Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Wave was a Great Sucess

Thank you all very much for your support of The Wave!

The ecumenical service beforehand went well, and we are very grateful to Bill Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Kathy Galloway, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, for their participation in the service, as well as all of you who came along to it! The march through Glasgow was attended by appr. 7000 people – many thanks to all who were there!

More information can be found at the BBC news website. Together with other marches all around Europe, this should have given a good sign to those assembling in Copenhagen. Reports from the summit can be followed at the Oddysey network website.

Photographs were taken by Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and Irene Crosthwaite

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Scotland's Action on Climate Change

The Rt. Hon Alex Salmond, MP, MSP will be attending the launch of the Scotland's Action on Climate Change 2020 Delivery Group at the Falkirk Wheel today 11.30- 1.30pm.

Photograph taken by Salu Gordillo.

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Monday, 7 December 2009

Go Slow Life-style for Advent

Ready Steady Slow this Advent at with go-slow lifestyle challenges and stories for all along with daily videos and podcasts from around the Church of England - and beyond. The online calendar opens on Advent Sunday November 29 with a special video message going live on Thursday November 26. The website has daily Bible passages and prayers.

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Keep Updated on the UN Copenhagen Summit.

Daily film videos from the UN climate summit starting on Copenhagen next week are part of a December plan of action to make sure that the voice of faith is heard at this “make or break” time in our history. These will be on the new ON website.
Operation Noah, the ecumenical community which campaigns exclusively on climate change, is working with a US web-based organisation, Odyssey Networks, to bring you the voices of religious wisdom as monks, nuns, rabbis and holy men and women converge on the Danish capital. The Odyssey networks website will be posting video blogs of faith leaders as they attend the UN Summit.

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Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Adrian Shaw has sent us this report from the ARC UNEP meeting.

Report from the ARC-UNEP Meeting in Windsor, 2 November 2009

200 delegates from faith groups around the world have gathered in Windsor to celebrate the contribution that faiths can make to caring for the earth.

The opening session on Monday afternoon asked ‘why do we care? and highlighted reports from the Amazon, Africa and Nepal about the damage that climate change and deforestation is doing to native peoples. Archbishop Mokiwa Valentine told us how drought in Tanzania is creating poverty, disease, and death; Father Michael Holman SJ spoke about deforestation in the Amazon rainforest destroying the habitat of indigenous communities; and from Dekila Chungyalpa of WWF Nepal, details of how melting ice caps in the Himalayas are reducing the flow in the great rivers of Asia such as the Ganges, putting at risk the water supply of tens of millions of people.

Alongside the stories of destruction there were stories of hope; from speakers such as Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who outlined the creation of the new Muslim Association for Climate Change Action; and from Nigel Savage about the work of Hazom, a Jewish Environment NGO. There were many stories from the USA about growing activism in American churches on climate change, challenging our assumptions around America’s lack of concern about climate change.

The contributors reiterated the breadth of action taking place by faith groups worldwide worldwide and the common concern about climate change.


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Monday, 2 November 2009

Church of Scotland Takes Climate Change to World Stage

NEXT week the Church of Scotland takes its climate change message to the world stage, as officials prepare to address Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Church representatives are using Tuesday’s Alliance of Religions and Conservation event at Windsor Castle as an opportunity to voice the Kirk’s concerns to a global audience. Right Reverend Bill Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has long maintained that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to people everywhere, particularly to the poor of the earth.
Mr Hewitt is sending a statement of support, as church figures urge world leaders to accept the need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases urgently to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change, ahead of a December’s global summit in Copenhagen.

In May, the Church issued an edict calling on all of its Presbyteries to produce a plan setting out how they will measure energy consumption in their church buildings, ascertain their carbon footprint and achieve a year-on-year reduction of five per cent of that figure. It has also decided to employ a climate change officer for three years, beginning on Tuesday, as it seeks to become a catalyst for positive environmental action in communities across Scotland. Kirk officials are also encouraging congregations to join the ecumenical Eco-Congregation Scotland scheme, with more than 200 churches already signed up. Members pledge to take better stewardship of God’s creation and to stimulate grassroots activity in their area.
More radical changes include parts of a refurbished church in Perthshire being made out of old Wellington boots, yoghurt pots and mobile phones, and a minister in Papa Westray powering his car by recycled chip fat oil from his local take-away outlet.

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International Day of Climate Action for Faith Groups

Bell ringing for Climate Change

When: Sunday 13th December 2009
Who: Churches across the world, led by alliances of Christian development agencies and churches (World Council of Churches, CIDSE, Caritas Internationalis, APRODEV) invite parishes and dioceses across the country to mobilize churches and their constituents to ring their church bells on Sunday 13th December to call for urgent action against climate change. With world leaders meeting in Copenhagen from 7th-19th December to decide on a global response to climate change, we invite all faith communities to come together to send one message of justice in solidarity with the poor, who are already facing the worst effects of climate change.

What: Across the world, faith communities will ring their church bells to represent a unified message from people of faith, calling for action on climate change. Churches across the world will ring their bells to remind us of the obligation we have to save God´s great creation. The bells ring to wake up the politicians that are negotiating a new climate deal. The bells are calling for global climate justice. People of faith all over the world will be calling on politicians to take responsibility and create a climate for justice. Urgent reductions in our emissions are needed if we are to avert disastrous effects on people and the planet. Why not get your parish congregation involved, invite your local newspaper along, invite your local MP or councillors, and take photos or videos of the day?

Where and when: Sunday 13 December marks the height of the climate summit in Copenhagen. The church bells will ring out through all time zones, starting at 3pm local time in Fiji in the South Pacific, where the day begins, and continuing on until 15:00 CET in Copenhagen and across Central Europe. Why not find a time on Sunday that suits your parish congregation? It might be easiest to arrange for the event to happen straight after your Sunday service- make sure you give people plenty of notice in the church bulletin, asking them to stay on afterwards or to come back for the event. You can also extend the invitation out around your local community, and let people know why their local church bells are ringing out!

Why: On the occasion of the UN Summit in Copenhagen, churches, development agencies and their supporters want to signal to politicians that they must reach an equitable and just climate change deal in December 2009. The National Council of Churches in Denmark, where the meeting will be hosted, describes the day of action as “marking our hope in the Lord and our resolve to act for God’s Creation”.

Be part of it! And don’t forget to let us know about your event!
Email one of the coordinators:
Church of Scotland: ashaw@cofscotland.org.uk
Justice and Peace: carol.clarke@justiceandpeacescotland.org.uk
SCIAF: campaigns@sciaf.org.uk
Christian Aid: DGreen@christian-aid.org
And check www.bellringing350.org to keep updated on the international events.


Photograph by Axel Burhmann.

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Friday, 30 October 2009

The Windsor Celebration of the Faith Commitments for a Living Planet

The Church of Scotland has been invited to The Windsor Celebration of the Faith Commitments for a Living Planet.

Adrian Shaw will be taking the Church of Scotland's Commitment on behalf of the Church of Scotland by the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Right Reverend William Hewitt.

The Church of Scotland welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Windsor Celebration of Faith Commitments for a Living Planet.

We bring to the celebration the commitment made at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2009 to respond to the challenge of climate change.

“The Church of Scotland is concerned that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to people everywhere, particularly to the poor of the earth; and that climate change represents a failure in our stewardship of God’s creation. We accept the need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases urgently to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change; and to promote a more equitable and sustainable use of energy.”

To respond to this challenge the Church of Scotland is:

• Developing the project Responding to Climate Change by providing project funding for the project for three years from November 2009.

• Instructing Presbyteries to produce a plan setting out how they will measure energy consumption in their church buildings, ascertain their carbon footprint and achieve a year-on-year reduction of 5% of their carbon footprint

• Encouraging congregations to become eco-congregations and supporting the incorporation of Eco-Congregation Scotland as a charitable company.

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Monday, 26 October 2009

A new map of the world: mapping climate change

A new map of the world has been unveiled at the Science Museum in London. The map is based on a projected scenario of a 4 degree rise in world temperatures. The projection shown on the map was generated using Met Office Hadley Centre's HadCM3 model, and shows that an average rise of 4 ºC (7 ºF) will not be spread uniformly across the globe.

The map is interactive and you can inquire about specific changes in water avauilability, forest files, rise in sea levels etc. It is sobering and very thought provoking to see what might happen to our planet if the Copenhagen Summit does not reach agreement. The Guardian has also published an article on the map. Please to look at at the map. Explore the possibilities of what might happen, pray, and then, if you feel so inclined, make your voice heard. The UK government's website Act on Copenhagen has also very comprehensive links to the nature of the political debate on this issue, as well as scientific facts.

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Monday, 12 October 2009

Christianity and Climate Change Lecture

Professor Michael Northcott will give a public lecture on Christianity and climate change at New College on The Mound tomorrow the 13th of October at 5:15pm. His talk marks his recent appointment to a personal chair as professor of ethics. One of his books, "The moral climate: the Ethics of Climate Change" has been reviewed extensively. Marck Dowd on his essay on Climate and Creation published on the Operation Noah's website also makes explicit reference to Prof. Northcott's book.

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World Bank's new Climate Change Policy Document

The World Bank is inviting consultations to help shape the development of a new environmental strategy for the next 10 years. Michele de Nevers, senior manager of the World Bank's environmental department has visted the EU in Brussels seeking for synegy between both organisations to incorporate climate change into the long term economic planning of developing countries. The World Bank Group (WBG)has embarked on the preparation of a new environmental strategy to be approved by December 2010. The WBG have opened up a consultation process and are inviting interested organisations and people to contribute with comments to their planning documents. If you are interested in contributing with comments to this process please follow this link to read the strategy document concept note.

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Monday, 5 October 2009

Great Film about our Planet

Adrian Shaw's latest film recommendation. It is truly beautiful and inspiring. Great for any Eco-congregation to watch. An answer to "the Age of Stupid".

Friday, 25 September 2009

Climate change & the Communion of Saints

Launch of Module 13: Climate Change, managing your carbon footprint

On September 29th at St Andrew's and St George's Church in Edinburgh 1,30 pm Eco-Congregation Scotland will be formally launching its Module 13, Climate Change, Managing your Carbon Footprint. the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, Scottish Government, Mr. Stewart Stevenson, and Mr. John Ferguson, from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency will be attending as well as representatives from eco-congregations accross Scotland. If you want to attend, please contact Aniko Schuetz by email at aschuetz@cofscotland.org.uk or phone 0131 240-2274.
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Thursday, 24 September 2009

Climate Change Day of Prayer

Churches of different denominations from all around the UK and Ireland are making arrangements to hold a day of prayer on climate change ahead of the crucial Copenhagen summit. While most are on October 4th, churches can selectany date before mid December for these prayers.

"I believe the Climate Change Day of Prayer - encouraging quiet reflection and passionate prayer - is probably the most important initiative Christians can be involved in during the lead up to the critical negoatiotions in Copenhagen"
says Dave Bookless, A Rocha UK Director.

All resources are now freely available for these times of prayer on the CTBI website. There is a press release from CTBI, tips on running the event, poster and sample newsletter article to use for local publicity, a welcome sheet for participants, a selection of reflections to either read out or play as audio tracks, and response forms and petition for people to sign as they leave.

Revd John Marsh, General Assembly Moderator of the United Reformed Church
adds his endorsement to that of other denominational leaders, saying:
"In these few weeks leading up to the Climate Conference in Copenhagen on 11th December, it is essential for Churches to be given, and to give, clear spiritual leadership. The well-being of creation is a spiritual issue for all humanity. Now is the time for Christians and Churches to pray their way into the Copenhagen Conference and into the hearts and souls of all those world leaders who will be gathered there. So, let us pray - on Sunday 4th October, and without ceasing."

The audio tracks also provide a useful resource for personal meditation and prayer.

Please consider if you can make arrangements to hold a time of prayer in your own town or city. For more information or to register an event please email dayofprayer@operationnoah.org at Operation Noah.

The Climate Change Day of Prayer is an initiative of the Environmental Issues Network of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Old & Abbey Church, Arbroath

We, in the Old and Abbey Church, have been conscious for some time of environmental issues and the consequences for our world if they are not addressed. Awareness without constructive action is a denial of our contribution to environmental destruction so the challenge is to face up to the issues and act. Global warming and Biodiversity are ours to deal with. We can not sit back and agree that there are problems but leave it to others to fix them. We have a Christian and a moral duty to act and must take a lead.

The effects of global warming are with us now. They are all too evident. We, in the Church of Scotland, have never had a better opportunity to talk openly about God’s creation and our responsibility to care for it or to unite with and work alongside other agencies and campaigners. What is important is the way in which we interact with others. We have an opportunity to be constructive and creative in what we do and how we do it. We need to promote change on a personal level but we also need to lobby local and national politicians, industry leaders etc. encouraging them to protect the needs of our global partners whose economy’s are less robust than ours.

Biodiversity must be part of our vocabulary as it shows our concern for all living things. In our efforts to make change happen we must have a balanced approach to maintain the fragile eco-structures that allow life, in all its forms, to survive and grow. We must also keep the dialogue positive and talk about change in a way that helps others believe that change is possible.

The Old & Abbey church has looked at the congregation, the wider community and the political arena and has in small ways tried to involve all three. We have held “Eco-Funky-Fun” days with the focus being on children and their families (games, treasure-hunts, story corners, African drumming workshops, art competitions etc.)

The congregation is encouraged to re-cycle and in conjuction with Angus Council we have a recycling centre. In addition, we have recently started a bottle-top recycling point in the church.

We also organise quarterly beach cleans, cycle to worship days and promote the use of environmentally-friendly products on church premises.
We have regular worship services, Sunday’s and mid-week, focussing on environmental themes. In 2008 we held a major three day event involving a high profile political forum chaired by Friends of the Earth, followed by a full day programme that included a wide range of advice and information displays (SCARF, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Angus Council, park rangers, organic food growing, composting and renewable energy, Christian Aid and Eco-congregation etc). The event was supported by an eco-village shopping experience, African music and a variety of Children’s activities. Food was organic where possible and cups and sandwich cartons were all biodegradable. On the spiritual side Sunday worship was led by the event organisers plus there was an opportunity to walk an Eco-labyrinth.

What the future hold is a mix of the above. However our main vision is to hold a major Eco-event that will be a truly community-focused event but an event that has at its heart the Christian message. What we do know is our commitment will not diminish. The situation is too urgent.

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Why transforming a desert into a forest might not be such a good idea.

Frank Raes, head of the climate change unit at the Joint Research Centre's (JRC) Institute for Environment and Sustainability sends a warning message to geo-engineering schemes. "People should not meddle with Earth's complex climate system by experimenting with futuristic geo-engineering options, but softer approaches have the potential to relieve the planet's climate woes".

Mr Raes propses a definition for geo-engineering which includes aforestation (planting trees) and explains the reasons why this practice might be a very good long term solution for the planet, but not particualtly good if the short term goal is to cool the climate. To read the entirety of his interview please follow this link.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Wave

On Saturday the 5th of December people from across Scotland will come to Glasgow to send a claer message about climate change to world leaders assembled at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen.

The Wave will be a fun, family-friendly march in Glasgow city centre, where a diverse range of people will come together to show their concern about climate change. Similar demonstrations will be taking place across the world at this time. In order to demonstrate that this issue is important to Scotland, we need as many people as possible to turn out on the streets of Glasgow on December 5th. The event is organised by Stop Climate Change Chaos Scotland, a coalition of 60 organisations campaigning on climate change.

Eco-Congregations in Scotland have a key role to play in The Wave. As well as coming to the event, you can spread the word to your networks and contacts to help ensure that as many people as possible congregate in Glasgow.

The time, start-point, transport details etc will be confirmed nearer the time. For more information see The Wave.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Are Artificial Trees the answer?

As the climate continues to get hotter due to increase of CO2 gas emissions, scientists and engineers are looking for technological solutions that might help "buy some time" before crucial rise towards 2 degrees C.

The Institution of Mechancal Engineeers is proposing a technological interim solution to "buy some time" before a global average rise in temperature above 2 degrees C. A number of options have been proposed to prevent the rise above 2 degrees C due to its potentially devastating consequences to our environment. One of the options has been to seek a reduction in the CO2 emissions per country. Another approach has been to redesign and rebuild critical assets, such as transport links, urban environment, and power generation. A third option involves using technology for the elimination of CO2 from the environment or the cooling of the planet by reflection solar radiation back into space. This approach has been labelled geo-engineering. In the words of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers,
Geo-engineering is not an encompassing solution to global warming; it is no 'silver bullet', but it could be another potential component in our approach to climate change that could provide the world with extra time to decarbonise the global economy.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers will be presenting its Future Climate UK Energy Plan to the UN Climate Change Conference. Potential geo-engineering options under its Cooling The Planet Programme are artifical trees, algae coated buildings and reflective buildings. Artificial trees are devices which would absorb CO2, store it temporarily until the CO2 could be harvested and buried underground. Similarly, algae could be used to coat our buildings and be harvested to be used as biofuel or animal feed. Bayless, a team of researchers at Ohio State university have researched this technology. The results of their research have been reported in Science Daily.

Technology might buy us some time and this is very helpful but it will not address some fundamental issues about our lifestyle and the way we use energy. Our relentless desire to consume has lead us to the current critical situation. Although technology might help, the fundamental issue is that of moderation in our consumption of goods, and a hightened spiritual awareness of the fabulous gift that God has entrusted to us in care... our world.

Photograph of artificial tree by JVi!

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Monday, 31 August 2009

Songs of Praise BBC TV/ Green Christians

Judith Allinson has pointed out that Songs of Priase on Sunday evening features a programme entitled Green Christians.

You can watch it for another 6 days in the Iplayer

It features
* the 12th C church at Sleaford's new solar panels on the roof - dedication service
* a good interview with Ruth Valerio of Arocha * Martin Palmer of Alliance of Religions and Conservation
* Mary Colwell (formerly of BBC Natural History Unit)

* Jessica Randell (from Bradford) and Joseph Carrick's Green Wedding
(again)- with a brief shot of Sam..

* The song "Beauty for Brokenness" by Graham Kendrick - With the ONLY ecological verse which makes it into a "green song"(verse 5 of course) missed out. Crazy. but typical - I've had my hopes raised and dashed before in several services.

This hymn is now in the extended version of Mission Praise.

Here is verse 5:

5. Rest for the ravaged earth
Oceans and streams
Plundered and poisoned
Our future, our dreams
Lord, end our madness
Carelessness, greed
Make us content with
The things that we need .

The whole song can be heards in a beautiful film in YouTube.

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Friday, 21 August 2009

Green Believers

On the 20th of August The Scotsman wrote an editorial on the Eco-Congregation Scotland Proposed Travel plan. Adrian Shaw, Climate Change Project Officer wishes to respond to some of the issues on the editorial. He has written this letter to the Scotsman.

"Your editorial (20 August) quite reasonably points out that travel to huge events such as football matches will have a far larger carbon footprint than the average Sunday congregation. Indeed, the carbon footprint of Tuesday's events at Parkhead and Hampden Park must have been enormous.
But we should practise what we preach and the Church of Scotland wants congregations to lead by example; to look first at their own carbon footprints and take action to reduce them.

So we hope congregations will think about the energy used in their churches, in their homes, in how they shop and in how they travel. And all those members of eco-congregations who travel to football matches (yes, we think it may just happen) can consider how they join the throng in the least carbon-intensive manner."


The picture of letter-writing was taken by A.drian.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Prayer Day endorsed by the Right Rev. William Hewitt

the Right Rev William Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has sent us this statement encourging congregations to join in a Prayer Day.

"Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face in the twenty first century. The Church of Scotland is responding to climate change by asking all presbyteries to monitor and reduce their carbon footprint and I am delighted to join churches elsewhere in Britain and Ireland to call upon all congregations to join in prayer on the 4th October.

Particularly we would pray that world leaders and governments everywhere are alive to God's will; that we understand our duty of care for creation; and put aside our selfish interests to help all people in all countries become good stewards of creation."

Please join us the 4th of October in prayer.

The Travel Plan Quick Reference Guide

Well, it has gone public... the Travel Plan for congregations has arrived.

One of the things that is worth thinking about when contemplating the reduction of the carbon footprint of your church is that it is not just your church buildings that carry an energy cost. it is also the way we as members of the congregation make choices about the way we travel. Yup it is about lifestyle.
The Travel Plan was the brain-child of Mathew Eastwood from VIPRE who with the support of the Energy Savings Trust examined the role that congregations play in the life of their communities and their potential impact in rallying grassroots support for a greener lifestyle.

The report stresses that places of worship are important to the community as a place of worship, but also as a meeting point or the "civic heart" of a community since it acts as a centre for a wide range of community-based acitivities.

However, as a meeting point, people have to travel to it and the way we travel can create congestion, and yes, you guessed it, carbon emissions. The Travel Plan Quick Guide for Faith Groups encourages people to think abot the way they travel to their place of work and encourages them to look for greener options.

The beauty of the travel plan is that each travel plan is tailor made to suit your particular community. How does it do it? By encouraging members of a congregation to observe the way people travel to church; by recording the transport facilities available to travel to church and by exploring ways where there is scope for change in travelling habits.

The plan recognises that is not possible for everyone to cycle or walk. The Travel Plan is based on the premise that there might be a possibility for changes and improvement in the way people use transport.

Here are two challenging questions
What would your congregation like to change or improve?
How will your congregation make those changes or improvements?

The Travel Plan identifies the answers to these questions and helps you implement some simple and inexpensive measures to help ensure your congregation's travel is as easy and as convenient as possible.

Incidentally, the Travel Plan has received a lot of media attention. Have a look at The Scotsman and Christian Today and The Herald.

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