Displaying items by tag: Environment
Two people are dead, five are missing, 31 injured and five in intensive care after an explosion at a German chemical site. The blast in Leverkusen had been declared an ‘extreme threat’ after sending a large black cloud rising into the air. Emergency services took three hours to extinguish the fire at the Chempark site. Police asked nearby residents to remain in their homes and keep windows and doors shut. Playgrounds in nearby neighbourhoods were closed and residents told to rinse fruit and vegetables from their gardens before eating them. Chempark ‘s chief said, ‘Hopes of finding the missing alive are fading. Solvents were burned during the incident, and we do not know precisely what substances were released. We are examining this with authorities, taking samples.’ The explosion was at a rubbish incineration plant of the chemical park. The smoke cloud is moving toward the towns of Burscheid and Leichlingen.
Several areas north of Athens were evacuated on 27 July as an out-of-control wildfire swept through a hillside forest threatening homes near Athens. Winds have dropped now but on 29 July the battle against wildfires continued throughout the night. 180 firefighters, eight ground units, 48 tenders, 2 helicopters and 2 aircraft are fighting the fire. Local municipalities have also deployed water tankers and construction machinery. On the first day of the blaze, six houses were burnt down and residents in eleven villages were told to evacuate their homes for precautionary reasons. At the time of writing four out of 13 regions are at ‘very high risk’ of fire according to the wildfire hazard map.
17-year-old Hereiti lives on the largest of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. She says the ocean is the ‘lifeblood’ of her community, and that when it is ‘healthy’, the people are too. But she worries that rising sea levels and pollution are threatening the health of the ocean. ‘Life Below Water’ is goal 14 of the UN’s sustainable development goals, a set of targets announced in 2015 to transform lives around the world by 2030. The UN wants to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, and significantly reduce marine pollution by 2025. In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 global goals (officially known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs). Five years on, there is more work than ever to do. Reaching these goals has the power to create a better world by 2030, through ending poverty, fighting inequality, and addressing the urgency of climate change. See
The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a new commission to explore how the Church can help resolve Britain's housing crisis. The housing shortage is one of the ‘major challenges’ facing Britain. He said the nation must think about building strong communities not just bricks and mortar. Academics and theologians will discuss Christian perspectives on providing affordable homes and flourishing neighborhoods. The commission follows the archbishop's book published last year, Reimagining Britain, in which he connected good-quality housing with equality and justice. The report recommends that thousands of hectares of unused church land be used to build affordable homes in the next few years. The legalities for selling church assets could be amended so that land and buildings are used for social and environmental needs, not just economic benefits. See
The UK government, which hosts a climate summit this year, has allowed a coal mine at Whitehaven to go ahead. The leading climate scientist James Hansen has warned Boris Johnson that he risks ‘humiliation’ over plans for the mine to extract coking coal from under the Irish Sea. Dr Hansen, formerly Nasa's leading global warming researcher, urged the PM to halt production. No 10 said the UK was a world leader on climate change, but would not reverse the local council’s decision on the mine. They have stressed that industries such as steel production require coking coal - which would have to be imported if it were not produced in the UK. The mine will produce a grade of coking coal for steel-making; 85% of it is destined for export to Europe. Government sources hinted that the need for continuing domestic steel production was another reason for not opposing the mine.
Prince William and Sir David Attenborough have joined forces to launch what they hope will become the ‘Nobel Prize for environmentalism’. They say the search is on for fifty solutions to the world's gravest environmental problems by 2030. The ‘Earthshot Prize’ of £50m will be awarded over a decade, It’s the biggest environmental prize ever. The Prince said ‘positivity’ had been missing from the climate debate - something the award could supply. ‘The prize is about harnessing optimism and urgency to find some of the world's solutions to some of the greatest environmental problems’, he told the BBC. ‘Anyone could win’. He called for ‘amazing people’ to create ‘brilliant innovative projects’ to help save the planet. There will be five awards of £1m each year for ten years.
The Prince of Wales has warned the climate crisis will ‘dwarf’ the impact of coronavirus. In a recorded message at the virtual opening of Climate Week on 21 September, he said that Covid-19 provided a ‘window of opportunity’ to reset the economy for a more ‘sustainable and inclusive future’ and the pandemic was ‘a wake-up call we cannot ignore’. In his message, he said, ‘Without swift and immediate action, at an unprecedented pace and scale, we will miss the window of opportunity to “reset” for a more sustainable and inclusive future. The environmental crisis has been with us for far too many years - decried, denigrated and denied. It is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.’ There is growing concern among citizens globally about climate change, although there are big differences about the level of urgency required to tackle the issue.
In 2019 ‘Living Lent’ was produced by the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland, the Baptist Union and the United Reformed Church. It continues in 2020, inviting Christians to make radical changes for the climate during Lent. Our lifestyles and choices mean we have played a role in damaging creation. Churches are responding to the climate crisis with Lent activities which include a lifestyle change - inviting people to make a positive commitment towards change, developing habits that last long after the forty days. Participants, starting on Ash Wednesday, will use daily reflections to explore how our faith and concern for creation connect, through the Bible, through art and through poetry. Individuals will support each other as a dispersed community, for example on Facebook and Twitter through the hashtag #livinglent2020. Also,, the Church of England 2020 ‘Live Lent’ course focuses on care for creation and on protecting the earth from climate change. See
A new storm is expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds to parts of the UK this weekend. Heavy rainfall on ground already saturated by last weekend's Storm Ciara could lead to further flooding. Storm Dennis, with wind gusts of over 60mph, is likely to cause disruption. On 11 February the Met Office gave advance storm warnings to give people time to prepare for potential storm impacts. A twelve-hour weather warning will come into force at midday on 15 February. The Met Office said that disruption to transport services and power supplies should be expected, and that Storm Dennis could cause more large coastal waves.
Somalia has declared a national emergency as desert locusts destroy vegetation. An average swarm containing 40 million insects can travel 150 km in 24 hours, devouring enough food to feed 34 million people in that time. The UN said it is a race against time to tackle this invasion amidst ongoing humanitarian challenges. A spokesman said, ‘We do have a chance to nip this problem in the bud, but that’s not what we’re doing at the moment.’ Kenya’s food security is threatened, particularly communities keeping livestock on endangered pastures. Swarms crossed into Uganda on 9 February, and Tanzania and South Sudan are now on the UN’s ‘watch list’. Also, insufficient rain means that over two million Somalis will need emergency food aid this year after the worst harvest in 25 years. 300,000 were displaced in eight months; many have headed for the capital, Mogadishu. Six million Kenyans are food-insecure, while seven million Zimbabweans need aid after successive droughts and an inflation rate of 300%. Urban families are feeling the pinch of soaring prices. See