Displaying items by tag: Environment
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
‘The moment of crisis has come in efforts to tackle climate change.’ ‘We have been putting things off for year after year.’ ‘Southeast Australia is on fire because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing,’ warned Sir David Attenborough. The crisis has come because, although scientists are urging rapid responses. international decisions made on key issues at climate conferences are put off and several countries are trying to dodge their commitments. Sir David said, ‘This is not just having a nice little debate and then coming away with a compromise. This is an urgent problem that has to be solved and we know how to do it - that is the paradoxical thing. We are refusing to take steps that we know must be taken. The release of greenhouse gases is increasing, not falling. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now higher than anything experienced in history.’
After centuries of global plunder, the industrial economy is severely undermining the life support systems of the planet. Just Transition believes we must build visionary economies different from the ones we are now in. This requires stopping the bad while at the same time building the new: changing the rules to redistribute resources and power to local communities, shifting from incinerators and landfills to zero waste, from dirty energy like coal to energy democracy. Burning coal is a huge driver of climate change. Coal mining employs six million people globally, and is the linchpin of many communities. Nuclear energy, fracking, and ‘clean coal’ are offered as economic solutions, but they harm the health of people and the planet. The path of extracting, transporting, processing, and consuming these technologies is paved with cancer and respiratory disease, among other devastating health impacts. These ‘solutions’ turn low-income communities into sacrifice zones.