Prayers for Creation

 Friday 2nd September 2022

Jesus said … “Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14b

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 Ezekiel 47:1-12 

Now he brought me back to the entrance to the Temple. I saw water pouring out from under the Temple porch to the east (the Temple faced east). The water poured from the south side of the Temple, south of the altar. He then took me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the gate complex on the east. The water was gushing from under the south front of the Temple. He walked to the east with a measuring tape and measured off fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water waist-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet. By now it was a river over my head, water to swim in, water no one could possibly walk through. He said, “Son of man, have you had a good look?”

Then he took me back to the riverbank. While sitting on the bank, I noticed a lot of trees on both sides of the river. He told me, “This water flows east, descends to the Arabah and then into the sea, the sea of stagnant waters. When it empties into those waters, the sea will become fresh. Wherever the river flows, life will flourish—great schools of fish—because the river is turning the salt sea into fresh water. Where the river flows, life abounds. Fishermen will stand shoulder to shoulder along the shore from En Gedi all the way north to En-eglaim, casting their nets. The sea will teem with fish of all kinds, like the fish of the Great Mediterranean.

“The swamps and marshes won’t become fresh. They’ll stay salty. But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won’t wither, the fruit won’t fail. Every month they’ll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”

In the beginning

it was a mere drop of water, 

a slight dampness on the ground:

It will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

The wetness gathers, 

soaks into the ground, 

bubbles up and becomes a spring:

It will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Overflowing, 

the spring gives birth to a stream, 

slipping and sliding and a journey begins:

It will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Meeting with others, 

joining forces, growing in magnitude,

the stream becomes a river:

It will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

From youth to maturity 

the river grows in girth and presence, 

bearing an ever growing load:

It will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Spilling over, spreading out, 

the river branches out into a delta 

disbursing its fertility across the land:

It will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Returning, homing in on the tideline, 

the river pours out unhesitatingly 

into the greater depth of the sea:

It will become in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

From cradle to grave, may our lives be channeled by God’s wisdom.

From beginning to end, may our lives serve God’s kingdom.

From source to sea, may our lives overflow with God’s love.

Amen

The Lord’s Prayer 

Prayers for Creation

 Friday 26th August 2022 

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:3

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 : Isaiah 55: 1-3a, 7-11

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk  without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,  and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me;  listen, so that you may live. Seek the Lord while he may be found,  call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way,  and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,  and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,  and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be, that goes out from my mouth;  it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,  and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

A response:

When we have a little, teach us to be grateful

When we have much, teach us not to be careless.

When we become complacent, teach us to be mindful.

We give thanks for rain and dew, snowfall and fog,

for  rivers and streams, lakes and oceans, for glaciers and ice sheets, 

for water that cleans and freshens the air:

Holy God

 let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!


We give thanks for water to bring life to plants, greening the earth, 

water to irrigate the fields and grow crops,

quenching fruits trees and flowers, salads and herbs:

Holy God

 let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

We give thanks for water

that all may drink – live stock and wild stock, 

birds and insects, as creatures great and small,

and for humans alike:

Holy God

 let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!


We give thanks for water fresh and salty, 

for those that swim on or in it, 

and all those for whom it is home:

Holy God

 let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

We give thanks for  water for drinking and washing,  

cleaning and laundering, cooking and brewing,

for making textiles and medicines, and for electrical generation:

 Holy God

 let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

We give thanks for  water as transport and water as recreation, 

for ships and barges, for swimming and sailing, canoeing and paddling:

Holy God

 let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!


We give thanks for  water for  birthing and baptising, 

for blessing and cleansing,

for healing and restoring:

Holy God

 let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!


The Grace

The Green Tau: issue 49

19th August 2022

Conserving water effectively.

This year we are feeling the effects of climate change more acutely, with a series of heat waves, a lack of rainfall and now a drought.  As hot and dry summers will be an ongoing feature of climate change, so too will water shortages and droughts. 

Part of the equation lies with how much water we consume and when, and how much water we can store. Part of the dilemma is that the time when we consume most water is in the summer months when  the chances of restocking depleted water supplies is most limited. When  it is hot and there is no rain, we quickly use water we have previously stored to water gardens, to irrigate crops, to provide drinking water for animals and people, to fill swimming pools and paddling pools etc. And as many of us have experienced, the water we had stored (domestically in water butts) has not been enough to keep our gardens green. There has been much discussion in the press about water companies not investing enough in new reservoirs. 

Is collecting and storing more water the only solution? Building reservoirs is expensive and happens at the loss of someone else’s ‘backyard’. Cleaning and distributing water (and subsequently treating what is discarded) incurs its own energy cost and the greater the volume, the greater the cost. Should we instead be looking to reduce the demand side of the equation?  

According to CCW, the Consumer Council for Water, the average person in the UK uses 152 litres of water a day. A washing machine uses about 50l per load, a five minute shower 40l (more for a power shower), 10-14l for the dishwasher and each flush of the loo can use 10l.  Very quickly you can see how that 152l of water disappears!  And this is without including a sprinkler for the lawn, a hose to wash the car or a power jet to clean the drive. 

Yes, we can reduce the amount of water we use. We can change to taps that use less water by produce a spray. Ditto for shower heads. We can adjust toilet cisterns to use less water per flush. We can opt for washing appliances that use less water. We can turn off the tap when washing hands and teeth. We can bathe less often and wash clothes less often – saving energy as well as water. We can plant our gardens with drought tolerant plants and cut the lawns less often. We can install more water butts, and even install systems to collect and recycle grey water. 

Leaks from water pipes – whether that is within a property, or out in the street – account for 113 litres per property per day according to CCW. Thames Water puts its leakage rate at a staggering 24% of the water it supplies. Sometimes leak go unnoticed because the water is leaking into the subsoil. Keeping an eye on our water meter should alert us to any leaks that occur on the consumer side of the pipes.

Yet households only account for a small fraction of the water we consume in the UK. The data below ⬇️ comes from the  WWF Water Footprint report https://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Orr_and_Chapagain_2008_UK_waterfootprint-vol1.pdf 

73.6% of the UK’s water is used in farming. 

17.9% is used by industry, and 

8.5% is used by households. 

Many of us are probably not aware how much water is used in farming. About a third of agricultural water is used for livestock, primarily as drinking water. A lactating cow needs 100+ litres a day, a farrowing sow, 30l and a beef animal 20l. Further water is used for washing/ cleaning dairy parlours, stock sheds and yards; for processing and cooling milk; and for disease control such as sheep dips and foot baths. (https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/lifesci/wcc/research/resources/wateruse/technology/livestock.pdf)

Water for arable farming is primarily used for irrigation of outdoors in-field crops and undercover or protected, crops. Field crops requiring irrigation are primarily vegetables including sugar beet,  peas, beans etc (potatoes account for 54% of water consumption), sugar beet, orchards and other fruits such as strawberries. Grains and grasses only occasionally need irrigation. Protected crops include  (edibles such as salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces, peppers, herbs, celery, and aubergines; and ornamentals such as pot plants, bedding plants and indoor cut flowers. (https://www.nfuonline.com/archive?treeid=141830)  Water is also needed for spraycrops with pesticides and herbicides.

Just as domestic users of water can make savings by using more efficient equipment and appliances, so too can agricultural users. Just as gardeners can reduce their demand for water by swopping to drought tolerant plants, so too farmers can look to grow less water-greedy crops or drought tolerant varieties. But when it comes to providing drinking water for livestock, the only way to achieve reductions in water consumption would be by reducing stock numbers.  

A pressing issue both in the UK and globally,  is food waste. In the UK WRAP estimates that 3.6 million tonnes or  7.2%, of all food harvested is lost each year. 4% is classified as surplus which is food that would go to waste were it not diverted for use as animal food or other bio-based products. 3.2%  is pure waste, of which horticultural crops make up 54% of the total, cereals 30%, livestock 8% and milk 8%. (https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/food-waste-primary-production-uk)  Such food waste may arise became the crop is damaged whilst growing in the field (pests and/ or weather), because supply exceeds the market demand, or because the product is the wrong shape/ too large/ too small, or because there is a lack of available labour to harvest the crop. 

On top of this primary level of waste, there are issues with food waste during processing, on the shop floor and in the home. WRAP estimates that a further 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted of which 70% is wasted in the home. The most frequently thrown away foods are potatoes, bread and milk, whilst in total fresh vegetables and salad makes up 24% of the total.

So far  I have focused on the consumption of water in the UK, but as the WWF Water Footprint report goes on to demonstrate, when we import food and other items we are in essence importing the output of  someone else’s water. There are some products that we cannot – climatically – grow in this country such as cocoa and coffee. There are others, such as strawberries and tomatoes which have a longer growing season when grown elsewhere – say in Spain – than if grown here. However if these products come from areas where there are water shortages, our consumption of the same may be exacerbating that problem. As consumers we need to be conscientious in understanding the environmental costs of what we buy. When we buy Spanish strawberries are we endangering ecosystems in Spain? There has been a number of reports this year about the extraction of water by some strawberry growers that is adversely affecting the wetlands in the Doñana national park. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/08/bitter-fruit-strawberry-boom-water-plan-raises-fears-for-spanish-wetlands?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other and https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/uk-supermarkets-urge-andalucia-against-huge-strawberry-farm-expansion?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other)

On balance, whilst we should certainly save water in the home, we can do far more to safeguard water supplies and thus avoid water shortages, by rethinking what and how we eat. Eating less meat and dairy produce. Eating what’s in season, including the small/ large or wonky. Buying and cooking only what we need. 

Counting on …day 277 

15th August 2022

For a while we lived through a drought in Zimbabwe where every household was rationed to 50l of water per day (we were a household of 5). Reusing the little water we had was key – you learnt to wash your teeth before you washed your pants. Officially we are now in a drought situation here and must make careful use of our water, using only what we absolutely need and collecting grey water to reuse. A small bowl collects hand washing water to flush the loo. A larger bowl to wash in serves the same purpose. 

 Counting on …day 255

24th July 2022

The more people use refillable water bottles, the less demand there will be for bottled water. The hot weather has reminded us of the importance of staying hydrated – can it also instil in us the habit of carrying a refillable bottle. Lots of cafes have taps or jugs of water for refills, many railway stations have water refill points, and there are a growing number of public water fountains around the country. 

Refill has an app to help you find places to refill water bottles, cafes that give discounts for reusable cups, and places that will refill your lunch box (but not for free!) – https://www.refill.org.uk/

Counting on … day 239

10th July 2022

You see it in some cafés – for a cool drink, fill a jug with water and add strips of cucumber/ slices of lemon or orange/ sprigs of mint/ slices of root ginger/ even melon rinds. Keep the jug in the fridge – it will stand a few refills before the additions loose their flavour. (No sugar, and no bottles to recycle).

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