Counting on … day 31

14th December 2021

It is a month since the end of COP26  on climate change. It can seem as if it was something that happened in a different time. It can feel as if it was blip that changed nothing.  Various environmental and faith groups have since then held reflections, trying to evaluate what happened. One of these took place at the the a Franciscan friary at Hilfield. Below is a link to a YouTube recording of their gathering. The first part by Andy Lester of A Rocha gives a very concise overview of what the COP objectives were and how they were and were not met. Both A Rocha and Franciscans are identified by their concern for the world and its environment,  and  for justice. Both agree that faith groups have an important role to play in standing up for the well-being of the environment and all our brethren. 

Counting On … day 30

13th December 2021

Shop small, shop locally. Supporting small and local businesses is good for the local community and for the environment. Local book shops, for example, are more likely to treat staff suppliers and customers with respect, to pay their taxes – and their shop window also to certainly brightens up the high street! These are the shops and local businesses we count on to make life good. Much more rewarding than buying books from Amazon. 

Ethical Consumer recommends using local food suppliers in their recent report on eating at Christmas.

 Counting On …day 29

12th December 2021

Take a walk somewhere green. It should re-energise you and let you see why it is that we want to protect the natural world. 

Here in Richmond Park, cattle are brought in each year to graze some of the land., a practice that has being going on now for about ten years. As cattle have different grazing patterns from deer, their presence can encourage a greater diversity of wild plants that can thrive on the local acidic soils. 

Counting On … day 28

11th December 2021

As well as fir comes, seed heads and dried leaves, paper makes a good material for Christmas decorations. It is easy to get hold off and easy to recycle and doesn’t damage the environment. The following YouTube episode demonstrates how to make a paper star – do feel free to fast forward past the introduction. 

Counting On …. Day 27 

10th December 2021

On average about 18% of the food we buy at Christmas is thrown away! According to Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at John Lewis Partnership “The reality is food waste creates six times more greenhouse gases than aviation. When we throw food away, we waste the precious resources taken to grow, package and transport it – and as it rots in landfill, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. So the simple action of throwing food in the bin has more of a negative impact on our planet than people often realise.” (

The means to avoiding such waste is two pronged: don’t buy more than you actually need, and make sure you do use all that you do buy. For more tips on how to reduce food waste see

 Counting on … day 26

9th December 2021

Pens can be recycled at Ryman stores who participate in the Terra Cycle scheme. This includes all writing instruments (except for wooden pencils and chalk) are accepted : Any brand of pen, felt tip, highlighter, marker, correction fluid pot, correction tape, mechanical pencil and eraser pen regardless of their composition.

Counting on … day 25

8th December 2021

Following on from yesterday’s thoughts, what happens to people who do stand up and protest? And why do they take the risk of ending up in prison? 

The following piece comes from one of XR’s newsletters:

Emma Smart, 44, from Weymouth, Dorset, has been on hunger strike since 16th November. On Friday 26th November Emma was moved out of her cell onto the hospital wing at HMP Bronzefield.

Speaking from the prison, Emma said:

“The window of my cell in the hospital wing is blocked up and there is little natural light, in my previous cell I could see the birds and trees that line the prison fence. I have less time to go outside in the prison yard for exercise now. All of this is testing my resolve to continue, but I feel that not eating is the only thing I can do from prison to draw attention to those who will have to make the choice between heating and eating this winter.

“Not standing by while our government commits treason against the people of this country feels like the most important thing I will do in my life.”

Counting on… day 24

7th December 2021

Often we count on others to demonstrate on our behalf. We may agree with the sentiments of the protestors but may be don’t have the time or the ability to join in. Not all the women who wanted the vote were able to protest. Not everyone who opposed the war against Iraq were able to protest. Not everyone who wants the Government to give better leadership over the climate crisis is able to protest.

But what do we do if the Government determines to curtail the right to protest?

The following article comes from the Campaign Against Climate Change:

In contempt for the democratic process, Priti Patel has added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill an additional 18 pages of amendments after the Bill has gone through the House of Commons and after second reading in the House of Lords. This is a clear attempt to bypass Parliamentary scrutiny. The Bill as it stood was already a dangerous assault on the right to protest. The new amendments turn it into something which which you would expect to see in a dictatorship, not a democracy.

Protest to #KillTheBill

Next Wednesday, 8th December, the House of Lords will begin amending the Bill. A protest has been called for 5-7pm in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster.

We’ll update our website with details and links to solidarity protests in other cities as we hear about them. If you are on social media, check your local campaigns for news, search #KillTheBill, and there are also national accounts for Kill the Bill on TwitterInstagram.and Facebook.

Can’t make a protest? See below for information about writing to your MP etc: ‘What you can do

Further information including Liberty’s useful summary can be found on their web site

Counting On … day 23

In the last people were often reliant for their survival on the generosity of others. The young man, who became St Nicholas, lost both his parents due to a plague. Maybe he realised that money itself was not a guaranteed source of security. Instead he turned to the advice of Jesus and sold his inheritance and gave the proceeds to those in need. One such recipient was a poor widower with three unmarried daughters. With no money, he could not afford dowries nor could he afford to look after them. The remaining option was slavery. Nicholas came under cover of dark and threw three bags of money through the window of their house, and saved the family from destitution. 

Some 1700 years later and people still find themselves trapped in poverty and needing to count on the generosity of others. This time of year many charities that provide relief look to us for funds.  

A gift secretly given, needing no receipt.

A gift freely bestowed -no strings attached

A gift that meets your needs, no questions asked, 

nor application forms to fill

A gift to free your children from poverty

A gift to restore – not diminish – your pride

A gift you do not have to earn.

St Nicholas’s gift.