Thursday, 23 December 2010

Eaarth: making a life in a tough new planet

Bill McKibben has written a really interesting book entitled EAARTH: MAking a Life in a Touch new Planet  addressing climate change issues. His main premise is that we have altered the climate to such an extent that the earth is no longer as it once was and therefore we should call it by a new name. he suggests EAARTH. This change of name is in recognition of the impact that humans have had on the planet. Although this idea is not new since it was first proposed by Paul Crutzen, who suggested that our current geological epoch should be labelled "anthropocene" to "emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology". 

McKibben's book is particularly interesting becuase he looks at the likely changes that might happen to the earth if we fail to stabilize concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million or below. He was instrumental in the development of the "" group which campaigns for the stabilisation of concetrations of carbon dioxide at 350 parts per million. Sadly, it is not possible anymore to do so since the current overall level is around 435 parts per million, but McKibben argues that if we "keep on as usual" the earth might reach significant rises in global temperature where for example, some areas of the world might become deserts, whilest others might be totally flooded. The redrawing of the map where people could live would cause major economic and social conflicts. The full review of mcKibben's book can be accessed at the New York Review of Books.

McKibbn's book has great ability to communicate the facts and although sometimes the approach is far too much directed to a US audience, it is very much worthwhile reading material if you are wondering why are we covered in snow, when there is supposed to be global warming.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Eco-congregation Scotland has a new member of staff

Gordon Hudson has been appointed as the first manager of Eco-Congregation Scotland. The post has been made possible with the generous support of the Scottish Government.

Gordon will be taking on the challenge of growing Eco-Congregation Scotland and helping eco-congregations across Scotland to take action to care for the earth. The number of congregations who have registered as Eco-Congregation has now grown to more than 260 since its launch less that a decade ago. In this short time it has become the largest network of community based environment groups in Scotland. Fund raising and building up a membership and supporters scheme will be priorities for 2011.

Rev. Ewan Aitken, Convener of the Board of Eco-Congregation Scotland said:

“I am delighted to welcome Gordon to this new job. Eco-congregations in Scotland have demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm to make a difference in their churches and in their communities. Gordon brings proven fund raising and managerial skills to support and resource this work. We are particularly pleased that with this support from the Scottish Government we will be able to help congregations respond more effectively to the challenge of climate change.”

Gordon can be contacted at

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Scottish Hydro offers Edinburgh shoppers

++ Photocall with free mince pies and hot chocolate on Thursday 9 December 16:30++ 6 December 2010

Dreaming of a green Christmas this year? Scottish Hydro has teamed up with Scottish Business in the Community to show everyone just how easy it is to celebrate Christmas in true traditional and green fashion and still save money, as they open the doors of their Eco Zone in St James’ Centre.

The Eco Zone, located towards the rear of the St James Centre, is the place to be for those of us interested in saving a few pounds this Christmas. In the window, there’s a super-sized advent calendar that will be revealing useful eco tips every day in the run up to Christmas – such as how to convert old posters and maps into wrapping paper, and what to do with your left over turkey.

Once inside, everyone is invited to get on the saddle to make sure they keep the fairy lights twinkling, as The Eco Zone will be showcasing Scottish Hydro’s pedal-powered Christmas tree – a very first for the shopping centre. The Eco-Zone will also have the latest eco- goodies on sale - ideal for environmentally friendly stocking fillers.

This Thursday evening, 5 golden tickets worth £50 to spend in the Eco Zone are up for grabs! To be in with a chance of winning, customers should be at the zone at 5pm to pick up their free reusable shopper bags, as the golden tickets have been randomly hidden in the stash.

Scottish Hydro’s Christmas Co-ordinator, Nicky Madill explains why the company is helping host this year’s Eco Zone: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves this Christmas, but we’re also keen to show that enjoying yourself doesn’t have to cost the Earth. We’re inviting Edinburgh shoppers to take a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of their shopping, pop into our Eco Zone and see some of the ways they can save money and still have a good time this Christmas. I’m really looking forward to this Thursday night, when we’ll be holding our Golden Ticket draw, as well as handing out free mince pies and hot chocolate for everyone from 5pm. It’s sure to be busy, so make sure you get down early!”

The Eco Zone will also be hosting a series of free workshops from now until Christmas. On 18 December, there will be a free wrapping session, led by one of the country's leading experts who will be helping people learn how to get creative with their wrapping skills without having to spend a fortune. There's also an introduction to eco-cracker making, offering ideas on how to make your own crackers from recycled materials and even free massages on 23 December to help everyone unwind, just in time for the big day.

As well as this there will be carol singing, free internet access with Christmas computer games and lots of fun in the Eco Zone – making it the perfect place for the whole family to pop into for a break between the shopping.

Press office: 0845 0760 530

Nicola Madill and Duncan MacDonald


Wednesday, 8 December 2010


We shall be posting from time to time poems that are dealing with the environment and with our responsibilities in the care of creation. Please let me know if you have any poems that you would like to submit.

We are indebted to Tessa Ransford for suggesting this wonderful poem .  Not Just Moonshine, Luath Press, is Tessa's new and selected poems from four decades published in 2008. The book can be found at selected bookstores. You can find more information about Tessa on her  website. .


(news report: an iceberg the size of Hong Kong floats past the African coast)

Ahoy there, ahoy!

moored to Antarctica
over aeons
the rope broke and I drifted

no race round the world
I drip my ice-locked time
as I sail and melt

soon I’ll swim in the Mediterranean
and block the Suez canal

my waters will flow as judgement
a mighty stream in the desert

ahoy there in the shopping aisles
and the shipping lanes

don’t you see now

the planet floats like the Titanic in space
and can sink, can be utterly wrecked


Tessa Ransford

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

EU's perspective and action plan in Cancun

Funding to help developing countries address issues of climate change will be one of the key issues discussed in the Cancun climate change conference. According to Euroactiv, the EU will present a fast-start finance report at the talks, showing that in 2010, it mobilised €2.2bn from the promised total of €7.2bn to be delivered over the next three years. The expectation is that other developed countries will follow this EU iniitiative.

The rule on monitoring reporting and verification of emission reductions, and the transfer of technology to developing countries to deal with climate change is also one of the key issues to be discussed, but concrete outcomes will depend on the availability of funds. It seems that the expectations for these talks are much more measured when compared to the excitement of the Copenhagen talks, and this is reflected in the apparently slower number of key political figures traveling to the Mexican resort.

The development of a proposed "Green Fund" which would provide funding for developing countries to confront the challenges of climate change. The kernel idea for the Green Fund has been around since 2008. It is now  been endorsed by the International Monetary Fund.