Friday, 27 August 2010

Sanctuary First Prayers for Creation: check it out!

I stumbled upon this website on prayers written collaboratively by Christians. the prayers are modern, written by ordinary people. The month of August is dedicated to Creation and the Environment. This is what they say about themselves.

Sancturay First is written for and by Christians who want to be passionate about daily worship but we know how easy it is to lose heart and fall by the wayside. We at Sanctuary First just want to be honest as we grow in our faith. We don’t want to be ‘over the top Christians’ who fall off the edge, instead we want to recognise that we won’t always get it right but if we journey as a group of companions with Jesus at the centre he will save us from ourselves.Some of the prayers are really thoughtprovoking. Have a look.

'Wild capitalism' destroying habitats in Bulgaria | EurActiv

The destruction of protected natural habitats is happening practically unchecked in Bulgaria, according to the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. They have called on the EU to examine cases where specially protected habitats are being decimated for the construction of tourist resourts. In a way this is like a double whamy. Tourists fly to Bulgaria and then spend their holiday time in a resort constructed over what should have been a protected area.
'Wild capitalism' destroying habitats in Bulgaria EurActiv
Should our faith come into play when chosing where to spend our holidays?

Monday, 16 August 2010

CreationTime 2010

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI)  have just put on line an excellent set of resources for worship in ‘Creationtime’ 2010 (1 September – 4 October).  the resources are divided in the following sections:

  • Sermon notes based on the Lectionary readings for the 5 Sundays
  • A keynote sermon on the theme, and other sermons
  • Prayers of intercession
  • Resources for children's groups and schools
  • Group study ideas
  • Biodiversity FAQs - for churches
  • A range of other liturgical material

 It would be really good if  all eco-congregations to use these materials. They are, of course  of interest  to all congregations. Please email us or write us a comment if you have used them.

Hunterston Coal Fired Power Station

The Scottish Government is currently considering a planning application from Ayrshire Energy to build a new coal fired power station at Hunterston in North Ayrshire. The application refers to the installation of ‘carbon capture and storage’ at the plant but this technology is untried and untested at this scale and is very unlikely to be fitted at the outset. If it were to go ahead the plant would create carbon dioxide emissions at such a scale as to wipe out any savings we are asking congregations to make, probably many times over. This would make a mockery of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Act and the challenge we are setting to congregations. Congregations near the development, such as that at Fairlie are deeply concerned about the proposal.

There is wide opposition to this development; Ian Galloway, the Convener of the Church and Society Council, expressed his opposition to this development You can find out more about the application at the Scottish Government website. Information about local objections to this development can be read here. A number of other groups in membership of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland such as Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth Scotland, RSPB and WWF are strongly opposed to the proposal and have details on their websites, including on line actions. You can find out more information about opposition to the coal station by following the following links Christian Aid, Action for Scotland , RSPB, and the WWF.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Importance of Biodiversity

We are very fortunate in being able to publish on the blog, this small article by Elizabeth Hay, from Cults Parish Church. Cults has recently won an Eco-Congregations award.

“From so simple a beginning endless forms so beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved.”

These are the words of Charles Darwin whose life was celebrated last year. 2010 celebrates these endless forms in the International Year of Bio-Diversity. What is Bio-diversity? It is the whole variety of life on Earth, not just butterflies, birds and plants but also micro-organisms like bacteria and plankton, as well as species we call “pests”. They are all essential pieces of the web of life. Bio-diversity is a basic part of the Earth’s life support systems. We depend on it for fertile soil, fresh water and clean air.

Textile fibres, dyes, building materials, adhesives, oil and rubber all come from biological sources. It is not something you can ignore. It affects all areas of our lives. Fifty percent of pharmaceutical drugs come from plants. Plankton provides almost half the oxygen we breathe. Trees help lock up carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. This reduces the harmful effects of climate change.

Since the early 20th Century almost half the UK’s ancient woodlands have been cut down. When you consider that one oak tree can support up to five hundred species, this leads to a huge loss of bio-diversity. The loss of this variety of life endangers not just our physical bodies but also our spiritual wellbeing. In her book “Silent Spring” Rachel Carson wrote, “There is something infinitely healing in the refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter.” Why are we losing Bio-diversity at such a rate? There are three major reasons. Human population has doubled in the last fifty years and is projected to rise to nine billion by 2050. This puts huge pressure on the earth’s limited resources. Pollution of land, air, oceans and rivers continues to be a problem in almost every country of the world. Thirdly, communities of plants and animals are being destroyed by changes in the way we use land.

At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero our government signed up to halting the loss of Bio-diversity in this country by 2010. This has not happened. In the face of apparently insurmountable problems, what can we as individuals and in communities of faith do? We can, as is often quoted, live simply that others may simply live. What better example of this do we have than Christ himself?

We can look after areas locally such as the familiar places where we walk, cycle, run and exercise our pets. We can learn more about how the natural world works and discover its astonishing beauty and complexity. We can all reduce waste so that valuable places for wildlife are not lost to landfill. We can grow native trees and plants, erect nest boxes for birds and create homes for insects. Be encouraged by Christ’s Parable of the Mustard see where very small beginnings can lead to much greater things. There is much in the Christian and other faiths which honour, respect and care for the sacred mystery of the natural world. All living things are part of the Web of Life and undeniably and inescapably we are part of it. What matters more than the biodiversity of the world upon which we all depend?

Monday, 9 August 2010

Ban on illegal timber within EU

The European Parliament approved in early July of this year to close EU markets to illegal timbers. The EU has been interested in this issue since 2003, but the approach then centred on voluntary partnership agreements between the EU and timber producing countries. however, these voluntary agreements proved not very succesful and this year the EU has issued legislation against illigally harvested timber that covers from logging to products delivered to the final consumer within the EU. More information on this is available here.