S&L – Issue 20

Salt and Light

Issue Twenty (July 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.

Contents

l  Letter from the Editor

l  Church Greening News

l  Grants and Competitions

l  Events

l  Indigenous Ecological Knowledge

l  Reading

l  Action Tip

l  Resources

l  Inspirational Quote

l  Websites to visit

Letter from the Editor:

Hi everyone,

Welcome to our twentieth issue!

If you are interested in a church response to the Carbon Tax, one from the UCA is included in this issue and this month’s resource is a useful list of Strategies to Promote Care for Creation in Your Congregation. Also in this issue is the first article in a series on Indigenous Ecological Knowledge by our new volunteer, Chris McKay. Chris is doing a Masters of Science Communication at ANU and is writing a sub-thesis on this topic.

There are a few things I would like to bring to your attention this month:

–          For those interested in seeing the presentation of a Five Leaf Eco-Awards Eco-Worship Award, there are two opportunities coming up. I will be presenting the first at Canberra City Uniting Church this Sunday (the 24th) in the evening service and a second at Manningham Function Centre in Melbourne on Thursday the 28th of July during their latest GRANSTAND for the Environment event.

–          There is a new grant resource in the grants section for those in QLD and for those in Canberra, the ActewAGL grants have not closed yet. If you are looking for funding, make sure you have a look.

–          Also, a couple of things for you to try and get your churches involved in over the next few months:

–       RSPCA Cupcake Day 15th August

–       Ride to Worship Week 7th-13th October

–        National Day of Prayer 6th November (More info in the events section)

So I have a challenge for you this month:

Can you make cupcakes this good?

Yours Sincerely,

Jessica

 

 

Church Greening News

Community Garden Photos Up

The Uniting Earthweb has posted photos of the community gardens visited on their tours earlier in the year. To have a look and maybe be inspired to start your own community garden see http://www.unitingearthweb.org.au/explore/fourteen-community-gardens-in-pictures

One Reaction to the Carbon Tax: the Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly Media Release

10 July 2011

Uniting Church Commends Australiaʼs Clean Energy Future

The Uniting Church in Australia has congratulated the Government and the members of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee on today’s announcement of a price on pollution. The Church welcomes the strong package of measures as the most important step towards a clean economy and a sustainable future.

Rev. AIistair Macrae, President of the Church said, “When the Uniting Church was inaugurated in 1977 we pledged to the nation that we would be a voice urging the protection of the environment and the wise use of the earthʼs resources.

“I am pleased today to see the Australian Government finally announce a strong program for addressing dangerous climate change and moving Australia to a clean energy future.

“This is a historic moment for Australia, together as a nation we are taking up the international challenge of responding to climate change and protecting Godʼs earth for future generations.

“The Uniting Church believes that strong and swift action on climate change is indeed one of the greatest moral challenges of our time. As Christians, we believe that Godʼs will for the earth is for renewal and reconciliation, not destruction by human beings,” said Rev. Macrae.

Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice Australia, has particularly commended the package of measures for:

• the compensation packages for low income households and vulnerable Australians

• the commitments aimed at supporting the research, development and use of renewable energies, and

• the multiple programs supporting Australiaʼs transition to a low carbon economy and sustainable future.

“We consider the $23 per tonne starting price on the low side and are also disappointed about the weak signal for reducing pollution from our most highly polluting sectors. We are, however, pleased with the long-term target of an 80% reduction on 2020 emission levels by 2050. This will help to ensure that Australia makes a good contribution to addressing global warming.

“The strong focus in the package on renewable energy is especially welcome. Together with a number of job assistance and energy security measures this provides us with a good start for the transition to a sustainable economy.

“We now have some substantial policies which acknowledge our human dependence on the wellbeing of the planet.

“As a Church with deep connections in the Asia-Pacific region we are disappointed that there is no revenue allocated for additional adaptation and mitigation assistance for our developing country neighbours. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that Australia does meet its responsibility as major polluter in the region,” said Rev. Poulos.

Rev. Macrae said, “The Uniting Church will continue to be a voice for the planet and all its people and will continue to support measures by the government to take action on climate change. Our hope is that Australia may show leadership in successful climate change policy and bold innovation in renewable technologies.”

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!

http://www.actewagl.com.au/Environment/Environmental-initiatives/Environmental-grants.aspx

QLD Grants

For those in Queensland, check out the Natural resource management incentive database to determine whether any of this large list of grants are relevant to your church.

See http://www.regionalnrm.qld.gov.au/get_involved/incentives/index.html

 

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

Events

NATIONAL

Get on your bikes and ride during Ride to Worship Week 2011

The second annual Ride to Worship Week runs from Friday 7th to Thursday 13th October 2011.  To join in the fun, all you need to do is to cycle, walk, or use another form of environmentally friendly transport to get and from church. You can join in as an individual, a family, or as a whole church or faith community.  Check out the brand new Ride to Worship Week clip, read more about Ride to Worship Week, and register your participation at http://www.arrcc.org.au/ride-to-worship-week-2011.  Ride to Worship Week is an initiative of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).

 

We invite you to join with us for a Day of Prayer on climate change

Sunday 6th November

Hope for Creation will be a day for Christians to unite in prayer to God for the world in a changing climate.

Churches across Australia will join with Christians around the world to prayerfully seek guidance as to how we are to respond to the changes that are happening in God’s creation.

As Christians, we believe that prayer is vital for bringing about change in our world and ourselves, and that it is a testimony and reminder to ourselves and others of the hope we have in God’s love for creation and his desire to redeem all of it.

Changes in the environment are already harming our neighbours in poor countries and threaten our children’s futures. In seeking God in prayer, we draw on our united faith and hope in a God who loves and sustains the world.

Who’s behind it?

Key churches and organisations: TEAR Australia; Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Justice and International Mission Unit; World Vision Australia; ETHOS: EA (Evangelical Alliance) Centre for Christianity and Society; Micah Challenge Australia, and the Baptist Union of Victoria.

Other supporters of the Day of Prayer are listed at: http://www.hopeforcreation.com.au

Resources

This isn’t a prescriptive day. We don’t have to all respond the same way, or have the exact same ideas and beliefs about climate change for us to pray together.

Adaptable Hope for Creation resources for the Day of Prayer will include:

A website with information, prayers, resources and a place for churches and individuals

 

ACT

Tuesday Night Small Discussion Series

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

 

CLIMATE CHANGE, DESPAIR & EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOP

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

 

BRING A PILLOW TO SIT ON AND FOOD TO SHARE

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 Centre Open Day

1437 Cotter Road

7th August 1pm-4pm

Come along and check out the progress at the Greenhills Centre, including the environmental work inspired by their Christian faith as they work towards the Christian Venues Five Leaf Eco-Award.

 

Working Party 10 for the ENVIRONMENT MEDITATION & HEALING GARDEN

Canberra Interfaith Forum & Canberra Multicultural Community Forum, together with Palliative Care Society (ACT) Inc. invite you to join the 10th on-site regular Multicultural Working Party for the Garden:

Date: Sunday 7 August 2011   Time: 10.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (flexible time)

Place: Grassland just EAST of the ACT Hospice and the cycle track

at 5 Menindee Drive, Barton

Main work to be undertaken: weeding paspalum from SE portion of

the inner grassland+ lighter jobs for less-sturdy people.

Please bring:  Sturdy gloves

Your favourite weeding tool

Mug, cup or glass for your drink

What will be provided:            Guidance on weeds to be removed

How to remove and dispose of them

Some lightweight garden mattocks

Bags for the weeds

Mid-morning: refreshing drink/snack

Parking: Please park in the slots on NORTH side of Menindee Drive,

NOT in the Hospice or Boathouse Restaurant public/private Parking areas;

Or park lower down Menindee Drive, near lakeside

Basic toilet facilities available 100 m  away, on east side of the

Boathouse Restaurant.

Please join us for a happy and productive multicultural morning.

More details from Vernon Bailey

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

 

NSW

The Climate Crisis as the Crisis of Humanity

September 20th

United Theological College, Sydney

Speakers: Prof Ernst Conradie and Prof Clive Hamilton

 

 

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

http://groupsthatclick.com/aams/index.php?type=page&ID=3515

Queensland

Ecology and Christian Faith

Saturday 16 July, 10am-3pm at Four Winds

Earth Link has taken up the challenge of looking at the connection between ecospirituality and the 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. Cost $70/$65 conc includes materials, morning tea and lunch.

RSVP to Four Winds 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.

Ecospirituality Retreat at Four Winds

9am Wednesday, 17 August to 1pm Sunday 21 August (Exhibition Week)

Earth Link is offering a five day retreat which will allow us to take quality time for input, silence, ritual and sharing on ecospirituality and its connection to Christian faith. Numbers are limited, so register your interest early (see contact info above). A deposit of $100 towards the total cost of $350 is due by 1 August.

Coal and Gas in Queensland – Why should city people care about these issues?

Saturday 23 July, 2pm, All Saints¡¦ Church, Cobbitty Crescent, Arana Hills

Open Forum and screening of Gaslands documentary; Speaker Drew Hutton (Friends of the Earth). RSVP to Ann 3312 0207 by 19 July

AngliGreen Camp 17 & 18 September at Eprapah Scout Camp,

Cnr Cleveland-Redland Bay Road and Colburn Ave, Victoria Point.

Cost including all meals will be approximately $20-35 per person. Less for part-time attendance. For more information contact Judy Seymour on 3203 4193.

Joel Salatin’s Local Farms and Community¨ Workshop,

Saturday 5 August, Beerwah Community Hall

http://regenag.com/web/upcoming-courses/details/25-joel-salatin-workshop-beerwah.html

Exhibition: Large embroidered tapestry: Canticle of the Universe

30 August – 17 September, ACU Gallery, Banyo

http://www.kopanang.org/Commissions–Exhibition-work/

Inspired by Sr Sheila Flynn OP, following cultural historian and geologian, Thomas Berry and mathematical cosmologist, Brian Swimme, South African women of Kopanang community have embroidered a 35m tapestry. This is a religious hymn in stunning embroidery and it has the potential to call us all towards renewed environmental commitment.

The Exhibition, with free entry, continues from 9am till 5pm on week days at

1100 Nudgee Road or by transport from Toombul station.

For more information contact Margaret Moore on 3870 9427

 

Victoria

A GRANDSTAND for the Environment Inc. presents: Who’s telling the truth about Climate Change? And who can we trust?

The media is full of claims and counter claims about the reality and impact of climate change. Scientists, industry leaders and politicians all seem to be at loggerheads about what, if anything, needs to be done.

David Karoly – Meteorologist in conversation with Yoshihisa Kashima  – Social Psychologist  together explore the personal journey of coming to accept that climate change is happening and why we, and our leaders, have trouble accepting this.

David Karoly: Professor of Meteorology at Melbourne University and specialist in climate change science was involved in the preparation of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in 2007.

Yoshihisa Kashima: Professor of Psychological Sciences at Melbourne University explores how the stories we tell ourselves shape how we respond to the challenge of climate change.

Thursday, July 28th – 7.30pm to 9.30pmwith refreshments from 7.00pm.

Manningham Function Centre – Level 1, room 2699 Doncaster Road, Doncaster

Supported by Manningham City Council

Indigenous Ecological Knowledge

By Chris McKay

As an Indigenous man, Indigenous Knowledge is something I’m particularly passionate about. However, I have mixed ancestry and a father who didn’t find out he was Indigenous until he was an adult. I grew up with Western culture and I’ve had to make a special effort to find out about Indigenous Knowledge. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned and why I see Indigenous Knowledge as being important for our environment. It’s a big topic and there’s a lot to talk about so I intend this article as introduction to Indigenous Ecological Knowledge. I’ll explore some of the issues touched on here in more detail in following issues of Salt and Light.

Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, or Traditional Ecological Knowledge as it is most commonly known in official documents, is something that exists wherever there are Indigenous people. In its broadest context, it is the knowledge that results when a group of people have a continuing connection to a specific place—“place-based” knowledge or “local knowledge” (Jacobson & Stephens, 2009; Robson et al., 2009). In Australia, Indigenous people have what is widely thought to be the longest continuing living culture in the world. The connections with a specific place, or ‘country’ as many Australian Indigenous people refer to it, have been forged over many thousands of years. I think it’s fair to say that Indigenous cultures would have made some pretty valuable observations about their environment in that time.

One of the better definitions I’ve found for Traditional Ecological Knowledge comes from Berkes et al. (2000) and goes as follows:

“[Traditional Ecological Knowledge is] a cumulative body of knowledge, practice, and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with their environment”. (Berkes, Colding, & Folke, 2000)

One of the things this definition highlights is that Indigenous Ecological Knowledge is holistic or contextual. That is, Indigenous knowledge about the environment is not broken down into specific categories on a resource basis but takes into account the complex web of ecological and social relationships between all the living and non-living things in their environment, including themselves. For example, to Indigenous people in the Murray Darling Basin water is not simply a resource to be exploited but a web of relationships within which life, spirit and law are connected (Weir, 2009). They understand that anything that affects the rivers and the water quality will have impacts that reach far beyond the riverbanks. Importantly, when we talk about this connectedness that Indigenous people know, we are not talking about a simplistic idea of ‘everything is connected to everything else’ but actually that everything is connected to something and there are patterns that can be learned and integrated into knowledge systems (Weir, 2009).

It is not just what Indigenous people know about country that’s important but how they know it is equally, if not more, important. When Indigenous elders pass on their knowledge they don’t just pass on information but also a process for observing, discussing and making sense of new information. This is what Berkes (2009) refers to as ‘Indigenous ways of knowing’. This process is about knowing what to look for and how to look for what is important. For example, because Indigenous people are constantly interacting with the land and its resources they develop a sensitivity for detecting critical signals from the environment that alerts them when something unusual is happening, such as climate change (Berkes, 2009).

The other important aspects of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge are the beliefs and worldview that this knowledge sits within. Indigenous people have a deep respect for their country and the living and non-living things that they live with. This comes from recognition that humans are not separate from nature, there is no boundary between humans and nature as some streams of Western thought have dictated, the two are inextricably linked. Knowing this, they believe that if they look after country, country will look after them (Weir, 2009).

I’d like to illustrate this particular characteristic of Indigenous Knowledge for you, and how it differs from Western knowledge, with a striking real world example. At a seminar on Indigenous languages at AIATSIS in 2010, Dr Jakelin Troy told the audience about a process she was involved in whereby a plain English guide to the Native Title Act (the legislation by which Indigenous people’s rights to land is determined in the Australian legal system) was being translated into twelve Indigenous languages. She discovered that in each of the cases the words ‘Native Title’ were translated into the same words as those used by the groups to refer to the people who lived on that land. That is, all of the Indigenous groups involved in this translation activity did not distinguish between the people and their land. To refer to a group of Indigenous people was to also refer to the land on which they live. This is distinctly different from Western ideas about the relationships between people and land.

This worldview influences the way they use their knowledge and apply it when interacting with country and managing resources. For Indigenous Australians it is not simply enough to know about the environment they live in, as this knowledge comes with obligations for looking after country. These obligations are a set of rights and responsibilities inherited from ancestors and ancestor beings (Weir 2009).

In my mind the way in which Indigenous Ecological Knowledge is passed along holds the key to its endurance. This knowledge is interwoven into rituals, song cycles, dances, art, kinship structures and other traditions. I experienced this first hand while living with my family amongst the Tiwi people of Bathurst Island, an island 80 km off the coast of Darwin. In order to be able to live with the Tiwi people our family needed to be accepted into their society and be adopted by a family. We were lucky enough to be adopted and as a result I was given the totem of my adopted uncle, the turtle. In the brief time I was living on the island I learnt the unique dance that was performed only by those with a turtle totem, I learnt some of the responsibilities that came with this totem (I was not to hunt or eat turtles or turtle eggs) and I also learnt that being a turtle had implications for who I was able to have a relationship with and marry. What I have mentioned here is only the tip of the iceberg in regard to what knowledge there was to be passed on to a young turtle. And the latter point about relationships should give you an idea about just how integrated ecological knowledge is within the culture and social structure. It has been observed that if traditions like these remain strong then no special effort is needed to preserve ecological knowledge. The cultural rituals help people remember the rules and processes for appropriately interpreting signals from the environment (Berkes et al., 2000).

There is substantial debate about whether Indigenous Ecological Knowledge can or should be distinguished from Western scientific knowledge because western scientific methods and knowledge-making are not necessarily consistent across all disciplines. However, if you compare the ‘traditional’ scientific method, complete with hypotheses and testing of predictions, with Indigenous ways of knowing then there are some fairly clear distinctions. Indigenous Ecological Knowledge is the product of Indigenous people’s intimate connection with their country, whereas Western science attempts to maintain an objective perspective in its observations. The similarity is that both based knowledge systems are based on an accumulation of observations (Berkes et al., 2000).

Some academics find it more useful to view the two as different knowledge systems with a good potential for complementarity. And this complementarity is playing out already. Indigenous Ecological Knowledge is not a static relic of the past, it is alive and well today and is continually evolving and incorporating ideas and technologies from western sciences. So too, western scientists are recognising the benefits of understanding and incorporating Indigenous Ecological Knowledge into their work. The Convention on Biological Diversity, an international treaty signed by 150 nations, explicitly recognises the importance of Indigenous Knowledge in the quest to conserve biological diversity and use resources sustainably and equitably.

If we know anything, we know that the business-as-usual approach to ‘caring’ for the environment and managing our resources is not going to serve us into the future. It might be time to look to those with the millennia of know how for some ideas and start working together on this one.

In coming issues of Salt and Light I’ll talk a bit more about the relationship between Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and Western science.

References

 

Berkes, F. (2009). Indigenous ways of knowing and the study of environmental change. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 39(4), 151-156.

Berkes, F., Colding, J., & Folke, C. (2000). Rediscovery of Traditional Ecological Knowledge as Adaptive Management. Ecological Applications, 10(5), 1251-1262.

Jacobson, C., & Stephens, A. (2009). Cross-cultural approaches to environmental research and management: A response to the dualisms inherent in Western science? Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 39(4), 159-162.

Robson, J. P., Miller, A. M., Idrobo, C. J., Burlando, C., Deutsch, N., Kocho-Schellenberg, J.-E., et al. (2009). Building communities of learning: Indigenous ways of knowing in contemporary natural resources and environmental management. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 39(4), 173-177.

Weir, J. K. (2009). Murray River Country: An ecological dialogue with traditional owners: Aboriginal Studies Press.

 

Reading

By Jessica Morthorpe

I’ve just come back from uni holidays, and had a wonderful time going away with my family for a several days. One experience that wasn’t very pleasant though was the day we came across a kangaroo that had just been hit by a car. She was writhing in pain, and there was nothing we could do. Seeing her suffering and dying turned my stomach. And then we found her joey. She would have tossed the poor darling out of her pouch in an attempt to save his life. He was only a pink (no fur yet) and bleeding. We wrapped him up in blankets and took him to the nearby information centre (we were in a National Park).

What really shocked me was people’s reaction. It was quite busy when we walked into the centre, and everyone just continued doing what they were doing. I wanted to scream at them that we had an animal that needed emergency help right now! I couldn’t help thinking about how if we had walked into that room with an injured person we would not have had the same issue. Out of the twenty or so people in the room, only one guy moved aside so we could talk to the staff. We told them what had happened and asked them to contact parks. They rang a couple of times and got no answer. Then they just looked at my mum and I, clueless, until mum had the good idea of suggesting they call the bus driver from the day before who had seemed a ‘bushy’ type of guy, so they did. The man drove over immediately to meet us, but by that time shock and being left out in the cold too long before we found him had made the little guy die in our arms. Another sad thing is, it turns out that the bus driver was a licensed wildlife rescue guy who would have happily raised the joey.

By now I was already shaking all over, so I had to find a quiet place to cry. Yet what I felt most was anger. Now, I’m not the kind of person who gets angry very often, but this whole situation made me mad. Why didn’t the person who hit the kangaroo stop? Where was their compassion for the dying mother? And if they had stopped, the joey might have been found in time and saved. Maybe not, but that time in the cold (and it was quite cold) can’t have helped. And when we got to the information centre, why did they clearly have absolutely no procedure to deal with wildlife injuries? Their excuse was that people never brought the injured animals in to them. Which is wonderful, because that means that all the animals that are getting hit are just being left on the road to die, even if they could have been saved by wildlife rescue!

It was a shocking reminder of just how big an issue roadkill is in Australia. And yes, it was just a kangaroo. They aren’t endangered, and some people don’t understand me getting so upset about an encounter like this – but I don’t believe any animal deserves to suffer, and the Bible contains many anti-cruelty messages that I think are important.

Perhaps part of the lack of compassion comes from the fact it is just so common. Everyone has a story about the time they hit a kangaroo. In fact, based on statistics from Tasmania, on average, every driver in the state kills an animal per year on the roads. That leaves an average of 1 dead animal every 3kms, and means that 32 animals are killed on the Tassie roads each hour. 3,392 of these during the year are Tasmanian devils[1].

There are things that need to be done. Being alert and not speeding are both important. 50% of roadkill observed in the Tasmanian study occurred at speeds greater than 80km per hour. There are also road design techniques used overseas that could be employed here. And finally, if you hit something then PLEASE call wildlife rescue. Carry the contact details for your local wildlife rescue group with you in the car. Also make sure you have a blanket to wrap any babies in – they need warmth immediately. If the animal is dead, drag it off the road so that something else doesn’t get hit trying to eat it, and if it is a marsupial check its pouch. I am sure I am preaching to the converted here, but can I ask that you remind your family and friends? We have a responsibility to the other creatures of this earth, and I hope I never see it so neglected again.

This article I found is a really interesting discussion of the issue of roadkill by a scientist from Uni of NSW. It’s worth a read:

http://www.awrc.org.au/uploads/5/8/6/6/5866843/nwcc-ramp-s-040726.pdf

Action Tip

 

Participate in the RSPCA Cupcake Day – 15th of August 2011

We all know from experience just how many wonderful cooks our churches have, so today I would like to encourage you all to get your churches involved in the RSPCA Cupcake Day. This is something any church can do!

Basically, you get to have some fun making cupcakes and then exchange them for donations to the important work of the RSPCA. You may also like to spice things up a bit with a Masterchef like cupcake making competition or a competition for whoever brings the best cupcakes, which could then be auctioned off. It is fun for a good cause, so be as creative as you like.

Officially the day will be held on the 15th of August, but you can hold your church cupcake day on the 14th (the Sunday before) or anytime in August.

Check out the website for more information and to register: http://www.rspcacupcakeday.com.au/about/

Resources

Strategies to Promote Care for Creation in Your Congregation

“One key way to give your congregation an identity as a congregation that cares for creation is to keep it before the congregation.

1. Think about the different media to promote your identity. Experts say that if you want to get the message across, do it in seven different media. Here are some: bulletins, newsletters, e-mails, announcements/talks in worship, bulletin boards, phone calls, word of mouth, banners, church sign, displays, and local newspapers.

2. Make use of the resources to put informative materials before the congregation on why we care and what to do. See the list of Bible Verses, eco-tips, brief articles on Environmental Stewardship, and excerpts from your social statements. These can be placed regularly in church bulletins of newsletters. All these are available on line at Web of Creation.

3. Put up a sign outside identifying your congregation as a green congregation or a creation-care center. Incorporate care for creation into your mission statement and include the mission statement in the weekly bulletin.

4. Put a care for creation display in the narthex where people enter and leave the church. Rotate the content.

5. Engage the congregation in a challenge: How many CFL lights can the congregation as a whole replace in their homes? Keep a rising chart of numbers in the church entrance. Announce how much burning coal and emissions have been prevented. Or ask members to sign onto a covenant with creation.

6. Use the seasons of the year to engage the congregations in study or practices. For example, engage members in a carbon fast in the Lenten season or agree to connect with nature in the spring time of the Easter season.

7. Choose a project on church property that brings the care for creation commitment before the community.”

Source: http://www.webofcreation.org/archive-of-resources/587-strategies-to-promote-care-for-creation-in-your-congregation

 

2011 Calendar Dates:

–          August 15th  – RSPCA Cupcake Day

–          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 time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Websites to Visit

 

Jessica Morthorpe has posted another speech about church greening on her blog at http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/

 

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