Thursday, 21 February 2008

Why not plant a tree?

Christian teaching is full of references to trees, The Tree of the Cross, The Tree of Life, Jesus homeland was refered to in Deuteronomy as "a land of Olive Trees," and, of course, Jesus is refered to as a carpenter.

Almost half the world's forests are now gone, and with deforestation even this figure is dwindling daily. So why not plant a tree? Plant as a commemoration of a special event, a birth, (so the child and the tree can grow together) an anniversary, a birthday as a thanksgiving or as a memorial to someone.

If you can, chose a local variety tree, so the indigenous wildlife will thrive upon it. If you don't have a garden, is there a place nearby where you can plant one and help to break free of the Tarmac, Asphalt and plastic culture of today's world?

I remember when I was about ten, a girl in my class at school, whose parents had no real garden, planted a tree in the local park for her, and no, they did not ask if they could! My fellow classmate was so exited over the years about 'her' tree that had now grown and was doing well. I have often wondered if she took her children and perhaps now takes her grandchildren to see the living proof of their great grandparents love for her.

Monday, 18 February 2008

9.5 oz of rubbish!

This is our last weeks waste and I am sorry to say that it's all plastic. It is the least amount of waste we have had so far, all the rest of the weeks waste has been recycled, but it would be great to get it down a zero amount. I will keep trying!

Friday, 15 February 2008

It sounds like a Hollywood Blockbuster script!

The photo is of Ben and Charlotte Hollins with their late father Arthur Hollins.

An elderly organic tenant farming pioneer (Arthur Hollins) with a younger wife and two teenage children, a brother and sister (Ben and Charlottie) dies and the family are faced with eviction unless they can raise £800,000 pounds (about $1,600,000) to buy the farm. A farm with its dilapidated farmhouse which first suffered from competition from multi-national companies and then from the threat of local land developers.

The two set about doing this and launch a nationwide appeal for a ground breaking community ownership scheme. The scheme is publicised world-wide, over 8,000 people, including Sting and Prince Charles sign up, the money is raised in the nick of time and the two become the tenants of the farm. Many volunteers turn up to help out with the farm work and organisation and Ben and Charlotte fall in love with two of the volunteers. The farm then becomes a centre of excellence, with a nature trail, on-line shop, educational facilities, and ties with the probation service; play festivals at the farm etc.

All it seems to need is Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant, but the above is not fiction, the story of Fordhall Farm is fact and shows what can be achieved, just what support and concern there is world-wide for such initiatives and that there are really a lot of amazing, kind and caring people out there.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

The world's vanishing great lakes...

The pictures show at the top, a stranded fishing boat on what was the bed of the Aral Sea, in the centre a map of Lake Chad as it was five years ago, you can see the lakes old outline, it's worse now, and at the bottom a small sailing boat on the drying Lake Mead in America. You can see the old Lake Mead levels on what was the shore behind the boat.

When I was at school I was taught of the world's great lakes, the inland seas that were the very heart of the countries and the comunities that lived on their shores. Two of the biggest then were the Aral Sea, in the Old Rusia, and Lake Chad in Africa; today they are all but gone.

The facts have to be faced. People may not believe in Global warming but the world's population has a problem looming. In the parts of the UK we have, in the last few years, faced drying out reservoirs and water being supplied by standpipes. In America, Lake Mead, really a huge reservoir and water source for 22 million people in The West is drying up. Lake Mead could run dry by 2021, the Aral sea and Lake Chad will, at the present rate, have all but disappeared by then.

Irrespective of ones religion, or thoughts, the 100% unadvoidable facts are that humanity is living well beyond the means of God's creation to sustain its consumption and waste, because the above are not isloated examples. We are headed for unprecedented challenges in the years ahead and only a wakening to that fact can change things.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Spring arrives in the UK somewhat early...

In the last week of January I picked up a bumble bee that had flown into the kitchen because we had the doors and windows open and a friend of ours found two Ladybirds on his window ledge... this is the UK in January, mid-winter!

Despite wintry blizzards across northern England and the Midlands, January was much warmer than normal. The Met Office said this January's UK average temperature was 5.3degrees Celsius (41.54 Fahrenheit) -- almost 2 degrees warmer than the 30-year January average of 3.4 Celsius (38.12F).

Just before Christmas, nest-building rooks were hard at work in the southwest, Oxfordshire and Surrey. Frogspawn was spotted on Christmas Eve in Penzance, Cornwall and tadpoles a month later in neighbouring Devon. Our farmer friend could not put his horse out to graze in December because the new growth of grass was too rich and now, in our garden, Les and Lucy the two ringed doves that have 'adopted' us, have been eyeing each other up with an interest not usually seen until late March!

"Our notion of what spring means and what happens in spring is changing. Nature is beginning to respond to a warmer climate, and We believe global warming is the biggest potential threat to native woodland," said Dr Kate Lewthwaite, the Woodland Trust's Nature Calendar Manager. As if to confirm this changed notion as I walked out of Church last week, a member of the congregation sniffed the air and said "I do love spring, it's my favourite time of year."

Mankind's effect on creation through Global Warming, (I much prefer the more accurate description 'Climate Chaos') is as real as mankinds effect by Genetic Modification on God's gift of the "Seed bearing plants" given to us in Genesis 1:29.

Throughout the world the seasons of the year have been turned into a chaotic jumble, but God's creation depends on the order that is evident throughout Genesis. For example in spring the length of the days govern the time when the Swallows arrive in the UK from Africa, but when they arrive, the insects they need to feed on have already flown and are into their breeding cycle as their life cycles are governed by the warmer days, so resulting in less Swallows and more insects. It seems that in the UK we no longer have 'seasons,' we just have 'weather'.

We are told in Genesis that we are to "Rule" over creation, but Jesus showed us through His example how we should realise that duty of rulership and that example has been largely ignored.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Humans now rival nature's forces.

Paul Crutzen, the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist who first proposed the term Anthropocene four years ago, wrote "Scientists are beginning to accept that Earth has entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, so named because humans have come to rival nature in their impact on the global environment. The EuroScience forum in Stockholm heard on Thursday that climate change was the most obvious of a complex range of man-made effects that is rapidly changing the physics, chemistry and biology of the planet."

Now we hear again from another set of scientists whose research backs Crutzen’s thesis. The study conducted by Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams of the University of Leicester and colleagues at the Geological Society of London shows evidence of disruptions to the planet’s carbon cycles, sediment patterns, and animal and plant populations because of human economies and population growth. Among the major changes heralding this two-century-old man-made epoch: Vastly altered sediment erosion and deposition patterns. Major disturbances to the carbon cycle and global temperature. Wholesale changes in biology, from altered flowering times to new migration patterns. Acidification of the ocean, which threatens tiny marine life that forms the bottom of the food chain.

Mankind was created to tend the garden, to serve the earth and so we have to start recreating our human way of life, our human economies, with the goal in mind of restoring as quickly as possible our humble place within the balance of God's creation before Hildegarde of Bingham's prophecy on this blog's heading becomes reality.

Monday, 4 February 2008

How little time God's creation may have...

Palestinians walk amongst greenhouses damaged on Thursday January 31st in a snowstorm in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Agricultural problems caused by global warming in the next two decades could be most damaging in southern Africa, India and Pakistan, according to researchers who urge action now to avert a wave of hunger.

Many scientists have predicted that climate change could harm agriculture in many places, fueling hunger and malnutrition. These researchers examined climate predictions and the types of crops grown in various developing regions to assess which ones would be hit hardest by 2030.

Writing on Thursday in the journal 'Science', the researchers said the nations of southern Africa -- Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- could lose about 30 percent of their main crop of maize.

Agricultural losses also could be significant in the South Asia region encompassing India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, with a drop-off of at least 5 percent in many regional staples, including millet, maize and rice, the researchers said.

"We still have time to avoid these impacts, but we don't have much time," said David Lobell of the Program on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University in California. He added "It's certainly our hope not to scare people, but to show them that there is some basis for focusing efforts and trying to get things done in a relatively speedy time frame."

The researchers projected how global warming would affect agriculture in 12 developing regions worldwide, looking at local climate projections and at the sensitivity of key local crops to warming temperatures and rainfall changes. They determined that average temperatures in most of the regions could rise by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree C) by 2030.

"We were surprised by how much and how soon these regions could suffer if we don't adapt," Marshall Burke, another Stanford scientist involved in the study, said in a statement.