“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be reveaIed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself would be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8.18-21)
“The touch of Christ is on creation and his purpose is moulded into it. If you could split open creation, you would find imprinted into it like a watermark ‘Made by Him and for Him'. If it doesn't work for Him, it works towards its own ruin.” (Selwyn Hughes)
“Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up his bright designs
And works his sovereign will.” (William Cowper)
Friday 1 st October
A report from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency finds that global CO2 emissions in 2009 remained constant despite the economic crisis. Emissions from burning fossil fuels decreased by 7% in industrialised countries but increased by 6% in India and 9% in China despite a doubling of wind and solar energy in China . Yet CO2 emissions per person were 1.4 tonnes in India , 6 tonnes in China , but 10 tonnes in the Netherlands and a massive 17 tonnes in the USA .
Saturday 2 nd October
A large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions come from methane, mostly from cattle, and nitrous oxide from fertilisers. Improved measuring methods used by the Netherlands Energy Research Centre find that 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from methane and 9% from nitrous oxide. This throws the spotlight on agricultural activities which produce these emissions and demands urgent research into the changes needed to reduce the impact.
Sunday 3 rd October
Protect us, O Lord, from thoughts without action,
Guide us, O Lord, from words without feelings,
Defend us, O Lord, from ideas without results,
And surround us with your presence.
Monday 4 th October
Methane emissions are 23 times more effective at heating up the planet than carbon dioxide. Every cow in Britain daily contributes more to climate change than the average Land Rover Freelander. Now Professor Alexander Hristov of Penn State University , after 6 years screening hundreds of plants
for an antidote, finds that oregano in the diet of cattle can cut their emissions of wind by 50% while, at the same time, increasing their milk yield by nearly 3 lbs. a day. “Since methane production is an energy loss for the animal, this isn't surprising. The cows can use that energy for other purposes, such as making milk.”
Tuesday 5 th October
A report from the Government's Committee on Climate Change concludes that climate change is now inevitable and we must prepare for more frequent floods and droughts. Yet half the houses built since 1945 have been built on land prone to inundation. The Association of British Insurers suggests that all new houses in the Thames Gateway should be built with their living areas on the 1 st floor. The report finds that only 7% of local authorities have plans to cope with climate change, and none have begun to implement them. While 87% of top businesses believed they were exposed to risks from global warming, few had made preparations to meet the threat. Some water companies are taking measures to conserve supplies and some councils are considering flood risks in their planning decisions, but most have hardly begun to consider precautionary measures.
Wednesday 6 th October
Parts of South-East England have less water available per head than Egypt or Morocco . Yet another 1.5 million homes are planned for this overcrowded region in the next 15 years. Only 30% of households in England have water meters although they are common in most of Europe and are proved to result in a 10-15% reduction in water consumption. The average person uses 150 litres (30 gallons) a day. This must fall to 130 litres. “People see water as an infinite resource. We have to get used to the idea, particularly in the south of England , of water being much more scarce.”
Thursday 7 th October
Thames Water has announced plans for a massive new sewer in order to cut the 39 million tonnes of sewage flowing into the Thames each year.
The current overflow points can discharge sewage into the river after just 2 mm. of rainfall. The new tunnel will run to a depth of up to 75 metres from west London to Beckton Sewage Works in Newham. Public consultation opened on September 13 th . See www.thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk
Friday 8 th October
Next March Exercise Watermark will bring together emergency planners, local and government authorities and members of the public who have experienced flooding in a 4-day exercise to test and challenge emergency capabilities. Fourteen Local Resilience Forums from every part of England and Wales will bring together lessons learnt from recent floods and test emergency responses. http://www.exercisewatermark.co.uk/
Saturday 9 th October
Tomorrow is the climax of the 10:10:10 campaign with thousands of carbon-cutting activities taking place around the world – putting up solar panels, insulating homes, erecting windmills, planting trees, painting bike paths and launching local gardens and allotments. “These ordinary actions, combined with a series of bold, iconic stunts, will send a powerful message to world leaders that people and organisations everywhere are ready to tackle climate change.” For planning ideas and information, go to: http://www.1010global.org/101010
Sunday 10 th 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 all creation and our responsibility as your stewards.
Monday 11 th October
After Deepwater Horizon the USA imposed a moratorium on deep drilling for oil. The Interior Secretary said: “A pause on deep sea drilling is essential to protect communities, coasts and wildlife from the risks that deepwater drilling currently pose. I base my decision on evidence that grows every day of the industry's inability to contain a catastrophic blowout, respond to an oil spill and operate safely.” BP plans to drill its deepest UK well to date off the west coast of Scotland . In response, Greenpeace has asked the Government to stop the UK licensing process and to consult on a full environmental assessment on the implications of Deepwater Horizon. “It is our view that for the Government to carry on licensing new offshore drilling without a new environmental assessment is in breach of European and UK environmental law, and is irrational.” An earlier environmental assessment concluded that “there is currently no capacity for large scale containment and recovery in the UK Continental Shelf.”
Tuesday 12 th October
The Yasuni National Park in Ecuador contains an estimated 846 million barrels of oil. Ecuador 's government has pledged to leave it in the ground if $3.6 billion (half the market value of the oil) is donated to a trust fund administered by the UNDP for investment in renewable energy infrastructure in Ecuador . Germany is expected to contribute Î 50 million while political support has been received from Belgium , Italy , Spain and the EU. Holders of Yasuni Guarantee Certificates will be entitled to their money back if the moratorium on drilling is ever broken. Citizens everywhere, as well as NGOs, can buy certificates. The scheme is backed by OPEC. At least $100 million must be received by the end of December if the scheme is to go ahead.
Wednesday 13 th October
Costa Rica , Ethiopia and Samoa have joined the Maldives in pledging to reach carbon neutrality within 15 years, while two other island states have pledged to cut their emissions by 40% and 25% respectively by 2020. Mohammed Nasheed, President of the Maldives , praised their leadership and said: “When those with the least start doing the most, it shows that everyone's ambitions can be raised.”
Thursday 14 th October
A new Youth Advisory Panel on Climate Change has been set up to work with the Government on ensuring that young people's views are incorporated into new policy and legislation. The panel consists of 15 members representing various youth organisations and is contributing to the Government's 2050 Energy Pathways programme. Charles Hendry, the DECC minister, said: “Their views on climate change policy have been invaluable. They are showing us how to reach out and inspire the many young people who are concerned about climate change and want to play an active role in reducing the UK 's carbon emissions.”
Friday 15 th October
Paul Stamets of Battelle Laboratories in the USA claims to have a viable solution to the clean-up of oil and hydrocarbons. The humble Oyster Mushroom spreads outwards several inches a day to create a vast mass of underground cells called mycelia. Soil contaminated with oil was inoculated with the fungal sperm. Within four weeks it was sprouting mushrooms while 99% of the hydrocarbons had been destroyed, with no trace of them found in the mushrooms. Then, as the mushrooms rotted, flies arrived. The flies laid eggs, which hatched into larvae, which attracted birds. Soon the site was teeming with wildlife.
Saturday 16 th October
“Zero Carbon Britain” is the title of today's Bristol Schumacher Conference taking place from 10 am at the Council House, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR. The main speakers are Peter Harper, Head of Research at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Juliet Davenport, Chief Executive of Good Energy, and Jacqueline McGlade, Director of the European Environment Agency. Workshops will be led by Paul Allen (CAT), Professor Peter Reason ( Bath University ), Jean Boulton (Sustain) and others. For more information and online booking, go to: http://schumacher.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0117 903 1081.
Also today, the Richard Sambrook Memorial Lecture takes place at 7 pm at Christ Church , Copse Hill, West Wimbledon SW20 when Professor Michael Northcott will speak on “Climate Change and Global Justice”. For a free place, email: email@example.com mentioning ‘Northcott' in the subject line.
Sunday 17 th October
Creator God, we thank you for the mystery and marvel of your universe, and for our place in it, and for those who have created beauty, fruitfulness and order out of the world you have made. We pray for this generation now living, that we may hand on to our successors a world the better for our having lived in it. Amen.
Monday 18 th October
Cheap flights overseas are, for many of us, a guilty pleasure. Aircraft produce only 4% of Europe 's CO2 emissions, but aircraft emissions in the air have up to 2.7 times more impact than those on the ground. Tom and Lorraine McMillan travelled back from Singapore across 14 countries, taking 85 days and using 22 buses, 14 trains, 11 boats and numerous tuk tuks. Inspired by their example, many have looked at their website ( www.flightlesstravel.com ) to find the best way to reach distant locations, how long the journey will take and how much it will cost. Tom believes that a top-down approach is needed from governments. “The simple fact is that it's never been cheaper to fly, so until aviation is taxed more heavily, it's always going to be difficult to wean people off their flying addiction.” All the same, “One day we will get a critical mass, where people begin to move away from air travel on a large scale.”
Tuesday 19 th October
Riversimple, an innovative new company based in Ludlow , has designed a lightweight 2-seater hydrogen fuel cell car with a top speed of 50 mph and a range of 240 miles. The Network Electric Vehicle has no gearbox or driveshafts, making it lighter than its competitors. Thirty prototypes are to be trialled in Leicester next spring. A key feature is that the cars will be leased instead of sold. “We sell mobility as a service rather than a car as a product” says managing partner Hugo Spowers. “Car makers make money from selling vehicles and parts, but this only rewards obsolescence and high running costs. Leasing them instead, inclusive of fuel, rewards longevity and low running costs. It also makes investment in the fuel cell and carbon fibre frame economically viable.” Website: www.riversimple.com
Wednesday 20 th October
The Government is to invest £24 million to fund the development of electric cars and their infrastructure, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions from car travel and providing a boost to the electric car industry. FoE comments: “Government support is welcome – however, these vehicles won't do enough on their own to cut transport's contribution to climate change. . . More than half of all car journeys are under 5 miles – the Government must support councils to introduce local schemes to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport for these short journeys.”
Thursday 21 st October
Birmingham City Council, Europe 's largest, has announced a Green Energy Action Plan to generate and sell its own energy through the new Feed-In Tariffs. “We currently spend more than £25 million a year on energy. The freedom to reduce this now exists and we should be maximising feed-in tariffs to their full potential.” Three Combined Heat & Power schemes already save around 12,800 tonnes of CO2 a year. Surely this is an example that every council should follow.
Friday 22 nd October
A new government-funded £1 million Deep Geothermal Energy fund will reinforce the search for suitable sites for generating electricity from hot rocks deep in the ground. Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, believes that geothermal power from the South West could provide up to 2% of the UK 's electricity needs. In a separate move, the government is studying a CBI proposal for District Heating schemes to carry surplus heat from industrial sites to nearby homes.
Saturday 23 rd October
Russia has launched the hull of a ship designed as a floating nuclear reactor to provide electricity to inaccessible places where there is no grid. The head of Russia 's nuclear agency, Rosatom, said: “The Middle East , where population growth is particularly rapid, has a structural shortage of water. Floating reactors with a desalination capability could be the answer to the problem.” Greenpeace commented: “There is an inherent risk with any nuclear plant, but you multiply the risk significantly by towing the plants to the Middle East or to remote areas. Then there's the intractable problem of nuclear waste in an age of heightened security. This is incredibly rash.”
Sunday 24 th October
Father God, please teach us how to live more simply, to be more sensitive towards your creation and to care for all the life that you have created. Turn us from our arrogant ways. Redeem us, redeem your world, heal its wounds and dry its tears, for the sake of your dear Son, who died for us and for the whole of your world.
Monday 25 th October
Sainsbury's is the first major supermarket to be prosecuted for over-packaging its products. Following a complaint from a customer, Lincolnshire County Council claims that a beef roasting joint from its “Taste the Difference” range breached 2003 regulations prohibiting excess packaging. If found guilty, the supermarket faces a fine of between £500 and £3,000. FoE comments: “Excess packaging creates enormous mountains of waste and squanders valuable resources. The bill for dealing with it is picked up by cash-strapped consumers and council waste services. Supermarkets must take their environmental responsibilities seriously and ensure that they minimise the amount of packaging on their products.”
Tuesday 26 th October
Scotland and Wales have announced a target of recycling 70% of council-collected waste by 2025, yet England – where the vast majority of waste is created – only aims to recycle 50%, as required by EU law. An FoE report called “More Jobs, Less Waste” shows that at least 51,400 new jobs could be created if we recycled 70% of council waste. A further 18,800 jobs could be created if we recycled commercial and industrial waste at the same rate. “Recycling is a win-win for the environment and the economy – saving precious resources and creating many more jobs than expensive and outdated incinerators. If the Government is serious about creating a green, jobs-rich economy, then it must unlock the wealth in our waste and help consumers to recycle as much as possible.”
Wednesday 27 th October
Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, in a speech to Interpol, has called for co-operation and exchange of intelligence across national borders to stop the dumping of toxic waste (mainly electrical goods) in developing countries. “Electrical waste contains toxins including mercury, arsenic and lead, and the health of children in the developing world is put at risk when this waste is illegally exported and then burnt to recover the valuable metals inside.” According to the EA, its investigations have shown that organised crime networks involved in the illegal export of waste are often involved in other criminal activity including theft, people trafficking, fraud, drugs, smuggling, conspiracy, firearms and money laundering.
Thursday 28 th October
New CPRE research has demonstrated that a bottle deposit scheme could generate revenue to support most of its running costs. It suggests that a deposit of 15p. for containers smaller than 15 litres and 30p. for those larger would generate return rates of around 90%. Such a scheme would help the Government to achieve a Zero Waste economy by increasing recycling rates and reducing litter, as promised in the coalition's “Programme for Government.”
Friday 29 th October
Farmers often find it hard to identify practices which could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. A new free advice centre in Shropshire called Farm Carbon (FC) is helping them to manage their carbon footprint. Currently, agriculture is responsible for 25% of carbon emissions, 65% of methane emissions and 90% of nitrous oxide. Farmers have had to change from traditional practices according to the demands of politics and financial pressures. FC, besides identifying where emission cuts can be made, also helps farmers to become more resilient to changes in oil prices and the effects of peak oil, and possibly give them an economic edge in the market. FC aims to survey 160 farms in Shropshire using the CALM system (Carbon Accounting for Land Managers). This measures emissions from energy and fuel use, livestock, cultivations and land-use changes. These are balanced against carbon stored in soil and trees. “We do all the data inputting on behalf of farmers and then produce a report with practical information, details of local suppliers and contacts for renewable energy.” FC also finds funding for emission reduction measures and low-cost or no-cost loans. Website: www.farm-carbon.org
Saturday 30 th October
Today at Friends' Meeting House, Euston Road, London, a Climate Forum meets from 1 to 7 pm, followed by a Climate Concert till 9 pm on the theme “Zero Carbon by 2030”, with a radical programme of climate action. Speakers include John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Maria Souviron, the Bolivian Ambassador, Alexis Rowell of Cutting the Carbon, Camden, Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation, George Marshall, founder of COIN, Vicki Hird of FoE, John Stewart of Airport Watch and Stephen Murphy from the Zero Carbon Britain team.
Sunday 31 st October
God our Creator, whose good earth is entrusted to our care and delight, we pray:
For all who are in captivity to debt,
Whose lives are cramped by fear
From which there is no turning
Except through abundant harvest;
For all who depend on the earth
For their daily food and fuel,
Whose forests are destroyed
For the profit of a few;
For all who labour in poverty,
Who are oppressed by unjust laws,
Who are banned from speaking the truth,
Who long for a harvest of justice;
For all who are in captivity
To greed and waste and boredom,
Whose harvest joy is choked
With things they do not need.
Turn us again from our captivity and restore our vision, that our mouths may again be filled with laughter and our tongues with singing.
Picture on front cover: Golden Rod by Poppy Pickard