S&L – Issue 6

Salt and Light

Issue Six (September 2009)

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  Update on Five Leaf

l  Events

l  Doom and Gloom

l  A Stirring of Hope

l  Resources

l  Monthly Action Tip

l  Reading

l  Discussion Question

l  Quotes of the month

l  Websites to visit

Letter from the Editor:

“The 2008 update of The IUCN Red List includes 44,838 species, of which 869 (2%) are Extinct or Extinct the Wild; 16,928 (38%) are threatened with extinction (with 3,246 Critically Endangered, 4,770 Endangered and 8,912 Vulnerable); 3,513(8%) are Near Threatened; while 5,570 (12%) have insufficient information to determine their threat status (Data Deficient).”

(IUCN, State of the World, 2008 report p 2)

 

Greetings everyone, I hope this newsletter finds you all well.

As most of you will know, September 7th was Threatened Species Day. On this day in 1936 the last Tasmanian Tiger (or Thylacine) in the world died in Hobart Zoo, making the species extinct. Most people have seen the depressing footage of her last days. In 1996 this day was chosen for Threatened Species Day in commemoration of this tragic event.

I think it is a good thing that the Tasmanian Tiger is a household name in Australia. Its story represents a cautionary tale for all Australians and reminds us just how easy it is to lose a species. Of course, the loss of the Tasmanian Tiger was no mistake. It was thought, at the time, that the Tasmanian Tiger was preying on livestock, so a bounty was placed on it (new evidence suggests the Thylacine’s diet was based solely upon native marsupial species). This, along with competition with feral dogs, hunting, and disease, rapidly wiped the species out. Looking for the Thylacine in bushland (in case it isn’t extinct) when visiting Tasmania has now become a popular activity for tourists. I suppose we don’t want to believe they are gone; to take responsibility for what we did. Most other species disappear much more quietly. Indeed, it is likely that many hundreds, if not thousands of species have become extinct before they were even discovered or described by man.

In spite of our concerns about climate change, it is important to remember that for now at least, habitat loss is by far the biggest cause of species extinctions. Indeed, habitat loss and connectivity will only become more important as the climate warms and animal ranges shift further. It will become important to conserve species not only in reserves, but within our farms, homes and churches. We must build portfolios of habitat assets in order to assist the survival of many species. The article below about the proposed clearing of grasslands in Victoria is a clear indicator that this is a lesson we still have to learn.

Biodiversity conservation is often badly understood (President George Bush wanted to ban biodiversity at one stage – he thought it was some sort of homosexual thing!) and drastically undervalued. To make matters worse, most of the stories we hear are so depressing that we can feel powerless and tempted to turn away to issues that are easier to solve. However, as the church, we have a particular responsibility to care for God’s creatures, and especially those that are ‘unlovable’. As such, it is important that we hold onto the success stories, and use them to create a better future for all creation. To give you a hand, I have included an article below which lists fifteen conservation success stories.

Yours Sincerely,

Jessica Morthorpe

National Church Project Coordinator

Five Leaf Eco-Awards

Update on Five Leaf

  • Jessica’s talks at the      Uniting Church Canberra Presbytery and Ecumenical Breakfast went well,      with a lot of interest being expressed in the program. Her speeches from      both events are available from the Crown of Thorns blog http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/
  • Exciting discussions are      underway to install solar panels on multiple churches in Canberra.
  • Jessica will be speaking      as part of the fantastic October celebrations of creation at Canberra City      Uniting Church.

 

 

 

 

Events

Canberra:

Bird Workshop (THIS SATURDAY!)

Learn from bird expert Doug Laing. Doug leads bird watching walks at the Botanic Gardens and at Tidbinbilla.

This workshop will start at Mulligans Flat where you will be given a “theory” lesson of how to successfully bird watch and identify some species of birds. Then you will put your new knowledge into practise with a walk around Mulligans Flat spotting and learning more about birds.

When? September 19 (THIS SATURDAY!) 8:30am

Where? Mulligans Flat Carpark off Amy Ackman St, Forde

This workshops is FREE

To register phone 6229 3204 or email bushcare@consact.org.au

 

Sustainable Fair (THIS SUNDAY!)

Come and celebrate community, spring and green lifestyle choices at the first Inner North Community Fair on Sunday 20 September from 11am – 3pm at the Banksia St wetlands site in O’Connor (next to the tennis courts).

The Fair will be powered by solar panels whilst organic waste collected on the day will be composted at the ANU.  There will be a broad range of over 40 exhibits, products and activities on the day.

 

Inner North Community Fair Spring Clean Clothes Swap

Banksia Street Wetland O’Connor (next to the tennis courts)

Sunday 20th September

11am to 3pm

Contact Michele on 0411 095 165 or u4220048@anu.edu.au

Sustainable fashion collective Green Threads, in conjunction with ACT otherWISE will be holding their next public clothes swap this Sunday, September 20th at the Inner North Community Fair.

This is the perfect opportunity to spring clean your cupboard and  swap some unwanted clothes (that are still in good condition) for some new and wonderful wardrobe finds for this lovely spring weather.

Everyone is welcome, girls, boys, ladies, men, fashionistas and otherwise.  This swap is about giving unworn clothing a new lease on life, and reducing the impact of our lifestyles on the environment so our system is pretty casual.  You can take more than you give, you can give more than you take, and if you have nothing to give at all then make a donation to ACT otherWISE and support youth led sustainability in canberra.

We’ll be there swapping from 11am to 3pm at the Banksia Street Wetlands O’Connor (next to the tennis courts).  For more info comtact Michele on 0411 095 165 or u4220048@anu.edu.au

The Inner North Community Fair will also feature food, stalls, entertainment, wetlands displays, and organic gardening advice.  And hopefully sunshine, it should be a beautiful day for all!

 

Bush Care Event (NEXT TUESDAY!)

Yes, another special opportunity is open for Canberra residents. Come and actively help your special Mulligans Flat.

We will be helping Ranger Grant spread Kangaroo Grass seed over areas that were damaged during the construction of the Sanctuary Fence.  Reseeding these areas is vitally important to prevent weeds such as Serrated Tussock taking hold.

When? Tuesday 22 September, 10am – 12pm

Where? Mulligans Flat Carpark

Bring?  Gloves, eye protection (such as sunglasses)

BYO Lunch

To register phone 6229 3204 or email bushcare@consact.org.au

 

Australia Wide:

Day of Prayer on Climate Change on October 4th

A key aim is to pray for God’s will to be done during the decisive Copenhagen COP 15 talks this December. Christians of all denominations are joining together to express their concerns over the seriousness and urgency of our global situation.

See www.christian-ecology.org.uk/day-of-prayer.htm

Resources have been prepared to make running such a day easy including:

*Introductory letter

*Information for organizers

*Poster

*Sample magazine and newssheet inserts

*Prayers – full content

*Welcome sheet

Sunday October 4th is suggested as the day of prayer (though individual churches will be free to make their own arrangements and dates). This date is St Francis Day and the final Sunday of the Time for Creation (September 1st – October 4th). It will also be harvest festival in many churches. The time of prayer could be from 12 noon to 6 pm and will encourage people to ‘stop’ in a busy world and take time out in prayer and meditation. People may want to combine this with a time of fasting. People will be welcome to come for as short or long a time as they wish.

This event is based out of the UK, but it would be great if people in Australia also join in.

 

 

 

Enviroweek from October 11th to 17th

You don’t need to be a greenie to be green. It just makes good sense to take care of our life support system – our environment. It’s not about sacrifice – it’s about living smarter. Who wants to breathe foul air, swim in polluted water, and live on a poisoned planet? This is your chance to make a world of difference.

Cool Australia – your essential website for all things environmental, is embarking on an exciting awareness, behaviour change and fundraising week of action from 11th – 17th October 2009.

Enviroweek – it’s easy being green.

To raise funds for various environmental charities and organisations, Cool Australia is urging all Australians to get sponsored and take on an environmental challenge or dare for one week. Challenges will include everything from starting a compost bin, ditching the car and walking, showering with your pets and loved ones, going vegetarian and anything in between.

Cool Australia is looking for passionate Australians, with a love of our unique environment, to spread the word and register to take on a challenge for our environment. Create a challenge that suits you.

As a not-for-profit organisation, partnerships with highly motivated allies like you are essential for building the awareness and credibility of the campaign. Your support will greatly impact on the success of Enviroweek. So sit down, relax and have a think about the most fun way you can make a difference. Now get cracking!

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Personally take on a challenge for the week and round up as many sponsors as possible.
  • Spread the word to all your mates, family, your social and business networks to round up heaps of people to take the Enviroweek challenge.
  • Enviroweek TVC

For more news and events visit http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/ and if you have an event coming up let me know at fiveleafecoawards@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doom and Gloom

Melbourne’s urban expansion threatens one of Australia’s most critically endangered ecosystems!

                       

(Image courtesy of Sarah Bekessy; Parris, 2009)

The Victorian government is proposing the development of 40,000 hectare of new housing, an outer ring road and a regional rail link as part of the expansion of Melbourne’s urban growth boundary (‘Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities’; Victorian Government 2009). This development will mean the destruction of around 8,000 hectares of critically-endangered vegetation communities, including Natural Temperate Grassland, Grassy Eucalypt Woodland and Lowland Plains Grassy Wetland. These areas support populations of many EPBC-listed species (eg, the spiny rice flower, matted flax lily, growling grass frog, striped legless lizard          The growling grass frog, one of the EPBC-listed species which is

and southern brown bandicoot).                                 likely to suffer if the proposed expansion of Melbourne goes ahead as proposed. (Photo by Geoff Heard; Parris, 2009)

 

Natural Temperate Grasslands, which will account for 7,000ha of the land to be cleared, are an ecosystem that has already been cleared down to <0.01% of its former range. These native grasslands are listed as a critically endangered ecological community under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and are also listed as threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.

 

In an attempt to compensate, the Victorian Government proposes establishing two new grassland reserves of 15,000ha in Melbourne’s West via compulsory acquisition of private land. This is not sufficient! Two small reserves will not, in any way, make up for the loss of such a large tract of critically endangered ecosystem, and there are no commitments to protect more woodland or wetland ecosystems, which are also endangered. Smaller habitat patches have been shown by innumerable studies to create a much greater likelihood of extinction compared to large patches.

 

The government appears to be trying to cover up the loss of species this new development will cause, by not letting scientists enough time to collect the data they need to assess the impact and proposing translocation of plants and animals (moving them from the development site to elsewhere) as a management strategy – one that has been shown in the past to have a low chance of success.

 

The Victorian Government is currently considering submissions received on the Melbourne SIA, and preparing a final report for DEWHA.

More info: k.parris@unimelb.edu.au

 

Sources:

Kirsty Parris, 2009, What are strategic impact assessments? And why are they important? (And what about Melbourne?) Decision Point 32 p4-6 http://www.aeda.edu.au/docs/Newsletters/DPoint_32.pdf

http://www.vic.gov.au/planningmelbourne

http://www.vnpa.org.au/subsection.php?subsection_id=147

David Lindenmayer, pers. comm.

 

To act, visit the Victorian National Park website and send a submission to Peter Garrett to tell him this is not good enough!

http://www.vnpa.org.au/subsection.php?subsection_id=147

A Stirring of Hope

“It is not all bad news; species can recover with concerted conservation efforts. In 2008, 37 of the recorded improvements in status were for mammals. An estimated 16 bird species avoided extinction over the last 15 years due to conservation programmes. Conservation does work, but to mitigate the

extinction crisis much more needs to be done, and quickly” (IUCN, State of the World, 2008: p2)

10 Good News Stories About Rare and Endangered Species

From the American chestnut to the El Segundo blue butterfly … reason for hope about the world’s amazing wildlife.

Photo: Stephen Nash / Wildlife Conservation Society related articles

Last month provided some reasons to have a little hope when it comes to biodiversity:

1. Mura’s Saddleback Tamarin

Nature reports that a new sub-species of monkey, the Mura’s saddleback tamarin, has been discovered in the forests of Northwest Brazil. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which helped find the monkey, Mura’s saddleback tamarin was “named after the Mura Indians, the ethnic group of Amerindians of the Purus and Madeira river basins where the monkey occurs.”
2. The American Chestnut

 

Photo: Pearson Scott Foresman / Wikimedia Commons

Scientists say they are close to developing a fungus-resistant American chestnut tree (well, 94% American chestnut, genetically speaking) that could be reintroduced to forests in the United States. The American chestnut, which was all but wiped out by an introduced fungus in the turn of the 20th century, used to be the dominant tree throughout much of the East Coast. As a bonus, scientists believe that American chestnuts can store carbon dioxide much more quickly many other tree species.

3. The Oregon Spotted Frog

 

Photo: William Leonard / Washington Department of Fish And Wildlife

Inmates at a minimum security prison are helping in a captive breeding program for the imperiled Oregon spotted frog. The prisoners success rate at raising the frogs — which was much higher than either the Woodland Park Zoo or the Oregon Zoo, who also participate in the program — “stunned” researchers, according to the Seattle Times.

4. The Stinking Hawk’s-beard

 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Stinking hawk’s-beard, a rare European flowering plant, has been successfully reintroduced to the U.K., after several failed attempts. The entire reintroduction project was a bargain, too — costing only a few thousand dollars a year.

5. The Wood Stork

 

Photo: USFWS

Wood storks in Florida’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary had a very successful breeding season this year, with 1,100 nesting pairs producing 2,200 fledglings. This is the first successful breeding season for the endangered birds in the sanctuary since 2006. Managers of the sanctuary attribute the breeding success to tropical storms in August, which brought water levels up to those needed by the storks to breed.

6. The Chinese Alligator

 

Photo: Fritz Geller-Grimm / Wikimedia Commons

Fifteen baby Chinese alligators have been born in the wild, the first such births in a decade-old effort to reintroduce the species to China’s Chongming Island, which is located at the mouth Yangtze River.

7. The American Burying Beetle

 

Photo: USFWS

A fifteen year effort to introduce the endangered American burying beetle to Nantucket is showing signs of success. The introduction program, led by the Roger Williams Park Zoo (fondly remembered from college days), has resulted in naturally reproducing beetle populations in two locations on the Island.

 

8. Mountain Yellow-legged Frog

 

Photo: USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey announced the discovery of a population of endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs in the San Bernardino National Forest’s San Jacinto Wilderness, the first such discovery in fifty years. The newly discovered frog population, coupled with successful captive breeding efforts by the San Diego Zoo and habitat restoration, are all causes for renewed optimism about the species, says the Survey.

9. The Arabian Oryx

 

Photo: Panarria / Wikimedia Commons

Arabian oryx are being reintroduced into the desert of Jordan. The oryx come from the largest breeding population of oryx left in the Middle East — a heard of about 4,000 animals in Abu Dhabi. Oryx have been extinct in Jordan since the 1930s.

 

10. The El Segundo Blue Butterfly

Photo: University of Southern California

El Segundo blue butterfly populations are rebounding in Southern California, thanks to habitat protections put in place by the Los Angeles International Airport. In fact, the largest known population of the this small, fragile, and highly endangered butterfly is now at LAX.

Andrew Wetzler Director, NRDC Endangered Species Project

Source: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/endangered-species-47080504

Resources:

Sustainable September

Sustainable September is an annual communication campaign that demonstrates and celebrates the wide range of activities that are creating a just, sustainable and prosperous Australia. See: www.sustainableseptember.net.au for more.

This year, like previous years, the Social Justice Board of Western Australia has prepared resources for congregations to use during Sustainable September. This year, both bible studies and worship resources have been made available. You can find these resources on their Green Church website – www.green.wa.uca.org.au (they’re under the Worship Resources tab).

Monthly Action Tip

 

Do some research into the endangered species in your area and what community groups are involved in protecting them. Contact the group and see how you and your church can get involved – raising funds, helping raise awareness, removing weeds and restoring habitat, trapping and monitoring activities… who knows? See what your species needs.

 

Reading

A Biblical Defence of

the Unloved Creatures

Sharks. As one of the most feared and maligned creatures on earth, sharks represent a group of creatures which are one of the Lord’s greatest tests of our love for Him. This group includes the annoying and inconvenient like spiders, leeches and mosquitoes but also the ugly, the insignificant, the useless and the unknown species of the world.  Their defining characteristic is that they are ignored, feared or hated by the majority of humanity. We have passed a value judgement on them and found them unworthy of our love.

In direct contrast, species like the panda, elephant and whale are so loved by many that conservation groups, and even individuals, will go to extraordinary lengths to save them. The unspoken but harsh truth is that the efforts expended saving these species often mean there is nothing left to do for our first group but to sign their death warrants and hope no one notices. After all, why would they? The Cuban Solenodon is small, ugly and insignificant. Its extinction is not an issue for humanity.

 

But is it an issue for God?

Now, do not mistake me for claiming that it is not worth conserving the cute and cuddly species… far from that. I believe God does not want any of his precious creations to become extinct. My challenge though is this, that as the sons and daughters of the creator; Christians have a responsibility and a calling to save the species the rest of society doesn’t care for. Why should we do this? Because of God’s love for them, and for us.

To understand how God feels about these creatures, and what that means for us, we must look to the first chapter of Genesis. The passage of particular relevance is verse 20-26.

 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

There are three very important things to note in this passage.

 

“And God saw that it was good”

As God surveys each stage of his creation he declares it good.  There is no exception when he creates animals. What is significant about this passage is the timing, and that it refutes a belief held by many people (both Christian and non) about where animals obtain their value. This belief is that animals receive their value from their usefulness to man. Therefore cattle are more valuable than wild kangaroos, edible fish more valuable than inedible, and predatory species that occasionally take human lives should be killed.

This worldview influences our conservation efforts as well. We often justify preservation of rainforests by stating that there is a chance the ‘cure for cancer’ could be found in one of the plants or animals living in that environment. We justify the conservation of species and habitats in developing nations by noting how it helps the poor. We may even allow the hunting of endangered species by indigenous people for cultural value. These all seem like reasonable ways to decide upon our actions towards God’s creatures.

But look at the passage above again. You will note that God declares the animals good before he even creates humans. He does not wait until the animals are of use to humankind and then declare them good. No! According to God, animals are good. They have intrinsic value, in and of themselves, completely independent of mankind. The value of animals comes from God, and from being a part of his creation- much the same as ours does.

“Let them rule”

When God creates mankind he makes them rulers over all the earth and its creatures. Especially over the last 200 years, this verse has been exploited by many to use the earth and its creatures for their own ends; claiming that this is the will of God. It is interesting to note that earlier in the chapter (v16), the Lord makes the sun and moon to rule over the day and night. Consider how the sun rules the day… The sun provides the earth with the energy for life. It never takes anything from the earth, but rather gives constant light and warmth for the good of all creation.

“In our image”

The final clue from this passage as to how we are to treat animals is also found in verse twelve. We are made in God’s image and likeness, so we can easily answer the earlier question of how we are to rule by looking at God and how he treats the creatures. Here we have many answers throughout the Bible, but perhaps the best illustration can be found in Psalms 104. This entire Psalm tells of God’s provision for his creatures, but perhaps the best summary is in the following verse:

27 These all look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.

 28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.

The well known passage of Matthew 6:25-34 inthe Sermon on the Mount also tells of God’s provision for his creatures.

So God’s creatures have intrinsic value as his creations and we are expected by God to rule over them by caring and providing for them as he does.

Stewardship?

Let us return to sharks in order to see our stewardship at work. It would, perhaps, be more appropriate to speak of a lesser known, or less awe inspiring creature , but alas, we care so little about many of these  creatures (particularly invertibrates) that we have not done enough research to know anything about them. This is perhaps a better fate, though, than the thousands of species we have made extinct even before their discovery.

It is estimated there are somewhere around 440 species of shark, of which approximately ten species are considered dangerous to humans. Ten. Spare a thought for the 430 species which, not being potential man eaters, are generally deemed too uninteresting for our notice. Or for species like the Grey Nurse Shark, a species who became critically endangered because their menacing looking teeth made them seem likely man-eaters. In fact, they eat fish, crabs, lobsters, squid and octopus….  The fervor with which this relatively harmless animal was almost  systematically exterminated is disturbingly reminiscent of another Australian icon- the Tasmanian Tiger.

Sharks are currently facing a turning point in their history. After 40 million years as the perfect predator, they may be on the brink of losing the battle for survival. It is estimated that 90 per cent of shark species are currently threatened due to, but not limited to; overfishing, bycatch and the barbaric trade in shark fins. They are currently dying at the hands of man at the rate of around 3 per second!

Do you think this is God’s will?

The Poverty of Man

Isaiah 24: 4-6

The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate.
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left.

 

Ironically, the decline of sharks may contribute to our own species decline, or even extinction. By ignoring our God given responsibility to care for the planet and creation we have created a monster that may consume us all. And climate change is just a symptom. So what do sharks have to do with global warming you ask? It’s all to do with food chains. The ocean provides a massive carbon sink, and has provided the main restraint on runaway climate change, which may soon change as the ocean becomes carbon saturated. Tiny phytoplankton suck in carbon and release oxygen via photosynthesis. They create the oxygen we breathe. They also provide the energy for the rest of the ocean food chain. Sharks, in contrast, are the apex predators at the top of the food chain. As such, they control the health of the entire ecosystem. And without them, the populations of herbivorous fish could escalate out of control and consume the phytoplankton unsustainably. Without them, we have lost a massive barrier to runaway climate change.

Not only that, but God designed creation to teach us about him

Job 12:7-8

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.

So the more species we kill, the less we can learn; and the more mistakes we will make.

Hosea 4: 6:  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

The Earth in Peril

Climate change is the biggest challenge and threat of our times. But it is also only part of a larger problem. We have failed in our responsibility as stewards of the earth. We have stood by while the greedy and the hypocrites desecrated the temple of our Lord

Ultimately though, it seems it will be weak leadership that allows climate change to kill us. Unless the church steps forward God’s species will slowly fall to its silent march until the earth ceases to sing praises to the Lord.

Now imagine you are God. All the earth praises you. The trees of the forest rustle to praise you (Psalm 96:13) and each species of animal praises you in their own special voice. How do you feel when the voices begin disappearing and you know that those you put in charge of their care have silenced them?

God will proclaim his judgement on those who destroy the earth, as Revelation 11:18 says, “God will destroy those who destroy the earth.”

As Christians we do not have the luxury of choosing to love only that which is pleasant or comfortable. It is our duty more than any others to love that which is unloved and care for that which is uncared for. We emulate a love which is unconditional in its demands and universal in its scope. We are the guardians of God’s Earth, and it’s time to start acting like it.

Hope

There is hope though. God promises to redeem all creation (Romans, Revelation) and return it to a state of shalom (as illustrated in Isaiah 11:6-9). Through the blood of his son, Jesus, and through the revealing of the sons of God, “creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21)

As we pray:

“Thy Kingdom come,

Thy will be done,

On Earth, as it is in Heaven”

We must remember that this prayer does not give us permission to simply wait for God to bring in the renewing of heaven and earth, but rather we must act to bring His kingdom and will into creation now, in preparation for his return. Then we can be hailed as “good and faithful” servants.

What you can do:

–       Adopt an ‘unlovable creature’ with a conservation organisation

–       Write a letter to Peter Garret protesting shark finning in the Great Barrier Reef or read more about the campaign at http://www.amcs.org.au/sharkwater.asp?active_page_id=490

–       For a more extensive exploration of God’s will in relation to the earth visit http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/

–       Stop eating flake and never buy shark fin soup

–       Try to purchase fish from sustainable fisheries; if in doubt visit http://www.msc.org/

–       To learn more about how shark bycatch is threatening their survival visit http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=48763181790&ref=ts#/group.php?gid=8143396935&ref=ts

–       Support shark research by donating to Undersea Explorer http://www.undersea.com.au/shark_donations.htm

–       Adopt an endangered Grey Nurse Shark from the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales http://nccnsw.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=66&Itemid=596

–       Support the Fox Shark Research Program http://www.sharkfoundation.net/

–       See the fantastic movie Sharkwater www.sharkwater.com

Discussion Question

What is your church going to do to help protect local endangered species?

Quotes of the month

“Sustainability is not an issue – it’s THE issue – it underpins the rest of human quality of life”

David Lindenmayer

 

“As children, small creatures endlessly fascinate us; as adults, we can protect them so as to inspire future children.”
– Les E. Watling

“For what DNA literacy if we have extinguished the books?”
– Daniel H. Janzen

“We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.”
Anna Sewell (1820 – 1878)

Websites to Visit:

Crown of Thorns Blog

The ‘Crown of Thorns’ blog is written by Jessica Morthorpe, a 22 year old Christian Environmentalist and founder of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards. The blog helps followers up to stay date with what is happening in the world of Church Greening in Australia, while providing some encouragement and inspiration along the way.

Regular features on the blog will inform you of events, allow you to enjoy reading the monthly Salt and Light newsletter and inspire you with Jessica’s latest speeches from the church greening trail around Australia. Find out more about Five Leaf Eco-Awards; and work through the environmental references in the Bible with the ‘Green Bible Challenge’. You can also link up with other Christians around the globe who are praying for the environment through the Christian Ecology Link Prayers and learn about the most important environmental news of the day.

See: http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/

 

Alliance of Religions and Conservation http://www.arcworld.org/

Check out this interesting website and find out more about their exciting event in November at Windsor at http://www.windsor2009.org/

 

Please feel free to pass this newletter on to any individual or group who may be interested.

 

 

 

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: