Tuesday, 23 December 2008

At the dawn of 2009, just what do the future years hold?

The picture is of Salisbury Cathedral and the path you see I walked many times when at the theological college in the Cathedral Close.

I learnt a lot there, especially from my fellow students but also from the cathedral building because while the work of construction started in 1220 AD the 404 ft (123M) tall tower, the part that it is most famous for, was not completed until 1380AD. The designers of the building were fully aware that they would never see the completed work, just as the designers of the great gardens knew they would never see the 200 year old Oaks they envisaged in their planting schemes.

So where is the forward planning of the 20/21st Century? What legacy has been left for those who will follow in our footsteps in 800 years time?

The family that you descended from were working for the good of their families, their children, their grandchildren and for you, yes for you when Salisbury Cathedral was being built. That last part may seem a bit mind-blowing, but let’s face facts; if you have children and are concerned for their future and your (possible) grandchildren then you are concerned for the offspring of your grandchildren as well. You, like the designers of Salisbury Cathedral may never see the result of you efforts, but you know that as sure as eggs are eggs, there will be a result and that little old you, yes you, can influence the future NOW.

So, what will your descendents inherit from our age? Will there time be one of crisis with no energy from fossil fuels? Will it be a time when finding enough food is an everyday problem? Will Climate Chaos have damaged beyond hope the ability of this amazing creation know as The Earth to survive much longer? Will our future descendents survive to see the year 2900? We cannot forecast with any real accuracy the year 2900, but there are some things that we can forecast with accuracy long before then, in fact for most of us we know what will happen to creation in our children’s lifetimes, let alone our grandchildren’s.

We know that the island nation that is Tuvalu will be no more due to raised sea levels. In Australia we know that at the present rate life in Sidney will be totally changed by the heating effect of Global warming. In the US we know that Lake Mead, the lake created by Hoover Dam that provides water for 22 million people in the Southwest of the US as well as 90 % of Las Vegas' water could dry up by 2021 as the rains fail to materialise. We know that in Alaska, Canada, and Russia the melting of the permafrost and the release of trapped methane will influence life in those regions and beyond. We know that glaciers are retreating all over the world, and will cause water shortages to those regions that rely on melt water, for example, in Chile glacier melt will cause water shortages at the southern end of South America.

OK, so we all know that the problems are massive and that governments are far happier working for short term gain rather than planning for the long term but don’t blame them, because but that is actually partly our fault. If you want to be re-elected then you don’t talk in terms of centauries, you talk in terms of months. That’s why money is given to firms that produce cars no one wants. That’s why money is given to the banks that failed us all in the first place, which is rather like asking the burglar to come back and change the locks after breaking in and robbing you. Let’s face facts, its short term gain that matters to so many, not short term pain.

So, have there been any successes? Have our ‘little’ voices out in ether of Bloggerland been heard amid the noise and chaos of 2008...? Oh yes they have... and how! Just look at these few examples...

In Europe, German Chancellor Merkel scaled back her demands for loopholes that would have resulted in millions of tonnes of C02 emissions and handouts to heavy industry. This was due to the actions of more than 200,000 Avaaz members including over ten thousand in Germany, who emailed and participated in actions in Brussels and Poznan.

World Vision, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies works on a global basis with over 100 million people in nearly 100 countries in the struggle against poverty, hunger and injustice and has changed the lives of so many for the better with small donations from many.

In Canada, largely to the efforts of ForestEthics and its allies, the Ontario government committed to protect 55 million acres (more than 20 million hectares) of the northern Boreal Forest—an area half the size of California, or six times the size of Belgium from industrial development.

In the UK thanks to supporters of Friends of The Earth the UK Parliament was pursuaded, after a 3 and a half year campaign, to pass a law that commits the Government to deep cuts in the UK's emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.

Third World Microfinance charity Kiva, the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, has now been enabled to make thousands of loans every week directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world due to the kind generosity of thousands of small lenders.

Thanks to the support of supporters, Greenpeace managed to prevent pro-GMO countries from wrecking an important December 2008 EU environment ministers' meeting on Genetically Modified Organisms and food safety. Over 70,000 messages were sent to EU politicians, including over 3,000 sent directly in 48 hours to the UK and German ministers.

Over 350,000 people have contributed to the supply of over 824,000 mosquito nets costing $5, £3 each and have now saved 1.5 million lives from the scourge of Malaria in Africa.

And so it goes on, hard fought for and won success after hard fought for and won success... but what about the future for the environment? Well there are problems ahead because for some areas of God's creation the tipping point has already been reached. The future will however eventually become brighter as long as we never give up and carry on emailing, supporting, blogging, pursuading, putting our concerns in front of the decision makers and leading by example.

There is certainly a massive amount of work to be done regarding the problems and challenges humanity is facing in safeguarding creation for the generations as yet unborn. Like the designers and builders of Salisbury Cathedral we may never see the full result of our efforts, but after a lot of hard work and effort the problems will eventually be overcome because, in the words of President Elect Obama, “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.

Monday, 22 December 2008

May I wish everyone a very happy, healthy, peaceful and above all, loving Christmas...

Please excuse me because this is for me a total indulgence. The musical equivalent of chocolate or cheesecake, it's The Shepherd’s Farewell by Berlioz. It's not only my favorite carol but my favorite choral work of all time, I sang it often as a choir member and love it dearly.

Friday, 19 December 2008

A Christmas Thought

We live in a time when the focus of civilisation is on speed. Fast cars, fast trains, fast aircraft, and fast food. For many of us it would be hard to imagine a world without these things and yet, not long ago, none of these existed. This was bought home to me several years ago when we went for a walk on Christmas Day. There were no cars driving on our local roads, not even an aircraft passing overhead, in fact, there wasn’t any sound of machinery, and yet this is how the world was in the recent past.

The legacy of the past is its slowness, its peace, its patience, its care for others, its knowledge of the seasons of nature and of life, and it’s sharing in the sense of community.

The legacy of the present is the mobile phone, the car with its windows vibrating because it is fitted with a sound system that would be sufficient for a small concert hall, the reliance on a supermarket for a quick in and even quicker out once-a-week shop, 24 hour TV, the microwave, piped music everywhere, boil-in-the-bag food, ready meals and car alarms.

For many today life is but a non-stop treadmill and they are running ever faster on it yet getting nowhere whatsoever in a quest to achieve or maintain that certain something that for so very many has lost its meaning, that certain something being a ‘high standard of living’. This ‘high standard of living’ ignores the simple pursuits of life, gardening, cycling, maintaining and making friendships, sitting listening to music , cooking, and reading. Instead there is the instant garden of the garden centre, the car, the snatched email, background music while doing another task such as reading the never finished book and watching celebrity chefs on TV.

Then... once a year... there is Christmas.

For many this is the only time they are together as a family group, sitting around a table and eating together and often in the Bible shared meals are mentioned. I often think that theologians ignore the fact that must have been great fun to be with Jesus, anyone who can turn water into wine must have been a sure-fire hit at parties!

In the past for the vast majority the ceremonial centre of the house was the kitchen table. All the main events of the household were celebrated by communal meals there, births, deaths, birthdays; Easter, Christmas, and going away as well welcome home meals were shared and eaten there. The kitchen table, with the air around heady with the smell of cooking, turned into a place of discussion and debate, of experiences shared, of friendship shared and renewed and of warmth and comfort.

Often these meals were, by today’s standards, very simple and ‘unsophisticated’ affairs. Food would have been local, grown or reared in the area and stored extremely carefully. Wine from the other side of the world and fresh beans from Africa or strawberries from South America would not have been on the menu, nor would have been a huge joint of meat but the words of Proverbs 15:17 would have summed up the atmosphere perfectly. "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred".

I pray that your table may be weighed down with love this Christmas.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Less can mean more... and more can mean less

The picture on the left is of Sarah from Westlake Village, California. Her video of the time she spent in Nepal, the first time she had left the US, can be viewed here. It is more than well worth seeing.

Friday, 12 December 2008

The carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’... it sounds non-religious... but...

This carol has its origin as a teaching tool for young people at the time when Catholics were unable to practice their beliefs openly, and the following is what is behind the song.

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me”. The true love represents God and the “me” is the Christian who receives these gifts.

The “Partridge in the Pear tree” is Jesus who died on the tree (cross).

The “two turtle doves” are the Old and the New Testaments.

The “three French hens” were faith hope and love, the three gifts of the spirit that abides (1 Corinthians 13).

The “four calling birds” are the four Gospels.

The “five gold rings” are the first five books of The Bible that are known as the ‘Book of Moses’.

The “six geese a-laying” are the six days of creation.

The “seven swans a-swimming” are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 4: 10-11).

The “eight maids a-milking” are the eight beatitudes.

The “nine ladies dancing” are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

The “ten lords a-leaping” are the Ten Commandments.

The “eleven pipers piping” are the eleven faithfull disciples.

The “twelve drummers drumming” are the twelve points of the Apostles Creed.

So the next time you hear this carol, you may well be the only one that really understands its meaning.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A letter received from Zimbabwe, please read it.

The following letter does not make pleasant seasonal reading, but for some it is reality. I have been asked to pass it on to as many as I can so please, please cut and paste it or put a link to this and so pass it on...

I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn.

We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was 'too close to the airport', so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.

You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help -but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable. There is no ways we can leave here so that is not an option.

I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all. You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on.

To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are - IN level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial).

If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa

This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight---or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water.

How can I take on another family of 4 - and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?

I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how.

Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD... The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening. Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? 'If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way'.

[I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to us]

For now,--- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses?

All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can't fight for my rights.

Censorship! ---- We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses.

Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can/may be done.

'I am one. I cannot do everything, --- but I can do something... And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.'

After reading the above my 'problems' don't seem to matter at all

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A Prayer

May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, half truths and indifferent relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression and exploitation,
so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
for those who face pain, hunger and war,
so that you may reach out your hands to comfort them.

May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Oh dear...

I have been tagged by Mrs. Green and asked to “share 6 interesting things about yourself”, but in describing me the words “interesting” and “yourself” sit uneasily in the same sentence, so will “weird”, “different” or “unusual” do Rae? Here goes then:

1. When I drove race cars, I lost a race at Brands Hatch by touching, with a flailing hand, an oversensitive ignition kill switch in the Lotus I was driving as I exited the final corner. You would be amazed just how fast other race cars can overtake when you have turned the ignition off!

2. I have a talent that few other ministers possess; I can Oxy-acetylene, Arc and MIG weld.

3. Although I hate heights I once did a charity abseil down a multi story office block because I said ‘yes’ to the question “can you help us raise some money?” before I asked ‘how?’ I promise that will not make that mistake again...

4. I have been to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party... Actually my wife was the one that was invited but I accompanied her.

5. We live in a 300+ year old cottage that we bought 20 years ago as an uninhabitable near tumbledown wreck. After I estimated 6 months to ‘do do it up’ I then spent 2 years in doing so! Interestingly I discovered that the lath and plastered over wooden beams were oak ships timbers. So if the cottage is 300 years old, the ship was 50 years old when it was cannibalised and the Oak trees that the beams were cut from were 100 years old then the wood of our beams was growing some 450 years ago in the 1550’s, long before the Pilgrim Fathers were born, let alone reached America, mind you, the ship the beams once were may have...

6.Many years ago when I was ten-pin bowling with friends, I managed to start my run to the line while still raising a heavier than usual bowl to my face. There was painful contact and I knocked a front tooth out

Monday, 24 November 2008

Are you going to buy a new computer for Christmas?

Please play the above before you 'recycle' the old one, it is very important that you do so... thank you.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Do you ever think that what you do can’t last?

When you next see a Space Shuttle on the launch pad have a look at the SRB’s (Solid Rocket Boosters) attached to it. These are made in Utah by Thiokol and the designers may well have liked to make them bigger, but as they had to be moved by train from the factory to the launch site the designers were restricted in their dimensions by the dimensions of the tunnels they had to pass through.

US rail tunnel dimensions are dictated to by the width of the train and this is dependent upon the railroad gauge which is 4’8 ½” inches between rails, about 143.51 centimeter. To say this is an odd figure is an understatement, so why was that dimension used?

Simple, this is because the first railways in the USA were built by British expatriates who brought over their jigs and tools with them. They first used these for the horse drawn wagons, then they used them when they built the railways.

Why did the British use that spacing? Easy to answer! When they started building horse drawn transport in Britain they had to use that 4’8 ½” spacing because to do otherwise would destroy their wheels because they would not match the ruts that were already there in most of the old, already existing roads.

Who or what made those existing ruts in Britain’s old roads? They were made, around 2000 years ago by the Romans.

There then is the answer. Over 2000 years ago someone decided to measure the hindquarters of two horses and decided on the wheel spacing of 4’8 ½” because it was the perfect dimension for a war chariot. So a major design feature of one of the world’s most advanced transportation system, the SRB's on the space shuttle, was in fact determined over 2000 years ago by someone in a stable measuring a horse.

And around 2000 years ago something else occurred in a stable that also determines many lives of today...

Saturday, 15 November 2008

I will drink to that!

As someone that started out in life in engineering and design I am in complete awe of the design talent of God.

Everything is multiple-use and nothing is ever wasted.
For example in our garden we have an Oak tree, it must be 500 years old. In that time has fed itself and the plants around with leaf mould, the local squirrels have fed on its acorns and taken away and buried them for store, forgotten where they were which explains some the younger nearby Oaks. The Oaks fallen limbs have been taken over by fungi and insect life and we are burning some of the thinned branches on our open fire now and so the story goes on, but you get the picture, the tree is not just carbon removing, oxygen enhancing and beautiful, that is just the start.
So why can’t we follow that principle and when we design items have multi use in the design remit?

The beer bottle that you see in the image was envisaged in the early 1960’s by beer brewer Alfred Heineken and designed by Dutch architect John Habraken, the “brick that holds beer” was ahead of its time. The final design came in two sizes - 350 and 500 mm versions that were meant to lay horizontally, interlock and layout in the same manner as ‘brick and mortar’ construction. One production run in 1963 yielded 100,000 bottles some of which were used to build a small shed on Mr. Heineken’s estate in Noordwijk, Netherlands, but the idea never caught on.

The Buddhist monk is standing in the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple in Thailand's Sisaket province. He and his fellows collected around a million normal beer bottles to build the temple he stands in, for more detail see here.

And the final image is from the UK. The walls of this structure are made from orange plastic crates, for more details see here. Wouldn’t the world be a much better happier, safer and cleaner place if, rather throwing things away or using energy to recycle them they had a use just as they were, just the same way as God designs things?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

For some, the penny has finally dropped!

I am a member of our village Parish Council and as such I recently attended an emergency planning conference. Local (Parish) Emergency Plans were started just after WW2 when the concern was a Russian nuclear attack. The parish councillors who were involved in the plan were supplied with a short- wave radio, built up a store of food, and, assuming they survived, had to list where local facilities were for storing and disposing of any victims and looking after the injured living etc. It was then decided to add the concern of disaster (plane crash whatever) to the emergencies list and then, as the usefulness of the Parish Emergency Groups became apparent and the cold war was over, the concern of natural disasters took their place.

Two of the speakers described how their parishes had dealt with major floods, not applicable to the major part of our parish which is a few hundred feet above sea level, and then we had a Met Office (see HERE) scientist to give a talk, the site will also link to weather in other countries as well. She gave for many a new insight into emergency plans when she said that we now had to plan for the safety of our vulnerable when we had Global Warming related extremes of weather, giving, as an example, the European heat-wave of 2003, see HERE for more detail. When this occurred there were around 20,000 heat wave related deaths in Europe including 3,000 in Paris alone where the death rate increased by 142%! These summer temperature events will, we were told, be the norm by 2040, and by 2060 will be considered cool. What she did not touch on was what would happen further south of the UK. In Africa, in South America, in Australia Malaysia, Indonesia, India and so on, what, I thought, would happen to the people there when the temperatures increased?

The good point of her talk was the rapt silence that she was listened to, because for many of my climate change sceptic fellow councillors, the penny, at has last has dropped... it’s for real...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Non-polluting nuclear power???

Sellafield on the coast in the remote and staggeringly beautiful area of Cumbria is the largest industrial complex in the UK. It produces little yet employs 10,000 people and has armed police guarding its perimeter, why? Because it contains the world's biggest stockpile of plutonium and uranium. Sellafield now produces no electricity. Instead it re-processes spent fuel to produce more unwanted plutoniurn and uranium. Some of this could be turned into fuel, but the MOX plant built to do this at a cost of £400 million has produced, in the seven years since it was built, only 7 tonnes of fuel compared with a production target of 840 tonnes.

Much of the nuclear waste comes from other countries that send their spent fuel to Sellafield to be re-processed and sent back home so that Britain would not become "the nuclear dustbin of the world" but guess what, it has stayed at Sellafield, going nowhere.

Sellafield has a safety record that is a total disaster; from 1950 to 1986 alone there were over 250 safety related incidents. In 1957 there was a fire at the plant; the UK Atomic Energy Authority had built two nuclear reactors (or “piles”) on the site of a World War II explosives factory to manufacture the radioactive element plutonium for use in British atom bombs. Radioactive uranium fuel at pile number one caught fire in 1957 and radioactive material was spread over a large area of North West England. At one point eight tons of uranium was burning. Milk from 600 farms in an area of 500 square kilometres was banned from human consumption and an unknown number of people received additional radiation doses in the form of an isotope of iodine. It is a fact that if just 1% of the Plutonium (the most dangerous nuclear material) stored there was released, it would be ten times as devastating as Chernobyl.

MP Nigel Evans raised the case of a family who were in the area that had suffered horrendous health problems but a government enquiry was refused, see here for the details. There were also suspicions that more was know by the authorities than they wanted to admit about radioactive contamination when it was discovered that workers body parts had been removed at autopsies for testing, see here.

In the words of Dr Simon Taylor University of Cambridge. “The name having acquired controversial and menacing associations, Windscale was re-named in 1981 back to its original name of Sellafield”

The Irish Government and the Northern Irish assembly were understandably irate when it was found the ‘low-level’ waste was being discharged into the Irish Sea and the Irish Sea is now thought to be one of the most radioactive in the world and some beaches in the immediate area are still closed off. What also concerns me is that the waste at the plant will be unsafe for a quarter of a million years. The next time that someone talks about non-polluting nuclear energy, ignore them, because the same sort of incidents have taken place all over the world at nuclear facilities. There is however another way to pollution free power...

The main picture is Sellafield and the other of the Romney Marsh Wind farm on the South Coast of England. It is next to the now defunct Dungeness Nuclear Power Station and you can see more photos of them, the Nuclear Facility and the story of the area here.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Thursday, 30 October 2008

So, what would you do with the $4 trillion that has been committed to rescue the global economy?

Would you provide safe water and sanitation to the 2.5 billion people in the world without it at a cost of only £37.5bn, around the amount (£37bn) given by UK government to RBS, HBOS and Lloyds TSB banks? That amount would hardly be noticed!

Would you feed the starving? As Jacques Diouf, head of the UN's food and agriculture organisation, said it would cost a mere $30bn a year to avert all future threats of conflicts over food. "How can we explain to people of good sense and good faith that it was not possible to find US$30bn a year to enable 862 million hungry people to enjoy the most fundamental of human rights: the right to food and thus the right to life?" How indeed...

Would you spend some on Ecosystems and biodiversity? A study on the costs and benefits of investing in the wealth of nature has provisionally found that most of the world's forests, mountains, rivers and seas could be protected for only about $45bn annually. A cheap investment surely?

Would you, if you are in the UK, invest in plans to generate 36% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2020 an amount roughly costed by the Treasury at $100bn, over 12 years?

If you are in the US would you spend $4.4tr, (yes I know it's all the money, but it is spread over 30, yes 30 years) to replace all the US's coal and oil-fired electricity generation by renewable electricity, reduce the world's carbon emissions by nearly 20% and provide hundreds of thousands of jobs?

How about protecting the world's most important ecosystems? It is estimated this would cost $1.3tr, but again spread over 30 years. For this sum, nearly 15% of land and 30% of the oceans would be protected from illegal logging, overfishing, pollution and would go most of the way to protecting the most endangered animals.

Or would you give it ALL to the financial systems that failed us???

Friday, 24 October 2008

A prophecy waiting in the wings?

In the desert regions of the world there is the potential to grow food and supply enough power for the entire world, impossible? Well actually no, because there are two projects already in progress showing just how that can be done.

Desertec, see here, concentrates sunlight, solar power, (CSP) via mirrors onto steam turbines to drive generators, as in a conventional power station, the bottom image shows how little area would be required to supply the world, the smaller squares show the corresponding areas for the EU and the Middle East and North Africa. The middle image shows a solar collector panel, this is not pie-in-the-sky technology as there are already similar plants in the US and Spain, see here and here.

As for growing food in the desert the same clean CSP technology would pump seawater into the greenhouses in the top image where it would desalinate in solar collectors, leaving the salt behind and so allowing the now clean water to be used in cultivation. Interestingly enough for the overnight storage of heat to enable electricity production when the sun is down, then large saline (salt) filled tanks are needed.

In the words of Michael Pawlyn, who worked on the Eden Project for seven years and is now part of the Sahara Forest team, (see here) "Both technologies work extremely well in hot, dry, desert locations. CSP produces a lot of waste heat and we'd be able to use that to evaporate more seawater from the greenhouse. CSP needs a supply of clean, de-mineralised water in order for the [electricity generating] turbines to function and to keep the mirrors at peak output. It just so happens the Seawater Greenhouse produces large quantities of this."

In the words of Isaiah C35 v1&2
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy...

That day certainly can't come too soon for me!

Never think that your daily life cannot make a difference, because;


"What do you do as a Christian"? an evangelist asked a fellow traveller in the train.

"I bake", said the man.

"Yes", said the evangelist, "that is your profession; but what do you do as a Christian"?

Refusing all openings to admit that, as a Christian, he taught in the Sunday School or preached at the street corner or distributed tracts, the man persisted in the sufficiency of the reply – that he baked.

He was right.

Such is the centrality of the Incarnation faith. Teaching, preaching, works of mercy are the periphery: essential, but periphery. The carpenter, the fisherman, the agriculturalist – or, if you will, the miner, the ironworker and the aeroplane craftsman – are God’s final revelation of His purpose in creation, in the Lord Jesus Christ of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth, of the fishing fleet at Galilee, and of the home at Bethany. It is the truth of that which it is the Christian mission to declare till all labour is holy and every home His temple.

Yet, in the paradox, so to salt the daily round and the common task we must be separate. Unless in our ‘involvement’ we be separate, homes become adulterated, farm land becomes exploited, and aeroplanes mount guns: all of which is happening before our eyes.

George MacLeod, the Iona Community

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Well, would you believe it?

While the following share prices quoted are for UK shares, I think the facts would apply whatever country you are in!

If you had purchased £1,000 of Northern Rock shares one year ago it would now be worth £4.95. With HBOS, earlier this week your £1,000 would have been worth £16.50. £1,000 invested in XL Leisure would now be worth less than £5. However, if you bought £1,000 worth of canned beer one year ago, yup, that’s a lot of beer, drank it all, and today took the empty cans to an aluminium recycling plant, you would, at present day prices, get around £200. So based on the above statistics the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. OK so you would not have made a profit, given yourself a headache perhaps but you may not care so much about any loss.

Now what did He say about on this subject... oh yes... I remember... "keep on storing up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal". (Matt 6:20)

Regarding the latter part of His comment, whatever did happen to all that money that has been ‘lost’, did it ever exist or is it still somewhere?

Monday, 13 October 2008

The Percy Schmeiser story...

Percy Schmeiser is a farmer of a 1,400 acre farm from Bruno, Saskatchewan Canada whose Canola fields became contaminated with Monsanto's Round-Up Ready Canola. Monsanto's position was that it didn't matter whether Schmeiser knew or not that his canola field was contaminated with the Roundup Ready gene, or whether or not he took advantage of the technology (he didn't); that he must pay Monsanto their Technology Fee of $15./an acre for each acre.

In 2001 lawyers warned a farming family in Indiana that the only way they could avoid being sued by the biotech company Monsanto was to sow their entire farm with the company's seeds. IN 1999 the Roushes planted just over a quarter of their fields with the company's herbicide-resistant soya. Though they recorded precisely what they planted where, and though an independent crop scientist has confirmed their account, Monsanto refused to accept that the Roushes did not deploy its crops more widely demanding punitive damages for the use of seeds they swear they never sowed. The Roushes said that they were, in effect, being sued for not buying the company's products. So the next year, like hundreds of other frightened farmers, they planted their fields only with Monsanto's GM seeds. The lesson is that once you've started using GM, you're stuck with it.

But unlike scores of similarly accused North American farmers who have reached out-of-court settlements with the bullying Monsanto, Schmeiser, who saves his seeds from previous harvests, fought back and Monsanto took him to court in the year 2000, outlining their request for patent infringement seeking damages totalling $400,000. This included a list of civil damages, including about $250,000 in legal fees, $105,000 in profits they feel Schmeiser made on the 1998 crop, $13,500 ($15 an acre) for technology fees and $25,000 in punitive damages. Schmeiser feels that Monsanto had asked for exorbitant amounts to serve as a warning to other producers. At that time Schmeiser said he has already spent $160,000 of his own savings for legal fees and another $40,000 of his own time, travel and compensation for labour he had to hire when he was away from the farm.

After a backwards and forwards battle across court hearings, and in an out of court settlement finalized on March 19, 2008, the now 77 year old Percy Schmeiser has settled his lawsuit with Monsanto. Monsanto has agreed to pay all the clean-up costs of the Roundup Ready canola that contaminated Schmeiser's fields. Also part of the agreement was that there was no gag-order on the settlement and that Monsanto could be sued again if further contamination occurred. Schmeiser believes this precedent setting agreement ensures that farmers will be entitled to reimbursement when their fields become contaminated with unwanted Roundup Ready canola or any other unwanted GMO plants.

In the words of Paul Goettlich: "The fact remains that Monsanto should be liable for contaminating Percy's fields and those of the rest of the world. Why not? They certainly meant to do so. The cost for this crime should be born directly by the business and board officers, as well as each and every share holder who should be made to pay to the full extent of their wealth. For without these stock owners Monsanto would probably not have had the required capital to produce the mess on Earth that we now witness before us".

See here for Percy Schmeiser's award and details.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

I wonder just how many hospital operations could have been carried out, just how many new schools have been built and just how many of those that are


Please play the above (short) clip, no one could make up the situations portrayed, but truth is often stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

We have before us an economic system that has proved to have failed

It is/was (?) based on consumption with a total addiction on spending money raised upon credit, and the amassing of property and possessions. This is the world that the inhabitants of the West in general, have created. Now we have the governments of the ‘developed’ world rushing to prop up their failed capital craving banking systems. We have figures bandied about in buying their useless assets, (let’s be frank, that’s what they are, for ‘toxic debts’ read ‘useless assets’) that quite simply make my head swim, just how do you grasp the scale of $700 Billion, or the 300 Billion Euros France is seeking as a Europe rescue fund or the £50 Billion that some of the UK banks are asking for?

So where does the world go from here? Is it back to more of the same? Will the financial world drag itself out of the mess it has created only eventually to go back to the same situation again of encouraging poeple to borrow and spend when the interest rates drop in order to stimulate the economy and growth? Will again people go back to collecting possessions as a comfort blanket against the problems of the real world, with its starvation and disease in the third world and the disaster of Climate Chaos which faces us all?

Or will those caught up and out by the present crisis decide that they will cut up the credit cards, reduce their debts and realise that what actually matters in life is family and friends and that judging others by the fashion labels on the outside of their clothes is wrong. As John said of attitude of the latter in 12:43, “They loved the praise of others more than the praise of God”.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Save a life or two for the price of a Big Mac!

The children that will die today from malaria would fill all the seats in 7 jumbo jets, (sad to say, that is no misprint/typo on my part) which equates to one child's death every 30 seconds or, to put it another way, about the time it could take you to read this one post. The single most effective means of prevention is a mosquito net and yet each long lasting insecticidal net (LLIN)– the net of choice -costs only around £2.50 or $ 5 or 4 Euro, yup, as little as that! If you would like to know more, and perhaps join me in donating, then please click here.

There are many organisations involved and if you are involved with or have any influence over your government please click here

"Suffer the little children to come unto me" He said. But He said and meant this when they were still alive and in this world, and, for one child, their thirty seconds is now about up.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

“IT’S ALL DOWN TO GREED” the interviewee said!

The interviewer was asking the interviewee, a financial expert, about the reason for the present financial crisis, and I listened with amazement as he carried on, with total honesty, saying “the bonus culture and the risk taking in search of big profits was at the heart of the problem”.

You will hear a lot more soon; I am sure, about Credit Default Swops (CDS). These are in essence an insurance contract between a protection buyer and a protection seller covering a corporation’s specific bond or loan. A protection buyer pays an upfront amount and yearly premiums to the protection seller to cover any loss on the face amount of the referenced bond or loan. Simple isn’t it, after all isn’t this just like a normal car or household contents insurance contract, what’s the fuss? Well, actually there is a catch in the contract.

CDS’s are bilateral contracts, i.e. they are private contracts between two parties but the next bit you may find hard to comprehend because CDS’s are subject to a clause known as counterparty risk. This means that if the insurance provider does not have enough money to pay the insurance buyer in the case of a default event affecting the subject of the insurance, or if the insurer goes bankrupt (Bear Stearns and AIG, American International Group almost went that way) the insurance buyer is not covered. Yes you read that correctly, no cover and kiss your premiums goodbye as well. This is the reason for those massive and mind blowing sums the US and UK governments are pumping into the financial system.

The problem was that those engaged in speculation were unable to see that house price rises in the US and the UK were not sustainable, and when the housing market collapsed it, like a house of cards, brought all around it down as well.

The lunacy of loaning money to people who were unable to repay, on the premise that house prices never fall and so if people default on their loans the increase on the property prices will still give a healthy return, has come home to roost. As we know, this has all happened around the time the world hit peak oil and peak food.

From an environmental point of view it is completely impossible to exaggerate the significance of the situation the world is now in. CDS’s emerged in the in the early 1990’s and since then the world has experienced unlimited consumerism, urged on by an unaccountable, and some would say corrupt, financial system which has driven on the non-stop destruction of the environment that has been a feature of the last 25 years.

1 Timothy 6:9 sums this attitude up perfectly: “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction”. Knowing just who will be paying for this desire to get rich, all I can say is Amen to that Timothy...

Monday, 22 September 2008

The positive effect of Global warming???

I read this in an article recently. The author waxed on about how there were actually good points, such as the ability to grow figs, olives and grapes in the UK.

The fact is, that to say that there is any positive effect whatsoever in Global warming is just as logical as watching someone drown and saying that the positive effect of them drowning is that they don't need a drink...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

No greater love has this

The Corrib Gas Field is a reserve of natural gas situated 80 km off the west coast of County Mayo containing 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The gas field was discovered in 1996 by Enterprise Oil, operating in a consortium with Saga Petroleum. The Corrib Gas Project, directed by a consortium of companies now led by Royal Dutch Shell, seeks to bring the gas ashore at Glengad in the Barrony of Erris in North West Mayo and to pump the unrefined gas 9km inland through sand dunes, a Special Area of Conservation, and then through inhabited area to a refinery located on a boggy hill where it would be cleaned and depressurized for sale and export.

All the problems regarding environmental and community concerns result from the location of the refinery. A recent petition of the 1200 Kilcommon residents clearly showed that while they are not against bringing the natural gas ashore, the majority do not support the project in its current form. Protests followed and five men were jailed for 94 days for obstructing Shell workers who were starting pipe laying on the land owned by three of the men.

A protest camp was organised, but in July 2007 the camp was served with notice to evict by Mayo County Council which cited the unauthorised nature of the structures erected and the potential damage to a Special Area of Conservation. As soon as the camp left Shell moved in to start illegally drilling boreholes on the same Special Area of Conservation, despite protests and not having permission, then the Shell pipe laying ship Solitaire moved into place.

This was all too much for Maura Harrington, a 42kg (6st 9lb) former headmistress who informed the commander of Shell's Solitaire that if it came into the bay she would begin a hunger strike and carry on till the ship went away, she said that her "action sprang out of her despair over the actions not just of Shell but of the local authorities, the Garda, and the government.”

The latest development is ‘damage’ to the Solitaire. Shell has already announced they will be removing it from the area for repairs. At the moment Harrington does not plan to stop, she said, in a command of English that only the Irish have, that she "trusts Shell about as far as I can throw the Solitaire," but even if she does stop, she will certainly start again when the boat returns.

As a headmistress she is obviously thinking of the environment that will remain in the future for ‘her’ children and while part of me shudders at the path she is taking, another has admiration for her courage and commitment. In the words of John 15:13 “The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends”. I hope and pray that it does not come to that, but play the above and see how you feel about the situation. If you would like to know more about the Rossport Solidarity Camp and Shell, please click here.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

This family know what life would be like without reliance on oil!

In fact they are living in deprivation because they don’t have a car... television... telephone... fridge... freezer...washing machine... central heating or air conditioning and their house is not insulated. Their diet is restricted due to circumstances and is mainly vegetables much of which they grow themselves in their garden and the small boy has yet to taste butter as they only have margarine. They walk or use public transport when they go out together and the yearly family holiday is a day trip to the coast, about 50 miles away, by coach.

The father cycles the five miles to work if the weather is good and uses the bus when it rains, when there is snow and the bus does not run he wraps sack around his feet and walks to work.

And they are amazingly happy because they have time...

Do you remember what it was like when there was time, time to enjoy each other’s company, time for talking and time for walking, time to read and time for your friends, family and community?

The five year old in the photo, which was taken in 1950 when food rationing was still on, is me.

So often we think that life without all our present day luxuries would be unbearable when in fact, from my personal experience, the opposite was the truth. So often we look at the problems that we face but these do nothing to inform us of what is possible and what life could be. We are an amazingly creative species and I am honestly excited about the challenges that are before us, yes life will change and it may not be at all easy, but in the end it may well change for the better.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Doing her bit for creation!

But I don't think she is alone in thinking that this is all that's needed...

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Do you ever read something and wonder what planet the writer was on?

I have just read an article by a wine expert who is concerned that global warming will have a serious impact on the wine industry. This is one particular comment:

“One of the biggest worries concerns the Gulf Stream... if this were to disappear some of Europe’s greatest wine regions would be devastated.”

Geology and archaeology have shown that around 10,000 years ago the great lakes area of Canada was one massive freshwater lake that was held back from the North Atlantic by a huge ice dam. The ice dam broke, the freshwater flooded into the Gulf Stream which, dependent on the salt in it to operate almost stopped, and Europe went into the last Ice Age.

The Gulf Stream is already weakening due to the melting Artic ice diluting the salt laden gulf stream with fresh water, but Mr. Wine Expert, but if the Gulf Stream “were to disappear” I think you would have other concerns than the Bordeaux grape harvest

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Every force has an equal and opposite reaction, ice melts, sea levels rise!

Open water now stretches all the way round the Arctic, making it possible for the first time in human history to circumnavigate the North Pole, The melting ice last week opened up both the fabled North-west and North-east passages, in the most important geographical landmark to date to signal the unexpectedly rapid progress of global warming.

Four weeks ago, tourists had to be evacuated from Baffin Island's Auyuittuq National Park because of flooding from thawing glaciers, please note, Auyuittuq means "land that never melts". Two weeks after this, nine stranded polar bears were seen off Alaska trying to swim 400 miles north to the retreating icecap edge.

Until recently both the North-west passage around Canada and the North-east passage around Russia had been blocked by ice since the beginning of the last Ice Age. As shipping companies are already getting ready to exploit the new route, Professor Wieslaw Maslowski at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, concluded that there will be no ice between mid-July and mid-September as early as 2013. The process feeds on itself. As white ice is replaced by sea, the dark surface absorbs more heat, warming the ocean and melting more ice.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific Ocean, islands including Fiji, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, are flooding due to the increased sea levels.
President Remengesau of Palau recently said: “Palau has lost at least one third of its coral reefs due to climate change related weather patterns. We also lost most of our agricultural production due to drought and extreme high tides. These are not theoretical, scientific losses -- they are the losses of our resources and our livelihoods.... For our island states, time is not running out. It has run out, and our path may very well be the window to your own future and the future of our planet".

These islands are on the front line of climate change, they are the early warning system for climate change, sea levels will rise not only due to ice cap and glacial melt but because water expands when its temperature rises.

But Sarah Palin, John McCain's new running mate, holds that the scientific consensus that global warming is melting Arctic ice is unreliable. My concern is that by the time her and the other sceptics arguments have melted away, so will the Arctic ice.

In the words of Isaiah 43:8 “Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf".

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

As much as you do it for these...

Do you ever think that the scale of the environmental problems facing us all are so big that your ‘little’ effort can hardly make a difference? Do you sometimes feel like giving up or giving in? If you do, then please think on this, because every ‘little’ effort makes a difference.

Asthma is a major problem for children today, so when you fit that energy saving light bulb please remember that you are cutting down on pollution and that somewhere you may well have helped a child to combat the problem rather than to succumb to it..

The environmental problem caused by plastic is obvious to all but those that don’t want to see, so when you take your own bags to the shop you are not only making a visible statement, you are cutting down on the oil used to make them, cutting out landfill and so preserving resources and protecting the environment for the children and their grandchildren.

When you cut down your oil/gas/petrol consumption, even by a small amount, you are making a stand against the lunacy of sending the children of today into battle, in the years to come for control of these resources.

When you buy local produce instead of food transported from faraway places you are helping to support the families in your area and making the roads safer for them and their children by cutting down on those massive trucks the supermarkets use.

If you oppose nuclear power then you are looking after the grandchildren’s grandchildren of the future. 20,000 years ago the English Channel did not exist... in 200,000 years time much nuclear waste will still be lethal.

So if you do any of the above, or anything similar, (and I know that you do) then please, please pat yourself on the back, because all are victories, and don't forget what HE said, "What you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto Me." - Jesus

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Einstein said that if the honeybee became extinct, then so would mankind.

But Colony Collapse Disorder has caused devastation to bee colonies, so it is more than relevant that the German organization ‘Coalition against Bayer Dangers’ have brought legal action against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer AG Board of Management, by filing a charge against him accusing Bayer Crop Science of "marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world."

Since 1991, Bayer has been producing the insecticide imidacloprid, which is one of the best selling insecticides in the world, often used as seed-dressing for maize, sunflower, and rape. Exported to more than 120 countries and the substance is Bayer's best-selling pesticide. Since patent protection for it expired in most countries, in 2003 Bayer brought a similarly functioning successor product, clothianidin onto the market. Both substances are systemic chemicals that work their way from the seed through the plant. The substances get into the pollen and the nectar and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. The coalition alleges that the start of their sales coincided with the occurrence of large scale bee deaths in many European and American countries. Up to 70 percent of all hives have been affected. In France, approximately 90 billion bees died over the past 10 years, reducing honey production by up to 60 percent.

The Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency said “Clothianidin may pose a risk to honey bees and other pollinators, if exposure occurs via pollen and nectar of crop plants grown from treated seeds," said the Canadian agency.

Germany banned neonicotinoids for seed treatment in May 2008, due to negative effects on bee colonies. Beekeepers in the Baden-Württemberg region suffered a severe decline linked to the use of clothianidin.

In the United States, the non profit ‘Natural Resources Defence Council’ filed a lawsuit in the Washington Federal Court to force the federal government to disclose studies it ordered on the effect of clothianidin on honey bees. NRDC attorneys believe that the EPA has evidence of connections between pesticides and the mysterious honey bee die-offs reported across the country called Colony Collapse Disorder that it has not made public.

God’s created environment is a fragile thing; we mess around with it at our own risk.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

So, who thought they improve on the flexibility of God’s design by using GM?

Yes, there they are, square melons! Grown in square glass containers they are easy to pack and transport and easy to fit into the fridge. It just shows what can be done without altering the genetics of His creation.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Half of all food produced worldwide is wasted as is the water used to produce it.

According to the Environment News Service tremendous quantities of food are wasted after production - discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens - and this wasted food is also wasted water, finds a policy brief released Thursday at World Water Week in Stockholm. The brief authored by the Stockholm International Water Institute, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Water Management Institute shows that the current food crisis is less a crisis of production than a crisis of waste. Tossing food away is like leaving the tap running, the authors say. "More than enough food is produced to feed a healthy global population. Distribution and access to food is a problem - many are hungry, while at the same time many overeat," the brief states. But, it says, "we are providing food to take care of not only our necessary consumption but also our wasteful habits."

"As much as half of the water used to grow food globally may be lost or wasted," says Dr. Charlotte de Fraiture, a researcher at IWMI. "Curbing these losses and improving water productivity provides win-win opportunities for farmers, business, ecosystems, and the global hungry. An effective water-saving strategy requires that minimizing food wastage is firmly placed on the political agenda," she said. In the United States, for instance, as much as 30 percent of food, worth some US$48.3 billion, is thrown away. "That's like leaving the tap running and pouring 40 trillion liters of water into the garbage can - enough water to meet the household needs of 500 million people," says the report.

World Water Week is hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, a policy institute that contributes to international efforts to combat the world's escalating water crisis. Virtual water is a measurement of how water is embedded in the production and trade of food and consumer products and is the concept on which the policy brief, "Saving Water: From Field to Fork - Curbing Losses and Wastage in the Food Chain," is based. While studying water scarcity in the Middle East, Professor Allan developed the theory of using virtual water import, via food, as an alternative water "source" to reduce pressure on the scarcely available domestic water resources there and in other water-short regions.

The Romans were superb engineers and sent water vast distances via aquaducts and pipes. The Holy Land was, and still is an area where water is scarce. The Bible has many references about 'living water', that is, fresh water. it is quite simple, no water, no life. It seems to be a lesson ignored by many as the virtual water in much food imported from water scarce areas of the world ends up in landfill.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Vance Packard, a U.S. prophet indeed!

I read this book ‘The Waste Makers’ in 1970, it was first published in 1960, and I looked at the world in a different light afterwards.

So many things that are in it have come to pass. Peak oil, the world population explosion, water shortages, planned obsolescence, the way society now values people by what they earn rather than what they are as human beings, the advertisers aim to make people consume as much as possible and especially the throwaway society.

One thing that really hit home when I first read Packard’s book was the prophecy that in the future we would be mining our rubbish dumps for the material we had thrown away when the natural resources that had been squandered had started to dry up, so when I heard on the BBC World Service radio that this had indeed was being planned in the UK I felt almost sick, see the details HERE.

Packard ends his book by saying that we should not be forced to make a virtue out of wastefulness.

Sadly Vance that has happened, we have become an addicted society that seems always discontent with what it has and is always looking for something ‘better’. Whether our clothes, furniture, TV’s, cars or personal relationships, if we don’t like it, it can be dumped. So why are people so unhappy, could it be as Paul (Phil 3:19) said, that since their mind is on earthly things their destiny is destruction?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

No, it’s not about ‘Saving the Planet’

Because the fact is that without us ‘The Planet’ would actually be OK. We have already seen just how life on Earth has changed with more extremes of weather and food shortages so if humanity disappeared from the Earth tonight; ‘The Planet’ would manage quite well without us thank you. No, it’s not about ‘Saving the Planet it’s about saving Gods crowning work... humanity.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Was the cure for cancer once here?

In the UK the ‘superbug’ MRSA is a major problem in hospital infections. Recently though 52 patents who were suffering from hospital acquired MRSA infected wounds were asked to take Stabilised Allicin capsules, (a Garlic derived compound) and to treat their wounds with a stabilised Allicin cream or spray. In every case the wounds healed. This is of course a case of the cure already being available to us through God's creation of nature; many of our medicines are based on plants.

But there is the problem. Every day dozens of plant species with their complex chemical structures are being wiped out by deforestation, logging and development. A new generation of antibiotics, new treatments for thinning bone disease and kidney failure, and new cancer treatments may all stand to be lost unless the world acts to reverse the present alarming rate of biodiversity loss. Who is to say that in the image above there was not the cure for cancer or aids waiting to be discovered?

Friday, 1 August 2008

Not a great way to spend life, is it? (Matt 26:75)

But this is the UK... a nation of animal lovers and there are moves to change the circumstances these animals live under, but at the moment the situation is that poultry scientists have bred chickens which grow fast. As they grow, their living space – smaller than an A4 piece of paper for each bird – gets more and more cramped as they near the end of their short lives. With around 17 birds packed into each square metre they have barely enough space to walk, preen, stretch their wings or even turn around.

Such cramped conditions and rapid growth cause severe welfare problems. Chronic lameness is common – one third of chickens have difficulty walking without pain. The stress on their hearts and lungs can cause heart failure. About 5% die or have to be culled prematurely. A typical chicken shed holds 40,000 birds, they never set foot outside or see natural light, they feed around the clock - with as little as one hour of darkness for every 24 hour period but there is a plus point... our chickens and eggs are cheap!

To put it bluntly, these animals are living in torture conditions. I was thinking about this recently when the circumstances of Jesus being denied three times by Peter came to mind and a cockerel crowed. Alone in all of creation a chicken cried out at the betrayal of God. They have certainly paid for it since then, haven't they?

Monday, 28 July 2008


My ideas have often been challenged and my actions inspired by the words and deeds of my fellow Bloggers. Kati who gardens in Alaska, yes that is correct, Alaska. No daylight in mid-winter and no darkness in mid-summer and the temperatures are just as extreme. Barefoot, who has a turn of phrase that I would dearly love to possess. Regarding the energy crisis she wrote “Now, I am not going to sit and tell you all that we are in for an apocalypse. I am not going to say that someday we will just wake up to find that the lights won't go on no matter how many times we flip the switch or that the gas stations will all just close down overnight. There are other folks who say that better than I". [I have my doubts there barefoot.]

Becoming Me, a talented author who has struggled against and is triumphing over health problems, and there is Mrs.Green and Mrs.Average, both whom make my efforts seem inadequate. I could keep going on and you can see my favourite blog sites on the left, but recently I visited one blog, Russell's, and found a simple statement that stopped me in my tracks.

When I have been asked “do you practice the five R’s” I have usually (far too smugly) replied “no I practice the *five* R’s, not just reduce, recycle & reuse but also, repair and refuse”, e.g. refuse excess packaging, plastic bags etc. But Russell has added one more ‘R’, R for ‘Respect’.

Respect for the person that made the item and respect for the quality of an item. I personally cannot respect something made under sweatshop conditions or a cheaply made item. I have far more respect for a Fair Trade T shirt than one from a Third World country that I suspect was made by child labour and also far more respect for a 100 year old handmade spade that is still giving good service than I have for a Chinese manufactured stainless steel item.

In a way one only needs the one ‘R’ as it sums up all the other five and, on reflection, shows why I decided to clear 'my' lane, see my previous post. Those that discarded their 'rubbish' (they had actually purchased it) had absolutely zero respect for it or for the creation of our local environment.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Driving down the lane I thought "not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these". Then I noticed the plastic bags!

They were in the hedges that ran along the beautiful country lane to where we live and as the lane is only just over a mile long, a turning off a major road, I thought that I should do a litter pick along its length; so donning my best red T shirt, (well, second best, my best has Buggs Bunny on the front) I started, and you can see the result in the photo, 21 lbs of rubbish!

Approx 5 miles away there are a KFC and McDonald's drive through, and the most popular type of litter was, in order from the main road, (but you are an intelligent person and you've guessed the answer already, I can see that from here) food wrappings and trays from those two, followed by drinks containers from the same places, followed by cigarette packets. So it would seem that those responsible for the majority of roadside litter in our area are fast food drive through clients that smoke!

There were other items though. One Wellington boot, a half of a wash hand basin, one shoe, and a few bottles filled with liquid, some soiled paper (no idea what the contents of the last two were, but I had a fairly good idea...) various items of clothing and the plastic bags that started the mission off. I did intend to sort the items for recycling but the stench was so disgusting that I regret to say it all went to landfill. I have told myself that it is better of there than where it was, but wouldn’t it be great if it wasn’t ‘where it was’ in the first place?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

I regret you can't breathe the air, drink the water, grow your food, and I'm sorry you have cancer, but I really wanted a bigger house and a new SUV

The above is a line from a Canadian Newspaper, 'The Times Colonist' and it is the message the writer suggests we leave for our grandchildren. The article documents the environmental disaster that Canada faces. It details the collapse of the Cod Fisheries, the dying forests and toxic waste areas created by the Oil sands projects.

The author describes the wealth of today as being 'dirty money', in that it has been created by crimes against nature, which in my book means crimes against creation which equates to crimes against God. Please read the full article HERE it makes sobering reading...

It is not, of course, only Canada where this type of event occurs, the destruction of our childrens', children's future is everywhere.

Monday, 7 July 2008

"Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."

The heading is a quote from John 6:12, and the full passage is taken from the report of the Feeding of the Five Thousand which reads “When they had all had enough to eat, He said to His disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So what’s that got to do with the image on this post?

All those Kiwi fruit that you see in the image, 520 in all, have to be trashed; they can’t even be given away due to EU (European Union) regulations! They are perfectly wholesome but they are too small… yes, approx 1mm in diameter too small…

Grown in Chile, transported in refrigerated conditions half way round the world, and dumped into landfill in the UK, “The inspector's decision is consistent with RPA's commitment to protect consumers” said the man who enforced the decision, “Let nothing be wasted” He said.

Still can't believe it? ... see the BBC report here.

Monday, 30 June 2008


On a previous posting I mentioned that in the US, at last, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) had reported on the effects of Greenhouse Gasses under the orders of The US Supreme Court.

The report has at finally been emailed to the White House, but since the Bush administration did not want to accept the EPA conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that need controlling, they have ordered that the email should not be opened! Meanwhile the EPA has been pressured to dilute the report, eliminate parts of it and resubmit it... Hard to believe...(?) just see here then.

Now, if you are living in the UK and think that this lack of principle could never happen here, I am sorry, but think again. In the UK, in 2007, the High Court ruled that the Government’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations were “unlawful” and the way it consulted with the public over the decision was “misleading, seriously flawed, manifestly inadequate and procedurally unfair”. So naturally the plans are going ahead, so what are the facts?

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s great friend, advisor and supporter is the UK Treasury Minister MP Ed Balls. Ed Balls is married to MP Yvette Cooper, who, as Minister of Housing was responsible for the new planning laws that will speed up major projects, like nuclear power stations. Yvette Cooper’s Father is Tony Cooper, who, until recently, was the chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, which lobbies Ministers on the benefits of atomic power. He is now director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and has become one of the most outspoken champions of the industry's 'green' credentials."

Gordon Brown’s brother is Andrew Brown, who was director of media strategy of the PR and UK government nuclear lobbying company Weber Shandwick. Weber Shandwick has a long history of involvement with the atomic industry, a former UK chief executive Philip Dewhurst, is corporate affairs director for British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL). Andrew Brown no longer works for Weber Shandwick but is now Head of Media relations at EDF Energy, one of the largest energy companies in the UK, employing over 12,000 people. It is one of over 70 subsidiaries of the EDF Group, which has over 40 million customers worldwide, is the world’s largest nuclear operator and is pushing for a nuclear rebuild programme in the UK.

All a coincidence naturally... now what does Proverbs say? "He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall". (28:18)

Monday, 23 June 2008


To supply us with a wide range of cheap food, clothing and footwear, slavery exists on a massive scale, most of it economically legitimised by western governments. We still have slavery, which is a business built on the blood, sweat, and tears of other human beings, all we have done though is to move it out of sight of the masses. Free trade and lack of just regulations between borders encourage such atrocities, and these are often fuelled by the mindless shopping spree know as ‘retail therapy’.

In order for the members of the Western World to continue with their current lifestyle the fact is that the poor are needed to produce goods at a price the Western World is easily able to afford because if we got rid of slavery in all its forms Western society would seemingly ‘degrade’ for the masses. Yet this is the area where hypocrisy reigns, because those in the Western World that buy this cheap food and these cheap goods would not work in, or let their wives, husband’s sons or daughters work in industries that pay 50p a day picking crops or making high street clothing. The fact is though that millions are forced to work for a similar wage.
We must take responsibility ourselves. Every time we buy the cheapest goods we can find we may well be contributing to continuing slavery. Find out where things are made and how they are made. Don't keep passing the buck. It won't get rid of all slavery but it will help and you won't be blindly supporting it. We must never oppress others in order to eat cheaply and look good.

For the full story of the above image, please left click and read the full story here thank you.

Friday, 20 June 2008


In a past address address, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called suggestions that the US is really after Iraq's oil "utter nonsense. We don't take our forces and go around the world and try to take other people's real estate or other people's resources, their oil. That's just not what the United States does," he said. "We never have, and we never will. That's not how democracies behave."

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power. Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid (?) contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat. The deals, expected to be announced on June 30th, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry to say the very least, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts, but there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

Iraq is now our oil colony... Well, are you going to be supporting a war because the price of fuel is getting ever higher? Is the price of cheaper fuel worth the blood of our sons and daughters? God, save us from the hypocrisy and lies of our 'leaders'.

'Global Warming' actualy means 'CLIMATE CHAOS'!






Friday, 13 June 2008

Permafrost melt will effect us all

If Arctic sea ice starts melting fast, polar bears and ring seals wouldn't be the only creatures to feel it. A study released recently considered that it could increase warmer temperatures for hundreds of miles inland.

That means a possible thaw in the long-frozen soil known as permafrost. This in turn could have severe effects on world-wide ecosystems as human infrastructures like oil rigs and pipelines become effected and the release of more greenhouse gases from the melting Permafrost in Russia, Alaska and Canada will increase Climate Chaos (Global Warming)scientists said. The study is particularly pertinent because of last year's record melt of Arctic sea ice, when ice cover in the Arctic Sea shrank to 30 percent below average. Another record melt is forecast for this year but it is unknown whether this is the beginning of a trend.

"Our climate model suggests that rapid ice loss is not necessarily a surprise," said David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, an author of the study. "When you get certain conditions in the Arctic, thin ice, that is a lot of first-year ice as opposed to the older sturdier ice, you can get a situation where you get a rapid and steady loss over a period of five to 10 years."

In such a period of rapid ice loss, autumn temperatures along the Arctic coasts of Russia, Alaska and Canada could rise by as much as 9 degrees F (5 degrees C) the study's climate model found, Autumn is often the warmest season in this area.

Last year's temperatures from August to October over land in the western Arctic were also unusually warm, more than 4 degrees F (about 2 degrees C) above the average temperatures for 1978-2006, raising questions about the relationship between shrinking sea ice and warmer land temperatures. The scientists found that when sea ice melts rapidly Arctic land warms three and a half times faster than the rate predicted in 21st century climate models, yes, three and a half times faster! The warming is largest over the ocean but simulations indicate that it can extend as far as 900 miles inland. In places where permafrost is already at risk, such as central Alaska, a quick sea ice melt could lead to a quick permafrost thaw.

The effects of melting are already evident in parts of Alaska. Pockets of soil collapse as the ice contained within it melts, highways then buckle, houses are destabilized and trees tilt crazily in a phenomenon known as "drunken forests" when the earth beneath them gives way. The two pictures above show the result of Permafrost melt as the earth thaws.

"There's an interconnectedness about the Arctic," Lawrence said. "When sea ice retreats and retreats very rapidly it impacts other parts of the system, such as warming temperatures over land. Warming temperatures over land can also accelerate the degradation of permafrost, particularly permafrost that's warm right now."

Monday, 9 June 2008

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Food Crisis facts:

1/3rd of the US Maize crop is to be converted into Ethanol, 1/4 of the worlds Oil Seed Rape in '07 was converted into Biodiesel, in the UK 2.5% of vehicle fuel is made from Corn crops and this figure is sheduled to increase to 5% in less than 2 years time.

Look at the image on the left, how can anyone really think that this is the answer to the world's energy problem?