If you live in or are visiting Edinburgh during International Swifts Awareness Week (3-11th July) you are invited by the RSPB to take a self guided tour of some cycling and walking paths around the beautiful city of Edinburgh. The tours take you on a series of self led cycle and walking paths around Edinburgh that join up swift nesting sites, feeding sites, swift murals & the lovely green spaces of Edinburgh. The routes all pass Haymarket, so it’s easy enough to go via the train with your bikes and start from there.
Routes take you past St Mary’s Cathedral one of our recent Silver Eco Congregation Award winning congregations, who host 48 swift boxes. You can explore the area around the water of Leith, Leith Links and Arthur’s Seat to name but a few locations. For more information about the routes have a look at the RSPB Edinburgh Swift Cities page.
St Martin of Tours’ Episcopal Church in the Gorgie/Dalry area or Edinburgh has an active Eco-Group keen to share news and encourage support for its Sea Bin Project. Liz Moir writes:
2020 was the Scottish Year of Coasts and Waters which focussed particularly on the inland waters and the seas which surround Scotland. Last June St Martin’s Eco-Congregation group had hoped to visit the Coasts and Waters exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife but travel restrictions prevented this. Still, it gave us food for thought which led to the St Martins Eco-Group considering a project to help combat the increase in plastic waste contaminating our oceans and waters.
One of our group, Stuart Campbell, came up with the idea of funding a Seabin – a device which looks rather like a long tube, containing an automated pump which draws water through the tube, catching the plastic debris in an internal net which can then be retrieved and disposed of. It also has a sponge which will take in a small oil or diesel spill. The Seabin can be bolted onto a pontoon in a harbour or marina (see photo attached) so it can move with the tide helping to keep the water clear of debris. It needs to be connected to an electricity supply, and obviously needs regular maintenance to check it is working correctly and to remove the rubbish.
There are at present relatively few in Scotland. The first one was installed in the North East at Banff Harbour. Stuart has supplied a photo from a recent visit.
Another is on the West Coast at Mallaig Harbour and there is a possible for MacDuff Harbour. Hopefully there will be others but in the meantime, we in St Martin’s think this is something worth pursuing.
First of all we have to find a harbour which would accept the Seabin, which has a suitable source of electricity, and which has staff or volunteers willing to maintain the bin and dispose of the rubbish it collects. It is therefore necessary that we work collaboratively.
Each Seabin costs around £3000, plus installation charges, which is a significant sum. As our usual routes for fund-raising at St Martin’s – coffee mornings, home baking, special events, fund-raising lunches, etc – are not feasible at the moment, we will have to find other sources of funding. One option is crowd-funding, but for this to be attractive to donors, we need to find a suitable site for the Seabin, show how it will improve the surrounding water, benefit the harbour or marina, local wildlife and the wider community and visitors. There are many things to consider but we are already working on a number of these and as we’ve had some encouraging feedback, we hope to proceed with this project.
Should anyone wish to offer advice or guidance please do not hesitate to contact St Martin’s Eco-Congregation Group: ECO@stmartinsedinburgh.org.uk
Eco-Congregation Scotland is always keen to hear from local churches and today our team shares great examples of activities and events. Congregations across our movement continue their work through the pandemic, respecting restrictions while responding to local need and addressing environmental concerns.
We are also pleased to share key events this week organised by partners and coalitions. On St Andrew’s Day, as we celebrate Scotland’s patron who spread the Good News far and wide, we thank all who have attended and participated in a wide variety of recent activities and online meetings, here and globally. This has been crucial as we welcome the world to the COP26 Glasgow climate talks next November. Eco-Congregation Scotland and churches throughout the country have been represented well by so many of our volunteers. We value your involvement, interest and insight.
We also love to share stories from local eco-congregations, to celebrate your wide-ranging work and encourage us all in caring for God’s creation. We were delighted to hear that our 500th eco-congregation Faifley Parish Church is holding a regular Recycle Room every Friday with free clothes bundles, DVDs, books, baby equipment, cushions and bedding thanks to dedicated volunteers and large numbers of donations. Ellis’ facemasks and Elsie’s chutney, pictured below, have been popular and successful fundraisers too!
We look forward to celebrating registration 500 with Faifley Parish when COVID-19 local protection levels allow. A special welcome and thank you to all subsequent new registrations in recent months, taking us to 508 eco-congregations:
If your church is concerned about the environment and wants to get involved, please join our movement today. It’s free to register.
We also encourage membership for your church, to become more active in the charity and support our Local Networks. Membership is again free for smaller churches and up to £100 per year for congregations with the highest incomes, that’s only £8 per month or less than £2 per week.
All membership fees go directly to support Local Network activities through our Programme Coordinator work. It’s easy to join online or print a form and post to us. Please also consider making a one-off or regular donation to support our work as an individual too.
Inspired by our A Sanctuary for Swifts event two weeks ago – which you can watch again online – Central Borders Local Network coordinator Ian Skinner informs us Holy Trinity Melrose is installing a nesting box for swifts on the Trinity Centre. Specially designed for swifts, the box will be placed near the top of the north facing gable with a clear outlook towards Gattonside Hill on the far side of the Tweed. Another two boxes designed for house martins are being placed on the Centre’s east side. Ian adds: “We are looking forward to welcoming new visitors in the spring of 2021!”
These are just some of the diverse environmental activities and interesting events across individual congregations and our Local Networks. Thank you again for your continuing support and that of every church volunteer and all our supporters. It is always appreciated, even more so this challening year. Happy St Andrew’s Day!
An appropriately scary start to the Christian season most concerned with what is to come. Many thanks Scottish writer, academic and activist Alastair McIntosh on the first Sunday of Advent followed by Rev Julia Meason today, minister of Kirkwall East linked with Shapinsay, and to all opening our alternative Advent Calendar.
Financing Climate Justice Monday 30th November 2020, 12.00noon https://climatefringe.org/sccs-live-events/ Rich nations like ours have a duty to deliver a fair share of support for poorer countries on the front line of the climate crisis. Tune in to this Climate Fringe event to find out more.
Eco-Congregation Scotland is inviting church volunteers in our Local Networks and supporters across the country to our online events and activities over the next fortnight. We are also pleased to share partner organisation events including the Prayer Service for Climate Justice and Just Transition Commission update.
Swifts are ancient and fascinating birds. Sadly their populations are on the decline and are now regarded as Amber conservation status. RSPB Scotland is encouraging Edinburgh as a place of sanctuary for these amazing birds – with support from the Scottish Power Foundation – and looking for churches to host swift nesting boxes. We will also hear from Huntly & District Swift Group, working hard to protect these wonderful birds in their local area. Wherever you live in Scotland, come and find out more about these amazing birds and the work being done to care for them.
We are encouraging Scotland’s churches, faith groups and local communities to offer hospitality and welcome for COP26 next year. Join this Climate Fringe gathering if you are interested in hosting events during COP26 or just want to find out more about opening your doors as a church, hall or local venue. Speakers at this meeting will take us through what we can expect, sharing previous COP experiences.
Faith and civil society groups from all over the world will need space for meeting, holding events and floor space for sleeping. This meeting is for those who manage venues, large or small, within an hour’s commute from Glasgow including places of worship and community halls or any group that has a meeting room that can be booked externally.
The Global Compact on Refugees, adopted by an overwhelming majority at the UN General Assembly in December 2018, directly recognises that ‘climate, environmental degradation and natural disasters increasingly interact with the drivers of refugee movements’.
At this online public event, members of the Just Transition Commission will share some of the emerging themes from their work to date, ahead of delivering their final recommendations to Scottish Ministers in early 2021. This will be your opportunity to explore and discuss their findings, and the solutions proposed to deliver a just transition in Scotland. The Commission was set up last year to give practical advice on how Scotland can meet ambitious climate change targets in a way that is fair for all.
TOA have just launched the programme for their September festival in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Have a look at the programme – plenty of food for thought… and action.At a time when concepts of truth and democracy are being stretched beyond recognition, the tide of political upheavals, environmental threats and isolationism can feel overwhelming. Our programme offers an antidote to despair and powerlessness. With community events, live musical performances and more than 40 films on offer, 60% of which have been directed by women, this year’s festival celebrates our common humanity and our ability – individual and collective – to bring about a kinder, fairer, more sustainable world.
We believe in the transformative power of film and are honoured to be sharing the stories of individuals and communities whose very resilience, tenacity and hope are radical acts of defiance. These include a Micronesian nation’s president’s urgent calls for climate action (Anote’s Ark), a young female Somali refugee’s historic journey to the US House of Representatives (Time for Ilhan), the unwavering strength of Spanish citizens demanding their country confront the brutal crimes of Franco’s dictatorship (The Silence of Others) and the Palestinian women whose grassroots organising was the unsung, beating heart of the first Intifada (Naila and the Uprising).
The films we screen and the conversations we foster do more than open eyes and minds: they are a direct invitation to reshape our world for the better – right here, right now.
Have you ever considered becoming an assessor for our new eco-awards? Perhaps you would like to join our volunteer team. Volunteer assessors work in pairs to read award applications, then visit a congregation to discuss the application in a friendly and supportive way. It’s a great way to find out what other eco-congregations are up to.
If you are interested, why not come along to a no-commitment award assessor training workshop to find out what is involved? The next workshop has been arranged for Wednesday 4th September, 7 – 9pm, in the Robertson Room, St. Anne’s Parish Church, Corstorphine, Edinburgh.
Places limited, so booking essential – please contact David Bethune, firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.