Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Message from Melbourne to Copenhagen

Message from members of the religions of the world gathered at the Parliament of the World’s Religions

We, from the major faith communities of the world, meeting at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Melbourne, Australia, from 3rd to 9th December 2009, send warm greetings to all who are gathering at Copenhagen for your crucially important Conference. We wish to assure you that prayers are being lifted up around the world for this meeting as we recognize that climate change is the single most important issue presently confronting us and the entire Earth community.

Climate change and other critical environmental crises are intricately linked with the financial crisis. We call on all nations of the world, particularly the rich, to recognize humanity’s dependency on the natural environment and therefore on the health and well-being of the planet and seek solutions with the utmost urgency for the global environmental and economic systems.

We therefore call for a meaningful agreement that places the well-being of people and planet before profit.

We believe a dramatic reduction of carbon emissions is possible using the natural energy of the planet, which comes from renewable resources such as the sun, wind, waves, biogas. Therefore we call for a commitment to an immediate turning from reliance on fossil fuel energy and a planned and phased decline in its use in order to bring CO2 emissions down to 350 ppm.

We believe there is a moral imperative for rich countries to reduce carbon emissions and share wealth and skills with developing countries to adapt to climate change and build their economies sustainably

Climate justice is essential for a sustainable future. Either we follow the moral principles of justice, upheld by all faith communities, and share equitably the resources of the world, or we continue to consume excessively, resulting in ever more conflict and environmental destruction.

We, religious leaders of the world, therefore call on the governments of the world to implement the following resolution:


  • As people of faith, we believe we have a responsibility to the source of life and to future generations to care for this planet – our home. We therefore call on the governments of the world when they meet at the UNFCCC at Copenhagen to take urgent and meaningful action to stem climate change.

  • Following the latest scientific evidence we believe we cannot allow temperatures to rise by 2 degrees. We therefore call for a reduction of CO2 emissions to a target of 350 ppm, ensuring that emissions will have peaked by 2015 in all countries, to then decline to at least 85% below 1990 levels by 2050.

We pray wisdom and courage to do what is right.

Issued by Bishop Geoff Davies on behalf of all who endorsed it at the Parliament of the World’s Religions meeting in Melbourne, 3 – 9 December 2009

Contact: geoff.davies@safcei.org.za (Mobile:++27 83 754 5275)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Candlelight Vigil outside US Embassy


11 December, Friday afternoon to evening
(midway through the climate negotiations in Copenhagen)

Join the Action in Tshwane!

When: Friday 11 December from 15h00 onwards, to 22h00.

Where: Corner of Pretorius and Orient Street, as well as Schoeman and Orient Street, close to the entrance of the US Embassy.

How can you participate?

Just be there. Bring along yourself and your friends. Send e-mails to all your friends and challenge them to be there. Bring candles in jars to protect the flame. Bring your own posters or get a poster with a catchy slogan from the organizers.

You don’t have to be there from 15h00 right up to 22h00, but try to set aside two hours to join the vigil during this period. You might discuss the time-slot that you will be available with the organisers (see below).

We will be trying to send out clarifying messages to the passing public.

Parking available in Orient Street.


Janneke Weidema (cell 083 399 2028; e-mail janneke@icon.co.za)

Philemon Beghela (cell 0763050766; e-mail beghela@yahoo.fr)

Annalet van Schalkwyk (cell 082 321 7131; e-mail vschaa@unisa.ac.za)

Please call us if you have any queries.

Some of the participating organizations:

Avaaz (see avaaz@avaaz.org); South African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute (SAFCEI) and Tshwane Peace Group.

You are welcome to come as a representative of your specific organisation or simply as an individual who desires to make a change!

Call for action:

Dear friends

With the biggest climate summit in history happening right now in Copenhagen, major world leaders are backing away from their promises for a deal to stop catastrophic climate change. The USA is unfortunately proving to be the most obstructionist of all the wealthy nations. Obama will be attending for one day – the 9th of December – when he’ll no doubt deliver a rousing and eloquent speech. He’ll then go to Norway the next day to collect his Nobel Peace Prize.

Currently, the US emissions target of 3 percent in the lowering of CO2 is very far away from the 40% scientists are saying is necessary. The USA now holds the most important key to unlock the climate treaty process, and we need Obama and the US Congress to turn that key.

(According to climate scientist James Hansen of NASA and others, the acceptable level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million and a CO2 reduction of 40% by the year 2020 is necessary to preserve a planet “similar to that on which human civilization developed”.)

The problem is that Europe, Canada and the US send dozens of negotiators to these summits – while most poorer countries and small island states cannot afford to send more than two or three delegates. The result is that the global South is not able to wield a strong enough bargaining power at the Summit.

We need the voices of the global South to be heard. We need the voices of African states to be heard. And we need a strong, focused voice from the South African government, as they participate in the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

We need a fair Climate Summit Deal to ensure a sustainable future for Africa.

If not only the rich countries, but also the global South, fail, it won’t only mean less snow on ski slopes. Much of the Netherlands and Belgium and coastal resorts in Florida, USA, as well as Long Island, Manhattan, could be under water while Durban’s Marine Parade might disappear.

Millions of families in Africa will see their farms turn to dust as the desert advances, many in Asia will die in worsening floods and storms, and entire nations on small islands will be threatened by rising seas – all within 10-15 years.

In South Africa and throughout the world, candlelight vigils are planned for
Friday 11 December to bring the danger to the attention of, specifically, the powerful, but also the less powerful participants in the Summit.

The timing here is crucial – the vigils are part of a huge mobilization on the weekend of December 11th - 13th: midway through the negotiations. The climate talks will build to a head a few days later: so the more the negotiators feel the pressure from citizens around the world demanding a genuine deal and consistent action, the more hopeful the final outcome will be.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SAFCEI and Copenhagen

News reports reflect an alarming trend that implies the possible breakdown of the Copenhagen international Climate Change treaty negotiations in December because the rich industrialised countries are increasingly obstructing them. We also hear even more alarming scientific evidence of the dramatic increase of CO2 emissions from 2000 to 2008. This sets us on course for a devastating 6oC temperature rise unless we take strong action in the next few years to reduce emissions.

We, from the SA Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) say that it is absolutely essential that Copenhagen succeeds with a meaningful and binding agreement. From the faith perspective, we must do all in our power to ensure the survival for our children of the life of this planet, and we call on world leaders to attend and commit to meaningful action.

The USA has been avoiding for decades any commitment to reduce its emissions even though it carries the largest historical responsibility for climate damage. It has recently latched onto the Danish Prime Minister’s proposal that the Copenhagen outcome should only be a political statement. SAFCEI’s position is that such a statement will be meaningless and we cannot afford any further delay in establishing a legally binding international treaty.

Countless numbers of people, animals and plants will be destroyed by a failure to reach a meaningful agreement. It will be better to walk away from the table than agree to weak, immoral and ego-boosting trumpery.

We in South Africa argued from principles and the moral high ground in confronting the immorality of apartheid. We are now faced with global apartheid as rich nations refuse to take responsibility for the damage they are doing by altering the climate. This is severely impacting upon poor and vulnerable countries and the natural environment upon which we are dependent. We believe that South Africa is uniquely placed to give a lead at Copenhagen. Climate Change is deeply unjust and we, South Africa, must take a principled stand at Copenhagen. This could break the log jam.

SAFCEI testified at the recent Parliamentary hearings on Climate Change that we have to be led by ethical principles, not economic interests.

It is of deep concern to hear cabinet’s constant cry that since South Africa is a developing country, it must have "carbon space" so as not to jeopardise growth and development. Cabinet, we are told, wants to allow our emissions to continue to rise until 2020/2025, to then stabilize for a decade and only then decline from about 2035.

We in SAFCEI believe this is totally unacceptable.

We don't know if this is a bargaining position to leverage more money "to finance low-carbon initiatives" from the international community, but the position is too serious for games. We cannot fool the natural environment.

We have to act on ethical principles and demand the world does the same. This means that South Africa has the unique opportunity to cut its emissions voluntarily, arguably the only country in Africa that can take such a moral stand in a meaningful way because we are the 12th worst global CO2 emitter, producing more than half of Africa's emissions.

By turning to a low carbon economy, we can develop our green industry and green energy generation, and we will create thousands more jobs.

All faiths call for Justice and Equity. We are told that we should seek God's righteousness, and all else will follow. Put principles first and the economics will follow. We have been guilty of putting economics first - worshipping money and the market.

We live in a time of excessive inequity in a system of global apartheid. The rich and powerful control the wealth of the world to their benefit - to the detriment and disregard of the poor and the natural environment.

Capitalism has flourished over recent decades, but people and planet have suffered. At Copenhagen we call on the governments of the world to be guided by ethical principles rather than self-centred financial considerations. These principles must place the well-being of planet, people and future generations before profit.

The purpose of an economy is not profit but the well-being of all people and of all creation. Economic growth is therefore not an end but a means to achieve good, just and humane societies.

We believe rich countries should sign up to obligations that commit them to:

· Making deep and urgent cuts in their own carbon emissions in line with scientific findings that show that CO2 emissions must be brought down to a maximum of 350ppm.

· Assisting and helping to pay for developing countries to reduce their emissions, develop cleanly and adapt to climate change.

SAFCEI has ttherefore put forward the following resolution, endorsed by major churches and faiths of South Africa


  • As people of faith, we believe we have a responsibility to God and future generations to care for this planet - our home. We therefore call on the governments of the world when they meet at the UNFCCC at Copenhagen in December this year to take urgent and meaningful action to stem climate change.
  • Following the latest scientific evidence we believe we cannot allow temperatures to rise by 2 degrees. We therefore call for a reduction of CO2 emissions to a target of 350 ppm, ensuring that emissions will have peaked by 2015 in all countries, to then decline to at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

We believe it important for faith communities to be involved as these are moral issues requiring behavioural change.

Now is the time for our President and his cabinet to make choices. There is a small window of opportunity for South Africa to stand once again as a world leader, a nation symbolising hope and forward thinking. Radical and innovative changes are needed, in our aspirations, our behaviour and our governance.

We need to fix our eyes on the moral compass and listen to the laws of nature and the universe, revealed in our sacred texts.

Roshan Stanford
Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute
Ph: 021 7018145
Fax: 0866 969666
skype: safcei

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Will South Africa step up for the climate?

This is a time to step up. Next month world leaders gather in Copenhagen to thrash out a new global climate agreement. The outcome will only be so bold as we demand - and it could be as dismal as we allow.

The biggest threat? That among the politicking and bureaucracy, the world forgets what's at stake.

So here's the plan: in the middle of the negotiations, candlelight vigils in every corner of the planet to put real human faces on the need for a real climate deal. It will be the world's largest ever global day of climate action - and one world leaders and media can't miss.

To get started simply pick a good local vigil location nearby and register it on the global map. From there it's dead easy - just bring some candles and pass out the short provided message for people to take turns reading. It takes less than an hour to organise - and Avaaz members in your area will be invited to attend.

This is a time to step up - let's rise to the occasion.


We're just weeks away from what is truly the most important moment yet in the world's response to climate change. We do not expect, nor do we accept, anything less than what is needed to save our planet.

Here’s how every event will make a difference:

National pressure - in global negotiations every country makes a difference, for better or for worse. The problem is most of the time international negotiations aren’t closely followed at home - but having local events will show leaders in South Africa that this time we’re watching keenly, with the power of a coordinated international movement to name and shame those countries that hold up progress.

World media - creating a world media story takes a world in action. We need to show journalists that this is more than just another protest: it’s a global coordinated day of action on a massive scale. We have demonstrated that this works -- our Global Wake Up Call and the 350 day of action both generated huge global press coverage earlier this year. Now, in the middle of the Copenhagen talks, the media moment is even bigger. Thousands of vigils around the planet will give this day of action the scale we need to make an even bigger global media impact.

Photographic evidence- Photos of every vigil from around the world will be printed and delivered to negotiators and world leaders in Copenhagen - they are evidence that people around the world have the very same ambitious goal for our planet: a real climate deal. All action photos will be also be posted on the internet for millions of Avaaz members to see and distributed to the global media.

This is a time to step up - let's all of us seize the opportunity:


Thanks for all that you do,
Ricken, Ben, Taren, Iain, Sam, Alice, Milena, Paul, Luis, Julius, Lisa and the whole Avaaz team.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Faith leaders from around the world have met at Windsor at an event hosted by HRH The Prince Philip and attended by the Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon.

The Long Term Faith Commitments to Protect the Living Planet launched at Windsor are perhaps the most powerful visible signs of the faiths taking up the challenge of protecting the natural environment. This is worth celebrating.

Faith leaders from around the world met at Windsor Castle at an event hosted by HRH The Prince Philip and attended by the Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon. One of the many delegates was our own Archbishop Seraphim Kykkotis, (Christian: Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa)


To date there have been 31 long-term commitments by the faiths to protect the living planet. They were launched on November 3rd at Windsor Castle's ARC-UNDP Celebration. Read the summaries of the plans in our special event booklet here. The plans can be found in the second half of the book. In the first half is a guide to how to write your own Long Term Action Plan.

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The Windsor Celebration is the launch of the ARC-UNDP inspired Faith Commitments for the Environment programme, in which faiths are assisted in creating long term plans that will protect the planet for generations. This programme was initially titled the Seven Year Plan Programme, to acknowledge the time that would be needed ARC has worked with different faith traditions to create a framework, through which they look at seven key areas where they might have extraordinary outreach in protecting the natural environment. These include: their assets, their educational outreach, their spiritual wisdom and insights into tackling crisis, their traditions of simple living, their advocacy, their networks and partnerships, and perhaps most important, their understanding of celebration.

More general details about the programme can be found on the ARC website www.arcworld.org where the full plans will be downloadable from mid November.

World's churches urged to ring bells against climate change

The World Council of Churches on Thursday called on churches around the world to ring their bells 350 times during the Copenhagen climate change summit on December 13 as a call to action on global warming. The leading council of Christian and Orthodox churches also invited places of worship for other faiths to join a symbolic "chain of chimes and prayers" stretching around the world from the international date line in the South Pacific.

"On that Sunday, midway through the UN summit, the WCC invites churches around the world to use their bells, drums, gongs or whatever their tradition offers to call people to prayer and action in the face of climate change," the council said in a statement.

"By sounding their bells or other instruments 350 times, participating churches will symbolise the 350 parts per million that mark the safe upper limit for CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere according to many scientists," it added. The chimes are meant to start at 3.00 pm local time in each location. The WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches representing about 560 million Christians in 110 countries.

The Council of European Bishops Conferences, which gathers Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops, is also supporting the campaign, according to a letter released by the WCC.

The UN summit in the Danish capital on December 7 to 18 is meant to produce a new global treaty to broaden cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, but the negotiations are still riven by disagreements. The WCC acknowledged that plans for a bell ringing campaign have stirred controversy.

"In some countries, the question has been raised whether churches have the right to use their bells for what may be considered to be a political campaign," said Guillermo Kerber, WCC programme executive on climate change. "Those who support the campaign see the care of creation and of people's lives and livelihoods threatened by climate change more as an ethical and spiritual issue that, of course, has political implications, not in a partisan sense but referring to the common good," he explained.

Source: AFP World News / English Date: November 12, 2009
GENEVA, Nov 12, 2009 (AFP) -

Friday, November 6, 2009

Faith Leaders Have 'Widest Reach' on Environment, Says UN Head - News

Faith Leaders Have 'Widest Reach' on Environment, Says UN Head - News: "LONDON (RNS/ENI) United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told religious leaders on Tuesday (Nov.3) that they are uniquely equipped to pressure secular leaders to combat climate change.

Ban made the speech at a three-day conference on faith and the environment in England, organized by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the United Nations Development Program.

Ban told around 200 leaders representing nine of the world's major religious communities, 'The world's great faith communities occupy a unique position in discussion on the fate of our planet and the accelerating impacts of climate change. You are the leaders who have the largest, widest and deepest reach.'"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The right to dry clothes

Notes from a Common-place Book: Fight For Your Right to Dry!:
Clothes, that is. I am learning of a growing debate in this country over the right to hang out clothes to dry. I have never given this much thought, having lived (outside of college) in either semi--rural areas or small towns all my life. As a consequence, there has never been anyone to tell me what I could or could not do in my back yard. Such is apparently not the case throughout most of urban America. Clothesline proponents, as well as backyard chicken enthusiasts, are taking cities to court to reverse such prohibitions. I find it refreshing to hear of these sporadic outbreaks of common sense.

I believe that some blocks of flats in South African cities have similar regulations agains hanging up the washing to dry. Perhaps one way of combating the energy shortage would be for laws to be past to make such regulations ultra vires.

Yes, we have an electric clothes drying, which we use in emergencies on rainy days. My son is a mechanic and his overalls have to be washed every day, and three or four rainy days in a row can mean that he has nothing dry to wear. But regulations that force people to use such expensive and high-consumption machines even on sunny days really are too much.

See also Notes from underground: Fighting for the right to dry clothes

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Message to religious leaders on climate change

frim Bishop Geoff Davies, Director of SAFCEI

To Faith Leaders of Southern Africa

Climate Change

I am sure you are all becoming aware of the impending crisis of climate change and the need to deal with it realistically at Copenhagen when the UN Climate Change Conference meets from 7th to 18th December.

There is also an increasing acknowledgement that it may only be through the intervention of faith communities that we will be able to bring about the changes needed if we are to leave a sustainable world to our children. Climate change is a moral issue and therefore involves us.

I now write as a matter of urgency to ask you to promote and join in the following:

  1. A Call to prayer

I hope we can all join in this. The suggestions are:

    1. 23rd to 25th October: We ask you to hold prayers and sermons over the week-end of 23rd to 25th October in support of the day of symbolic action on Saturday 24th October.(See paragraph 2 below)

    1.2 Preparatory prayers for the build up to Copenhagen. We hope to send weekly prayers with suggested sermon outlines as we approach the Copenhagen Climate Conference.

    1. 11th to 13th December: Special prayers and worship over the weekend during Copenhagen from 11th - 13th December. This is when the WCC will be holding a worship service and the Archbishop of Canterbury will be preaching.

  1. A daily mid-day prayer: I believe this to be most important. Some of you will recollect that during the years of the struggle, many people of faith held a daily two-minute time of prayer for justice and peace for South Africa. We now need to pray for justice and peace globally, praying for “Climate Justice Now” for all people and all of creation.

    If you have any suggestions for brief prayers, we would welcome them.

A few suggestions are:

    1. We pray for Justice for all people and all creation, that peace may reign – throughout the earth.

      2.2 Keep 1 minute of silence

    • I pray for the courage and love to bring forth a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling community and world, and I pray the same for our leaders.
    • I pray for justice and peace in my home, community, country and world.
    • May we be Earth keepers (Genesis 2:15) to all for whom the earth is ‘home’.

  1. Participation in the day of symbolic action – 24th October.

    I attach a request from Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, and Prof. Mary Evelyn Tucker of The Forum on Religion and Ecology, asking us all “to help make this the most widespread day of witness the world has ever seen.” Please offer prayers and bring this to the attention of your congregations over that week-end. If you can’t ring your bells or undertake some other symbolic action on Saturday 24th October, please do so on Friday 23rd or Sunday 25th October as part of your regular worship.

    If you would like to participate in any 24th October action happening in your local area please visit the 350.org website for details or email samantha@350.org

  1. Raising awareness

    I hope that you will continue to raise awareness among your faith community of the importance of caring for God’s creation. We will attach a list of resources available from SAFCEI which will help you in this important work. There is also a12 minute DVD available, entitled: Religious Leaders for a Sustainable Future.

  1. SACC Statement: Climate Change – A challenge to churches in South Africa

    This 90 page Christian document provides an excellent theological background to climate change and the challenge it presents to us. It emanates largely from a group of theologians working with Professor Ernst Conradie, following a meeting between SAFCEI and Kerkinactie – of the Protestant Church in Holland. Electronic copies are obtainable from SAFCEI (secretary@safcei.org.za) or the South African Council of Churches (tmm@sacc.org.za). We ask you to consider endorsing this and distributing it among your congregations.

Please let us know if you would like to receive prayers and outline sermons over the next few weeks.

With all good wishes as you seek to care for God’s creation.

Your browser may not support display of this image.

Bishop Geoff Davies

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Greenpeace climate campaign survey

Can you spare a minute? We would like to ask you a few questions for a survey -- the results will help us prepare for our next big campaign to save the climate with the help of some very familiar information technology (IT) brands.

Please click here to take the one -page online survey

Looking forward to hearing from you!

All of us,
Greenpeace International
Greenpeace International

Monday, September 21, 2009

AVAAZ on climate change

The global climate wake-up call is here! Now all of us can get involved from home -- by making a phone-call to our own governments, or following this extraordinary day of action as it unfolds around the world -- plus, there’s still time to join a local event near you!

The press is reporting that global climate talks are in a shambles and the UN summit on Tuesday is the only hope to revive them. This Monday, we’re flooding media and government office phone lines worldwide with a wake up call for leaders to act -- with phone calls being made from over 2000 rallies, marches, meetings and "flashmobs" in public places across the planet, and by hundreds of thousands of us from home.

We've sourced government phone numbers for your country, with suggestions about what to say. You find all the information you need about the great Global Wake-Up Call events and phone-calls on the hub page at the link below, including photos, video and a liveblog for us to share our experiences of the day -- make a phone-call from home or work and tell us how it went at this link, or find an event near you to attend:


Here are the numbers to call in your country (Please start calling after 12.18pm Monday local time):

President Jacob Zuma
(+27) 012-300 5200 (+27) 021 - 464 2100

President Assistant Private Secretary
(+27) 012-300 5226 / (+27) 021-464 2174/2181

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Ms Buyelwa Patience Sonjica
(+27) 012-336 8733 / (+27) 021-464 1500

If you don't see any phone numbers here, or want to find different contact information, click on the link above.

Make at least one call, and if you don’t get through, it’s probably because we’re jamming the phone-lines and it’s working -- so just keep trying throughout the day, or switch to another number!

We suggest you say you’re calling as part of an international action called the Global Wake-Up call, asking leaders to commit to go to the Copenhagen climate meeting in December and agree on a global climate deal that is FAIR, AMBITIOUS and BINDING (“FAB”), and ask them to register your call and convey the message to the decision-maker.

Once you’ve made your call, visit the Wake-Up Hub at this link and post a short update on how it went in the live-blog on the [right] of the page -- you can also check out other people’s experiences there, and see photos and video from the wake-up call events as they are posted:


If you’d like to join a wake-up call event or flashmob in a public place near you, there may still be time -- click the link above and then click on the global map to find events wherever we are.

In recent weeks, we've stunned national governments, heads of state and political parties with sudden barrages of thousands of calls. These phonecalls tie up staff and shut down phone lines -- but they are never missed, and time after time, we're finding, they work. 14,000 calls reversed the Brazilian President's position on a new climate protection law, 3,000 calls persuaded the German Chancellor's party to engage with climate groups, just a few hundred calls got the attention of top advisors to French President Sarkozy.

We have just 78 days left until the final UN meeting in Copenhagen, where we'll succeed or fail to get an historic global treaty to place binding global limits on carbon pollution, stop a climate catastrophe and unleash a new clean and green economy. Our leaders are nowhere near success, they're not even planning on going to Copenhagen.

Let's send them a wake up call they won't forget. Use your phone now, and let’s share our worldwide experiences of this day on the hub page:


With hope and determination,

Brett, Paul, Iain, Graziela, Ricken, Alice, Ben, Paula, Pascal, Luis, Benji, and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS - an amazing diversity of wake up call events are happening on Monday, from a drumming circle in Guatemala to a coastal ceremony in French Polynesia to a march in Kinshasa. But one exciting global event is the premiere of the new climate change film The Age of Stupid. Images and videos from the Global Wake-Up Call events will be combined, in a matter of hours, into a short movie to be shown in 700 satellite-linked cinemas at the Age of Stupid's global premiere. The screenings are one night only, September 21 in the US and Sept 22 in over 40 other countries. You can find screenings near you along with all our global wake up call events. For more information about the Age of Stupid movie (and to buy tickets), see: http://www.ageofstupid.net


The New York Times reports that climate talks are "badly stalled", with a breakthrough needed this week at the UN heads of state summit: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/science/earth/20nations.html?hp

ABOUT AVAAZ Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages! You can also follow Avaaz on Twitter!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Year and Green Day message by Patriarch of constantinople

This year's green day message by Patriarch Bartholomew:

* B A R T H O L O M E W

As we come again to the changing of the Church year, we reflect once more on the state of God's creation. We think about the past and repent for all that we have done or failed to do for the earth's care; we look to the future and pray for wisdom to guide us in all that we think or do.

These last twelve months have been a time of great uncertainty for the whole world. The financial systems that so many people trusted to bring them the good things of life, have brought instead fear, uncertainty and poverty. Our globalised economy has meant that everyone - even the poorest who are far removed from the dealings of big business - has been affected.

The present crisis offers an opportunity for us to deal with the problems in a different way, because the methods that created these problems cannot provide their best solution. We need to bring love into all our dealings, the love that inspires courage and compassion. Human
progress is not just the accumulation of wealth and the thoughtless consumption of the earth's resources. The way that the present crisis has been dealt with has revealed the values of the few who are shaping the destiny of our society; of those who can find vast sums of money to
support the financial system that has betrayed them, but are not willing to allot even the least portion of that money to remedy the piteous state the creation has been reduced to because of these very values, or for feeding the hungry of the world, or for securing safe drinking water
for the thirsty, who are also victims of those values. On the face of every hungry child is written a question for us, and we must not turn away to avoid the answer. Why has this happened? Is it a problem of human inability or of human will?

We have rendered the Market the centre of our interest, our activities and, finally, of our life, forgetting that this choice of ours will affect the lives of future generations, limiting the number of their choices that would probably be more oriented towards the well-being of man as well as the creation. Our human economy, which has made us consumers, is failing. The divine economy, which has made us in the image of the loving Creator, calls us to love and care for all

The image we have of ourselves is reflected in the way we treat the creation. If we believe that we are no more than consumers, then we shall seek fulfilment in consuming the whole earth; but if we believe we are made in the image of God, we shall act with care and compassion, striving to become what we are created to be.

Let us pray for God's blessing on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, so that the industrially developed countries may co-operate with developing countries in reducing harmful polluting emissions, that there may exist the will to raise and manage wisely the funds required for the necessary measures, and that all may work together to ensure that our children enjoy the goods of the earth that we leave behind for them. There must be justice and love in all aspects of economic activity; profit - and especially short-term profit
- cannot and should not be the sole motive of our actions.

Let us all renew our commitment to work together and bring about the changes we pray for, to reject everything that is harming the creation, to alter the way we think and thus drastically to alter the way we live.

September 1 st , 2009 A.D.
Your beloved brother in Christ and
fervent supplicant before God,
* BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Experts say urinating in the shower will save water

Experts say urinating in the shower is not so bad from a health and safety standpoint. - STLtoday.com: "save water — by urinating in the shower.

The group, SOS Mata Atlantica, estimates that each household in Brazil could conserve 1,157 gallons of water annually by avoiding one flush a day.

The humorous spots, which are narrated by children, feature cartoon drawings of people from all walks of life — a basketball player, trapeze artist and even an alien — urinating in the shower.

The ads wrap with: 'Pee in the shower! Save the Atlantic rainforest!'"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Theology and Peak Oil discussion forum

I'm so excited!! (Theology and Peak Oil): "Following a failed attempt of mine three years ago some of the lead figures in on-line Peak Oil research and writing have started up a Yahoo Group to explore Peak Oil from a religious perspective. What bliss!

The home page is here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/peakoilinterfaith/
To subscribe, send an email to peakoilinterfaith-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Even bird-brains know what's good for them

It seems that chicken feed is not as simple as it's reputed to be, the Oppenheimer family have discovered.

News - Environment: Smart chickens weren't be duped by foul play:
Chickens refusing to eat the maize they had been fed has led to the discovery that their feed had been genetically modified to include a well-known weed and insect killer.

Strilli Oppenheimer was recently approached by Dawid Klopper, the head gardener at the family estate, Brenthurst, informing her that her indigenous African chickens were refusing to eat the mealies in the chicken feed bought from a large supplier. Concerned that the birds may be ingesting genetically modified maize, she instructed Klopper to have the maize tested.

The chickens' diet was immediately changed to include organic vegetables, Oppenheimer stopped consuming the home-grown eggs and the maize was sent to the GMO testing facility at the University of the Free State for analysis.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Global warming TV series

The series “Global warming and Religions” is to broadcast in the "Issues of Faith" slot at 09:00 on Sunday mornings on SABC 2 on the following dates... 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th August. Each episode runs for 48 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

ZENIT - Orthodox Patriarch Urges Defense of Planet

ZENIT - Orthodox Patriarch Urges Defense of Planet: "ISTANBUL, Turkey, JUNE 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- No one is exempt from the 'indisputable obligation' to protect the planet, says the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.

Bartholomew I affirmed that climate change is the biggest threat for all types of life on earth in a message for today's World Environment Day, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program.

The Orthodox patriarch urged people 'independently of their religious origins, to take the ecological crisis into consideration,' L'Osservatore Romano reported.

'Today more than ever there is an indisputable obligation for everyone: that of realizing that environmental considerations on our planet are not just romantic ideals of a small group,' he said."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

South African Water Action - The Petition Site

The gold mining industry in South Africa is proposing a water treatment plant that will take mine water contaminated with heavy metals, radioactivity and sulphates, treat it and then sell it on to consumers as part of their environmental management planning to terminate their future liabilities. The public participation phase of the Environmental Impact Assessment is currently underway and will close on Tuesday 14 July 2009, after which a decision will be made to proceed or not to proceed with the project. It is vital that all members of the public in the Gauteng region of South Africa be made aware of this proposed project, because it may affect them directly after the water is delivered to their service provider for onward delivery as drinking water. Now is the time to become acquainted with the proposal in order that you can make an informed decision. Please consult the documentation and send your comments in writing to the Public Participation Practitioner listed therein. If you believe this is important then please pass it along to your friends and family.

South African Water Action - The Petition Site:
Question: Are you willing to drink water that was previously mine effluent contaminated with heavy metals, radioactivity and sulphates that has been treated with a technology, not yet tested?

Question: Are you aware that an Environmental Impact Assessment is currently underway and will close on Tuesday 14 July 2009 after which a decision will be made to proceed or not to proceed with the project. If this continues it may impact on your health Are you aware that you can raise your concern in this regard?

Hat tip to Andries Louw of NextChurch.

Please sign the petition!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Create an oasis with greywater

It sounds as though this book has many useful ideas.
clipped from www.kk.org

Create an Oasis with Greywater

Greywater is the term for all household wastewater except for the toilet and kitchen sink. This is the only comprehensive book I know of on the subject, and in this fifth and expanded edition, Art Ludwig explains how to choose, build, and use a variety of simple greywater systems. There are clear drawings for sending washing machine water into the garden (with or without a drum), for putting diversion valves on bathtubs or showers, for creating “mulch basins,” for ultra-simple setups like “Garden Hose Through the Bathroom,” and “Dishpan Dump (Bucketing)” -- the latter of which I've been practicing lately to the great benefit of both septic system and compost piles.

Simple Laundry Drum with Rainwater Harvesting

blog it

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Do Religion and Environmentalism Mix? Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy

Here's an interesting blog post that touches on the core of what SAFCEI is all about. Do Religion and Environmentalism Mix? Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy:
First, it seems to me that many of the crucial issues of modern environmentalism are not amenable to broad-based moral reasoning and intuition that religion can provide. Religious thinking has little to say about, for example, what is the appropriate amount of particulates that should be in the air, or whether climate change should be tackled by cap-and-trade, or a carbon tax, or command-and-control regulation.

Second, it concerns me to sugges that one cannot be a good Jew/Christian/Muslim/anything else and have a particular position on the environment. The environment is a political issue, and it should be. But that begins to move us toward a political test of religious commitment.

It's worth reading the whole thing.

That is a Jewish perspective -- do other perspectives differ? What about Christians? Buddhists? Muslims? Pagans?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Map of elephant DNA reveals trail of ivory smugglers | Environment | The Observer

Map of elephant DNA reveals trail of ivory smugglers | Environment | The Observer: "Scientists have used a revolutionary genetic technique to pinpoint the area of Africa where smugglers are slaughtering elephants to feed the worldwide illegal ivory trade.

Using a DNA map of Africa's elephants, they have found that most recent seizures of tusks can be traced to animals that had grazed in the Selous and Niassa game reserves on the Tanzania and Mozambique borders."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Treeplanting at Rietvlei Farm in Gauteng

Riaz Simjee is inviting for SAFCEI members in Gauteng to take part in a project at Rietvlei Farm:

I have just undertaken a project with the correctional services of Johannesburg female section. Female learners form the institute that I work for and the inmates will be undertaking a project together at a kind of Nature reserve where they will be planting trees etc. this programme will begin on the 29th June 2009 to 03 July 2009. I believe that this will be an ideal opportunity for us to get involved in encouraging the youth into environmental issues an awareness. I would like to know if it is possible to have some of the faith leaders attend. The best part is that they do not have to attend the entire week but we have set a day, 30th June 2009, aside for the tree planting. This will be the ideal day for faith leaders to be present, this can be done with their families. The venue is the ‘Reitvlei Farm, near Alberton, in Gauteng.

Riaz can be contacted at 0845999104 riazsim@gmail.com if you are interested in finding out more.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fasting and the environment

Most religions have fasting disciplines. Christians have traditionally fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays, abstaining from meat and other animal products.

Now there have been proposals for new secular fasts, on Mondays or Thursdays -- for more information and links see here: Notes from underground: Meat-free Monday?

But perhaps there is a need for a revival of the fasting disciplines of the various faith communities.

It would be good if people could explain briefly what their fasting disciplines are in comments below.

For Orthodox Christians it is abstention from meat and animal produce (eggs, cheese, butter etc) on Wednesdays and Fridays, in Advent and Lent, and from today until 29 June, and the first fortnight of August.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Alice In Blogland: Don't Buy a "Green" Thing

There are all sorts of "green" products advertised that we are often tempted to buy something just because iot claims to be "green". But here's a better way.

Alice In Blogland: Don't Buy a "Green" Thing:
We’re so hooked on consumption that we’re coming up with ideas to reduce it by essentially consuming more. We’re inventing more “needs” that we can satisfy with ideas borrowed from sustainable solutions, while forgetting that we already have real needs far more deserving of our efforts to meet them more sustainably.

Monday, June 1, 2009

GM food conference in the Vatican hijacked

John Vidal on a GM conference in the Vatican | Environment | The Guardian:
Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo is the chancellor of the Vatican s Pontifical Academy of Sciences the official voice of Catholic science. Alas he appears to have no idea how far his organisation has been hijacked by the genetic modification GM companies and their chums. This week the academy is hosting a 'week of study' about food and Sorondo says the intention has been to gather 'an objective' group of experts. Ho-hum. Of the 40 people invited all are well-known GM enthusiasts claims Spinwatch an independent organisation that 'monitors the role of public relations and spin in contemporary society'. One of the participants Eric Sachs is a Monsanto employee; another Robert Paarlberg is an adviser to Monsanto s CEO; and several others work for companies heavily backed by Monsanto.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Next Generation of Biofuels: Scientific American

The Next Generation of Biofuels: Scientific American: "Once the next generation of biofuels becomes available, you could swing by the local energy station and fill up on a liquid that is virtually identical to gasoline. It would be made by U.S. companies, not shipped from the Middle East. And even though biofuels release carbon dioxide when they are burned, the organisms they are made from draw an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the air—making biofuels essentially carbon-neutral."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

William Kamkwamba's Ingenious Windmill �� MetaEfficient Reviews

I stumbled upon this interesting example of renewable energy today -- worth a read, to show what can be done if people are willing to try.

William Kamkwamba's Ingenious Windmill: MetaEfficient Reviews:
William Kamkwamba is now an engineering student in Johannesburg, South Africa. But in 2002, when William was 14, his farming family could no longer afford to send him to school when Malawi was hit with its worst famine in decades. He decided to continue studying on his own, however, and chanced upon a library book about wind power. Much to the amusement of his friends and neighbors, William began constructing a homemade wind turbine from wood scraps, plastic, and old bicycle parts. But their skepticism quickly turned to wonder when William demonstrated that his contraption could provide enough energy to power lights and radios in his family’s home, when only 2% of Malawi’s residents enjoyed household electricity.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The Third Annual General Meeting of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) will be held at Temple David, 369 Ridge Road, Overport, Durban, on Tuesday 2nd June 2009 commencing at 18:30.


  • 6.30 pm Finger Supper
  • 7.00 to 8.00 pm Talk and discussion led by Rehana Dada
  • 8.00 pm SAFCEI AGM

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mexican flu, swine flu origins

From Avaaz.org

No-one yet knows whether swine flu will become a global pandemic, but it is becoming clear where it came from – most likely a giant pig factory farm run by an American multinational corporation in Veracruz, Mexico.(1)

These factory farms are disgusting and dangerous, and they're rapidly multiplying. Thousands of pigs are brutally crammed into dirty warehouses and sprayed with a cocktail of drugs -- posing a health risk to more than just our food -- they and their manure lagoons create the perfect conditions to breed dangerous new viruses like swine flu. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) must investigate and develop regulations for these farms to protect global health.

Big agrobusiness will try to obstruct and scuttle any attempts at reform, so we need a massive outcry that health authorities can't ignore. Sign the petition below for investigation and regulation of factory farms and tell your friends and family and we will deliver it to the UN agencies. If we reach 200,000 signatures we will deliver it to the WHO in Geneva with a herd of cardboard pigs. For every 1000 petition signatures we will add a pig to the herd:


Last week the flu was all that we talked about -- Mexico has been nearly paralysed and across the world leaders halted air travel, banned pork imports and initiated drastic controls to mitigate the spreading virus. As the threat shows signs of subsiding the question becomes where it came from and how we stop another outbreak.

Smithfield Corporation, the largest pig producer in the world whose farm is being fingered as the source of the H1N1 outbreak, denies any connection between their pigs and the flu and big agrobusiness worldwide pays huge sums of money for research to argue that biosafety is ensured in industrial hog production. But the WHO has been saying for years that 'a new pandemic is inevitable'(2) and experts from the European Commission and the FAO have cautioned that the rapid move from small holdings to industrial pig production is in fact increasing the risk of development and transmission of disease epidemics. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that scientists still do not know the extent that infectious compounds produced in factory farms affect human health.(3)

Studies abound of the horrific conditions endured by pigs in concentrated large-scale operations, and the devastating economic impact on small farmer communities of bloated large-scale operations.(4) Smithfield itself has already been fined $12.6m and is currently under another federal investigation in the US for toxic environmental damage from pig excrement lakes.(5)

But even with all of this damaging evidence, a combination of increased global meat consumption and a powerful industry motivated by profit at the cost of human health, means that instead of being shut down - these sickening factory farm operations are propagating around the world and we are subsidising them (6). In the wake of this swine flu threat, let's hold industrial pig producers to account. Sign the petition for investigation and regulation:


If we resolve this global health crisis boldly by reassessing our food consumption and production, and urgently calling for an inquiry into the impact of factory farms on human health, we could put in place tough farm practice rules that will save the global population from future animal borne lethal pandemics.


in hope,

Alice, Pascal, Graziela, Paul, Brett, Ben, Ricken, Iain, Paula, Luis, Raj, Veronique, Milena, Margaret, Taren and the whole Avaaz team

(1) Biosurveillance report tracing the disease to the Smithfields farm: http://biosurveillance.typepad.com/biosurveillance/2009/04/swine-flu-in-mexico-timeline-of-events.html
Reports on the link between the Mexican factory farm and the flu:





(2) WHO pandemic information

(3) FAO, EC and CDC reports on the risks of industrial farming on public health
FAO and CIWF and http://www.cdc.gov/cafos/about.htm

(4) CIWF and PETA video reports of the disgusting conditions for animals in factory farms and the disease ridden manure swamps:

(5) Reports on Smithfield's animal welfare and environmental damage



(6) Reports on UK tax payers subsidising factory farms http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/farming/5225298/Taxpayers-forking-out-700-million-for-factory-farming-in-England.html

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's in your rice?

Message from Greenpeace

The world's most important staple food is under threat and we need your help urgently.

Sign the petition

Rice is daily food for half of the global population. It has been grown around the world for over 10,000 years and is cultivated in 113 countries. For millions of people rice is not just a food - it's a way of life.

Bayer, the German chemical giant, has created a genetically engineered (GE) variety of rice that will put our health, our agriculture and our biodiversity at risk.

The European Union (EU) will soon decide whether or not Bayer's GE rice can end up on European dinner plates. But this will not only affect Europeans. If the EU approves the import of Bayer's GE rice, farmers in the US and elsewhere may soon start planting the manipulated crop.

Stopping GE rice is not just about consumer choice or the environment - it's a lot bigger than that. It's a matter of global food security, human rights and survival.

You can tell the EU to keep Bayer's hands off your rice - sign the petition.

Thanks for your help saving the world's most important food. Please send this onto your friends today - we don't have much time before the decision is made.

With best wishes
Jan, Natalia, Lisa and everyone on the rice team at Greenpeace

P.S Ecological farming is the safest solution to the food crisis and looming climate change disasters. By signing the petition you're adding your voice in support of global sustainability in the face of climate change.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blogs in Education

For a really good account of the uses of blogs in education (including environmental education), see Half an Hour: Blogs in Education

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Say No to bottled water

Ask For Tap Water

By Fazila Farouk, executive director of the South African Civil Society Information Service.

Date posted: 27 March 2009
View this article online here: http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/254.1

The next time you find yourself reaching for bottled water, consider the implications of your actions. Purchasing and drinking bottled water is not only pricey for your pocket; it affects the sustainability of our planet and undermines the right to water as a public good.

Unless you find yourself in a rural outpost with dubious water infrastructure or in an industrial town where the 'big factory' is pissing its by-products into rivers and streams, there is little basis
for the argument that bottled water is safer than tap water in South Africa.

Nevertheless, South Africans and millions more around the world are duped into accepting the perversion that bottled water is safer and even healthier than tap water.

This is simply not true. "Bottled water is one of the most unregulated industries in the world," argues Canadian water activist Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

This lack of regulation has implications both for the health of consumers as well as for the protection of water as a resource that should remain in the public domain as a common good.

In 2004, Pretoria University's Department of Medical Virology argued that little is known about the microbial quality of bottled water in South Africa. Concerned about the situation, the department undertook a study where ten different brands of bottled water were tested over a
three-month period. Researchers were looking for faecal bacteria.

From the specific sample tested in this study, it was concluded that bottled water "generally complied with drinking water regulation." However, two of the ten brands tested were contaminated. It is noted that poorly cleaned equipment and bottles as well as handling by workers, are among the factors that cause contamination. The shelf life of bottled water is also a contributing factor. With improper or prolonged storage of bottled water, bacteria can grow to levels that may be harmful to human health.

The Pretoria University study categorically states, "Consumers should be aware that bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water."

Bottled water regulations have since been introduced in South Africa by the Department of Health, in 2006. However, question marks still hang over what passes for 'spring water' in South Africa, including its quality.

Early last year, Engineering News reported that despite stringent laws governing the bottled water industry, there have been reports that companies are bottling tap water and marketing it as natural or spring water.

John Weaver of the South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) is quoted in the Engineering News article as saying that "one of the biggest challenges facing the bottled water industry at the moment is the perceived low cost of entry into the business of bottling
water. To the inexperienced person, bottling water is seen as merely holding an empty bottle at the spring discharge, putting a cap and label on the bottle and making a small profit."

Meanwhile in a 2006 journal publication of the Water Research Council, it was reported that of the estimated 100 bottlers countrywide, the majority are small hand-bottled operations that employ unskilled workers.

If one starts connecting the dots from the low barriers to entry, to the fact that the industry is dominated by small hand-bottled operators employing unskilled labour, to the fact that regulations have already been circumvented by some companies, then the picture that emerges of our bottled water industry is without a doubt different to the one fed to us by the slick promoters of healthy lifestyle brands. Far from being the healthier option, our bottled water may, in fact, be quite the opposite.

With the enforcement of regulations posing a challenge, what guarantee do South African consumers have that 'clean-room technology', which is a regulatory requirement, is being applied across the board in our bottled water industry?

Still, the myth that bottled water is healthier continues to penetrate our consciousness.

The corresponding reality is that the water industry is growing at a phenomenal rate. Water is a $400bn global industry, coming in third after oil and electricity. "The water sector is going to grow 2-3 times the global economy over the next 20 years." says Rod Parsley of Terrapin Asset Management in the documentary FLOW (For Love of Water).

The bottled water sector makes up an important segment of the overall global water market. Barlow says that something like 50 billion litres of water was put into plastic bottles throughout the world in 2007. This spelt bad news for our environment, as only 5% of those bottles were recyclable.

In South Africa, it's been reported that the bottled water market grew by an estimated 33% during 2005, following on a consistent annual growth trend in excess of 20% since 2001. Industry experts are astonished by this growth and even more surprised that it is taking places despite the fact that, as they put it, "South Africa is one of few countries where tap water in most places is still good enough to drink."

Clearly the growth of the bottled water industry presents us with the classic "people versus profits" dilemma.

As bottled water companies harvest as much water as they possibly can to drive up their sales, they are also increasingly tapping into ground water, impairing the hydrological cycle and affecting the water system's ability to replenish itself. We're already staring 'peak oil' in the
face; 'peak water' is around the corner, if not already here.

According to Barlow, the demand for water is growing while the supply is decreasing. As water becomes scarce, the question about who owns it, is becoming increasingly important.

Barlow contends that every drop of water in the future is going to be corporately owned. However, the market is amoral, she says and it is going to lead companies to taking advantage of pollution and to selling 'clean water' to those who can buy it and not to those who need it.

More specifically, Barlow refers to bottled water as a corporate take over. It makes people think that what comes out of their taps doesn't matter. This in turn leads to people not prioritizing paying their taxes for infrastructure repair, which is extremely important for the future of clean, accessible, safe public water.

It appears that Barlow's work is making inroads in her native country. According to a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has asked its members to ban bottled water.

"It's not a (real) ban, we just try to educate our citizens that the water that you pay for in your city is good - use it," said FCM president Jean Perrault in the CBC report.

The expense to consumers was also highlighted as a significant reason behind the move. "Buying a bottle of water costs approximately $2.50. The cost to produce water in the city? I can fill up 6,000 little bottles for the price of $2.50," Perrault said.

Twenty-seven Canadian municipalities have already phased out the sale of bottled water on their properties, while 21 universities and colleges have created bottle-free zones.

It's high time South Africans followed the Canadian example. There is nothing wrong with the water flowing out of the taps in much of South Africa. We're just being sold a misleading lifestyle choice. This may have been fine if our world had unlimited supplies of water, but it doesn't. Public vigilance is what is needed to save our water, our planet and our people.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fr. Ted’s Blog

Fr Ted Bobosh reviews an article by Kurt Anderson in the latest issue of Time. The End of Excess Not the End of the World: Fr. Ted’s Blog:
Anderson’s look at America’s economy compares the last quarter century’s years of self destructive and unsustainable economic behavior to an addiction. He proposes the formation of a “Bubbleholics Anonymous” to get us back on the right track.

Worth a read!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

US bill to outlaw organic farming

Not an immediate Southern African concern, but something worth knowing about. There have been conflicting reports about this, however.

The US House and Senate are about to vote on a bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (HR 875).

There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the next 2 weeks before the public realizes what is happening. The main backer and lobbyist is the Monsanto Corporation (along with Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related chemical and genetic engineering giants).

This bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by a newly-formed agency to "make sure there is no danger to the public food supply".

This will include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sale. If this passes there will be NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsantos genetically-altered seeds.

The name on this outrageous food plan is Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (Bill HR 875). Please contact your local Congressional Representative by phone or e-mail and express your concern about HR 875.

Go to http://wwwcongress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/ to enter in your zip code and find your Congressional Representative.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Western Cape Religious leaders to G20 forum


Dear Friends,

We received this G20 communiqué from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and our Executive Chair, the Archbishop of Cape Town has requested it be forwarded to our religious leadership. South Africa will be represented at the G20 meeting in London and we are asked to support that meeting with our prayers.

To quote from the Acting Secretary for International Development, Helen Stawski:

‘This statement expresses some of the concerns about the current global economic crisis from a faith perspective. It adds the voice of faith leaders to the current debate on how to address the current crisis and what the implication of these policies will be. This statement is an example of some of the advocacy work the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England are engaged in with the UK government.

We are sending this statement to you primarily for information, as a member of the G20 nations, whose Heads of State will be attending this G20 summit. However you may also find it useful to use this communiqué as part of your own advocacy, for example by sending it to your governments before the G20 summit late this week. We welcome any comments on the communiqué that you may have from your own national perspective and would be interested to know if you are doing any lobbying at governmental level in your own countries.’

The WCRLF Working Committee will be happy to receive any comments or feedback.

In faith

Fr John

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SA saved 400Mw during Earth Hour

SA saved 400 MW during Earth Hour

By: Creamer Media Reporter

30th March 2009

South Africans who participated in Earth Hour on Saturday saved about 400 MW of electricity, 400 t of carbon dioxide, 224 t of coal and about 576 000 l of water, power utility Eskom reported on Monday.

Earth Hour was organised by the World Wildlife Fund in an effort to get one-billion people worldwide to switch off their lights for one hour.

“The 400 MW translates to about four-million 100 W bulbs or 6,7-million 60 W bulbs switched off on Saturday. This shows a concerted effort by about one-million households,” said Eskom MD corporate services and Eskom climate change champion Dr Steve Lennon.

Lights on average consumed about 10% of household electricity, whereas geysers used as much as 40% of the total electricity bill, commented Lennon, highlighting the difference that could have been made if South Africans had also turned off their geysers during Earth Hour.

“We believe that the Earth Hour initiative has created incredible excitement around the need for efficient use of energy. As South Africa’s primary supplier of electricity, our hope is that all South Africans harness this excitement and use energy wisely every day of the year,” said Lennon.

City of Johannesburg member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment Prema Naidoo also on Monday applauded the Earth Hour initiative.

“We hope that this symbolic gesture has demonstrated to the world that people everywhere are concerned about this issue, and are willing to act,” he commented.

Naidoo expressed the need for people to take action against climate change and global warning now, saying that it hoped government’s National Energy Efficiency Campaign would be supported by every individual, business and energy player.

“Here in South Africa, we have unique reasons to be concerned about the energy issue. It is not widely understood that the production of electricity produces enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases. As a result of our habits of energy wastage, we have become the eleventh highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the world, he said.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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