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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Join us to explores key issues around how we can invest our money ethically to have a positive impact on Climate Change individually, as part of your congregation and in your community.
Thursday 12th October 2017 9:45 am
St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church, Edinburgh, EH2 2PA
9.15 Registration and refreshments
9.45 Welcome and introduction (Chair)
9.50 Keynote speakers
10.35 Workshop session 1
11.15 Break for refreshments
11.35 Workshop session 2
12:15 Panel discussion and questions
13:00 Wrap up (Chair)
13:05 Lunch and networking
Rev Sally Foster-Fulton Head of Christian Aid Scotland Chris Hegarty Senior Policy and Advocacy Adviser, Christian Aid
Monica Middleton National Director, Oikocredit UK & Ireland
Chair: Rev Richard Frazer Church & Society Council Convener, Church of Scotland
Places are free but limited. Book online at Eventbrite : www.fmcc17.eventbrite.co.uk
(Download as a PDF here)
Churches across Scotland are embracing Toilet Twinning, a quirky campaign which helps provide proper loos in some of the poorest places on the planet. In countries like Malawi, climate change is making the need for decent toilets all the more pressing…
Brighton is proud to be chief of Kalu. His village in southern Malawi is clean and his people are healthy. The community is now working together as a team to keep people safe from disease.
Just two years ago, there were no proper toilets and people relieved themselves in the bush. Diarrhoea and cholera were rife and people were often sick. Some had even died.
‘The stench in our villages and bushes was so bad we did not like living here,’ says Brighton.
It was 2015 that Toilet Twinning’s partner Eagles drew alongside the village in Chikwawa district, about 50 miles south-west of Blantyre. Villagers immediately identified poor health as a major concern but did not know what was causing it.
Eagles helped villagers organise into Community Health Clubs: members learnt about the importance of sanitation and hygiene then spread the word among neighbours. Soon, villagers were being trained to dig latrines and learning how to make sanplats – reusable concrete slabs to cover the pits.
Building materials such as wood which might have been used for latrine slabs and enclosures are in short supply due to recent drought – so the sanplats have made toilets accessible to all.
Villagers have also learnt how to purify water with chlorine and take much greater care to manage household waste and protect their environment. Kalu and many other nearby villages where Eagles are working are now almost completely free of open defecation, and sickness is subsiding.
The project’s success is even more impressive, given that recent drought has led to poor harvests and hunger, so people invest most of their energy in searching for food.
But, as Community Health Club member Margret explains, people are motivated to make change happen for themselves. ‘Before, it took months to build a toilet as people didn’t care if it was there or not,’ she says. ‘Now, people build their toilet in two days because they see the importance of having one.
‘God’s love is so great and sometimes it is shown in what look like small things, such as a toilet.’
Scotland on a roll…
This dual focus – on environmental concerns and social justice – has attracted many churches in Scotland to support the Toilet Twinning campaign.
The initiative, part of Christian development agency Tearfund, raises funds to help provide clean water, proper toilets and hygiene education in some of the poorest communities in the world. It encourages individuals and organisations to ‘twin’ their toilet with a latrine overseas and so support life-saving water and sanitation projects in communities such as Kalu.
The need globally is huge: one child dies every two minutes from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. One in three people – some 2.4bn people – still don’t have a proper toilet.
One supportive church is Davidson’s Mains Parish Church, Edinburgh, which became an Eco-Congregation in 2017. The toilets in the church café, The Sycamore Tree, are now twinned with a toilet block in a displacement camp in Central African Republic, ‘partially because of the numerous mentions CAR has on BBC quiz show Pointless’, says church member John Maclennan.
‘The ability to twin with an actual toilet block gives us a very personal connection,’ says John. ‘The issue of water conservation is also one which is never taken seriously enough. Lack of clean water and lack of proper school toilets are a major contributor to very high school drop-out rates in Africa, especially for girls.’
Some churches have gone a step further and spearheaded community-wide Toilet Twinning campaigns. In 2015, Fair Trade campaigners helped win Bathgate in West Lothian the accolade of Scotland’s first Toilet Twinned Town. And it’s not just adults who have become avid twinners: the Middle Church at St Devenick’s in Bieldside, Aberdeen, held a sponsored bike ride and sleep-out to raise hundreds of pounds for latrines overseas.
Toilet Twinning’s Scotland Fundraising Manager Elyse Kirkham says the campaign challenges us to reconsider basic things we tend to take for granted. ‘If you don’t have a toilet, you can’t keep clean or healthy,’ says Elyse. ‘So, you can’t work or tend your field: it’s a vicious circle.
‘Toilet are also about dignity, safety, inclusion and releasing potential. A latrine is such a simple construction – but it’s also a powerful symbol of hope that life can get better.’
*For more information, visit www.toilettwinning.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org You can twin your loo with a household latrine for £60, or with a toilet block in a school or displacement camp for £240. You will receive a certificate with a photo of your toilet twin and its GPS coordinates to display in your lavvy with pride.
Knowing the carbon footprint of your church, other buildings, or your travel is an essential step in responding to climate change.
Knowing the carbon footprint will help you:
- Learn about the carbon emissions from your heating, lighting or appliances
- Check the different carbon emissions of travel by car, bus, train, or plane
- Give you an overall picture of your total carbon footprint and help you think about how you could reduce it.
Eco-Congregation Scotland introduced a carbon calculator onto its website in 2009 but it is now sadly out of date. The reason is that the carbon footprint of electricity has reduced considerably over the years as coal fired power stations across the UK have been replaced by renewables , especially wind power. On line calculators have also become a lot more powerful land effective.
So we now recommend you use this on line calculator: http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx
This will allow you to enter readings from the gas, electricity or oil bills for your church – just use the ‘house’ page which will work equally well for any church building. It also allows you to open an account where you can record your meter readings.
Have a go – see how you get on!
The Trossachs Pilgrimage and Picnic is taking place again this year on Sunday 27th August. You are invited to join for the Pilgrimage walk, which leaves at 11.45, after an Open Air service in Ancaster Square, Callander, and follows a nine mile route to Trossachs Church. Get in touch if you’re interested by emailing email@example.com