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 or phone 0131 240-2274.
Bookmark this on Delicious


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 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).

Bookmark this on Delicious


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.

Bookmark this on Delicious


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.

Bookmark this on Delicious


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.

Bookmark this on Delicious


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!

Bookmark this on Delicious