S&L – Issue 10
Salt and Light
Five Leaf Church Greening Initiative Newsletter
“We believe that Creation Care is a core Christian responsibility”
The aim of this Newsletter is to provide a supportive and informative link between individuals and groups that share a care and Christian responsibility for our environment. You are on this newsletter list because you have expressed an interest in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards program or have communicated with the National Coordinator – Jessica Morthorpe.
l Letter from the Editor
l Church Greening News
l Doom and Gloom
l A Stirring of Hope
l Monthly Action Tip
l Book Review
l Discussion Question
l Quotes of the month
l Crown of Thorns Blog
l Websites to visit
Letter from the Editor:
It’s an exciting time to be part of the church greening movement in Australia. The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change is holding an inaugural Eco-Awards Dinner on 5th June 2010, World Environment Day to formally recognise and promote environmental achievements within faith communities. I will be there, and I am excited to be announcing the achievement of at least three Five Leaf Eco-Awards certificates at this event. We are also hoping to have our exciting new Church Greening Story resources available by this date.
If you haven’t already applied for one of the awards available (apply online at www.arrcc.org.au) make sure you do. If you have already sent me a church greening story applying will be that much easier!
I want to see as many as possible of you at the awards so make sure you nominate yourselves or your churches before the 5th of May!
Church Greening News
Young Adults Making a Difference for God’s Creation
On Saturday 27th of March the ACT Uniting Church Young Adults Group descended on the Greenhills Camp and Conference Centre on Cotter Road with gloves, hats and sunscreen. We had come to worship God by tending and keeping his creation.
We had come to battle with the weeds which had sprung up after the recent rains and were overwhelming the revegetation area. At first, the task seemed overwhelming, but the team jumped in with enthusiasm. We fought hard against wild mustard, thistles, African lovegrass and anything else Vernon, our dedicated weed expert, said had to go. We have no idea how Vernon managed to keep these weeds under control single-handedly before his stroke!
The area we were working on is a native revegetation project, an area that is part of the chapel environmental walk that forms part of Greenhill’s environmental education project for visitors. We needed to remove the weeds to protect the growing trees and enhance the educational value of the site.
It was nice to get away from the city for a bit, to hear the sounds of the bush, feel the sun on our skin and the dirt in our hands. The mustard weeds in particular were quite difficult to pull out, and there was a sense of victory in defeating them. We had come from a variety of churches around Canberra, car-pooling to reduce our carbon footprint, and although some of us had never met before there was a camaraderie in fighting a common enemy and we all worked very hard.
After an energy-reviving morning tea of delicious mini-muffins and sausage rolls we visited the Connie Christie chapel for a brief service. The outdoor chapel, overlooking the Murrumbidgee River corridor and the Bullen Range Nature Reserve, was the perfect site to praise God for creation and ask for its protection. Surrounded by bush, the chapel is overhung by a large eucalypt which still shows the scars of the January 2003 bushfires and the lectern and cross used are made from the remains of the originals which were burnt in the fire. We discussed Greenhill’s remarkable recovery from those fires and the signs from it that are still in the landscape, but also the hope and renewal all around us, symbolised perhaps by a small Kurrajong tree growing at the foot of the scarred Eucalypt.
After the service we passed around a small snow gum for prayer before planting it in memory of the day. Once it was in the ground and we had promised to come back and visit it we eagerly returned to weeding, determined to make a dint in the mass of weeds surrounding us. By the time we finished the whole revegetation area was free of weeds – quite a feat. Tired but happy, we finished with a delicious lunch and lots of chatting.
We are already planning another working bee at Greenhills and are interested in helping out churches with environmental projects.
A big thank you to all the young people who participated and to Rev Myung-Hwa Park and the Greenhills staff for helping us to organise the event and for providing our yummy free morning tea and lunch.
If you would like to be involved in the ACT Uniting Church Young Adults group or your church would like to propose a project for us, contact Jessica Morthorpe
Invitation to Eco-Awards Dinner
ARRCC is holding an inaugural Eco-Awards Dinner on 5th June 2010, World Environment Day, to formally recognise and promote environmental achievements within faith communities.
We would like to take this opportunity to :
Firstly, Encourage your community if it has been taking environmental action, to submit an award application in one of the categories outlined here!
Secondly,Extend a warm invitation for you to participate as our special guest in this multi-faith Eco-Awards Dinner details here!
Your support for this Eco-Awards Dinner will contribute to the recognition of achievements and the encouragement of others to take up the challenge of climate change. The dinner will be formal in nature and include attendees of many Australian faiths including Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian. This event is an opportunity for faiths to celebrate the diversity of our contributions on these pressing issues that affect every person on Earth.
The keynote speakers for the evening are :
§ John Connor – CEO, The Climate Institute
§ Bhante Sujato – Executive Australian Sangha Association and the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils
The Eco-Awards Dinner is one way that ARRCC supports faith communities to achieve environmental results. We also visit faith communities to speak at gatherings, present at workshops, or to offer religious reflections about taking action in caring for the environment. ARRCC’s priorities and other achievements are attached.
We invite you, and other communities you know, to apply for one or more of the Awards, which will be announced at the Eco-Award Dinner. If you know of a faith community taking environmental action, but are unlikely to put themselves forward, please let us know so we might approach them directly. Applications for awards, which close 5th May 2010, can be made on-line at http://www.arrcc.org.au
If you would like to know more please contact ARRCC or one of the coordinators whose details you will find attached.
I do hope you are able to share in this recognition of achievements.
(For more information see the attachment)
Earth Day 2010 -22nd April
Join Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary celebrations!
Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.
Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.
For more information see: http://www.earthday.org/earthday2010
Ethical Shopping Tour – 9th May Kippax Uniting Church, Canberra
Jessica Morthorpe will be leading a tour starting at Kippax Uniting Church after the 10:30 service on the 9th of May to help people make more sustainable and ethical grocery choices.
Dead Sharks ain’t Art
Join the Nature Conservation Council of NSW for an evening of good company and stunning art.
Come along and bid on some amazing auction items.
All proceeds will support our important shark conservation campaign.
When: 6.30pm – 9.30pm, Tuesday 11 May, 2010
Where: Mori Gallery,
168 Day Street, Sydney
Drinks * Nibbles * Guest speakers * Raffle * Live and silent
auction & much more …
Threatened and endangered sharks are killed for their fins off the coast of Australia in huge numbers. Already 90% of the world’s sharks have been wiped out.
Join the Nature Conservation Council of NSW for an evening of good company and bid on some amazing auction items, including specially commissioned artworks and a weekend scuba diving trip for two.
All money raised will go towards the NCC’s work to get increased protection for sharks
Limited capacity – please RSVP by Friday May 7
Ph. 02 9279 2466 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fair Trade Fortnight 2010, 1st – 16th May
World Fair Trade Day 8th May
Fair Trade Fortnight is Australia and New Zealand’s biggest annual celebration of all things fair trade!
With events, activities and promotions happening across each country, the Fortnight gives each of us the opportunity to celebrate and recognise the life-changing difference fair trade makes for millions of developing country farmers, their families and communities.
As part of Fair Trade Fortnight 2010, Aussies are being urged to make The Big Swap!
Making the swap to Fair Trade is simple but it can help make a big difference for developing country farmers by giving them access to fair prices and money to invest in everyday things for their communities such as education and healthcare.
So this Fair Trade Fortnight, whether it’s your daily caffeine fix, afternoon cuppa, chocolate treat or even when buying a gift – make the swap to Fair Trade and you can help create a better and brighter future farmers and their families around the globe.
Schoolies With A Cause
Schoolies with a Cause (SWAC) is a new initiative of the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania, and will take place for the first time during Schoolies weeks 2010.
These programs offer an experiential, exciting Schoolies alternative whereby exiting secondary school students can be involved in meaningful cause-based programs in Australia and abroad.
In 2010 SWAC programs focusing on the Environment (Grampians National Park), Our Global Community (Indonesia) and Indigenous Australia (Cape York) will operate.
Schoolies for the Environment is offered in conjunction with Conservation Volunteers Australia, and allows Schoolies to use this time of celebration to volunteer with Parks Victoria in the Grampians, and develop their understanding of environmental and sustainability issues faced in the region.
Applications for each of the 2010 Schoolies programs close on 30 April 2010.
For more information on SWAC programs and applications, visit http://www.schoolieswithacause.org
Greening with God: faith & the environment, JMCA Conference
When: 5:30pm Thursday 1st of July – 3pm Sunday 4th July 2010
Where: Pallotti College, 80 McNamaras Road, Milgrove (residential)
The Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia’s annual conference this year will focus on the relationship between faith and the environment, including questions about what our faiths tell us about caring for the planet, how we can work with God in creation and who owns the earth?
The program will include key speakers, small group discussions, time for personal reflections, opportunities to participate in prayer according to the three traditions and time for questions and answers about each other’s faith and different cultural and religious backgrounds.
The conference aims to help people of faith deepen their understanding of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by meeting, engaging with and learning from other people of faith.
For more information see brochure available at http://www.jcma.org.au/download/JCMAbrochure2010.pdf
Applications close on Friday 28th of May, 2010
Volunteers sought for Fair Trade work
The JIM Unit is looking for a few volunteers to help with some Fair Trade work that the Unit is doing with UCA congregations across our Synod. The work would involve contacting UCA congregations who previously expressed interest in becoming Fair Trade Faith Communities, and helping them to become registered as such with the Fair Trade Association here in Victoria.
If you have any time available during office hours, or would like further information then Jill would be very keen to hear from you – phone 9251 5266 or email email@example.com
Doom and Gloom
Gorillas under fire
New conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is forcing rangers to flee Virunga – Africa’s oldest national park, leaving gorillas at the mercy of rebel fighters and poachers. The park is home to more than half the mountain gorillas left in the world (only 700) and 20,000 hippopotamus (listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list). Virunga has been a World Heritage Site since 1979 and became endangered in 1994 when civil war first broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Read the rest of the story at http://www.gmagazine.com.au/news/445/gorillas-under-fire
See a background video about gorilla killings here: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=-QwI2O1_HlI
A Stirring of Hope
SA houses to be six-star energy rated
“All new SA housing must be six-star energy rated from September (ABC News)
It will be mandatory soon for all new houses in South Australia to have a six-star energy efficiency rating.
The SA Government says it will apply for all houses built from September.
SA Urban Development and Planning Minister Paul Holloway says developers will need to design homes that make the most of natural light and efficient energy resources.
“The use of efficient light globes and appliances, for example, can also help contribute to reductions in power consumption so we’re hopeful that this should be able to be met with minimal disruption and of course it means that the owners of these new homes should benefit thereafter by having reduced energy bills,” he said.
Mr Holloway says home owners can expect to save about $340 per year in energy costs.
The six-star push emerged from a decision taken at a Council of Australian Governments meeting last year and SA says it is one of the first states to comply.”
Australia’s biggest rooftop solar panel at UQ
By Siobhan Barry
“One-and-a-half football fields worth of solar grids will be installed on the roofs of three buildings.
The University of Queensland’s Saint Lucia campus in Brisbane will be home to the country’s largest rooftop solar panel.
One-and-a-half football fields worth of solar grids will be installed on the roofs of three buildings.
UQ’s Professor Paul Meredith says they will produce about five per cent of the university’s energy needs which is enough to power 800 households.
He says they will also allow for significant research into solar energy.
“It’s a very, very valuable piece of research infrastructure,” he said.
“It is globally significant – I only know of a small handful of universities around the world that have anything like this and it really positions us, as the University of Queensland as a really a major research provider in solar energy.””
ACT first to ban dumping of TVs
“The ACT is set to become the first jurisdiction in the country to ban the dumping of televisions in landfills.
From April 27, Canberrans will have to pay a recycling fee of between $15 and $40 at the Mitchell or Mugga Lane Resource Management centres to dispose of their old televisions.
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says the user-pays scheme will continue until a free national e-waste program is rolled out next year.
“About 200 tonnes of televisions will now be diverted from landfill each year and either reused or recycled,” he said.
The ACT Government was also the first state or territory to ban the dumping of computers in landfill in 2005.
“We’ve decided to link television disposal recycling with computers,” Mr Stanhope said.
“We as a jurisdiction, we’ve always been first in relation to waste that’s why we have the best outcomes. We’ve taken this early step.””
Humpbacks get allies in the South Pacific
By Brigid Glanville
“A group of South Pacific nations is fighting to protect the humpback whale by creating a number of sanctuaries in the region.
The countries are gathering in Auckland before the next International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Morocco in June.
There are now 11 countries, including Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, whose waters form part of the whale sanctuary which bans whaling in a 290,000-square kilometre exclusion zone.
They say these safe havens are critical for whales as many migrate south each year through these sanctuaries.
Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand which consists of three tropical coral atolls, is the latest country to join.
It has gone against New Zealand, which is not part of the whale sanctuary.
New Zealand says all marine mammals are protected in its waters under legislation, but recently declared it would consider allowing the whaling nations like Japan to kill some whales in an attempt to save others.”
A Guide to Developing a ‘Green Team’ in Your Faith Community – From Greening Sacred Spaces
We are strong believers in the power of small groups to change the world. Your efforts to live more sustainably, combined with others, send a powerful message to your faith community, neighbourhood, and beyond. It sends a message that you are increasingly living in a sacred balance with creation — a spiritually rewarding journey that opens us to the beauty, wonder, and responsibility of harmonious living with the Earth.
In this guide we look at the various changes you could put in place to make your faith community a greener place. But knowing and talking about things is not the same as actually doing them. That is what this guide is for — to help you get things done by examining the processes that you might use to realize your green vision. We’ll look at personal initiative as well as the art of joining with others to create a ‘Green Team’, and the kinds of activities your team could promote around your sacred space.
This document is designed to help develop a group of members in your faith community who wish to actively promote eco-sustainability. It offers advice on recruiting, motivating, and organizing people, and provides a number of suggestions about what a ‘green team’ can do to help bring about change.
Monthly Action Tips
Encourage your church to Switch to Fairtrade Coffee
Do the poor and the earth a favour by encouraging your church and/or workplace to switch to using Fairtrade products such as coffee, tea and chocolate.
The ultimate beneficiaries are communities in the developing world, however, being a Fair Trade Faith Group also brings direct benefits to your group in a number of ways it:
· Enables members to live according to their values by supporting poorer communities with every cup of coffee or tea;
· Improves moral as people feel they are contributing to supporting poorer communities with every cup of coffee or tea;
· FTAANZ provides a range of resources to participants, including promotional materials and information, a quarterly newsletter, opportunities to network with other organisations;
For more information see: http://www.fairtrade.com.au/get-involved/worship
World Earth Day Activity
Ask members of the congregation to bring in a copy of their favourite photograph of nature (plants, animals, sunsets, forests). Collect the photos during the service and get each person to briefly talk why they chose that particular photo. Thank God for these gifts. Use the photos to make a slide show or a collage for one of the walls in the church.
Making the shift: from consumerism to sustainability
The inconclusive outcome of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen highlighted one of the dilemmas of sustainable development – humans will often fail to change their behaviour in the face of scientific evidence about its damaging impacts.
Articles on Religions and the Environment
Two members of our network – Dr Miriam Pepper and Dr Steven Douglas have contributed articles on faith and the environment to the latest issue of GreenPages magazine. Check it out at a newsagent near you!
Our Choice: A plan to solve the Climate Crisis by Al Gore, Bloomsbury press, 2009, Great Britain
Extensive, well-researched, engagingly written, inspiring and informative! Full of beautiful pictures, clear explanatory diagrams, examples and comprehensive text, this book is a valuable resource. It is written well enough for a beginner to understand, but has enough depth and breadth for those with extensive background knowledge in the area to still learn something new. At 405 pages, it is possibly a little long for all but the most dedicated beginner, but the text is well broken up with pictures and diagrams. Perfect for anyone who wants to understand better the solutions available for moving forward in the climate crisis. Our Choice covers solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biofuels, carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear power, energy conservation, supergrids, restoring forests and soils, issues of population, politics, economics and changing the way we think and act. It has a focus on the USA, but most information is applicable anywhere. Our Choice is printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper with all profits going to The Alliance for Climate Protection, a not-for-profit dedicated to changing the way people think about the climate crisis and catalysing the solution.
|Do you think religion can help save the planet?
If you would like to know what others think, see the podcast below.
|Four guests, including ARRCC’s Miriam Pepper, appeared on John Cleary’s Sunday Night program on 29th March.
Introduction to the program
“Last night lights went out around the globe, as we the people sent a message to politicians: the earth is in trouble, please fix it. And, indeed, politicians seem to applaud the gesture, but the reality is rather different; a yawning gap between symbol and substance.
Linking symbol with substance is supposed to be what religion is all about, so this week we ask the churches, can religion help save the planet?
All four guests say that the ‘gesture’ is worth making and gives expression to widespread longing for new visioning about how we may live together on planet earth. They agree that this small action is a step to greater action; that these small gestures keep people going.”
Guests: Rev Alistair Macrae, Rev Steven Eames, Dr Miriam Pepper, Ian Packer
Click here for a link to the full podcast of the program or visit http://www.abc.net.au/sundaynights/stories/s2529251.htm
Quotes of the Month
‘People will always follow a good example; be the one to set a good example, then it won’t be long before the others follow… How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway… And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness! The Diary of Anne Frank
Crown of Thorns Blog
Want to learn more about church greening or reflect on what the Bible says about the environment? Then visit the Crown of Thorns blog by Jessica Morthorpe at http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/
Websites to Visit:
Web of Creation – http://www.webofcreation.org/
Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to any individual or group who may be interested.