Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Let’s go greener together

People across Scotland are being encouraged to ‘Go Greener Together’ and to help make Scotland a cleaner, greener place to live.

Whether at home, at work or in the community, we all need to consider how we – and the people we live and work with – could be greener, and what we can do to help Scotland’s environment now and in the future.

Taking action now will help make Scotland cleaner and greener for all of us. Find out what you can do to get involved and go greener by visiting http://action.greenerscotland.org/ecssignup for more information and advice.

National Spring Clean 2012

Keep Scotland Beautiful are organising another National Spring Clean. This is something that churches might want to get involved in.
In 2011, 100,000 Scots joined the campaign to make Scotland cleaner and greener. We now need your help to meet our ambitious target of 200,000 volunteers in 2012. Please sign up now - and together we can make a difference.

If you want a fun day out, between 1 April - 31 May with family, friends, work colleagues or school mates, you’re only a step away – click on the "Register" button to get started or, if you have taken part before, login to your National Spring Clean account and start planning your event now!
For further information and registration please go here:


Could climate change make livestock disease more common?

The Farmers Guardian quotes NFU’s chief advisor on renewable energy and climate change, Dr Jonathan Scurlock, saying that the warmer climate meant midges carrying virus were ‘thriving.
Dr Scurlock said Schmallenberg and Bluetongue were able to cross over to Britain from the Continent because the midges, which are thought to be responsible for carrying the disease over the Channel, survived a warm winter. He added drought will also become more common because of climate change.
For the full article see here:


Monday, 27 February 2012

Fairtrade Churches

Fairtrade Foundation:
"Churches organise hundreds of events during Fairtrade Fortnight and throughout the year as well as including prayers and readings about Fairtrade in their worship. Faith groups continue to be key supporters of Fairtrade which is making a real difference to the lives of more than 7 million farmers, workers and their families in 59 developing countries. To be part of the campaign by becoming a Fairtrade Church, please register with us."

For more information and to access the application form, see the Fairtrade Churches page: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/get_involved/campaigns/fairtrade_places_of_worship/fairtrade_churches/default.aspx

The Fairtrade Fortnight is taking place from the 27th February 2012. See programme by clicking on the link: http://www.scottishfairtradeforum.org.uk/

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Scottish Biodiversity Forum Events

Please click on the link to access the Scottish Biodiversity Forum Events page:

Free insulation project running in the Annan area of Dumfries and Galloway

The Energy Agency is running a free insulation project across Dumfries and Galloway on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Council. The funding is currently only available until 31st March 2012 and has the aim of helping those most vulnerable to fuel poverty.

Please contact energyagency@energyagency.org.uk for more details or access the website www.energyagency.org.uk

Fintry Renewable Energy (and Sustainability) Show

Message from Fintry Development Trust:

Fintry Development Trust is holding its annual renewable energy show, FRESh, on the 9th and 10th of March. This year’s show will be bigger and better and FDT has planned a vast range of events which will be engaging and fun for all the family and environmental professionals alike.

The FRESh schedule is now online!  Check it out and plan to be there!  http://www.fintrydt.org.uk/index.php?page=fresh-2012

Registration is FREE on the day.  Registration desk open all day, both days, in Menzies Hall, Main Street, Fintry, Stirlingshire

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Annual Gathering 2012 – Registration is now open

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for our annual gathering which is to be held on Saturday 21st April in Bridge of Allan.

For full information please see the Events page:


Monday, 20 February 2012

Ban Tar Sands from the EU

Message from Stop Climate Chaos:

As you may know, the EU will vote on the EU Fuel Quality Directive next week (28th Feb). This would effectively ban Tar Sands from the EU, but the UK is opposing it and is actively lobbying other countries to vote against the measure (under pressure from Canadian lobbying).

We're supporting a People & Planet action targeting Norman Baker and Nick Clegg to support this crucial legislation, and there's now a link on the SCC website. Please push this out to your supporters and help pile on as much pressure as possible over the next week! 


Sample tweet: Join a new push to keep dirty #tarsands oil out of Europe - crucial vote next week http://ow.ly/95ePO

Monday 20th Feb: Tweeting Nick Clegg urging Lib Dem support for the Fuel Quality Directive.

People & Places activists
For more info and a direct link to the P&P action:

Thursday, 16 February 2012

UK Government issues drought warning.

According to The Guardian newspaper:

Half of all households in Britain could face water restrictions unless exceptionally heavy and prolonged rain falls by April, water companies and the environment agency have warned.

The environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, will hold a crisis meeting of companies, wildlife groups and other river users next week after the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology (CEH) stated that the average rainfall so far this winter has been the lowest since 1972, and the English Midlands and Anglian regions have had their second driest years in nearly a century.
As the rainfall graphs show, Scotland is getting wetter and England and Wales drier:

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Cycling Rabbis In June

In June 2012, rabbis and religious leaders from across the UK will cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats to highlight Anglo-Jewry's year-long campaign to promote sustainable transport and environmental education. The “Rabbi Relay Ride”, organised by Gefiltefest, will be the highlight project of the “Big Green Jewish ‘Year of the Bike’”.

This opening event, organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, will bring together faith, business, governmental and community leaders to celebrate the moment when the ‘Rabbi Relay Ride’ website is launched.

See website for more information: http://www.bod.org.uk/live/index.php

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Radio programme about creation care and the environment.

In the third of this series from Premier Christian Radio on 'Big Issues' in 21st Century life, Andy Walton and Martyn Eden looked at creation care and the environment.

The discussion featured contributions from theologian Dr Elaine Storkey, Andy Lester of Christian conservation group A Rocha UK and Holly Petersen, Development Manager of Climate Stewards.

Download MP3

Monday, 13 February 2012

Get your church involved in WWF Earth Hour 2012

This year's WWF Earth Hour is at 8:30pm on Saturday 31st March 2012. Eco-Congregation Scotland is  working with WWF Scotland to promote this tevent to churches which encourages people to switch off their lights for one hour.

WWF Scotland say:
WWF’s Earth Hour is a simple idea that’s quickly turned into a global phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people turning off their lights for one hour, on the same night, all across the planet.
But it’s not to save an hour’s electricity. It’s something much bigger. WWF’s Earth Hour is about people coming together to put the focus on this brilliant world we all share – and how we need to protect it. Not just for an hour a year, but every day
Eco-Congregation Scotland says:
We would like all churches to take part in Earth Hour (you don’t need to be an eco-congregation) as a sign to the wider community that care for creation matters. Climate change is a justice issue - our misuse of natural resources has a much greater effect on poor people in developing countries than on us.

Even if your church buildings are usually closed on a Saturday evening, we’d like you to consider holding a short, candle-lit Earth Hour service .  By promoting your service through local newspapers, newsletters, posters etc, you can make connections with new people and local organisations.
To download the the Eco-Congregation / WWF - Earth Hour tool kit (PDF file) click here.
You may be able to view it online by clicking here.

Valentine's Day destroyed by climate change?

According to the activist group Climate Nexus as reported in the Los Angeles Times
Research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture found last year that as temperatures rise, the principal growing regions for cocoa could shrink, especially in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the sources of half the world’s supply. Production could fall off dramatically by 2050, making cocoa less available and more expensive.
Peter Gleick, a MacArthur fellow and chief executive of the Pacific Institute, bemoaned the potential decline of the sweet treat last week in an open letter to climate change skeptics in Forbes.

Full story here.

Link to the original research (PDF file).

Friday, 10 February 2012

In Search of Climate Change & Sustainability Projects

Message from Young Scot:

Young Scot is currently working on a project, in partnership with the 2020 Climate Group, around young people and climate change and sustainability.  As part of this we are developing an interactive map of Scotland which will highlight current activities within the ‘climate change and sustainability’ field for young people to take part in, in their local area. 

I would very much appreciate your help with this by letting me know of any relevant projects or activities (around climate change and sustainability) in your area for young people aged 14 to 26 years old .  Additionally, if you could send this email around your contacts/networks and ask them to contact me with any information I’d be very grateful.  This will help to ensure that as many projects/activities that operate at a local level are identified and put on the map. 

Once we have all of the information it will provide a really useful resource.

If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Many thanks,

Annie Padwick
Rosebery House, 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5EZ
0131 313 2488

***We want to know about the young people who make Scotland proud. Nominate NOW at www.youngscotawards.co.uk #ysawards***

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

£13 Million Extra Funding for Cycling and Walking

See press release from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland:

Scottish Government has heard our campaign asks: more funding announced for cycling and walking

Wednesday 8th February 2012
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland welcomes today’s announcement from John Swinney that an additional £13m over three years, compared to the Budget Bill published last month, will be allocated to sustainable and active travel. However, we note that this is still a cut on the funding available for this work in the current year.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:
“While we welcome the additional funding that the Scottish Government has allocated to sustainable and active travel in today’s budget announcement, it is still insufficient to deliver plans to meet Scotland’s climate change targets. The Government’s own plans to meet targets – set out in the Report on Proposals and Policies - are still not fully funded through this budget.
The funding allocated for sustainable and active travel for the coming two years remains a cut on the funding available in 2011-12. At the same time, yet more funding - £72m - has been allocated to the carbon-generating road-building programme. This will not encourage people in Scotland to choose sustainable and active travel options.”

Eco-Congregation Scotland at the Get on Yer Bike rally on the 11th January 2012 - see blog: http://ecocongregationscotland.blogspot.com/2012/01/eco-congregation-scotland-at-stop.html

Blog on Climate Change and Theology

We recently came across a blog called Nothing New Under the Sun  by Byron Smith, a PhD candidate in theological ethics at Edinburgh University.

Byron's blog contains a number of interesting articles on climate change including his comments on the 2009 report from the Joint Public Issues Team of the UK Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches - "Hope in God's future: Christian discipleship in the context of climate change".

You can visit Byron's blog here:

Friday, 3 February 2012

Durban 2012 COP17 Climate Summit Report

Charles Agboklu of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana and coordinator of the Religious Bodies network on Climate Change has written an informative report about the Durban conference for the All African Conference of Churches.

Faith Based Organizations share in the sentiments and actions that will make equity, justice and ethical considerations central to future global negotiations. Alliances with independent bodies that share like minds on our common humanity are a sure way forward to impressing on the polluting nations that there is no substitute to planet earth. All actions must therefore be geared towards strengthening the VOICE for the demands of equity, justice and fair play during future Conference of Parties.
To download the full report (pdf file) click here.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Can churches in Scotland get free recycling bins from the council?

This is a question that we get asked a lot. Some local authorities will provide recycling bins for churches and some won't. In Edinburgh they do and this is the City of Edinburgh Council's guidance note:


By virtue of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992 waste arising from premises exempted from section 22(f) of the Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act 1956(g) (churches etc) is to be treated as household waste.
In plain language this means that waste emanating from Churches and places of religious worship including their associated halls and residencies is household waste.

Schedule 2 of the 1992 Regulations further refine the definitions and identify certain household waste for which a charge may be made.

For the avoidance of doubt waste from Churches and other places of religious worship fall outwith the definitions in Schedule 2.

In consequence there no authority to charge Churches for the removal of the waste that they produce.
This will include items booked as a special uplift.
No charges should be applied for the removal of waste from Churches.

The only exception to this are churches in streets too narrow for the recycling lorry or with pavements too narrow to take the boxes and allow pedestrians to pass safely.

As the same law applies across Scotland, any church having problems getting a recycling bin should contact their local authority waste management department and make them aware of the rules.

Eco-Congregations in the Reformed Church in Hungary

Rev Ian Alexander, Rev Tamás Kodácsy, Right Rev David Arnott, Rev Eszter Karsay

The Right Reverend David Arnott, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland recently visited Hungary and met Tamas Kodácsy, who is leading the development of Ökogyülekezet, the eco-congregation movement in Hungary.  He reports on his visit.

The Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH) has an historic connection with the Church of Scotland and an exciting growth point is our common interest in eco-congregations.  Their 'Church Market Garden' programme is trying to establish a direct link between rural farmers and the urban consumers of the church.

It arose out of a sense of responsibility for our created world, all human beings, animals and vegetables.
At the end of September 2011 they celebrated Creation Time 'Recycling. . . .so that nothing may be lost.' For the first time this was celebrated ecumenically with discussion leaflets, brochures and posters. The working group set up by the RCH contains many of the leading thinkers and activists on green issues in Hungary and recently they were invited by the Hungarian government to contribute to an on-going discussion. I am really pleased that the Church of Scotland is working with the RCH to support eco-congregations both in Hungary and in Scotland and that we can work and learn together to care for creation. 


Ökogyülekezet (Eco-Congregation) Hungary recently launched a web site which can be found here: http://www.okogyulekezet.hu/