Counting on … day 1.122

26th May 2023

The ongoing climate crisis makes local weather patterns more unpredictable and with that comes the risk of some plants species dying out in the short term. For example the speed with which bluebells can naturally migrate northwards to cooler climes may soon be slower than the speed with which unseasonal heat is advancing. If the bluebell seeds can be artificially transported to more suitable climes then the species can be saved.
Seedbanks gather and store seeds to protect all our futures. Their stocks can allow for replanting in the future. They are also our security against our short sighted eradication of plants that we currently see as weeds, but which hold as yet unforeseen virtues.

You might like to find out about the UK based Heritage Seed Library

Kew Gardens maintains a global seed bank, The Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) with over 2.4 billion seeds, representing over 39,000 different species of the world’s storable seeds.  You can make financial donations to support this work.

Counting on… day 1.121

25th May 2023

I thought I saw the following headline – “Sowing the Seeds of Biodiversity Conversation’ – but when I looked a second time, I saw it read “Sowing the Seeds of Biodiversity Conservation”. And yet perhaps I did read it aright as I am now having a conversation about biodiversity. My reading had been about the idea that to assist biodiversity it helps to sow and grow local seeds and plants – ie ones that are most likely to grow where you are and to be a significant part of the localities food chain – nettles for comma butterflies for example. One way of doing this would be to collect seeds from such plants and share them with your neighbours.

How to collect and store seeds –

And for a list of seed swop events –

Counting on …. Day 1.120

24th May 2023

On Wednesdays when Parliament is sitting, a group gathers on the pavement ent outside for an Earth Vigil. In two shifts, 11-1pm and 1-3pm, we sit or kneel to express our love and grief for the earth and its compromised environment, and to pray for wisdom for those in positions of power, and for all who can share in caring for the earth.

Last Wednesday we were joined by Andy, who afterward as spoke eloquently about the experience –

Counting on … day 1.119

Counting on …. Day 1.119

23rd May 2023

The campaign group “We Move” believes that politics in Europe needs to put people and planet first, and that it is people who have the power to push for the changes that are needed. 

Here is one of there current campaigns –

“Just 1% of people are responsible for half of all toxic emissions from flying….But here’s the thing: we can do something about it. In fact, the solution is simple – cut emissions from luxury flights. This includes a ban of private jets from European airports, a tax on frequent flyers and an end to frequent flyer programmes. And we know it can be done: Climate activists recently scored a win and managed to ban private jets at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Let’s build on that success and cut down luxury emissions from flying.”

Counting on …day 1.118

22nd May 2023

Sustainable living means not consuming more than can be replaced or replenished.
Helium is a light gas that once released escapes beyond the limits of earth’s atmosphere – and thus from our viewpoint becomes irreplaceable. Helium forms naturally through the radioactive decomposition and decay of certain elements such as uranium and thorium. The gas has thus formed either escapes directly into – and out of – our atmosphere, or else becomes trapped with in rock pockets. This latter is the gas that is extracted for commercial use – but the supply is limited. The gas cannot be artificially manufactured.

Long term or excessive use of helium is not sustainable. However helium gas is currently a critical part of the operation of MRI scanners. These two factors are good reasons why we should not waste helium to fill party balloons. An additional reason for avoiding party balloons is the damage to the environment caused by the remnants of balloons – even biodegradable ones can block drains, choke or poison birds and animals.

Are there alternatives to helium balloons? In terms of party declarations, bunting (paper or fabric) which can be reused and finally recycled, paper chains, paper balloons, banners – Google these and you’ll find a wealth of ideas.

Counting on … day 1.117

21st May 2023

We have a bee hotel which used to be fixed to the gable end of the shed. During the winter it was blown down and temporarily placed on a stone bench by the water butt. This is somewhere I also sit, and I have been watching solitary bees buzzing backwards and forwards. They land and inspect the bamboo tubes working out which is their’s. Then they disappear inside. Sometimes they quickly reappear and go in back wards. I’m guessing they are laying eggs. Some of the bamboo ends have been infilled with a clay like mixture which must mean that that incubator is full.
High up on the shed gable I never noticed this activity so that is one small blessing of the winter’s winds.

7th Sunday of Easter

21st May 2023

Reflection (readings are below) 

On Thursday, Ascension Day, I took part in a fund raising event for Glassdoor, in which we took the lift to the top of the Arcelormittal Orbit (an 80+m tall sculpture cum icon). The view from the top was stunning, looking out over the immediate locality of the Olympic Park and all the new local developments colleges, a new V and A, sports facilities. Then to the south the Canary Wharf development, and to the west the city where St Paul’s dome was visible as a little blip between tower blocks, whilst to the north the landscape was more open. Fundraisers have to involve some sort of challenge and this one was to abseil down. Helmeted and harnessed, you have to throw off your inbuilt fear and lean back over the void and begin to walk down. There is only 3 foot of vertical surface before you have only thin air. At this point you have to push off with your feet, tip forwards and belay the rope to lower yourself down. You have to trust that all that has been put in place to ensure your safety will do just that!

The high level view distant landmarks stayed with me for what seemed like along while – perhaps because I wasn’t daring to look down! As I neared the ground however,  roads, people, trees  etc resumed their more normal size and filled once again my frame of vision. It was, in a sense, coming back to earth – ie reality – with a bump! The excitement of the descent (even it had had its moments of fear) was over. I wonder if that is how the disciples felt when the angels tell them to stop looking up to heaven and get on with life where they are. 

I think ascension-tide was tough for the disciples. They have been on such a roller coaster. For a couple of years they have been on a mission with Jesus, treading the roads up and down between Galilee and Jerusalem, watching Jesus heal people, perform miracles and outwit legal-minded scribes; putting up with with no regular place to sleep or eat just so that they can be constantly in his presence, soaking up his wisdom and teaching; beginning to grasp at the enormity of who Jesus was – the Messiah, the Son of God. Then overnight their hopes had been dashed as they saw Jesus arrested, tried and executed. In fear they had tried to hide away. With disbelief they were asked to accept that the Jesus who had died, had also risen from the dead. With increasing joy and hope they began to understand that they did have a future, that Jesus was their conquering hero, that this time there would be no turning back! And yet, only forty days later Jesus is once again confusing them with his words. No, he can’t predict the future for them; no he doesn’t know what the outcome is going to be, nor the timescale – that bigger picture is all in God’s hands. Instead Jesus is telling them that they are going to  receive – at some as yet unspecified time in the future – new powers with which they (not Jesus) will bear witness to the gospel to the ends of the earth. And with that, Jesus once more disappears from their sight. 

The disciples are being asked to take a lot on faith! They are to carry out a mission without knowing the final outcome. They are going to be equipped with an as yet unknown power. They have been given a taste of heaven, and yet they are being asked to return to their old room back in Jerusalem. 

The nine days between Ascension day and Pentecost, is a time of uneasiness, of uncertainty but also of expectation. A time when the bigger picture is not yet apparent, when the final outcome is not yet known. 

I find similar mixed emotions when I try and get my mind around the climate crisis. I know enough to know that it is a big problem. I know enough to know we could as human race, rectify damage we have caused but only if we all act together to change the way we live at a global level. And I know that as one individual I cannot effect that global change. I can only make changes at the level of the individual. Yet I also believe that God desires salvation and fullness of life for creation. I have to trust that God sees and knows the bigger picture. I have to trust that God can use my efforts, however small, to good effect. I have to accept that I am not called to be the total solution but rather I am called to live and work alongside my fellow beings – and to do so not in my power, but in the power that God gives.

Acts 1:6-14

When the apostles had come together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36

1 Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; *
let those who hate him flee before him.

2 Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; *
as the wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

3 But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; *
let them also be merry and joyful.

4 Sing to God, sing praises to his Name;
exalt him who rides upon the heavens; *
YAHWEH is his Name, rejoice before him!

5 Father of orphans, defender of widows, *
God in his holy habitation!

6 God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners into freedom; *
but the rebels shall live in dry places.

7 O God, when you went forth before your people, *
when you marched through the wilderness,

8 The earth shook, and the skies poured down rain,
at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, *
at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

9 You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; *
you refreshed the land when it was weary.

10 Your people found their home in it; *
in your goodness, O God, you have made provision for the poor.

33 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; *
sing praises to the Lord.

34 He rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; *
he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice.

35 Ascribe power to God; *
his majesty is over Israel;
his strength is in the skies.

36 How wonderful is God in his holy places! *
the God of Israel giving strength and power to his people!
Blessed be God!

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

John 17:1-11

Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

Counting on … day 1.116

20th May 2023

Reuters reports “The French government plans to budget half a billion euros annually for a new tax credit for environmentally-friendly investments as part of a bill presented on Tuesday to green the industrial sector, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

“The tax credit makes France the first EU country to take advantage of a loosening of European state aid rules in recent months in response to new tax subsidies in the United States made available by the Biden administration’s $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).”

Which begs the question, why doesn’t the UK follow suit?

Counting on … day 1.115

19th May 2023

Today marks the day when in the UK we have used up our year’s quota of the earth’s resources. After today our lifestyle is being lived on credit. Can we increase – through better care – the fruitfulness of the earth? Can we shift our way of life to a more sustainable pattern?

For more information about Earth Overshoot day see

Prayers for creation 

19th May 2023

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job  33:4

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.

Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?

On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone

when the morning stars sang together
    and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7 

Lord,  we should not cease to be amazed at the wonder of creation, 

the diversity of colour, shape and size,

the ingenious adaptations of plants and animals,

the interconnectedness of all living things.


Then Job answered the Lord: ‘See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?   I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer;   twice, but will proceed no further.’ Job 40:3-5

Lord, we should not forget the immense timespan of creation,  

the geological age that have gone before us,  

and the ages yet to come. 

Forgive us when we exaggerate our importance, 

when we claim knowledge we do not have

and when we exceed our competence.

A further response:

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

ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?

In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of every human being. Job 12:7-10, 13

Lord, teach us wisdom. 

Give us humility to learn from others, 

patience to observe what is true,

and contrition to make amends for our mistakes.

Show us how to find joy in simple things, 

contentment with less, 

and  delight in companionship with all creation. 

A final reading:

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—

who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104: 31-34

Lord, may your creation flourish, 

may we ever be thrilled by what we see, 

uplifted  by what we experience, 

and delighted by what we can offer you. 

The Grace.