Counting on …day 187

19th May 2022

If only 44% of plastic packaging waste is recycled, what happens to the other 56%? 

Some will litter the streets and pavements, before being blown into hedgerows and trees, into waterways and out to sea. There it will break down into smaller and smaller bits until it is small enough to count as micro plastic (less than 5mm in length). Micro plastics have been found in the ice at both north and south Poles. They have infiltrated the food chain. They have even crossed the placenta from the mother to the foetus. 

Some of this litter will be eaten by animals and birds almost certainly causing premature death. Some will go via domestic dustbins,  public waste bins and commercial waste bins, into either landfill where again it will break down over time into micro plastic particles, or it will be burnt in an incinerator further adding to air pollution. 

Want to recycle ‘hard to recycle’ plastics? Here is a partial solution – https://greentau.org/2022/04/13/counting-on-day-150/

Counting on ..day 186 

18th May 2022

This is Christian Aid week. The work Christian Aid supports includes projects to assist people affected by climate change and to make their communities more resilient. Their recent report Scorched Earth focuses on drought caused by global heating. Many large cities around the globe – from London to Cape Town, Phoenix to New Delhi – face running out of water. Whilst the problem is wide spread, the means for resolving it are not. “Cities in poorer countries are also far more vulnerable than those in richer countries as they have fewer resources to adapt to the water shortages. The lack of state funds and infrastructure makes it harder to import water and ensure it reaches those that need

it. Urban drought is yet another example of the injustice of climate change impacting most the people who have done least to cause it.” https://www.christianaid.org.uk/sites/default/files/2022-05/Scorched-Earth-2022.pdf 

Countries that have contributed least to the climate crisis are often the least well financed making the contribution we make all the more important. https://www.christianaid.org.uk/give/ways-to-donate

 Counting on …day 185

17th May 2022

The public are being urged to keep an eye out for any signs of disease in local trees, as the UK launches a hi-tech, £5.8m tree laboratory to fight the spread of pests and diseases. The UK is especially vulnerable to the growing spread of plant pathogens because of warmer, wetter winters, and because it is a hub for global trade. The public can report sightings via the Tree Alert site, and a specialist will come and look at the tree, or send samples for further testing. One pest that affects Richmond Park is the oak procession are moth.

“First identified in London in 2006, it probably arrived on imported live wood. It has since been found in some surrounding counties. The caterpillars will be emerging over the next three months. They are black with long white hairs and move in long nose-to-tail processions, which give them their name. The nests are usually the shape of a dome or teardrop and are around the size of a tennis ball. They strip bark off oak trees and cause them to lose their leaves. The caterpillars can cause rashes and breathing difficulties, and should not be touched.”

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2602005258609/how-to-spot-bark-beetles-and-deadly-fungus-the-uk-s-new-tree-saving-lab-needs-your-help

 Counting on …day 184

16th May 2022

Most plastics can now be recycled especially as much plastic packaging is what is known as ‘soft plastic’. Soft plastics can be recycled at various supermarkets including the Coop and Amazon Fresh. To check what counts as soft plastic, the Coop has a good listing- https://www.coop.co.uk/environment/soft-plastics/packaging-list

Want to know what happens to the plastic that goes into the recycling bin? https://greentau.org/2022/02/10/green-tau-issue-33/

Fifth Sunday of Easter

15th May 2022

Acts 11:1-18

Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticised him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, `Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I replied, `By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, `What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, `Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, `John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

Psalm 148

1 Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord from the heavens; *
praise him in the heights.

2 Praise him, all you angels of his; *
praise him, all his host.

3 Praise him, sun and moon; *
praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, heaven of heavens, *
and you waters above the heavens.

5 Let them praise the Name of the Lord; *
for he commanded, and they were created.

6 He made them stand fast for ever and ever; *
he gave them a law which shall not pass away.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth, *
you sea-monsters and all deeps;

8 Fire and hail, snow and fog, *
tempestuous wind, doing his will;

9 Mountains and all hills, *
fruit trees and all cedars;

10 Wild beasts and all cattle, *
creeping things and winged birds;

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, *
princes and all rulers of the world;

12 Young men and maidens, *
old and young together.

13 Let them praise the Name of the Lord, *
for his Name only is exalted,
his splendour is over earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up strength for his people
and praise for all his loyal servants, *
the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
Hallelujah!

Revelation 21:1-6

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”

John 13:31-35

At the last supper, when Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Reflection 

The reading from Acts describes how Peter had to completely change his understanding of God and the world. All the principles and practices on which he had based his relationship with God, all that bound him as a member of the Jewish community, were being challenged. Perhaps one might even say, undermined. No longer was there a code that distinguished between what one should or should not eat – and by extension how one should shop, how and with whom one should dine; perhaps even who one should invite into your home. No longer was there exclusivity in being one of God’s people. No longer was there a them and us. 

And yet not everyone understood that this was God’s way. Not everyone understood that what God had achieved through Jesus Christ, the salvation that had been wrought, was for anyone and everyone with no restrictions. The challenge Peter is facing in this passage is not just that of coming to terms with the turning upside down of his religion, but also of having to explain this to his contemporaries –  most of whom did not see it the way he did. Did Peter feel perhaps as many of us feel about the climate crisis? Did he struggle to work out how he could explain to his contemporaries that everything was changing, that the rules were going to be different, that how people went about their daily lives was going to have to change, that sticking with the old ways, the traditional ways was not going to help? 

For the Christian climate activist the challenge is how to persuade people that the climate crisis is real and pressing, that we cannot continue with our old lifestyles and expect to cope, that we cannot ignore the plight of the vulnerable – those affected by rising food prices and or starvation, those affected by droughts and floods, wild fires and heat waves – and that we must make our voices heard when governments and big businesses pursue policies that increase their vulnerability. Like Peter, we have to find a way of winning over hearts and minds in persuading people to accept the new situation in which we find ourselves. We have to speak eloquently and calmly, yet with determination. 

If the reading from Acts is telling us that God is the God of both Jew and Gentile, then today’s psalm is telling us that God is the God not just of people but of all that lives and moves and – even – just exists in creation. We are all of God’s making, are all valued, and are all called to praise God. The reading from Revelation presents us with the hope of a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth will have passed away. Are we to expect this physical earth to be replaced with a new physical earth? Or is it that we are to expect the first way in which the earth existed will be replaced with a new way of doing things? Maybe as a hotel might be re-created or re-formed under a new management?Just as Peter was invited to see his old world of kosher and non-kosher practices as having passed away and replaced with a new world diversity and inclusivity? Is this new order not what climate activists are hoping for? A new earth in which all of creation is respected and cared for in ways which God desires?

‘Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another’ says Jesus. We are called to follow Jesus’s example, his at pattern of living – for that is the way by which a new earth and a new heaven will come into being. As Peter experienced, following a new way means leaving behind the old way, allowing that first earth to pass away. Letting go of the past is not easy; it can feel like stepping into the unknown. But we are not alone, we are not without an example to follow, we are not without God”s presence to both heal and strengthen us. 

Counting on …day 183 

15th May 2022

An update from DEFRA reported that only 44% of the 2.5m tonnes of plastic packaging waste produced in 2021 was recovered for recycling. This compares with 73.6% for glass. (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-waste-data/uk-statistics-on-waste )Plastic can seem harder to recycle because it comes in so many different categories each with its own recycling protocol. Greenpeace’s plastic survey – The Big Plastic Count – which starts tomorrow will collect data that can be used to ease/ resolve this problem. https://thebigplasticcount.com/

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 13th May 2022

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.

Response:

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 reading:

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.

Counting on … day 181

13th May 2022

Eating less meat is good for the environment, for the climate and for releasing resources to ensure everyone across the globe can be fed. An environmental newsletter, The Conversation, provides tips  to help people reduce the amount of meat they eat, based on research by the LEAP team (Livestock, Environment and People) at the University of Oxford. 

  1. Make at least one of your main meals vegetarian.
  2. Double the veg, halve the meat in your meals.
  3. Set a maximum number of animal products to eat today and stick to it.
  4. Try a new vegetarian recipe.
  5. Make your lunch and dinner vegetarian.
  6. Eat only plant-based snacks throughout the day.

https://theconversation.com/uk/newsletters/the-daily-2

Counting on …day 180 

12th May 2022

“Make do and mend” reduces the amount we consume, making our lifestyles more sustainable. Repairing a pair of trousers so that they can be worn for a couple more years makes good sense. 

Repairing sheets – https://greentau.org/2021/09/20/count-down-58/ 

Darning –  https://greentau.org/count-down/