visit: www.350.org
Sunday 25th October
Lord God, our Creator, open our eyes that we may see your fatherly presence in the world around us. Teach us to be anxious for nothing and, when we have done all that you have given us to do, may we leave the issue to your loving wisdom.
Monday 26th October
Crop waste is often overlooked as a valuable source of fuel. On a visit to Rwanda, Nottingham University graduate Joel Chaney noticed how much of the local banana crop was left to rot. On his return to the UK he developed a process to turn banana skins, leaves and stems into useable fuel. First they are mashed into a pulp using a hand-operated meat mincer. Next, sawdust is added to create a mouldeable material. The pulp is then compressed into briquettes which are baked in an oven at 1050 C. The result is an ideal form of cooking fuel. “Women can spend 4 or 5 hours a day collecting firewood” says Joel. “Using waste like this is key to sustainable development.” The banana experiment is one of many studies at Nottingham’s Department of Mechanical, Materials & Manufacturing Engineering exploring alternative ways to make fuel. Website: www.engineering.nottingham.ac.uk
Tuesday 27th October
A think tank, the New Local Government Network, argues that the shortage of allotments could be met by the Government offering tax incentives to landowners to allow allotments to be established on their unused plots. Local councils should also turn over publicly-owned brownfield sites for allotments. “It is well documented that allotments help to keep people fit, encourage healthy eating, reduce carbon footprints and save money on food bills, so it’s a tragedy that more than 100,000 people are waiting to be provided with a plot of land.”
Wednesday 28th October
At the centre of Transition Town philosophy lies the idea of community self-reliance. “Local Food – how to make it happen in your community” is a new book by Tamzin Pinkerton and Rob Hopkins which taps into the huge demand for locally grown food. It explores a range of initiatives for rebuilding a diverse, resilient, local food network, including community gardens, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture and school projects. Drawing on the experience of Transition initiatives and other community projects around the world, it demonstrates the power of collaborative working.
Thursday 29th October
Several Transition initiatives have explored the idea of local currencies with the object of keeping local wealth in local hands. “Local Money – how to make it happen in your community” is a new book which reviews different models of alternative means of exchange, ranging from Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS) and TimeBanks, which work within communities, to paper currencies such as Berkshares, German regional currencies and Ithaca ‘hours’ which circulate between local businesses as an alternative to their losing trade to the national chain retailers. How can local banks help us move our cities, communities and houses to a more sustainable footing? The book reveals how we can promote the development of local production of necessities such as food and energy.
Friday 30th October
A new report from the London School of Economics claims that every £4 spent on family planning over the next 40 years would result in a cut in CO2 emissions of more than one tonne. Achieving the same result with low-carbon technologies would cost at least £19. The report “Fewer Emitters, Lower Emissions, Less Cost” concludes that, as a method of reducing CO2 emissions, Family planning is more effective than leading low-carbon technologies. While not advocating birth control, it points to UN figures suggesting that 40% of pregnancies across the world are unplanned.
Saturday 31st October
Roger Martin, chair of Optimum Population Trust, says that this report highlights the need to include population in the broader climate change debate. “Stabilising population levels has always been essential ecologically: this study shows it’s economically sensible too. The population issue must now be added into the negotiations for the Copenhagen climate change summit. This part of the solution is so easy, and so cheap, and would bring so many other social and economic benefits, from health and education to the empowerment of women. It would also ease the other environmental problems we face – the rapid shrinkage of soil, fresh water, forests, fisheries, wildlife and oil reserves plus the looming food crisis.”