Author Archives: Charity Manager

1.5 Degrees Celsius: A Reality Check

The UN published this chart on 4 November for delegates to Cop26.  It includes all the latest data from countries around the world on their plans to limit the emission of greenhouse gases in what are known as ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ or NDCs for short.  This goes to the heart of the Cop process and is the mechanism that lies behind the headlines.

The NDCs were introduced at Cop21 in Paris in 2015 requiring governments to set out every five years the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that they are prepared to commit to.  All signatories to the Paris agreement submitted their first NDCs five years ago and most but not all have now submitted new and revised NDCs summarised in this chart. There is some increase in ambition, but the chart shows just how far we are from the 1.5 degrees Celsius target. 

If we want to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we should be following the pale blue track towards the bottom of the chart.  The reality is that present commitments are in the red band at the top of the chart resulting in warming of well over 2 degrees Celsius.   Current national commitments will stabilise emissions and maybe result in a small reduction but nothing like what is needed.

There is a second issue of whether the plans are credible and whether they can be implemented. The UK has an ambitious target of a 78% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2035. However, the UK Climate Change Committee has pointed out that this requires radical action every year from now until 2035, for example by replacing all gas fired central heating in homes across the UK with new low carbon technology such as heat pumps. Unfortunately, there is not much sign of such radical action yet.

The announcements made this week on limiting methane emissions and an end to coal mining are more encouraging but are not yet global in reach. So, as ever progress at the Cop is slow and painstaking.

COP26: First Impressions

The road to Cop26 has been long and hard for some and not just metaphorically.

Pilgrims from Sweden and Germany started walking in August arriving in North Shields by ferry three weeks ago.

I met them and joined them for the last few rain soaked miles into Glasgow on Friday 29 October arriving for a memorable service of welcome and blessing in Glasgow Cathedral.

Walking with them for just a few days was a remarkable experience both to witness their commitment and to see how warmly they were greeted along the way.

In schools and churches and in towns and country children and adults responded with kindness and generosity and with a genuine sense of awe at their undertaking. It was the best kind of human endeavour.

Media coverage of their arrival in Glasgow was positive and the short final walk on Saturday from Glasgow Green to George Square well reported.

On the whole reporting of other walks, marches and protests has also been positive.

Greta Thunberg was seen with a group of admiring young people in a park in Govan, Greenpeace faced down a reluctant Clyde Port Authority by sailing up the Clyde uninvited and a picturesque small shoal of mermaids washed up outside the Scottish Events Centre, where the Cop is being held, to publicise Marine Rebellion.

Inside it’s a different story.

Visiting the ‘blue zone’ at the Cop yesterday where delegates and diplomats gather was like going into a huge corporate trade fair with governments from around the world vying with each other to present themselves and their carbon cutting credentials in the best possible light.

There is a lot of commercial sponsorship and a great deal of media and communications expertise on display. It’s all very shiny and bright but it does not feel good.

There is not the same sense of conviction or clarity as among the protesters or pilgrims outside.

I know there are great number of very good people doing their best on the government delegations (we have met some of them in recent months) but there is always a sense that most governments cannot commit to the changes that are needed and always have one foot on the brake, thinking of business interests, political popularity at home or national advantage.

The media reporting also carries a sense of scepticism: are governments and political leaders really committed to change, are their commitments credible and will they be put into effect?

It’s early days and the pattern of negotiations is not yet clear. But for now the protesters and the pilgrims have my vote.

Electric vehicles – plus summer action for nature

Join our electric vehicles workshop today

Embracing greener travel 

Embracing Greener Travel: Electric Vehicles
Workshop with Home Energy Scotland
Wednesday 28 July 2021

2.00pm – 3.00pm
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Z8tjemcOTB6db5QMDwYNKA

Eco-Congregation Scotland is delighted to link again with Home Energy Scotland in this free interactive workshop on electric vehicles, the next in our “Embracing Greener Travel” events. There’s still time to join this afternoon’s workshop!

Electric vehicles (EVs) are part of the here and now. Both the Scottish and UK Governments are working towards meeting emissions targets and Home Energy Scotland invites you to learn more about living with an EV. This interactive workshop will cover the contribution EVs make to combatting climate change and aims to deal with the concerns you may have about ownership.

Home Energy Scotland is the free and impartial advice service managed by the Energy Saving Trust and funded by the Scottish Government, helping us save money and improve the environment by looking at how we use energy and water – and how we get about.

Please register to join the electric vehicles workshop at 2pm today:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Z8tjemcOTB6db5QMDwYNKA

#LetsDoNetZero

#TogetherForOurPlanet


World Nature Conservation Day

Summer action for nature

On World Nature Conservation Day, we are delighted to share the Tree Prayer from volunteer Barry Watson of Castlemilk Parish Church, with visuals from Eco-Chaplain Rev David Coleman.

Every year on 28 July, World Nature Conservation Day encourages awareness of the need to preserve the environment and natural resources to keep the world healthy.  The theme this year is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”. 

Climate change and nature loss are the greatest global threats, with nearly 25% of wildlife lost in Scotland. There is hope – looking after nature is good for us, the planet and wildlife. Nature Scot has 14 steps to Make Space For Nature this summer.

Our Faith Action for Nature resources also encourage churches to engage with nature and manage their grounds for wildlife. Each seasonal pack has worship material, family activities and practical actions to care for nature.

Our Summer theme is foraging. We look at what animals eat, celebrate the world of foods around us and have practical tips on planting for wildlife. Please download a pdf or browse the Summer resources online. Activities for church grounds or nature reserves are still limited due to coronavirus restrictions, so please use with reference to Scottish Government guidance as we progress through the summer.

The project was a partnership between Eco-Congregation Scotland, RSPB Scotland, the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church, with resources created by Earthbound Ventures in consultation with A Rocha


UPCOMING EVENTS

Our next confirmed events, activities and training are online and updated regularly. Please register for the Zoom meeting links at:

https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/upcomingevents

SAVE THE DATE

Coming soon on Thursday 19 August, the launch of our ecumenical Creation Time materials, prepared by Eco-Chaplain Rev David Coleman and volunteers in partnership with the Joint Public Issues Team.

100 Days to COP26

UN climate talks start 31 October

Call for all churches to act

With only 100 days now counting down until the COP26 United Nations climate conference begins in Glasgow, Eco-Congregation Scotland is joining renewed calls for all churches to commit to action before talks begin.

Please read our latest briefing on what COP26 is and all the different ways you can get involved with your own church. We will be sharing much more in coming weeks.

Over 1,500 churches across the UK are already taking part in the Climate Sunday initiative, with hundreds more planning to do so, demonstrating growing climate action by local congregations.

A key milestone before COP26 is a major Nations’ Climate Sunday Service with Glasgow Churches Together from Glasgow Cathedral, streamed live online on Sunday 5 September 2021 at 4pm, to share church commitments across the nations of the UK and pray for bold action with courageous leadership at COP26 in the city this November.

Climate Sunday is an initiative of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), with backing from a range of denominations and Christian charities. We are encouraging churches to take action in the run-up to COP26:

Worship
Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action. Explore the Climate Sunday website and our own resources for inspiration to suit all church traditions and styles of worship. Please register your service so we can count you in!

Commit
Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce your own greenhouse gas emissions. Use Climate Stewards‘ new 360°carbon calculator for churches and register as an eco-congregation – or work towards an Eco-Congregation Scotland Award.

Speak up
Use your voice to tell the UK Government that you want a cleaner, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild the economy – with finance to support poorer countries affected most by climate change. Read and sign ‘The Time Is Now’ declaration both as a church and as individuals.


Eco-Congregation Scotland is also proud to be a partner of the new Climate Scotland campaign in the run-up to COP26, with 30 other organisations including Christian Aid ScotlandSCIAFTearfund Scotland and Justice and Peace Scotland.

Our climate and natural world are in crisis. It’s threatening our communities, our food, resources, and our beautiful places.

Decisions by world leaders at COP26 could get us on track to avoid the worst effects of climate change. It’s a real chance to create a better future for our communities here in Scotland and around the world.

There is hope. But we also need our leaders in Scotland plus those attending COP26 to know just how much we care, with thousands of voices being heard. Please share why action on climate and nature is important to you. It takes just a few minutes to add your own voice at: climatescotland.org


With 100 days to go until COP26, the Scottish Government also announced today its indicative Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), outlining Scotland’s contribution to preventing warming of more than 1.5 degrees. We will continue to support and encourage efforts in all our communities towards making Scotland a Net Zero Nation – and link Together For Our Planet across the UK in this special year of climate action. 

#LetsDoNetZero


UPCOMING EVENTS
 
Our next confirmed events, activities and training are online and being updated regularly, including:

Breathe: Fresh Air for All
Let’s talk about the climate emergency
Monday 26 July 2021, 7.30pm

Embracing Greener Travel: Electric Vehicles
Workshop with Home Energy Scotland

Wednesday 28 July 2021, 2.00pm

Please register for the Zoom meeting links at:
https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/upcomingevents/

Register for free and begin your church’s journey as an eco-congregation. 

Please consider church membership to become more active in the charity and support our Network activities – join online.

Please donate if you can, to help support our work and encourage growing interest across Scotland’s churches.

If you or others in your church would like to receive this newsletter regularly, please subscribe.

COP26 venue Scottish Events Campus header photograph courtesy of Glasgow Convention Bureau.

Our office is currently closed due to the coronavirus situation and staff are working from home. Please contact Eco-Congregation Scotland manager Stephen Curran at: 
0141 423 4671, 07554 905275, manager@ecocongregationscotland.org

World Environment Day with Bin Twinning

Blog by Laura Young of Bin Twinning.
Laura led a workshop with us in December through her Tearfund Scotland role to share fun and helpful, sustainable and ethical, Low Carbon Christmas tips. Less Waste Laura is a major influencer on social media, with over 40,000 Instagram followers, sharing advice on how to reduce waste and live more sustainably.

World Environment Day with Bin Twinning – 5th June

World Environment Day 2021 is being hosted by Pakistan, launching a Decade  of Ecosystem Restoration work. Every nation will need to implement meaningful changes at national, local, and individual levels to restore environments to reverse the decline of nature. Bin Twinning are helping to bring waste collection and recycling to communities around the world who currently do not have these services, helping to clean up local environments and restore nature.

This World Environment Day Bin Twinning are putting a big focus on what we can do to reduce our waste, specifically food waste, and how we can help communities in some of the poorest countries in the world by supporting sustainable start ups.

Globally one-third of food is wasted from farm to plate, and the emissions from our wasted food are so large that if they were a country, they would be the 3rd largest emitter in the world. Food waste is a huge problem, not just because of the strain intensive food production and unsustainable agriculture puts on our world, but also because the emissions from this waste are extremely damaging.

Every piece of food that goes unwasted counts…so why not try some of these food waste saving tips?

– Check your fridge is at the right temperature; it should be between 0-5°C

– Some foods keep better outside the fridge; including bread, bananas, potatoes and onions

– Keep the stems of vegetables such as broccoli, celery and asparagus in water to help them stay fresh and crisp

– Got fresh fruit and veg that you can’t use in time? Why not freeze them?

– Try a must go now shelf! Pick a space in your fridge to put all of those bits and bobs that need to be eaten soon. Leftovers, items near their sell by dates, and odds and ends which you can incorporate into your next meal

Another thing you could do is twin your indoor food waste caddy or compost bin to support Bin Twinning’s partners in their work bringing similar food waste management to local communities around the world. 

Their project partners in Pakistan, DRC, Haiti, Nigeria, and Bangladesh all help local communities turn food waste into compost. Their work not only turns a waste product into something beneficial for local communities to use in farming, it also brings communities collection services helping to reduce the amount of waste littering the streets and polluting the environment.

Great stats from Pakistan

The Bin Twinning partners in the North of Pakistan remove 216 tonnes of waste from their community every year, and work to bring regular collection, recycling, compost production, and awareness raising for environmental issues.

Up to 70% of waste collected by this partner can be composted and resold to support the project!

It only takes 45 days to turn food scraps into nutrient rich compost.

Composting your food waste (in your garden or through a council collection service) saves about 0.2 tonnes of CO2 per person each year – the equivalent of driving 500 miles!

Who are Bin Twinning?

Bin Twinning launched in 2020 as a project within Tearfund, and sister organisation to Toilet Twinning. They work with EES partners who specifically bring environmental solutions to waste management to local communities. The fundraising idea is simple, you ‘twin’ your bin by making a donation to support one of their partner projects, and in return you receive a sticker to showcase which partner you have chosen. They have partners in Pakistan, Uganda, Nigeria, DRC, and Haiti, with Nepal and Bangladesh partners joining the initiative later this year.

Why not twin your bin and share it with us on social media; Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Holy Week 2021

Good News to every Creature

Eco-Congregation Scotland shares reflections this Holy Week and looks forward to celebrating an Easter message that brings ‘Good News to every Creature’. We also encourage job applications and campaign activities next week as we look further ahead to the Scottish Parliament election in May and the COP26 United Nations climate summit in November. Thank you for your continuing involvement and support of our activities and events. Wishing you in advance a very Happy Easter this weekend.

Eco-Chaplain Rev David Coleman is very grateful to St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh for being able to record a major Palm Sunday reflection on Mark 11:1-11 and to Our Lady of Loretto and St Michael Catholic Church with final reflections in a special Musselburgh Covid Stations of the Cross.

As many churches opened their doors for the first time since Christmas with changing coronavirus guidance, our Eco-Chaplain has also been sharing reflections online for devotional use this Holy Week, complementing local worship and prayer across Scotland:

Maundy Thursday – “Let the sea come and wash your feet”, a Holy Thursday footwashing reflection first shared last year, with scripture matched alongside images of our coasts and waters.

Good Friday – reflection on “The Dream of the Rood”, a dream in which the “True Cross” speaks in an ancient “heroic” Passion poem of Creation.

Easter Sunday – reading and reflection on Mark 16:9-20 “Dangerous Words”, live from 7am on 4 April 2021 and accessible any time after on our Facebook page.

David outlines the special reflection for Easter Sunday: “Exceptionally, this works from the neglected ‘old ending’ of Mark’s Gospel, which contains the Inclusive Commission of the Risen Christ to bring ‘Good News to every Creature’, as well as some other untamed and challenging verses.”

“It’s presented as a complement, not a substitute for your own local church events, and will premiere live on our Facebook page at 7am on Easter Sunday.”

Easter 2021: being nothing, yet not inferior – Finally for Holy Week, David shares an Easter post on the Chaplain’s Blog proclaiming “Christ is risen…let’s work with Christ!” – and may be spotted ringing a bell at Gullane. Please contact our Eco-Chaplain to connect and work with your own church, online or in person.

We also encourage you to join in individual or household prayer with Christians across Scotland at 7pm on Easter Sunday evening:
Scottish Church Leaders Forum Statement and Prayer


Eco-Congregation Scotland is delighted to be working with Glasgow Churches Together and its COP26 Co-ordinating Group, a special ecumenical committee encouraging local churches, denominations and faith charities to co-operate in unity on activities and events relating to the city hosting the climate conference.

There is still time to apply for two exciting job opportunities to support the Glasgow Churches COP26 Co-ordinating Group, funded by Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS), with applications sought by Easter Monday, 5 April 2021:

Glasgow Churches COP26 Ambassador
Encouraging Churches to prepare for, engage with and be changed by COP26 coming to Glasgow. Self-employed consultancy basis for at least 40 days, April to 30 November 2021.
Further information.

COP26 Administrator
Support before and during COP26 to member and partner churches, 0.4 full-time equivalent. Co-ordinating hospitality and welcome, including offers of accommodation to individuals and premises to groups visiting Glasgow.
Further information.


Share, Show, Shout for Climate Justice
Wednesday 7 April 2021
6pm – 7pm

Register at this link

We are sharing work from coalitions we are members of and key partner organisations towards the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May, encouraging candidates to hear directly on the demand for Scotland to do more in championing climate justice. At this training event policy experts and experienced campaigners will share the most effective ways for making your voice heard. There are three ways you can make a difference today:

1. Share the message
Post this video on social media or share with your group chats.

2. Show you care
Strike a pose and share a campaign selfie on social media with your message of climate action, using the hashtag #ClimateJusticeScot.

3. Shout out loud
Reach out to your local candidates to ask for a 15 minute virtual cuppa over Zoom.

This Stop Climate Chaos Scotland campaign is supported by Scottish Communities Climate Action NetworkChristian AidSCIAFTearfundJustice and Peace ScotlandQuakersGlobal Justice NowWater AidOxfam ScotlandWWF ScotlandArkboundJubilee ScotlandUnison Scotland and Water Witness. You can read more in the campaign toolkit.


Monthly Prayer Gathering
Thursday 8 April 2021
4pm – 5pm

Register at this link

South Glasgow and North Glasgow Local Networks of eco-congregations invite you to join their open Monthly Prayer Gathering in the run up to COP26, taking place in their city this November.

Palm Sunday 2021

Rev’d David Coleman was delighted to visit St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh to record a major online reflection for Palm Sunday on Mark 11:1-11.

With churches now able to open for worship from this weekend, please contact our Eco-Chaplain to connect and work with your own church, online or in person.

We are also encouraging you to join in individual or household prayer with Christians across Scotland at 7pm tonight, Sunday 28th March:
Scottish Church Leaders Forum Statement and Prayer