S&L – Issue 19

Salt and Light

Issue Nineteen (June 2011)

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  Grants and Competitions

l  Events

l  Looking for Greener Solutions

l  Action Tip

l  Resources

l  Websites to visit

Letter from the Editor:

Hi everyone,

As I write this I’m sitting on a train coming back from presenting a Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate to the Catholic Parish of Ss Peter and Paul in Kiama NSW (for more on this see the ‘Church Greening News’ section). It was a lovely trip, with parishioners volunteering to show me around the area’s sights and teach me a little about its history and geology, which I really enjoyed. So I’m a little sad to be going home, but enjoying the scenery, as I always do when travelling. The beauty of the rainforest in Macquarie Pass in particular was stunning, and seeing a Wedge-tailed eagle on the way up was a rare treat. Other sights make me less happy, with a lot of weeds and erosion out in the paddocks in some spots at the moment and further evidence of the decline of aging paddock trees throughout our farm landscapes which are not being replaced despite their importance for biodiversity, aesthetics and stock shelter.

For those in Canberra, some events of particular interest coming up include the presentation of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Eco-Worship Award to Canberra City Church on Sunday the 24th of July at their night service (beginning 5:30pm) and the Greenhills Camp and Conference Centre’s Open Day on the 7th of August (1437 Cotter Road). The centre is currently piloting the development of the new criteria for the Christian Venues Five Leaf Award, so why not come out and have a stickybeak at some of the things they have been doing for the environment?

We have another great article this month from Michael Rhydderch linking issues around paper production to forest theme from World Environment Day earlier this month. If your church did something for this event, why not share your story with this network to inspire others and share your ideas?

Speaking of WED – a thank you to everyone who came out to march for real action on climate change (despite the cold) in Canberra and other major cities to represent the church, I was very happy to see us have a real presence at the event.

Those who attended Carrotmob at Ainslie IGA should also be happy, with over $12,000 being raised to go towards reducing the store’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Also in this issue: information about the presentation of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate to Springwood Uniting Church in NSW.

Please note that I will be away from my email from the 30th of June to the 10th of July.

Yours Sincerely,



Jessica Morthorpe

Founder and Director


Church Greening News

Catholic Parish of Ss Peter and Paul in Kiama presented with the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate


Back row from left to right: John Montford, Steve Pearson, Ben van der Wijngaart, Peter Clarke Front row from left to right: Helen Plowman, Fran Egan, Alison Smith, Jessica Morthorpe and Kathy Richardson


Press Release:

The Catholic Parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Kiama (NSW) were honoured on Sunday for their environmental work with the presentation of a Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate.

Five Leaf founder Jessica Morthorpe, who travelled from Canberra to make the presentation, said, “To achieve the certificate, which is the introductory award in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards program, the church completed a range of actions, including participating in an energy audit, holding an environment focused service at Kiama Surf beach on Easter Sunday and having a range of environmental film screenings, creation walks and workshops.

“The church has also installed environmentally friendly lighting and is working with their parish school to help them become more environmentally friendly.”

The Parish of Saints Peter and Paul Kiama is the tenth church to receive the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate and one of fifteen churches involved in the program. Most of the Parish’s achievements were completed as part of their own ‘Lighthouse Project’, a year-long calendar of events celebrating the need to care for the environment through action, reflection, prayer and fun, that was launched on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi in 2009. This project, which concluded in October last year, was supported by the Australian Conservation Foundation, National Council of Churches, World Wildlife Fund, Wollongong Diocese, Kiama Council and Healthy Cities Illawara.

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are an ecumenical environmental change program targeting religious institutions, a part of the community that has been largely overlooked by the greater environmental movement. The awards are based on the creation care concept, which treats care for the environment as a basic tenant of religious faith. Armed with this message, the Five Leaf Eco-Awards assist churches in fulfilling set goals related to sustainability and community awareness of environmental issues.

Through the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Ms Morthorpe wants to bridge the gap between traditional religious institutions and the environmental movement. “Churches have a tremendous ability to make a difference. As a centre of community their influence can be magnified by the power of the people who are involved in the church,” she said, “The federal government may be still arguing over what to do about climate change but at least the churches are out there actually doing something about it.”


Springwood Uniting Church Receives Award

Jessica Morthorpe Presents the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate to Rev. Janice Freeston

Tucked away in the mid-Blue Mountains, the Uniting Church of Springwood has been working to care for the environment through projects including solar panels, water tanks and guest speakers. Jessica travelled to the church to present them with a Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate for their achievements on the 17th of April this year. She delivered a Palm Sunday sermon about creation’s praise of God, made even more appropriate by the beautiful setting of the church. The church also has a strong commitment to Fairtrade, and future plans may include a community garden or Christmas tree farm.

To read Jessica’s sermon, visit http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/2011/04/palm-sunday-sermon-on-creation-and.html


National Council of Churches Eco Mission Project

A new ecumenical national eco-mission project has been established under the auspices of the National Council of Churches. Key in this development have been Green Church Advocate in the Queensland Synod, the Rev. Dr Clive Ayre, Catholic Earthcare Australia’s Jacqui Remond, and Lutheran and long-time ecotheologian Professor Normal Habel. Clive, Jacqui and Norm have been appointed to the new project group, together with Anglican Bishop Tom Wilmot (WA), Luthern the Rev. Paul Hannola, and the General Secretary of the NCCA, the Rev. Tara Curlewis. The Eco Mission Project group will seek to raise the profile of eco-mission nationally, and to develop links and resources for eco-mission around Australia.


Grants and Competitions

ACTEWAGL Green Grants Available in the ACT

Due: 29th July 2011

If you’ve got an idea that could benefit the environment, then apply for an ActewAGL Green Grant and go for green! Through Green Grants, we’re offering not-for-profit organisations and schools in the capital region the chance to receive up to $10,000 for an environmental project to help reduce energy and water use. Projects can be big or small.

Judges will be looking for applications that show:

  • how the project will have a positive impact on the environment and sustainability by reducing the use of energy and/or water
  • exactly how the project will work, including a budget
  • creativity – have some fun with your project!



Call for Essays on Environmental Topics

WOLFoundation – the Web of Life Foundation – is seeking submissions of essays to its annual competition that carries $2,000 in prizes.  WOLFoundation is a non-profit organization aimed at encouraging fresh thinking and clear, accessible, enjoyable writing on subjects related to our environment.  We are looking for ideas presented in a high quality, non-technical style. We welcome any opinion on environmental issues – be they for or against any particular debate or point of view.

We are looking for clear, compelling writing in the English language showing original thinking and new ideas. We welcome any form of writing – essays, fiction short stories or any other form of prose in any style.

Submission Requirements: Manuscripts must be written in English, double spaced, no longer than 3,000 words and contain no abstract, list of references or footnotes. Images are allowed as part of the manuscript. Manuscripts must not have been previously published nor have been submitted for publication.

There are no fees or membership requirements for submission.  Deadline December 15, 2011.  More details of the Foundation and the detailed guidelines can be found at www.wolfoundation.org



Politics in the Pub

Richard Dennis of The Australia Institute and Green’s Bob Brown will be in conversation about the topic “Greening Government” Wednesday the 29th of June from 6-7pm, level 3 of the Uni Pub (17 London Circuit, Civic).  All welcome.

Next Canberra Interfaith Forum Environment Meditation & Healing Garden Working Bee

Sunday 3rd July 10am-1pm


Tuesday Night Small Discussion Series

July 12th – Bible Study: What does the Bible say about the environment?

This will be a quick overview of the main verses in the Bible that deal with the environment and how we might interpret them. It is aimed at beginners to eco-theology.

July 19th – Speaking to your church about creation care workshop.

This workshop will help you to plan a speech to deliver to your congregation about creation care and why their faith is calling them to act for the environment.

July 26th – Discussion: What does our faith tell us about endangered species?

This discussion is for those a bit more versed in eco-theology who would like to explore with others how we should respond to the issue of endangered species and species extinctions as Christians.

All small discussions will begin at 7pm and light refreshments will be available.

RSVP essential. Each discussion can only cater for about 5 people.


Five Leaf Eco-Awards Worship Award Presentation

Canberra City Church

5:30pm 24th July



We live in a culture where there is a profound denial of feeling.

We are conditioned to repress feelings of grief, fear and anger and avoid their expression.  We also learn to deaden ourselves and try to avoid feeling them at all.

Yet these feelings are an important part of our intelligence. For billions of years our pre-human ancestors used feelings alone to determine what was safe and what was dangerous and natural selection honed the  accuracy of these feelings at every turn. Thinking augments this intelligence but does not replace it. Without robust feelings to back it up, thinking is shallow and lacks authenticity and passion

In spite of the well-funded campaign by the fossil fuel industry to sow doubt and confusion, we  in the climate movement are beginning to comprehend the full horror of what greenhouse gasses will bring.

Yet intellectual comprehension in the absence of the feelings lacks conviction. We are timid, feel paralyzed and powerless, “its all too late ” , “what can one person do anyway?” .

Our attempts  to convince our people of the danger  are cautious and lukewarm or else shrill and ineffectual

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity”

In her books “Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age” (1983)  and  “Coming Back to Life” (1998) Joanna Macy teaches us how to create a safe container  of fellowship to invite these banished feelings back into our lives and explore  the wisdom, energy  and empowerment that this inevitably brings.

John Seed OAM is an environmental activist who has worked with Joanna Macy since 1986 and co-authored with her the book “Thinking Like a Mountain – Towards a Council of All Beings”. He has been facilitating Despair and Empowerment for 25 years and in 2006 helped in the formation of numerous Climate Action Groups  in the US, Canada and Australia with a series of Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment workshops.

In 2011, John will be facilitating another series of Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment workshops to help empower climate activists and climate action groups around Australia.

WHERE:  At the Australian National University: At the Australian National University: Room HA 53 [Haydon Allen 53] is a ground floor room just to the right as you reach the top of the ramp leading up from Union Court to the “Pajenka’s” coffee shop on the Union Building terrace. See the Australian National University map at  http://campusmap.anu.edu.au/displaymap.asp?grid=ef32

HA 53 is located in Map EF32  at Grid Reference  F3 ,….Index Number 22. The closest parking is on campus. Enter the Uni from Barry Drive to find carparks on the right and Union Court to your left.

WHEN: 30 July, 10am-5.30 pm

COST: $100 (less if you can’t afford it) all proceeds to Beyond Zero Emissions and 100% Renewables Campaign


For more about Despair and Empowerment see Joanna Macy’s “Working Through Environmental Despair

More about Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment workshops see:  http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/climate/


Greenhills Camp and Conference Centre Open Day

1437 Cotter Road

7 August


Water, Community and Food

Thursday 8 September

Speaker:  Dr John Williams:  Former Chief CSIRO Land and Water; member of the Wentworth Group of Scientists; Adjunct Professor, Charles Sturt University

Time: 7.30 pm

Venue:  Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Corner of Blackall and Kings Ave Barton

Cost: donation $5 invited

Supper provided



Australian Association of Mission Studies Conference, Sydney

Mission in a Globalised World: A New Vision for Christian

Discipleship (including Ecology and Mission)

22-25th September



Saturday 16 July, Ecology and Christian Faith

(10am-3pm at Four Winds,104 Robinson Road South, Ocean View, Qld 4521)

We at Earth Link have taken up the challenge of looking at the connection between ecospirituality and our Christian tradition, especially as it relates to the interconnectedness between earth, human and the Sacred. Join us in this beautiful and restful place for a time of immersion in nature, reflection and interesting conversation. . Price is $65/$60 conc includes Morning Tea and Lunch.

RSVP to Four Winds3425 3138 by Monday 11 July.

(You can follow up this day with the longer retreat being offered in August.

However, you can also attend just one or the other.)


6th World Environmental Congress, Brisbane

Explore, Experience, Educate

July 19-23


Looking for Greener Solutions


By Michael Rhydderch

Australia is a country that loves the outdoors and has a great appreciation for the natural world. We are generally a dry country with only small pockets of forests. Therefore it is important we keep a hold of them and the biodiversity they contain. Yet, the strange thing is that the paper on which we pledge our commitment to saving the trees of our forest may come from the very trees we are trying to save. After all, the main ingredient in printing and writing paper is hardwood fibre, and the primary source of paper imported into Australia is wood pulp. However, as we will discuss, this does not have to be the case.

According to Rainey and Clark (2004), Australia has a “trade deficit” within the wood sector, 88% of which comes from the importation of paper products. In other words, we import far more paper than we export. While Australia exports 7 million tonnes of hardwood fibre per year, almost one and a half million tonnes of paper are imported annually, mainly due to the import of printing and writing paper.

At the time the paper was written (2004), paper production was at 330 million tonnes per annum. Wood pulp accounted for 185 million tonnes of this, while recycling of paper had grown dramatically to over 100 million tonnes per annum and the remainder of production was made up of non-wood pulp sources and the addition of clay to the wood pulp to act as a filler.

Since this study was conducted, the population of Australia has grown but not much has changed in terms of the use of alternative non-wood fibres for paper production. As the population grows, the need for paper is growing, but forests are not growing. They are being constantly depleted, and life on this Earth along with them. Plus, of course, our sources of fibre for paper production.

Australian concern about the harvest of forests for wood pulp and paper production has been amply demonstrated by public responses to the debate over the proposed Gunns Pulp Mill in Tasmania. So why don’t we try another avenue?

Luckily for us, we have the opportunity to turn one of our major waste sources into a replacement for wood fibres in paper production.


And so we come to bagasse, the left over pulp after the sugar has been harvested from sugarcane. According to Rainey, Australia produces 10 million tonnes worth of bagasse a year, while only producing 1.45 million tonnes of paper products per year. Therefore we have more bagasse than we can throw a stick at.

At the moment, bagasse is often burnt to create steam and electricity (Rainey, 2009). While this is a good use of a waste product, Rainey believes the optimum result would be to be to have a bagasse pulp mill creating paper that is also powered by burning bagasse.

The optimum place to build these bagasse pulp mills would be close to where the source of bagasse is as this would cut down transportation costs and energy costs of getting this pulp to the mill. Because sugarcane is grown predominately on the east north coast, this is where the bagasse pulp mill industry would become significant (similar to how the wood fibre industry spread through southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and south-eastern South Australia because of the abundance in wood fibre in these areas). This may require some adjustment, but would create many jobs in these areas.

There have been past discussions around introducing bagasse as a possible resource for making paper, but it has been continuously turned back because of the perceived lesser quality of the end result and the difficulties of ‘cleaning’ the pulp (‘Cleaning the pulp’ translates as removing the pith and silica in the bagasse. This is both difficult and costly).

The quality issue arises because during the harvesting process sugarcane fibres are damaged by the machines. This means the quality of the paper cannot be as good as if the fibres were long continuous strands, as required to make higher quality paper. However, not all paper has to be of printer or writing quality. Paper comes in many shapes and forms including:

  • Newspapers
  • Packaging and cardboard
  • Tissue and towelling
  • Printing and writing papers

Bagasse pulp mills are also still far from a perfect environmental practice. For example, the pulp needs to be bleached to create an acceptable colour for the market. This requires the use of large amounts of harsh chemicals. This and other chemical processes necessary will create similar possibilities for environmental damage to a wood-pulp mill. Rainey explains that some of the fears of the bagasse pulp mill stem from the possibility of the waste effluent being released into the ocean.

A bagasse mill would still also need a large chunk of water to operate, though the water usage has improved dramatically, decreasing from 100m3 of water per tonne of pulp to 10-30m3 of water per tonne of pulp. Also, if too much bagasse were used to create paper the pulp mills would need to be powered by another source. This could mean coal, or hopefully a cleaner, greener energy source.

So, bagasse pulp mills are not likely to be the cleanest and greenest industry, but they do offer a positive alternative to cutting down trees to create the paper that we write on and threatening the biodiversity that depends on the forests for survival. Of course, paper recycling remains preferable and very important, but we will always need some source of new fibre, and why not make that a waste product we have in abundance?

This year is the ‘International Year of the Forest’; though unfortunately not a lot of people seem to have got the memo. But hopefully, we can appreciate our forests and prevent any more destruction before it’s not too late, making every year a ‘Year of the Forest’.


  1. T J, Rainey & N B, Clarke, 2004, An overview of bagasse as a resource for the Australian paper industry, International Sugar Journal, CSIRO, vol 104, pp. 608-611
  2. T J Rainey, et al, 2009, An experimental study of Australian sugarcane bagasse pulp permeability, Appita Journal, Carlton, vol. 62, pp 296-302

Action Tip

Why not support the following campaigns?

Micah Challenge urges Christians to “Share the Earth”

Creativity and food are two key ingredients in Micah Challenge Australia’s new advocacy campaign aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability in poor countries.  ‘Share the Earth’ brings attention to the crisis of provision facing the world’s poorest people, who rely heavily on a sustainable ecosystem for food, water and shelter. The campaign focuses on Millennium Development Goal 7, which highlights environmental sustainability as a key aspect of poverty alleviation.  To read more about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit the Micah Challenge website.

UnitingJustice joins the YES campaign

UnitingJustice has added its support to the campaign to ‘Say Yes’ – to cutting carbon pollution, to a clean healthy economy, to new clean energy jobs and to protecting our environment. For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.sayyesaustralia.org.au/learn/.


New food justice resource from the Anglican Church

A new resource on food justice has been produced by the Anglican Alliance for Development, Relief and Advocacy. This resource includes a briefing pack and a letter that can be sent to government ministers ahead of a G20 Agriculture Ministers’ meeting 20/22 June 2011. The sample letter could be used in any of the G20 countries that will be represented at the meeting in June. These resources are readable and interesting, and can be found on the Church of England website.


2011 Calendar Dates:

–          September 7th – National Threatened Species Day

–          September 25th – Ecumenical Social Justice Sunday

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

–          November 26th – International Buy Nothing Day


Inspirational Quote

“The challenge before the religious community in America [and Australia] is to make every congregation — every church, synagogue and mosque — truly green: a center of environmental study and action. That is religious duty.” The Very Reverend James Parks Morton, Dean, Cathedral of St. John the Divine (Episcopal).

Source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/tomek09.htm

Websites to Visit

http://www.transitionnetwork.org/ – a British organisation which has taken on the role of inspiring, encouraging connecting, supporting and training communities as they self-organise around the transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.

http://everydayecointheact.blogspot.com/search/label/Events – a website which provides information about environmental activities/groups in the ACT, including the Transition Towns movement in the ACT

http://www.see-change.org.au/ – SEE-Change is a community, not-for-profit group that supports and inspires people to join together and act in a sustainable way. Its activities are practical, and based on local Canberra realities. In addition, its aim is to create workable project models to be picked up by other community groups Australia-wide.

http://sydneyfoodfairness.org.au/ – THE ALLIANCE formed in Sydney in 2005 to coordinate the efforts of rural producers, health professionals, community workers and community-based advocates active in developing a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable food system in the Sydney region.

http://canberra.climatexchange.org.au/ – a source of information and views on climate change and sustainability solutions for Canberra and region.

Fr. Sean McDonagh Podcast on Ecological conversion:


List of Ecology and Justice books:


A Green Christology sermon:


The Religion Report with Christian Ecologist Sean McDonagh:




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: