Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Climate change and social justice

A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation addresses this issue:

What it means to be vulnerable to climate change and how early examples of climate change adaptation may affect vulnerable groups in society.

Climate change will, among other impacts, bring increased risks to health and well-being from more frequent and intense heatwaves, as well as increased droughts threatening the security of affordable water supplies in the UK.

This report:
  • introduces the concept of vulnerability to climate change within the context of social justice;
  • examines two early case studies of adaptation in the south-west of England: the implementation of the national Heatwave Plan; and the trend towards differential water pricing based on usage (including the trial of a rising block tariff for water); and
  • highlights the need for a more systematic consideration of current and future vulnerabilities in local, sectoral and national adaptation planning.

Click here to read the full report and its summary.


Monday, 21 February 2011

Christians in Science

Received this email today and am passing it on in case any of our churches are interested:
I'm emailing as one of the local leaders in Edinburgh of Christian in
Science (CiS) aiming to raise a bit of awareness about a conference that
we are running here in Edinburgh on Saturday March 19th. CiS is a
national organisation geared towards supporting Christian scientists and
science students in a variety of ways including through conference
events such as this one. The conference should also be of interest to
non-scientists as well as it covers a broad spectrum of contemporary
topics of relevance to today's (and tomorrow's) world.
I attach a flyer for the conference. Further details including how to
register can be found at:


Click on the image above to see a larger version of the flyer.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Two interesting new online tools

A couple of interesting items which we have seen this week:

Interesting tool for measuring changes in behaviour beyond simply power usage.

A tool for measuring and recording your personal carbon useage:
Its a very clever system. Worth watching the introductory video to see how easy it is.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Sustainable Agriculture : What can congregations contribute?

The Church and Society Council of the Church fo Scotland is organising a conference entitled:

Sustainable Agriculture: What can congregations contribute?
Thursday, 10th February
121 George Street, Edinburgh

Food and agriculture is a subject of ongoing interest and importance both in Scotland and elsewhere. We read of developments and challenges that often seem contradictory: the real difficulties facing some farmers in Scotland on the one hand and huge agricultural subsidies paid to others; the immense power of the supermarkets and the decline of high street shops; an epidemic of obesity in Scotland but poverty elsewhere in the world; new food technologies like GM and the rise of organic alternatives; the exploitation of third world producers and the growth of fair trade; the need to feed seven billion people on earth, possibly rising to nine billion later this century and the destruction of natural habitats to provide more agricultural land to do so.

Consideration of some of these issues persuaded the Church and Society Council to investigate the meaning of ‘sustainable agriculture’ in more detail. The investigation is focused on Scotland but must take account of developments elsewhere. The Council is aware that much work is already underway and is concerned to add to this work not to duplicate it. In particular the Council is interested to explore the question ‘What can congregations do?’

This conference is an opportunity to explore these concerns and to learn more from experts in these issues. Its purpose is to help the Church & Society Council develop a report with recommendations for the General Assembly in 2012, a report that will provide insights and guidance for congregations. We don’t anticipate that the conference will provide firm answers but we do hope it will help to shape our thinking.

The Programme is as follows:

10.30am Registration + Coffee/ Tea

11am Welcome from Chair: Sheena Wurthmann

Keynote address: David Atkinson

12 noon Lunch

12.45pm Discussion groups
• Our mutual food: Pete Ritchie, Whitmuir Farm
• Science and agriculture - new technologies, new opportunities, new challenges: Donald Bruce, Edinethics
• Community supported agriculture: local food production, transition towns, allotments: Richard Frazer and Josiah Lockhart, Grassmarket Community Project
• The view from the farm: issues and challenges facing farmers: John Picken, NFU Scotland
• The view from the Scottish Government: Antje Branding, Scottish Government

1.45pm Coffee/ Tea

2pm Plenary

Each discussion group is asked to report back to the plenary session:

• What were the three main points they discussed?
• What message would the discussion group like to send to congregations?
• What one action would the discussion group like the Church of Scotland to do?

3pm Close

Monday, 7 February 2011

A solar water heater out of recyled plastic bottles

A Brazilian innovator has developed a solar water heater out of plastic bottles. Jose Alamo,  a retired mechanic developed the solar heater recycling plastic bottles that were not being picked up in his town of Tubarao. Since 1992 when he first came up with his invention. Alano has been busy giving talks and workshops in schools and community centres on how to DIY your own solar heating pannel. The Ecologist recently showcased Alano's work. Since then over 7000 people in Brazil have bebefited from his inventions, from which he has refused to profit. In his own words as quoted in The Ecologist article.. 'I am a simple person, but I am very aware of my own responsibilities as a consumer. The recycled solar water heater was just my small contribution to the environment, and to improve the lives of people who need to save money. I registered the invention, so nobody else could copy and profit from it. Although the information on how to build it is in the public domain and anybody can access it, there are two restrictions: to its industrial production and to its use by politicians during electoral campaigns.'

There are leaflets with instructions on how to DIY the pannel (in portuguese) however it is worth looking at the leaflet and then seeing some of the instructions in English from The Ecologist article.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Eco-Congregation Scotland E-News

Eco-Congregation Scotland  Annual Gathering
Have you registered yet for the ECS Annual Gathering yet? At the event, we will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Eco-Congregation Scotland, and hold the charity’s first AGM. The Gathering will take place on 5th March 2011, 10am – 3.30pm, at Bridge of Allan Parish Church Halls, Keir Street, Bridge of Allan.

We are very pleased to welcome Kathy Galloway, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, to preach at the Celebration Service. The programme of the day will focus on ‘Our daily Bread’ and look at issues of sustainable living. As usual, a variety of interesting and challenging workshops will be part of the programme.
Register now to participate in the event, by contacting us at scotland@ecocongregation.org.uk or the address below before 16 February 2011.

At the AGM, a new Board of Directors will be elected by the charity members. If you are interested in becoming a director, please contact us.

While everyone is warmly invited to attend the AGM, only charity members of Eco-Congregation Scotland are able to vote. You can register as member of the charity by filling in the form attached to the invitation and sending it back to us.

Climate Challenge Fund
We would also like to remind you that the climate challenge fund has opened for new applications. Full information and application forms are available on the website. The application deadline is 14th February.

Carbon Fast: 9 March to 23 April 2011
The Carbon Fast, organised by Tearfund, provides simple carbon-cutting actions together with prayers and reflections daily during Lent (starting on 9 March). This can be a good way to introduce people to the issue of climate change and to give ideas how they can respond by taking action, praying and reducing their own emissions. All the information can be found online at the Tearfund website  Printed action guides can be ordered from  the following link.

National Spring Clean
Keep Scotland Beautiful is organising the National Spring Clean, Scotland's biggest clean up campaign.
Over 83,000 enthusiastic litter pickers united to give Scotland a timely spring clean last year, and hopefully this spring it will be even more. Group organisers can sign up online; all the information you need about the campaign is at the Keep Scotland Tidy website. Please note that due to popular demand the campaign dates for 2011 have been extended from one month to two: Monday 14 March – Monday 16 May: any centrally registered litter picks taking place on or between those dates will count towards the national campaign.

Camas Outdoor Activity Centre
Camas, our newest eco-congregation, is an outdoor centre on the Isle of Mull. With its own wind turbine, solar panels and composting toilets they try to minimise their impact on climate change. They invite you to visit them and to participate in a programme week there. A Gardening Week, full of community (organic!) gardening mixed with time for reflection and individual explorations, will take place between 2nd and 6th May. Between 24th and 30th September, the programme will focus on ‘Exploring Creation’, with Kathy Galloway leading this reflective and recreational programme week. Please visit the Iona Community website for more information.

Do you have news you want to tell eco-congregations about? Let me know for the next e-news!
Best wishes from Eco-Congregation Scotland!