S&L – Issue 16

Salt and Light

Issue Sixteen (February 2010)

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  Events

l  Advertisements

l  Doom and Gloom

l  Monthly Action Tips

l  A Stirring of hope

l  Resources

l  Reading

l  Book Reviews

l  Websites to visit

Letter from the Editor:

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the first issue for 2011. I hope you are all excited about making this a big year for church greening in Australia.

Please join with me in prayer for those in Christchurch, Egypt and the Middle East, Queensland and Victoria.

I have been asked to particularly point out to you some events: the O’Connor Open Garden (Canberra) on the 26th and 27th of February (this weekend!), the Christians in Community Gardening Visits (Sydney; Canberra, Monaro and the South Coast) on March 12th or the 2nd and 3rd of April and the Consuming Creation Conference (Melbourne) on the 4th and 5th of March. Also don’t forget Clean Up Australia Day.

For those in Canberra, I would also like to point out the opportunity listed below to become involved in a community garden at Ainslie Church of Christ.

Also, a request for this month:

  1. If anyone knows of a grant available for the purchase of water tanks by churches in the ACT (ie. Community organisations not just households), please let me know. I have been through the obvious sources, but someone might know something I don’t.

Yours Sincerely,




Plots Available in the Ainslie Church of Christ Community Garden

The Ainslie Church of Christ in Canberra has a new up and coming community garden and plenty of space for new plots. Anyone who has wanted to become part of a community garden but hasn’t been able to find a plot – this is your chance. Plots are $30 annually and access to a garden shed and tools is provided. For more details email Christine Perrin

International Mission Facilitation Grants

The International Mission Facilitation Fund is to provide grants to congregations and Uniting Church bodies and communities within the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania to assist in furthering the relationships between such bodies and parts of overseas partner churches. The fund can be used to provide grants for the following purposes:

  • Travel that will deepen the partnership relationship in a sustainable way; and
  • Activities that will deepen or broaden the relationship for the Uniting Church body in question and the part of the partner church they are in relationship with.

The deadline for applications for the next round of grants is Thursday 31st March, 2011.   Regular Heroes of Science 2011 Video Competition





Clean Up Australia Day  March 6


Saturday, 26 March 2011, countrywide, “Earth Hour”

ARRCC is encouraging faith communities to express their commitment to action on climate change by participating in Earth Hour on Saturday, 26 March 2011, from 8.30pm-9.30pm.

Earth Hour began as a campaign to get Sydneysiders to turn off their lights, and has grown to be one of the world’s largest environmental initiatives.

We encourage you to join with hundreds of millions of people all over the world who will observe Earth Hour.  Some ideas:
– Hold a time of prayer or meditation
– Organise a candle-lit meal
– Encourage members of your faith community/place of worship to observe Earth Hour at work and at home

For more suggestions, see Earth Hour ideas.

ARRCC wants to know how you celebrated Earth Hour – let us know about your night.

Find out more about Earth Hour here.

Go beyond the hour at http://www.worldwildlife.org/sites/earthhour/index.html?enews=enews1102t



Consuming Creation Conference: Climate Change And The Call To Transformation, Friday 4 March – Saturday 5 March

Ridley College, 170 The Avenue, Parkville

A conference hosted by the Australian Evangelical Alliance, discussing climate change from a Christian perspective. The conference will feature Dr Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics in the Divinity School at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Northcott’s research focuses on the interface between theological ethics and the human and natural sciences, the ethics of technology and work, the theological and ethical implications of humanly caused species extinction, the ethics and politics of climate change and the ethics of political economy.

Cost $110, $90 concession

For more information and to register go to www.ethos.org.au

Tuesdays – 9 February, 15 March and 12 April 2011, Melbourne, “Canticle to the Cosmos”

Professor of Cosmology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, Brian Swimme, tells the scientific story of the universe with an emphasis on its sacred nature.  Organised by Earthsong, at Malvern, 7:30-9:30pm.

Eco-faith Gatherings Mt Martha

20 March, 17 April

Gatherings celebrating the gift of creation and reflecting upon caring for Earth as a Christian vocation.

5pm Third Sunday of each month

Mt Martha Uniting Church, 109 Bay Rd, Mt Martha

For more info: Paul Chalson, ph: (03) 5974 2500, paul.chalson@bigpond.com



26-27 February –  O’Connor Uniting Church Open Garden

The O’Connor Uniting Church is planning some celebrations for the Open Gardens Weekend:

Saturday 11.00am to 1.00pm:

  • Enjoy freshly-brewed coffee or tea with scones just out of our own ovens, with fresh cream and jam!
  • There’ll be something for smaller children as well. (Surprise!)

Sunday 11.00am to 12.00noon:

  • Late morning tea/coffee with two pieces of home-made slice.
  • Church members will share a quiche and salad lunch after this.
  • Light entertainment – a jam session with some of our church musicians.  Improvised enjoyment!

The community organic garden will be in tip-top condition for the weekend. After you’ve seen it, come around and enjoy the food and entertainment.

Funds raised will go into our OCUC Community Groups Special Projects Account and used to improve the facilities shared by all OCUC groups.

The Australian Institute Politics in the Pub

The Australia Institute will host Politics in the Pub on Wednesday 2 March. Richard Denniss from The Australia Institute and Andrew Macintosh from the ANU Centre for Climate Law and Policy will discuss the topic: Climate change policies in Australia: complementary or contradictory?

The Gillard Government recently axed or wound back a number of green programs to help return the Budget to surplus. Yet, over the next four years the government will spend $39 billion on subsidising fossil-fuel use.

With the government now pledging to introduce a price on carbon, this talk will examine the role of complementary measures under such a scheme, as well as the contradictions in the government’s policies.


Wednesday 2 March 6 – 7pm (doors open at 5.30pm)

The Lounge Bar at The Uni Pub, 17 London Circuit

FREE: no RSVP required

For more information contact Serena Rogers on 0421 759 262.


Clean Up Australia Day @ Mulligans   Flat
Meeting Point: Mulligans Flat   CarPark , Amy Ackman Street, Forde Progressing through Forde to the Ponds and   finishing at the Sales and Information Centre for a well earned BBQ lunch!

When: March 6th 2011
Start time: 10:30 AM
End time: 2:00 PMClean Up Australia Day is coming   up. If you are interested in participating, please contact Christine Wallis: christie.wallis@lendlease.com.au

SEE-Change Inner   South’s sustainable house visit.

Come and inspect an amorphous PV   system and discuss one of our member’s plans for passive, energy-saving   measures. March 10th, 6pm. Click here for RSVP details.

Slow Food   Canberra, Community    Banquet and Screening of ‘Dirt’. 

Friday 11th March, 6.30pm. Click here for the   flyer.

Friends Of Grasslands/Fenner Working Bee, Stirling Park, Yarralumla (9: – 4:00 pm, Sun 13 March)

We plan to expand the woody weed free area at Stirling Ridge where Australia’s second largest population of Button Wrinklewort is being overrun. This is inspiring work where the fruits of our previous work can be seen in a rejuvenated grassy understory. Meet beside Alexandrina Drive midway between Mariner Place and Hopetoun Circuit. We will set up camp further west than on previous work parties. Those arriving late can find us on the north east side of the ridge by the northern fence. Please register with Jamie Pittock for lunch and insurance purposes: jamie.pittock@fog.org.au. Please bring drinking water, sun protection and sturdy footwear.

2011 Trivia Night
When: Friday 1 April, 2011, 6.30pm for 7pm start
Where: Majura Hall, 2 Rosevear St, Dickson
Tickets: $20 each (if purchased before 19 March $25 each after 19 March).   Tables of 8
For more info and to register   your tickets
It’s on again! Come and join us   for a fun night of trivia, fun and mayhem and walk away feeling great that   you’ve helped a great cause.

Last year we raised just over   $4,000 to hire a part-time campaigner to fight for the Molonglo Valley. This   year we are trying to raise funds for our new Biodiversity Mapping Project.

This project will assist in   mapping the distribution of endangered species and ecological communities in   the ACT Region. Unfortunately, no such maps currently exist. Once completed   the project will provide a valuable resource for the community in terms of   the maps produced and data which will be made available through a new   facility at the Conservation Council Office in Civic.


Christians in Community Gardening – Exposure Visits

Gardens of Canberra, the Monaro and the South Coast – Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April

Are you or your church involved in community gardening? Or are you thinking about making a start?

Are you interested in meeting with Christian community gardeners and hearing their stories?

Come along to this tour of community gardens in Canberra, the Monaro and the South Coast and learn about how Christians and churches are sharing the good news in their communities, building community locally, caring for God’s creation, and serving the needy.

Date: 9:30am Saturday 2nd to 6pm Sunday 3rd April

Location: Meet and finish at O’Connor Uniting Church, corner of Brigalow & Scrivener Streets, O’Connor

Gardens to be visited:

O’Connor Community Garden

Ainslie Church of Christ Community Garden

Kingston Organic Community Garden

Cooma Community Garden

Garden of Eden Community Garden

Ricky’s Place Garden

Cost:* Full weekend: $40 ($25 concession)

Saturday to 2pm Canberra only: $15 ($10 concession)

We will carpool between gardens**

RSVP essential, by 28th March to Miriam Pepper on 0447 730 772

or info@unitingearthweb.org.au

For more information, see www.unitingearthweb.org.au/explore/garden-visits

* Saturday to 2pm cost includes lunch. Full weekend cost excludes dinner Saturday evening,

accommodation Saturday night and breakfast Sunday. We will be staying overnight in Eden. For accommodation options (including billeting) please see the website.

** Please advise Miriam if you can help with carpooling. Petrol expenses will be reimbursed.


Saturday, 5 February 2011, Sydney, “Mizaan Cooks River Regeneration Project”

Al-Ghazzali Centre is undertaking a significant project in collaboration with Canterbury City Council, to regenerate fauna and flora along Cooks River.  Meet the first Saturday of each month, 9:30am-12noon at Croydon Park.

Thursday, 10 February 2011, Sydney, ARRCC Event – “Policy Positions Paper launch”

ARRCC ivites you to help us celebrate the official release of a paper which outlines our stand on a range of public policy issues relating to climate change.  6pm in the Sydney CBD.

Christians in Community Gardening Visits – Gardens of South West Sydney

09:30am Saturday March 12, 2011 – 15:00pm Saturday March 12, 2011 (AEST)

Entry: $15 ($10 concession)

Liverpool Uniting Church
28 Pirie St ,
Liverpool , NSW

Event details:

Are you or your church involved in community gardening? Or are you thinking about making a start? Are you interested in meeting with Christian community gardeners and hearing their stories?

Come along to this tour of community gardens in Sydney’s South West and learn about how Christians and churches are sharing the good news in their communities, building community locally, caring for God’s creation, and serving the needy.

Gardens to be visited are: Hughes Street Community Garden, Food 4 Life Market Community Garden, Glenquarie Anglican Church Community Garden and the Living Garden.

Transport between gardens will be provided.

RSVP essential. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.


For more information, see http://www.unitingearthweb.org.au/explore/garden-visits

Throughout 2011, Bathurst, Rahamim Ecological Learning Community’s “People, Planet and Spirit” Education Programs 2011

The Rahamim Ecological Learning Community, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, is committed to developing a new consciousness of ourselves as planetary citizens, and changing our lifestyle accordingly.  See Rahamim’s 2011 program of events here.

The Election Environment Forum

When:  6pm to 7:30 pm. Tuesday 15 March

Where: NSW Parliament House Theatrette

Macquarie Street Sydney


The NSW Conservation Council and its members have organised The Election Environment Forum where renowned ABC journalist Quentin Dempster will direct your questions to political leaders from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens.

This question and answer forum is your chance to hear directly from the major parties on their environmental policies, from renewable energy to forest and river protection, mining and gas, planning and public transport.

You can register your attendance and questions to our political leaders here.
But hurry, places are filling fast!

Jessica, you have the power, to help decide whether NSW achieves a healthy, sustainable future, or takes a path in which nature and our quality of life are irreversibly diminished for future generations.

Not only will political leaders from the Coalition, Labor and the Greens face questions at our forum, but you can make a big difference by putting the environment on the agenda of your local candidates.

You can help defend our environment by demanding answers – find out where your local candidates stand on these critical issues for the future of our state and vote accordingly.

Click here to find out the top 10 priority questions you should ask you local candidates this state election.




Wednesday, 2 February 2011, Brisbane, “Wise Women Caring for Earth”

This Womenspace event will be facillitated by Mary Tinney from Earth Link (a community environment centre sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy).  Participants will reflect about some wise women who are caring and compassionate, who not only care for those they love but for the whole of the earth community.  Organised by Womenspace, at Wooloowin, 7:30-9:30pm.

Satutrday, 19 Feb 2011, Ocean View, “Introduction to Ecospirituality”

This is the first of a series of events offered by Earth Link which is intended to facilitate your journey into ecospirituality.  Organised by Earth Link, 10am-3pm.  See Earth Link’s calendar of events for 2011 here.


Church Greening News

In early February, senior religious leaders from the Orthodox Church travelled to many remote Native Alaskan villages in Bristol Bay, cut crosses in the ice and blessed the water. Each year the Orthodox priests bless the water, but this year was unique.

With the world’s largest open-pit gold and copper mine proposed for the headwaters of Bristol Bay, this year’s blessing could not be more important. Salmon that spawn in these waters and culture and livelihood of the Alaska Natives that have depended upon the salmon for more than 12,000 years are now threatened. Join the National Council of Churches (US) in calling for environmental and economic justice for Bristol Bay and its communities.

The Orthodox Church is opposed to the mine and working to ensure that Bristol Bay is protected for generations to come. They seek justice for the Alaska Natives who depend on the Bay and recognize the beauty and bounty of God’s Creation.

Source: National Council of Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Programs newsletter


Doom and Gloom

Top scientists urge halt to alpine grazing trial

AUSTRALIA’S scientific community has condemned the Baillieu government’s decision to return cattle grazing to the Alpine National Park under the banner of research.

Full story at http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/top-scientists-urge-halt-to-alpine-grazing-trial-20110129-1a938.html

Report finds that one-fifth of animals face extinction

“In September 2009 a scientific paper was published in the prestigious journal Nature identifying the global environmental challenges that lie ahead (Rockström, et al; A safe operating space for humanity. Nature461 (7263), 472-475, 2009. Comment in: Nature461(7263), 447-448, 2009). It will come as no surprise to FAME supporters that loss of biodiversity was at the top of the list. A more readable critique of this important paper can be found at the following link: Gaffney, “A Planet on the Edge”. Global Change74, 10-13, Winter 2009.

Following on from articles in our last newsletter on declining biodiversity, in late 2010 the Australian Federal Government released its Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030. Contained in it is a 10-point biodiversity plan to protect Australia’s most vulnerable plants and animals, delivering a range of targets for 2015, including adding another 600,000 square kilometres of land and water as conservation zones. Click here for more details.

This coincides with the most recent publication of the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature stating that one-fifth of the 25 000 species assessed are threatened with extinction. The study stated that around 50 species of mammals, birds and amphibians are moving closer to extinction every year with amphibians declining at the fastest rate, while birds are doing best.

With so many species facing extinction it may seem that the outlook for the planet is all doom and gloom. Yet we still have the opportunity to act to save these wonderful plants and animals. No matter how big or small every action will help. In fact for the first time the Red List of Threatened Species Report found evidence that on a global scale, conservation projects are indeed making a discernible difference.” Click here for more details.

Source: Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered species (FAME) newsletter. See http://www.fame.org.au/ for more information

Climate Change Harming Polar Bear Cubs


Polar bear litters are decreasing in size due to sea ice decline resulting from climate change, according to a study published in Nature on February 8, 2011. If this trend continues as predicted, the polar bear population could be in serious jeopardy.

“Species everywhere are feeling the heat, but none more extreme than polar bears and other Arctic species,” said Geoff York, WWF’s polar bear expert.

Read the full story at: http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2011/WWFPresitem19837.html?enews=enews1102t

Monthly Action Tips


*TableTalk * is an initiative of A Grand Stand for the Environment Inc – and has been successfully launched and offered in a number of Melbourne Eastern suburb locations. TableTalk is an opportunity for you to invite a small group of friends and neighbours to gather around your kitchen table to share stories, hopes and fears, hospitality and garden produce. These simple gatherings aim to strengthen friendships, give encouragement and mutual support as the church looks to new ways of living and caring for the earth, particularly considering the legacy we will leave our own grandchildren and other future generations.

TableTalks are simple to organise. Invite a group of six or eight friends and neighbours to join together for a cup of tea and invite them to bring a gift to share between those who will come. We provide you with a resource pack containing tablemats, invitations and a booklet outlining the process. We can also provide a TableTalk facilitator (in Victoria) by arrangement. Contact Julie James:grandstandenv@gmail.com

Climate Change Impacts in Tuvalu Video

Watch this short video about the impacts of climate change in Tuvalu and consider showing this in your church. Ask your local MP to watch the video too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLibhbdZCAw

Energy Meters

For those in Victoria, the Justice and International Mission Unit of the Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania has two energy meters available for free loan. This will enable you to see how much energy various electrical items use in your church so you can better work out how to reduce energy. Email:cath.james@victas.uca.org.au to organise to borrow one.

Source: Earth Team Update

A Stirring of Hope

New UK Bill Promotes Climate Friendly Farming

Labor Member Rob Flello MP has introduced a private members bill aimed at reducing the environmental impact of livestock in the United Kingdom.

The bill would also amend the way agricultural subsidies are used to make them more environmentally friendly. It includes a duty to give consideration to supporting sustainable practices and consumption through public procurement of livestock produce.

The bill also aims to reduce rainforest deforestation by reducing the use of soya meal in animal feed in the UK. It would do this by placing a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure the sustainability of livestock, and to give consideration to issues such as public procurement and agricultural subsidy reform.

The bill was debated in November 2010 but time ran out. Debate will resume on 10 June 2011.

Learn about the Sustainable Livestock Bill 2010-11 here.

Source: ARRCC

The World Wildlife Fund’s 50 Reasons for Hope


Progress in Tiger conservation

At the advent of the Chinese Year of the Tiger on February 14, 2010, WWF reported that tigers were in crisis around the world. With as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild, it was clear that this would be the vital tipping point for tigers—the year the world either turned the tide on extinction or our backs on this magnificent Asian big cat.

In the past twelve months, WWF used its global network to help combat poaching, protect and connect key tiger landscapes, and build political will.

See the full story at: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/tigers/yot-results.html?enews=enews1102t



Lenten Water Devotional: Water, Conflict and Just Peace. Click here to subscribe to weekly email with global water stories, scripture, and prayers from the Ecumenical Water Network of the World Council of Churches.


PC (USA) Environmental Ministries Lenten Eco-Justice Calendar. Each day in the season of Lent, learn about and take action on the issues of waste, energy, water, consumption and food. Click here for the PDF calendar and here for a Word document version that can be adapted for your church.


Green Church Immersion Studies



Gasland Film

An amazing / disturbing documentary about the impact of using chemicals to tap natural gas reserves and the impacts on local communities. See the trailer at:



2011 Calendar Dates:

–          2011 is the UN International Year of Forests

–          March 6 – Clean Up Australia Day

–          March 26 – Earth Hour

–          April 22nd- International Earth Day

–          May 22nd – International Day for Biological Diversity

–          June 5th – World Environment Day

–          September 25th – Ecumenical Social Justice Sunday

–          October – 17th – 23rd – National Water Week

–          November 26th – International Buy Nothing Day


Leadership across international borders: A case study of an environmental leader

Learn more about Ian Kiernan AO, OAM (Chairman and Founder of Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World), how he came to be the environmental leader he is and how he works to inspire people to care for the environment.

Book Reviews

Book: Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Save God’s Earth. By Mallory McDuff. Natural Saintsshares the stories and strategies of people of faith working to define a new environmental movement, where justice as a priority for the church means a clean and safe environment for all. Click here to read more.


Book: Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice! By Rebekah Todd-Peters. A six-session Christian Education resource that serves as a companion to Seven Steps to Greening Your ChurchClick here.

Websites to Visit

To learn more of Ian Kiernan’s story and his leadership, and to read some interviews with him, visit the following:





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