Eco-Congregation Scotland is taking a baton to Paris, to express the demands of churches in Scotland that negotiators agree to a deal that promotes global climate justice. The baton, which will pass around churches in Scotland throughout the summer of 2015, will carry the hopes and aspirations of Christians across Scotland for climate justice to be central to any agreement reached at the conference.
What is happening ?
- Greyfriars Recycling of Wood have made a baton for Eco-congregation Scotland from recycled church furniture.
- The baton bears the message Time for Climate Justice: Churches in Scotland Demand a Deal in Paris, December 2015.
- The relay was launched by Aileen McLeod MSP, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform at our Annual Gathering on 25th of April:
- In December 2015 the baton will be taken to the UN climate change conference in Paris to share our message with other churches and delegates.
See where the baton is going
You can have a look at this map and calendar of where the baton is going to get an idea of when it will be in your area. There are two batons in order to cover as much as Scotland as possible (which is why it will appear that it is in two places at once on many dates!). Green markers indicate where the baton has travelled so far; red markers indicate where it will be going.
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If you are a local church congregation you can book the baton to visit your church when it is passing through your area. As the route is dependent on who signs up please contact us as soon as possible to get your name on the list. Please send an email to email@example.com (or use our contact form here) stating the name of your congregation, its location, plus your name and phone number. We will get in touch to arrange a date.
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We ask that all congregations receiving the baton do the following:
- Fill out one of the postcards and post it to us so we can collect them together and give to the Climate Change minister to show where the baton has been.
- Contact the local press (newspaper or maybe local radio).
- Put an article in your own church magazine.
- Contact other local congregations (of all denominations) and ask them to take part.
When you receive the baton there will be a pack containing printed information. If any of this is missing you can download a copy here:
- Information sheet for congregations explaining what the baton relay is all about.
- Leaflets to give to the general public or congregation members.
- Postcards (front | back) to send to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Minister to tell her where the baton is .
- Advice for contacting the local media.
- Press release (Word format | PDF).
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If you see the baton, tell us where it is, hashtag: #cop21baton
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The Scottish Government has today unexpectedly published its Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill with the following accompanying video. It is proposing a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 with specific targets for each year. There will be more reaction to this from environmental groups throughout today.
You can download the full bill here.
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, of which Eco-Congregation Scotland is a member, has issued the following statement:
Continue reading →
Responding to the Scottish Government’s draft Climate Change Bill placed before the Scottish Parliament today Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said:
“It’s hugely disappointing that the Scottish Government has failed to live up to its own rhetoric on global climate change leadership, by failing to set a net zero emissions target in the Climate Change Bill published today.
“The Government claims Scotland it will be one of the first countries to achieve zero emissions, but the Bill does not commit to that. It sets a target of only a 90 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.
“By failing to ally with the global momentum towards zero emissions, led by countries like France, Sweden and New Zealand, Scotland is missing a huge opportunity to end its contribution to climate change in a generation, attract clean investment and retain its position as a leader on the global stage.
“We’re now calling on MSPs from all parties to push for stronger targets on emissions – net-zero by 2050 at the latest, 77 per cent by 2030 and the action needed to deliver on them in line with the Paris Agreement.”
The Scottish Government has disregarded the voices of over 19,000 people in Scotland who asked for a net zero target by 2050 at the latest, as well as the voices of eminent global scientists, members of the farming community, faith leaders and those at the front line of climate change impacts around the world. As it stands, this Bill does not deliver on the Paris Agreement, and it does not deliver climate justice to those who already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change.
Those of you who have been involved with Eco-Congregation Scotland for a while will know that we keep in touch with our Islamic equivalent the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Studies. We hosted a joint event at the Edinburgh International Science Festival a few years ago.
Now, as part of their EcoIslam initiative IFEES is asking Mosques to find alternatives to plastic during Iftar. Iftar is the breaking of the daily fast and often takes place communally in the Mosque.
Here is their information:
As part of our campaign to encourage mosques to set a positive example around Islamic environmental stewardship for their communities, IFEES/EcoIslam are advocating a more sustainable approach to the communal iftar working toward reducing the environmental impact of such events.
World Environment Day #WorldEnvironmentDay falls this year on 20th of Ramadan and has the theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution” and so IFEES/EcoIslam is encouraging mosques to hold a Plastic Free Iftar #PlasticFreeIftar on that day.
So, here is a challenge for churches. Can you reduce your use of plastic in your communal catering?Continue reading →
At the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland today commissioners voted overwhelmingly against disinvesting from fossil fuel companies while continuing to engage with them to get their activities aligned with the requirements of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The original deliverance from the Church and Society Council, which proposed a two year period of engagement followed by disinvestment if no progress has been made, received 128 votes.
A counter motion in the name of Rev Jenny Adams calling for immediate disinvestment received 135 votes.
A second counter motion in the name of former moderator Rev Albert Bogle received 300 votes and was carried. It reads:
Instruct the [Church and Society] Council to engage with the oil and gas companies to continue to seek alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement rather than divest from the oil and gas industry.
You can view a video of the debate (in two parts) here, during which a number of Eco-Congregation Scotland activists spoke:
Part One – 43 minutes
Part Two – 43 Minutes
We had a good time on Sunday celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Glasgow Garden Festival and enjoyed being part of the Glasgow Wildlife Garden Festival 2018. The event took place out in the patio where we had quizzes led by the Sunday School, planting bee and butterfly friendly seeds in egg cartons with the BB, some posters from Christian’s Aid project ‘Inherit the Earth’ in Bolivia, a stall selling fairly traded items for the garden and other environmentally friendly goods, and a great stall provided by RSPB with lots of interesting activities, information and face painting. The community champion at our local Tesco store donated juice and fruit, along with crisps and sweets.
We were really pleased that our MP, Alison Thewliss, was able to join us. Alison spent a lot of time speaking with and listening to people and kindly presented the Bronze Eco-Congregation award to some of our young people.
The Church of Scotland will debate on Wednesday just how far and fast the Kirk should go in divesting from companies driving climate change.
Officials have put forward a motion to the Church of Scotland General Assembly which says that, following an assessment, the Church should begin to divest from fossil fuel companies in 2020. The accompanying report says: “It is deeply uncomfortable for the church, as a caring organisation concerned about climate justice, to continue to invest in something which causes the very harm it seeks to alleviate.”
However a grassroots motion will say the Church should begin divesting now.
The Reverend Jenny Adams supports more urgent action and has proposed a counter-motion to “withdraw from investing within two years.”
The Church agreed in 2016 to engage with oil and gas companies for a two year period to see if they were taking sufficient action on climate change. That period is now over.
The Reverend Adams commented:
“While I understand the Church wanting to change minds in the oil and gas industry, we have already given 2 years to engagement. With evidence of increased production, at a time when fossil fuels must stay in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe, we must now put our money where our mouth is and withdraw investments urgently.”
The Church’s investment fund is believed to be valued at £443 million.
Ric Lander, Friends of the Earth Scotland said:
“Oil companies like BP and Shell have made business plans that will create catastrophic changes to our environment. They are expanding their operations while scientists tell us that the vast majority of existing fossil fuel reserves can’t be used. The pace of the climate crisis demands urgent action, the Church should begin divesting now.”
Within the last month, a group of Catholic organisations with combined investments of over €7 billion, including SCIAF in Scotland, committed to withdraw their investments from fossil fuel companies. The Church of Ireland also committed to end its investments in all fossil fuels less than two weeks ago.
James Buchanan, who works on Operation Noah’s Bright Now divestment campaign, said:
“Despite years of engagement with the fossil fuel industry, there are few signs that oil and gas companies are preparing for the transition to a net zero carbon future, which is essential if we are to meet the Paris Agreement goals. The Church of Scotland should join the Church of Ireland, the Church of Sweden and the United Reformed Church of Scotland in committing to full divestment from fossil fuels.”
On 19 April the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Dr Derek Browning, joined other faith leaders in Scotland to call for the Scottish Government to make its forthcoming Climate Change Bill more ambitious.
Scotland’s campaign to divest from fossil fuels was launched in the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly Hall in 2013 at an event with US author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. Since then eight Scottish institutions have committed to fully divest from fossil fuels, including the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the United Reformed Church Synod of Scotland.
This week brings significant attention to fossil fuel companies. On Monday the BP AGM in Manchester faced protests over the company’s operations in Argentina and Colombia. On Tuesday the Shell AGM in the Hague will face protests connected with legal action being taken by thousands of people in the Netherlands regarding the company’s contribution to climate change.