Counting On … day 8

21st November 2021

Rather than a Christmas card (complete with envelope) why not send Christmas postcards? They use half the card and none of the paper for the envelope.

You could make your own, hand drawn or print a design with your home printer (one A4 sheet of thin card can be cut down into four postcards).

You could buy postcards  from a local wildlife centre – Friends of Richmond Park have beautiful cards depicting deer. 

Counting On … day 6 

19th November 2021

One straightforward way of reducing our carbon footprint is  choosing the vegan option. When it comes to biscuits this is even easier than you would expect. Many traditional brands of biscuits sold in supermarkets are vegan and in many case have always  been so! Their vegan attributes as a consequence are not always highlighted. Jeni from the Choose Vegan website has complied a lost of all the commonly sold biscuits which are also vegan. 

Counting On …

16th November 2021

Adopting a plant based – ie vegan – is one easy way of reducing our carbon footprint. Here is another vegan cake recipe – vegan baking is straight forward!

Golden Parkin (sorry – no picture as we ate it all up!)

1 tbsp camelina or chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp of warm water

100g margerine, 6 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp syrup

2 tbsp oatmeal, 8 tbsp flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 or 3 tsp of ground spice (I used a mix of cardamon, all spice and cinnamon

150g grated squash

Method: melt the margerine and add sugar and syrup. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Add oat milk if needed to create a dropping consistency.

Bake: tip into a lined tin, approx 180 x 300mm, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until form to touch.

The Green Tau: issue 25

14th November 2021

Governments and world leaders have not take action that matches up to the structures of the scientists. Now it is up to us as the people. We are not insignificant. We have money to spend – albeit not as much as governments and the top “5 percenters” – and we have voices with which to speak out. 

Consumer power saved dolphins from tuna nets, saved puffins by ending the use of sand eel oil in biscuits, saved veal calves and hens from cages, saved whales by ending the use of whale oil in cosmetics, saved minks from becoming fur coats …  Consumer power has swung behind campaigns to wear seat belts, to give up smoking, to end drink driving. Now consumer power is seeing the end of single use plastic straws and plastic bags. Consumer power is feeding the growth of organic and vegan foods, and the popularity of vintage clothing. Consumer power is even increasing the number of cycles on the roads.  

We can continue to use our money strategically to shape the world we want to live in. We can band together for greater effect. We can boycott products and service – even entire lifestyles – than damage our future. 

We can be influencers and game changers. We can set the example, we can be there trail blazers. We can show others – individuals like ourselves, small businesses and big businesses, schools, civic groups and faith centres, local councils and governments – that this is the way we want to live. 

We can write letters and petition. We can make posters and banners. We can write articles, we can blog and vlog. We can hold coffee mornings and parties. We can sing and we can be theatrical. We can inform and enthuse. We can demonstrate. We can speak out and we can speak up.

We can also be game changers by not spending money! Not everything we do, not everything we enjoy has to cost money. And things that are free seldom have a carbon footprint! A walk in the park. A chat with a friend. A wave to a neighbour. Giving presence not presents. Sharing and lending. Swopping and exchanging. Upcycling and cycling. Swishing and re fashioning. Repairing and recycling. So telling and singing. DIY and home baking. Growing and preserving. 

We may feel that as one individual we can’t make a difference. We may be unsure what is the best action we can take. We may fear that we might fall under the bewitchment of green wash. We may fear that our best intentions may prove to be unwittingly destructive. We may be overwhelmed by choices before us, the flood of information that is out there, that we don’t even know where to start. 

That is why we need to come together, to find like minded companions. To learn from one another, to encourage and support each other. To know that together we can make positive change a reality. 

Next week’s Eco Tips will list some of the many organisations and groups that can help you find answers and/ or provide a framework for eco living. 

Midday Prayers during COP26

Friday 12th November 2021

Let’s seek God with all our heart

Amen. God be our centre.

Let’s seek God with all our soul

Amen. God be our vision.

Let’s seek God with all our mind

Amen. God be our wisdom.

Let’s seek God with all our strength

Amen. God be our souls’ shelter.

(From https://ourcommonprayer.org/2021/08/30/mondays-in-climate-emergency/)

Reading: Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. Deuteronomy 11: 19-22

On this the eleventh day of COP26 the focus is on our governments as negotiations come to a close, so let us pray:- 

We pray for all the participants,

the decision-makers and the protestors,

the bureaucrats and the prayerful,

influencers and bankers,

for producers and consumers.

May the agreements and the pledges that are made this week

bring justice and confidence 

safety and security for all.

May they be honoured and enacted 

for the wellbeing our world and our futures.

Loving and patient God,

may your will be done.

All: Amen.


Now is the sky blue!

Now is the verge blowsy 

with lady’s lace and buttercups,

and tousle headed  grasses.

The dog rose in the hedge 

the sheep beyond.

The burbling refrain of the curlew, 

the acrobatic swerve of the swift.

All is now, and now, and now!

But tomorrow, next week, next year? 

Merciful God will they still be there?

Will our apathy, 

our slowness to act, 

our aversion to change 

allowed all this 

to be threatened, 

diminished, and 

evicted from life?

Have mercy.

But not just mercy –

rather prod us, prompt us, 

push us into action.

Renew our hearts and minds,

reverse our expectations

so that we change the future 

and once more 

be restorers of creation.

Amen. 

Halloween Scones

Food waste is a big contributor to global warming. Waste can occur anywhere from on the farm, whilst in transit, at the supermarket or in the home. In the home we should aim to  use all the food we buy. So here is a recipe for using up raw pumpkin – or squash. It is also cooked in a frying pan rather than in the oven which will use less energy. It is also plant-based  – another plus for the environment. 

250g self raising flour

60g vegan butter

1 tbsp of chia or camelina seeds

150g raw pumpkin/ squash

4 cardamom pods

Oat milk


Mix the seeds with 3 tbsp of warm water. Mix in the seeds from the cardamon pods. 

Cut the butter into,cubes and rub into the flour.

Chop the pumpkin into small pieces.

Mix everything together, adding enough milk to create a soft dough. 

Heat a frying pan with a little oil in the bottom.

Roll out the dough and cut into rounds or triangles. Place these in the pan. 

Cook for 5-10 minutes or until browning on the bottom. Turn over and cook on the other side.

Enjoy plain or with jam. 

Hand Warmer

One of the largest sources of carbon dioxide that contributes to our domestic carbon footprint comes from heating our homes. We can reduce this part of our carbon footprint by turning down the heating in our homes and/or reducing the number of hours we have the heating on. Of course it is important that we don’t get cold. We can keep warm by wearing extra layer of clothes and by taking regular exercise. Today’s activity is a nice extra – a hand warmer.

For this you will need a piece of cotton fabric – about 14x28cm.  Fold this in half with the pattern on the inside. Sew the fabric together alone two sides.

Turn the fabric right side out so that the rough edges are inside what is now a pocket.  

Fill the pocket with uncooked rice. Use a sheet of paper to make a funnel so that you can more easily pour in the rice. Fill about half full. 

Tuck the unseen edges inside and stitch the sides together. Use small stitches so that the rice can’t escape.  

To use the hand-warmer, place in a microwave and heat for a minute. It should be warm to hold. 

You can reuse the hand-warmer several times but do be careful: over time the rice will bake and might eventually burn and scorch the hand-warmer.

Cycle Tag

All of have to find ways of reducing our carbon footprints. One area of life which can have a large footprint is transport. Diesel, petrol and aviation fuel all produce large amounts of carbon dioxide. On the other hand walking and cycling have a zero carbon footprint. If you – like me -enjoy cycling, you might want to encourage other people to cycle too. 

Today’s project is to make a tag to go on the back of your bicycle.

For this you will need the wooden lid from a empty box of Camembert cheese. Carefully remove the staples that fasten it to its sides.  

Choose two of these holes that are opposite each other and mark them with a pen. Imagine a horizontal line between these two spots so that you can orientate your tag. 

Use the lid to draw a circle on a piece of paper. On this piece of paper draw a design for your tag.

Once your are happy with your design, use permanent felt tip-pens  to draw your design onto the wooden circle. 

Thread to paper clips through each of the holes and then hook the paper clips around the metal supports under your cycle saddle.  

Every time you go for a ride, people will see your tag and will think, Cycling is a good way to travel!

Count Down

 Action 95: Heating our homes is one of the biggest components of our domestic carbon footprint. This autumn the weather is still quite mild. Why not see how long you can keep warm with out turning the heating on? And thereafter see just how many hours it needs to be in each day to keep you warm? On the Eco Tips page you will fin suggestions for alternative ways of keeping warm, including thermal underwear. 

Eco Tips

Green Money

How we use, spend or save our money, makes a difference.

  • Protect peat bogs: don’t buy composts that contain peat, instead buy peat-free varieties or make your own.
  • Buy bee friendly (and insect/ butterfly friendly) seeds and flowers to promote local biodiversity.
  • If you have space, buy and plant fruit bushes/ trees and enjoy fresh fruit. 
  • Even if you only have a windowsill buy seeds so that you can grow your own herbs and salads.
  • Use local shops and local suppliers so that your money supports jobs for local people and the local economy.
  • Buy locally produced food so as to reduce supply lines and their associated carbon footprint. Avoid foods bought in by air freight.
  • Buy organic food to prevent more soils and waterways from being polluted by nitrates and pesticides.
  • Buy organic foods to prevent insects, birds and small mammals being poisoned by pesticides.
  • Buy organic foods to prevent wild plants being killed off by herbicides.
  • Buy plant-based foods from sustainable sources in preference to meat and dairy products which have a larger carbon footprint.
  • Avoid products that come with excess packaging – even if it is recyclable, the whole process is unnecessarily using up time and resources!
  • Swop/ buy second hand items to cut back on waste and conserve scarce resources. 
  • Maintain and/ or repair things to make them last longer or find a professional to do this for you. NB Anything electrical should only be mended by a professional; ditto boilers etc. 
  • Buy gas and/or electricity from a green supplier and support the transfer to renewable energy.
  • Buy a cycle and good wet weather clothes and be an active traveller. Fewer cars on the roads reduces CO2 levels and air pollution and creates quieter, less congested neighbourhoods.
  • Where you go by rail rather than air, buy a train ticket. Where you can go by bus rather than drive, buy a bus ticket. Opt for the greenest travel option.
  • Avoid companies that don’t pay a living wage to their employees, who don’t pay their taxes, and offer minimal support for a greener world. Instead spend your money supporting  companies that treat people and the environment with respect.
  • Do buy wonky and misshapen fruit and vegetables and limit what goes to waste.
  • Do buy insulation for your home, thermal linings for your curtains, and low energy light bulbs.
  • Do consider a heat pump over a boiler. The former is more energy efficient and has a much smaller carbon footprint.
  • Don’t buy food you won’t eat, clothes your won’t wear or appliances that just take up space.
  • Don’t buy new when a good second hand option is available. 
  • Don’t use banks/ insurers/ pension fund providers that invest funds in the fossil fuel industries.
  • Do seek out companies that actively invest to support a green economy.
  • Do support wild life funds, re-wilding and habitat conservation projects. 
  • Do enjoy the outdoors and green spaces – often access is free!