Author Archives: Charity Manager

IFEES/EcoIslam Plastic Free Iftar Campaign

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.

We have put up some recourse etc to help Mosques and other organisation to hold a #PlasticFreeIftar or Eco Iftar . You can find these HERE

 

So, here is a challenge for churches. Can you reduce your use of plastic in your communal catering?

Church of Scotland votes against disinvestment from fossil fuel companies.

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

 

 

Alison Thewliss MP presents Bronze award to Renfield St Stephen’s Church

Alison Thewliss MP presents the bronze Eco-Congregation Award to children from Renfield St Stephen’s Church.

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.

 

Church of Scotland to debate how fast to divest from fossil fuels

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.

 

Livingston United Parish Church celebrates Bronze Award.

Photo by Lorna Burgoyne

Here is Livingston United Parish Church family celebrating its’ recent Eco-Congregation Bronze Award. Neil Findlay MSP presented the plaque to the Eco-team and a daffodil mosaic to Hilary Henderson who retired after a decade of running the Traidcraft stall. The worship service planned by Eco members, Rev Stephanie Njeru and Rev Ron Greig incorporated a “Touch the Earth Lightly” practical theme of sprinkling water over plants, to bring new life; removing some garden weeds to represent cleansing; planting bulbs, which hold promise; mixing bird seed with peanut butter to represent feeding and the creation of a vine leaf prayer tree. The Eco-team are now working towards their silver award with a litter pick + Love our Street Trees community event on 30 September 2018.

Big Green Coffee Morning at South Queensferry, Saturday 26th May

Queensferry Parish Church are holding a coffee morning on the Saturday 26th May (10.00-12.00) about how not to use plastic. They will have stalls for the from Any But Plastic and the One World shop as well as information from Zero Waste Scotland, Changeworks, The Marine Conservation Society and others – so it promises to be very informative as well as getting a good cup of coffee in a non plastic cup!

Wardie Parish Church celebrate Gold Eco-Congregation Award

Wardie Parish Church in Edinburgh celebrated their Gold Eco-congregation Award on May 13th with a dialogue about gardening. David Rae formerly Director of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is on the Council of the Royal Horticultural Society and spoke about the benefits of gardening. He described the satisfaction of growing plants, bringing improved well-being for the gardeners and the creation of important wildlife areas through interconnecting gardens. Wardie has recently started a gardening group for the small church garden and holds an Open Gardens Weekend in June. This weekend has become a popular social occasion in the community as local gardeners walk round a variety of gardens and exchange ideas.