Monday, September 27, 2010

Churches responding to Climate Change

The EcoCongregation journey has taken me, via co-ordinating Reading Christian Ecology Link, onto the Reading Climate Change Partnership (part of the LSP, involving reps from the council, business, university, NHS etc as well as voluntary sector) so I attended my first meeting of that earlier this month. It was very much a finding my bearings meeting for me, lots of acronyms and other stuff to learn although, as this week my family hand back the car we've been borrowing for holidays this summer, I did volunteer to join a sub-group responding to the Local Transport Plan.

The following week several of the same people were present for the Green City and Open Spaces Forum at which I gave a presentation on what churches in Reading are doing to respond to climate change. I'm hoping we'll have a RCEL website sorted by Christmas and I'll put the full report on there, but the highlights included Park URC's exciting plans for a biomass boiler and pv panels, the Quaker meeting's very impressive carbon emissions reductions and involvment with 10:10 (2008-9 emissions were 30% lower than 2004-5 and they expect to be down another 10% this year) and a growing number of churches involved in the EcoCongregation programme. I also mentioned Sir John Houghton's well-attended talk at Wargrave which can now be downloaded from their website.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Greenbelt 2010

Greenbelt now seems rather a distant memory, but I mentioned it in the last post so might as well up date. This year did seem a bit disorganised compared with usual, plus I was probably more disorganised and somehow managed to miss most of the art on display. As for my hopes of being reinspired about tackling climate change - compared with last year it felt the subject was barely being whispered. Admittedly I still plan to download one talk on it that I couldn't make but it did feel a bit disappointingly as if we don't know what to do after Copenhagen's failure.

But on the good side, Rosemary reported how inspirational Bruce Kent was, still optimistic and persistent after all this time; I heard Clare Short urging action on Israel/Palestine; Earth Abbey were present foraging again; my youngest spent a long time making paper windmills for Christian Aid's wind of change harvest campaign (enjoying the story of the wind-powered well in Afghanistan) while my eldest struggled to comprehend the tax system in Christian Aid's maze, and we all appreciated the Mother's Union's free and fun games heralding their very important Bye Buy Childhood campaign. Their president, Reg Bailey, reported that each year £99bn are spent in the UK on child orientated products so that marketing aimed at children is big big business and consequently, as the MU website caption reads, 'our kids are growing up believing they are what they own'. Obviously this drive for consumption has serious environmental implications as well as causing damage to children including stifled mental development and poorer health as well as family conflict (sometimes deliberately and explicitly fostered by the marketers).