This is the latest news from the Edinburgh Eco-Congregation network.
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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
This link leads to the short (1 min 50) video which describes the Seabin and how it works.Continue reading →
Join our movement today
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:
- Campsie Parish Church
- Kilbarchan Parish Church of Scotland
- St Ninian’s Catholic Church, Dundee
- Blackford Parish Church, Perthshire
- Liberton Northfield Parish Church, Edinburgh
- St James-the-Less Episcopal Church, Penicuik
- St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Grangemouth
- St Mungo’s Episcopal Church, West Linton
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!”
A Just Transition for Scotland’s Housing is also available to watch online, our major open event with the Just Transition Commission and the Methodist Church in Scotland hosted by Stirling Methodist Church. Commissioners positively engaged with the well-attended event and points made throughout were recognised in their ongoing work, emphasising the importance of housing for Scotland to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
Well done and thank you all Kinross Parish Church Eco-Congregation group volunteers who picked up a “terrifying” amount of litter pictured above last Saturday in the space of about an hour. We also congratulate St Mary’s Eco-Congregation TOA (Take One Action) Local group in Dalkeith, holding another successful film evening to watch and discuss “Catching the Sun“, exploring workers and business leaders racing to lead the clean energy future.
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.
The Judge to Cheer the Forest is our ecumenical and varied video Advent Calendar online, offering a 1-2 minute reading and reflection until Christmas Eve. Please view and share the items daily at Eco-Chaplain online and Eco-Congregation Scotland, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube every day of Advent.
Financing Climate Justice
Monday 30th November 2020, 12.00noon
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.
Let’s talk about the climate emergency – Our Global Connections
Monday 30th November 2020, 7.30pm
How we live impacts on climate change and the lives of others. Join us to talk, pray and reflect on Our Global Connections, the November theme in our “Let’s talk about the climate emergency” resources.
Restraining Climate Change: What is the Role of Faith Communities?
Tuesday 1st December 2020, 7.30pm
Climate emergency, coronavirus and Brexit. How can we as faith communities work with others to build a just and green future? These are moments of great opportunity but also significant challenge. Hosted by St Columba’s-by-the-Castle Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, join the discussion with:
- Dr Murdo Macdonald – Policy Officer of the Church of Scotland Society, Religion and Technology (SRT) project, marking its 50th anniversary
- Rev’d Prof David Aktinson – retired Professor of Agriculture and priest in the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney
- Justin Kenrick – Quaker anthropologist, Extinction Rebellion and community land rights activist
- Rev’d Dr Gillian Straine – Anglican priest and Director of the Guild of Health and St Raphael.
Glasgow City Region Climate Adaptation StrategyContinue reading →
Wednesday 2nd December 2020, 2.00pm East and West Dunbartonshire
Thursday 3rd December 2020, 7.00pm Young persons event
Climate Ready Clyde is consulting until Christmas Eve on the draft Glasgow City Region Adaptation Strategy, seeking to ensure the region’s society, environment and economy are prepared and can flourish in the future climate.
Climate action, discussion and prayer
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.
A Sanctuary for Swifts
Monday 16th November 2020
7.30pm – 8.30pm
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.
The Big Debate – Politics & the Climate Emergency
Wednesday 18th November 2020
5.20pm – 7.20pm
Hosted by ELREC (Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council), hear political parties’ proposals to tackle the climate emergency and questions answered by Sarah Boyack MSP, Deidre Brock MP, Finlay Carson MSP, Alison Johnstone MSP and Christine Jardine MP. Please email potential questions for selection before the event on themes: energy, transport, waste, food, governance/politics and finance.
Sacred People, Sacred Earth Kickoff – Anglophone Africa and the UK
Wednesday 18th November 2020
6.00pm – 7.00pm
In a series of TEDxCountdown multi-faith events around the world, join UK hosts Faith for the Climate, Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), GreenFaith Nigeria, GreenFaith Kenya, and the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda. GreenFaith International Network founding partners plan a global, COVID-friendly, multi-faith day of climate action on 11 March 2021. The launch of spoken word, music, prayers and dynamic speakers will share bold demands that grassroots faith communities have developed and provide opportunities for diverse faiths to get involved.
Spaces for Change – Community Venues & COP26
Wednesday 18th November 2020
6.00pm – 7.30pm
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.
Prayer Service for Climate Justice
Sunday 22nd November 2020
2.00pm – 3.00pm
Join a service of prayer, reflection and action on climate justice organised by Christian Aid, Tearfund, Anglican Communion Environmental Network, CAFOD, Lutheran World Federation, ACT Alliance, European Christian Environmental Network and other friends around the world. Marking the original COP26 dates, we look ahead to next November and reflect on our push for more ambitious climate action in the coming year. Register now for joining details and commit to joining in prayer and action through 2021 with the Prayer Chain for Climate Justice.
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’.
Out of Africa…Into Africa
Monday 23rd November 2020
7.30pm – 8.30pm
Hear about the varied work of Out Of Africa…Into Malta as it aims to relieve humanitarian need and provide hope to a displaced people. Rev Doug McRoberts, former minister of St Andrew’s Scots Church in Malta, will share how the project founded in 2010 grew from offering prayers and second-hand clothes to becoming a major life-changing presence, partnering with the Red Cross and becoming a Church of Scotland Guild Partner Project.
Just Transition: a fairer, greener Scotland
Wednesday 25th November 2020
9.00am – 11.00am
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.
Thanks to Anne Currie of Craigsbank Church Eco-Group in Edinburgh, sharing Autumn colours from Glencruitten, Oban.
This Sunday 15th November, please join Christians all over Scotland in prayer with Church leaders at 7pm.
Faithful God and giver of all good gifts,
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
(Swift photographs courtesy of RSPB images, David Naylor and Huntly & District Swift Group.)Continue reading →
A great opportunity to go along to St Mary’s Church in Dalkeith, watch a film and take part in a discussion about the impact of food waste on the environment.Continue reading →
Resources for Edinburgh:
Energy Saving Trust in South East Scotland
For advice on energy efficiency and reducing energy bills or to simply check if you are entitled to any government grants, please don’t hesitate to contact the Community Liaison Officer for your area, Dagmara Opilka. You can contact her on:
Direct line: 0131 468 8682 | Helpline: 0800 512 012.
Complete and send the Referral Form to check if you are eligible for financial support.
Dagmara has offered to arrange a meeting or a talk to discuss the available services from the Energy Saving Trust. For more information click on the leaflet link Home Energy Scotland.