Category Archives: Climate Change

Breaking News – All Hallows’ divests from fossil fuels

Today we announced that All Hallows is ending all it’s investment in fossil fuels.

Here is a video explaining how it happened:

And here is our press release:

Leeds Youth Strike 4 Climate Protest

Yesterday pupils and students from All Hallows joined the Leeds Youth Strike 4 Climate protest in the centre of Leeds. Catherine, Charlie and I went along to support them. I estimated at least 2000 young people from babies through to university students plus some slightly older folk like me! The protest was very well organised and peaceful, the young people had been very creative with their banners – there were some very amusing but pointed messages – and they were in fine voice. I thought their message was very clear – we, the older generation who run this world have really screwed the climate up, threatening their future and something needs to be done about it NOW! It’s a shame that the news media weren’t listening properly, so much of their reporting seemed to be about pupils missing lessons, whether it was safe for them to be out protesting or that they were protesting about air pollution in Leeds.

Just to clarify, the students are demanding the following:

  1. The Government declare a climate emergency and prioritise the protection of life on Earth, taking active steps to achieve climate justice.
  2. The national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority.
  3. The Government communicate the severity of the ecological crisis and the necessity to act now to the general public.
  4. The Government recognise that young people have the biggest stake in our future, by incorporating youth views into policy making and bringing the voting age down to 16.

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A confession for Lent (and the rest of the year!)

The Joy in Enough Confession

Our climate is changing, and we are changing it. We confess our carbon footprints, our failure to consider the consequences of our actions, our slowness to react. We are sorry for all the times we knew the right thing to do, but chose convenience.

Your earth is exploited, and we are complicit in its exploitation. Species are lost, soil erodes, fish stocks decline, resources dwindle. We confess that many of us have taken too much, and not considered the needs of future generations.

We have become consumers. We have turned a blind eye to greed. We confess our hunger for more, and our failure to appreciate what we already have. We live in a time of unparalleled luxury, and we are sorry that we have not been more grateful.

The poor are left behind, even in this age of plenty. Human rights are pushed aside for profit. Wealth accumulates for the rich while the poorest still do not have what they need. We confess our apathy to injustice, and our haste in judging others.

This is not who you made us to be. We have not been good caretakers of your garden Earth. We have not loved our neighbours. Forgive us, creator God.

Forgive us. Renew us. Inspire us.

And in your strength, God, we declare:

  • Enough climate change: help us to take responsibility. Give us the wisdom to live appropriately, the urgency to act, and the courage to make changes. Give us the voice to call for change from our leaders, and the perseverance to keep asking.
  • Enough consumerism: give us what we need, God our provider. Then help us to find satisfaction and contentment. Help us to be grateful and generous.
  • Enough inequality: nobody should be left behind. You care for the poor, and we want to follow your example. Make your church a living example of equity and inclusion, and a powerful advocate for justice and sharing.

We thank you for your kindness and your mercy. We look to your promise of restoration, and we move forward. Give us the strength to speak and to act – not out of guilt or duty, for we are forgiven and we are loved. Instead, we speak and act out of joy:

  • joy in the living hope of knowing you
  • joy in serving each other
  • joy in the beauty and diversity of creation, your gift to us
  • joy in your provision and your care – joy in enough

A prophet of our time?

Can we tackle Climate Change?

Today, the world’s leading panel of climate change experts released its latest report  and it doesn’t make for cheerful reading.

The report lays bare how crucial it is that we keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. If we don’t stop burning coal, oil and gas, the damage to wildlife, ecosystems, and vulnerable communities around the globe will be almost unimaginable.

We have just come to the end of Creationtide in the church calendar, a time when we focus on God’s Creation – something that we are part of – and how we are called to care for it.

So, in the light of this report, what are we going to do?

In the next few months we will be looking at ways in which we as individuals, as a church and as a nation can act in order to change our destructive ways. It won’t be easy but we have to find a way!

Do join with us in our discussions and in supporting each other in our journey towards being a regenerative rather than destructive people.

Creator God,
You have called us to be keepers of your Earth;
Through greed, we have established an economy that destroys the web of life. We have changed our climate and drown in despair.
Let oceans of justice flow,
May we learn to sustain and renew the life of our Mother, Earth
We pray for our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth;
May they negotiate with wisdom and fairness,
May they act with compassion and courage,
and lead us in the path of justice for the sake of our children and our children’s children.
Amen

Everything is connected

We are delighted to welcome Peterson Toscano and Ruth Wilde to All Hallows’ on Friday 28th September at 8:30pm and for a follow up “Dig Deeper” workshop on Saturday 29th September at 10:30am to 12:30

Everything is Connected: A lively discussion about identity, justice, and peace

Pull just one strand in our world and see how deeply it is connected to many others. In this entertaining and insightful presentation, Ruth Wilde and Peterson Toscano join forces to reveal strange and often unseen connections in the world. Drawing on ancient stories, comedy, and insights from their travels, they weave together a tapestry that covers identity, LGBTQ issues, climate change, justice, peace, and much much more.

After spending 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting to de-gay himself through gay conversion therapy, Peterson Toscano came to his senses and came out as an American quirky queer Quaker concerned with human rights and comedy. He asks himself and his audiences unusual and stimulating questions: Who are the gender outlaws in the Bible? What is a queer response to climate change? and How can comedy help us better understand our most tragic losses? A Bible scholar, a comic, and public speaker, Peterson is on a mission to connect with his audiences in deeply personal ways stirring up hope and purpose in a rapidly changing world.

Ruth is the UK Outreach Worker for Christian Peacemaker Teams. She also works as National Coordinator for Inclusive Church, so she understands how oppressions can intersect, and how climate change is ‘sexist, racist and classist’. Ruth has known about the oppression of / racism against indigenous peoples since she went on a CPT delegation to Grassy Narrows First Nation, Ontario, Canada in 2011. Now she sees clearly that climate change is also ‘racist’ against indigenous peoples and she thinks this is painfully ironic because they are often the humans who live the most sustainably and most in harmony with the earth. This makes her more determined than ever to educate and speak out about what is happening to indigenous peoples around the world!

In addition, Peterson and Ruth will also be leading a Dig Deeper workshop on Saturday 29th April at All Hallows. Ruth Wilde and Peterson Toscano stir up lots of discussion in their lively presentations. In order to deepen the experience and help communities figure out their next steps, they offer a facilitated discussion that includes small and large group activities designed to dig deeper into the issues raised during their presentation. Come to share your insights and to engage in others in conversation about making the world a better place for all.

Climate Change Picnic

Click here for more information about the Climate Change Picnic

Sermon by Paul Magnall – 4th June 2017

Notes from the sermon by Paul Magnall on 4th June 2017 – Pentecost and Environment Sunday (there was a PowerPoint presentation as well)

Reading:
Psalm 104
Mark 4:30-34

Good morning. No apologies but “there now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of…”

I hope I don’t offend anyone, but if I do it is not intentional! I need to point out that there will be political content and you will probably guess my politics (see the colour of the slides!) but I am not here to tell you how to vote. What I will do is to encourage you to join the debates around the election and to make your voice heard by voting on Thursday.

This Sunday is Pentecost, it is the Sunday when we celebrate the working of God’s Holy Spirit and, in particular, when God poured out His Spirit onto His followers days after Jesus had ascended into Heaven.

This Sunday is also Environment Sunday when we celebrate God’s Creation and how we look after it.

Today I am going to combine the two!

There are many images of the Spirit of God, a white dove, a wind, tongues of fire but one of the earliest is as breath. The Hebrew word is Ruakh and has many interpretations, is it gentle breathing or a passionate snort? Or maybe both?

The Bible talks of God as Spirit right from the very beginning – “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” Genesis 1:1-2

We then see God breathing life into a man made from the dust of the ground.
So the image of the Spirit of God is there in creating and in bringing about life.

The Spirit of God also brings change and disruption. In a story harking back to breathing life into a man made from the dust of the ground, Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the dry bones in the middle of a valley and they all join together but are still lifeless. Ezekiel is then told to prophecy to the breath and God breathes life into the bones (Ezekiel 37)

And throughout the Old Testament the Spirit of God comes upon people inspiring them to do great, crazy, disruptive things in order to bring people back to God’s ways of justice and love.

In the New Testament we see Jesus, full of the Spirit of God, preaching, teaching, performing miracles which change and disrupt people’s lives, showing and challenging them to live in peace and harmony, to stand against the injustices of the time, to love one another even if they were the equivalent of Conservatives, or Liberals, or UKIP supporters, or Labour or Greens, even if they were oppressors or murderers.

And then, on the day of Pentecost, more change, more disruption. The Spirit of God falls on the followers of Jesus and they go out preaching and teaching about the Good News of God’s Kingdom – of love. And the disruption was so much that many people “devoted themselves …. To fellowship” and “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” What a huge disruption!

Second Reading: Mark 4:30-34

I think that the parable of the mustard seed is all about disruption. No one in their right mind would have planted mustard in their gardens in the days of Jesus, in fact it was seen like we see invasive species today, I believe they even had laws about planting it. Once planted it took over everything, like bindweed or goose grass but possibly even worse! So when Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God being like a mustard seed, was he saying that even a tiny little thing like a mustard seed could cause incredible disruption?

So, what about the Environment? It doesn’t seem to be getting any press these days! (Picture of Trump)

When God saw His finished Creation he didn’t just think it was good, He thought it was Very Good (Genesis 1:31), so much so that he took time off to relax and enjoy it!

But if I think about breath and creation now, what do I think of? I think of choking
– Choking on air pollution
– The seas choking on plastics and chemicals
– A world where animals are being choked out of existence
– A world where human beings are choking on the injustices that we impose on them.

Instead of a world where we have everything in common, where we have Fair Share (Permaculture ethic!), instead we have a world of greed and destruction:
– We make money out of armaments which exchange hands again and again and are used indiscriminately aroundthe world to kill and maim people and to destroy the environment that we depend on for life
– We extract as much out of the ground and air as we can with little or no thought of the consequences
– When we think we have got everything out of the ground we find other ways of getting stuff out of the ground, even if it is not economically viable! We seem fixated on Fracking!
– We continue to pollute the air that we breath even though we know that we don’t have to and that it makes us ill and it kills us
– We pollute our water with plastics and chemicals doing untold damage to the life in the sea that sustains us
– We continue to erode the very soil that we are dependent upon for growing our food
– And of course, there is climate change.
And we do most of these things, not through ignorance but through greed. It is done to make some of us rich but it makes the world a poorer and more unsafe place to be.

So, on this Pentecost Sunday, where do we see the work of the Spirit of God in all this? Where is His disrupting influence?

To find out we can stop and look and observe
– where Life is being enhanced and celebrated, where life is being breathed.
– And we can look at where there is disruption and change for the better.
– In Permaculture we have a principle about observing (which I have spoken about before) and we have a principle that we should “Use edges and value the marginal” – it is at the edges and boundaries that things happen, where it is most fertile for change. Even the Franciscans were aware of this – St Francis wanted us to live a life on the edge of the inside—not at the centre or the top, but not outside throwing rocks either. ( https://cac.org/at-home-in-the-world-2017-06-02/ )

So here are just a few of the places where I think the Spirit of God is at work, breathing new life and bringing about change and disruption for the better:
– David Attenborough, educating us about the wonders and the fragility of Nature and that we are part of Nature
– Children growing up and learning about nature
– Caroline Lucas and the Green Party, a smallish voice speaking out for the Common Good
– Green Peace, protesting against the damage that we do to the planet
– Protestors such as the Anti-Fracking groups who make us aware of the damage Fracking causes and the fact that we don’t need to do it.
– People growing their own food in ways that work with Nature rather than against it eg Agroforestry and Forest Gardens
– People helping to reclaim the deserts and marginal lands that we have abused
– The Permaculture movement
– Climate change talks and agreements
– Emanuel Macron and other politicians who stand up for the planet
– And there are loads more! So be encouraged!

So, what little things can we do that might be part of God’s ongoing work in creation, of building God’s Kingdom of love and justice, Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share?

Every little thing helps. I’m going to suggest a few simple and relatively easy things that came off the top of my head
– A vote on Thursday (assuming that you are voting for the correct party!)
– Using a bar of soap instead of plastic bottles of liquid soap – this reduces packaging, waste, weight of material transported, and natural soaps will be even more environmentally friendly. I use soap made from goats milk!
– walking or cycling or using public transport instead of driving, or even car sharing
– growing some of your own food, even if it is just a few strawberries

Over to you – I challenge you to think of something, little or big, that you can commit to doing over the next year, write it down on a piece of paper and then come and put it on the balance at the front. Let’s see if we can tip the balance!

References:
– For natural soap bars I use http://itsbaaathtime.co.uk/ in particular I like the Chunky Baa
– Toothbrushes – if you google bamboo toothbrush you will find many suppliers. Look for one who supplies them with biodegradable bristles then you can throw the whole thing into the compost bin when you finish with it.
– Journey of a toothbrush video – https://youtu.be/Pd_C3YK3kI4
 Permaculture Principles

Zero Carbon Yorkshire Launch

Following on from our thinking about Climate Change in the lead up to the Paris Climate Summit here is something that you might be interested in:

Zero Carbon Yorkshire Launch

Leeds Civic Hall, 27 February 2016, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

After Paris – Where Now?

In the aftermath of the Paris Climate Summit , one thing seems clear – above all, it is grass-roots action at the local level that will change the political climate to make real, transformative action possible.

Schumacher North, together with partners and supporters across the Yorkshire region, are now launching a Zero Carbon Yorkshire movement to make sure Yorkshire is among the first UK regions to formulate and deliver a viable Zero Carbon strategy.

We want to work with activist groups, local authorities, businesses, public sector bodies, universities and individuals in every Yorkshire city, town and district to design local Zero Carbon Plans, and combine these into a regional strategy that will command huge public support – then start to put it into action.

To do this, we need your help!

We are calling on climate activists, concerned citizens, business people, local politicians of every stripe – basically everyone! – to join us on February 27th for a day of Open Space conversation to help us create a vision for a better, cleaner, greener Yorkshire that will be free of fossil fuels in the shortest possible time – providing an example for all other UK regions of what needs to – and can – be done if we are to tackle the 21st century’s greatest challenge.

Please join us, tell all your friends, visit the new Zero Carbon Yorkshire website, join the Facebook group – and book for the event at:

https://zcylaunch.eventbrite.co.uk

Transition at COP21

Many of you will have been following COP21 in the news and may have felt, like me, that the coverage was poor, the talking was dull, lacking passion and reality. Here is coverage by members of the Transition Movement who I have spoken of before, and in particular by Rob Hopkins, co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and the Transition Network. I hope you find encouragement and hope in amongst some of the craziness.

Paul