Southern Dioceses Environment Network



2022 Online Meetings

Monday 10th October, 12.45-2.00pm
Guest Speakers: Bishop John Arnold (Salford)
and Paul Chitnis (Director, Jesuit Missions)

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Monday 14th November, 12.45-2.00pm

Prayer and Reflection for COP27
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Monday 12th December, 12.45-2.00pm

Feedback on COP27, Advent and planning for 2023
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This network for all Catholics and our friends who care about creation meets monthly online on the second Monday of the month and also organises other events online and in-person. Some events take place jointly with the Northern Dioceses Environment Group, as we all work together to animate the Catholic community in the long-term task of stabilising our climate and protecting our common home.

We are inspired by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, especially as set out by Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato Si’, and the teachings on caring for the earth and one another found in Scripture.

Participants include CAFOD and Diocesan staff and volunteers, Laudato Si’ Animators, clergy, parishioners, religious and activists. All are welcome.

For the Zoom link, more details, or to be added to the mailing list please email
Colette Joyce, Westminster Justice and Peace Co-ordinator, colettejoyce@rcdow.org.uk
or call her on 07593 434 905

The SDEN Planning Group are:
Colette Joyce (Westminster), David Ko (Westminster),
John Paul de Quay (Arundel & Brighton), Rebekah O’Keeffe (Southwark),
Richard Busellato (Westminster) and Siân Thomas (Brentwood)

The Southern Dioceses are:
Arundel & Brighton, Brentwood, Clifton, East Anglia, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southwark and Westminster

Previous Meetings

12th September 2022 – Loss and Damage and COP27

Talk given by Shanon Shah, Director of Faith for the Climate. The presentation focused on the upcoming Loss and Damage Action Day, 22 September 2022

We were delighted to welcome Shanon Shah, the Director of Faith for the Climate, as our guest speaker for the first meeting this term of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network.

Faith for the Climate is a network that aims to equip, inspire, and encourage faith inspired action on issues of climate change across the UK. All faiths and spiritualities are welcome.

Shanon Shah is a Malaysian Muslim who came to the UK in 2010. He joined the team at Faith for the Climate in 2020.

The organisation aims to unite those of faith together in the environmental justice space and to encourage learning from the different faith traditions. It was a way to target the UK government and show solidarity with those who suffer the worse impact of climate change despite doing the least to contribute.

The group meet regularly online with two priorities in the lead up to COP-26: new and additional money for loss and damage, ending fossil fuel subsidies. The UK government has made some progress with the second focus, therefore, most energy was focused on loss and damage.

Loss and Damage is part of the architecture of the Paris Agreement which includes three main pillars of climate action; mitigation of climate emissions, adaption to live with the impact of climate change, loss and damage. Loss and damage is when the impact of climate change is so severe that adaption/mitigation is not possible e.g. as a result of sea level rises, extreme weather events.

The UK government has historically blocked negotiations on loss and damage.

At COP-19, in 2013, the Warsaw international mechanism for Loss and damage was established in response to the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. At COP-25 in Madrid, the Santiago network on loss and damage was established to implement the Warsaw mechanism. It called for richer countries to offer compensation. At COP-26, there was a push for clarity on how the Santiago network would be implemented.

The Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage was established post COP-26. Many questions on how to address the issue are undecided, but it is climbing the agenda with the first awareness day last year. This is largely due to the efforts of faith communities.

The UK has faced financial difficulty this year due to the war in Ukraine, cost of living crisis etc. which has made it more difficult to talk about loss and damage. Despite our own issues we must not forget countries such as Pakistan which is now 1/3 under water with the displacement of 50 million people and 10 billion US dollars’ worth of damage. These poorer countries are suffering the worst effects of climate change despite contributing the least. The impacts of extreme weather events are far greater for them and they are still struggling with debt.

It seems only fair that the big polluters have the most responsibility to pay compensation for loss and damage. It is a moral issue that lies at the centre of many faiths; we are all interconnected.

The next Loss and Damage Awareness Day will be on the 22nd September; including a walk of witness to Parliament Square via the Shell headquarters. Gathering at St. John’s Church, Waterloo, 10.30am. It will join those doing an interfaith fast for loss and damage.

22 September – Loss and Damage Awareness Day
10.30am Meet at St John’s Waterloo
11.30am Walk to the Shell headquarters for a vigil
12.00pm Walk to Parliament Square
Loss and Damage Day of Action London

We then broke into small groups to consider the question: “In what ways does the topic of Loss and Damage resonate with this year’s theme for the Season of Creation – Listen to the Voice of Creation?”

Links

Faith for the Climate
Loss and Damage Day of Action London
Key Climate Dates in 2022

The Journey to 2030 website has been revamped with several sections for new resources. Check it out at:

https://journeyto2030.org new homepage
https://journeyto2030.org/let-us-dream/ let us dream activity*
https://journeyto2030.org/getting-started-2/ The new getting started and resources page
https://journeyto2030.org/poster-activity/ – The ‘building a caring community’ activity poster page

*You can order packs of the ‘Let Us Dream’ activity to use with your church group / parish.

3rd September 2022 – Mass for the Season of Creation

All photos by Raluca Costache

Members of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network gathered for their first-ever Mass for the start of the Season of Creation on Saturday 3rd September, 4pm, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Farm Street, Mayfair on Saturday. The celebrant was Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Parish Priest and Chair of the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission.

The Mass was followed by refreshments in the Arrupe Hall, with a chance to view displays and resources on the care of creation.

Homily given by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ

11th July 2022 – Preparation for the Season of Creation and COP27

Speaker: Chris Driscoll, Community Participation Co-ordinator CAFOD Brentwood, on CAFOD’s Fix the Food System Campaign, Summer 2022

*Chris has kindly shared his slides with us as an attachment with these notes.

1. Introduction

Climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising prices of food and agricultural products such as fertilisers as a result of the Ukraine crisis, have together revealed the fragility of our current global food system.

At a time of crisis these impacts are mostly felt in low-income countries, but they also have serious repercussions at home, where earlier this year it was reported that 9% of the UK population didn’t have enough affordable and nutritious food in spite of living in the fifth-largest economy in the world.

2. Slide 2

Paradox – there’s enough food in the world to feed everyone, but millions still go hungry, including those who grow the food. Profits come before people, and large scale commercial agriculture dominated by a few big businesses is accelerating the climate crisis.

Clearly, our current global food system is not working for both people and planet. But together we can play our part in re thinking it, challenging its imbalance of power and supporting alternative ways of producing food where communities have access to land, can

choose what they grow and can make a dignified living by producing food in harmony with nature.

3. Video

Station 1

Community land is taken away. Between 2006 and 2016, almost 500 such ‘land grabs’ took place in 78 countries. Nearly half of these had no consultation at all with local communities before the land was taken by a big business. Because big businesses are very powerful, the fight of local communities to retain their ancestral land is highly unfair.

Communities cannot decide what crops to grow; a few big businesses, powerful interests and the market do. This is based on what will make the most profit. For instance, as much as

80% of all the soya grown across the world is fed to animals that are being reared to provide meat. The UK imported about 3.5 million tonnes of soya beans in 2019 and over half of that ended up in chicken feed.

Communities have to buy seeds. Rather than being able to choose their own seeds to plant each year, due to the way the system operates many farmers have little choice but to buy seeds produced by a few big businesses. Just four of these businesses control over 60% of the global seed market.

Communities are trapped into using chemicals. Only four big businesses control 75% of the pesticide market, promoting the overuse of these chemicals, which takes away not only significant amount of small farmers’ income but also their health: over a million people per year are killed or have serious health problems from being exposed to these chemicals.

Station 4

Alternative visions – stories from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe

Station 6

At COP26, countries signed up to ambitious commitments on food and agriculture, as part of the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which was signed by 141 countries and covers over 90% of the world’s forests. This was supported through other associated financial and policy commitments, producing an ambitious package of development, environmental, climate, trade and finance commitments. These commitments go wider than just food and agriculture, covering forest and ecosystem protection, support for indigenous peoples and local communities, among other issues.

  1. The UK government’s International Climate Finance prioritises agroecology to tackle poverty and support communities to adapt to climate change
  2. No more UK aid flows to agricultural programmes that harm the environment or fail to show their impact on tackling poverty
  3. Countries report concrete progress at COP27 on their commitments under the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use, including redesigning agricultural programmes and subsidies, and increasing land tenure for indigenous peoples and local communities.
  4. New initiatives to support agroecology and repurpose harmful agricultural subsidies are announced as part of COP27, including Agroecology Transition Partnerships.
  5. The Global Biodiversity Framework to be agreed in Kunming supports the role of agroecology in poverty reduction, climate action and biodiversity protection.

Station 7

We need a rebalancing of the power of big businesses in favour of local communities so such alternatives can flourish.

Meat

Between 2016 and 2018, an area of land almost the size of the UK was used to produce food for us, including cocoa, palm oil and beef. In the UK, the amount of meat eaten per person now is around 10kg higher than the annual average in the early 90s.As we heard earlier, huge areas of land in the Amazon are being used to produce soya to feed animals. So the more meat we eat, the more land is needed.

Pesticides

Each year the UK exports thousands of tonnes of pesticides to low-income countries which are banned in the UK.19 meaning that our government considers them too harmful to human health to be used on our fields. And yet we are selling them to low-income countries to use on their fields.

Waste

In the UK we throw away 9.5 million tonnes of food per year, and three quarters of that food was fine to eat. Lots of food gets wasted in production, and is also wasted by hotels, restaurants and shops, but households are responsible for 70% of the waste. Overall, 19% of lettuce grown and 9% of strawberries ended up as waste.

At a global level the figures are staggering too. The world produces enough food to wipe out hunger but one-third of it goes to waste. That’s 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year being thrown away. The land it takes to provide just the food that we throw away is bigger than the size of India, and the water it takes is equivalent to 300 million Olympic swimming pools!

  • Plan your meals so you only buy the quantity of food that you will eat.
  • When possible choose organic, fairtrade and/or local produce.
  • Reduce the amount of meat that you eat.

CAFOD Follow-Up

The following documents provide more detail about the campaign:

Supporter briefing
Policy briefing
Participants leaflet

Prayers on Food and Hunger

https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Prayer-resources/May-we-reach-out-in-love
https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Prayer-resources/Comfort-and-protect-prayer
https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Pray-the-rosary/Rosary-for-an-end-to-hunger

Schools

In schools the campaign has different branding and is called Step up to the Plate. Here is more information on the campaign is primary schools and secondary schools. The secondary school video is particularly worth watching as it summarises the main aspects of the campaign in a very accessible way.

Parishes

If anyone in the network would like support on running the ‘Fix the Food System’ activity in their parish, I would ask them to contact their local CAFOD representative in the first instance:

Arundel & Brighton – Jenny Finlayson jfinlayson@cafod.org.uk
Brentwood – Chris Driscoll cdriscoll@cafod.org.uk
East Anglia – Jane Crone jcrone@cafod.org.uk
Portsmouth – Jo Lewry jlewry@cafod.org.uk
Southwark – Celeste Iyinbo ciyinbo@cafod.org.uk or Sarah Cadwallader swestrap@cafod.org.uk
Westminster – Tony Sheen tsheen@cafod.org.uk

Resources for the Season of Creation

The Season of Creation Celebration Guide is available online for download. It provides for prayer and worship services, lectionary notes and sermon notes.

There are also event checklists to help you plan things like ecumenical prayer services, and guidance on getting involved in advocacy. 

You can plan events and register them on the website.

https://seasonofcreation.org/

Join the English Language Season of Creation Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/176079929597903

Use the hashtag #SeasonOfCreation

13th June 2022 – Sustainable Summers

Introduction to Sustainable Summers – Rebekah O’Keeffe

Rebekah invited us to consider the merits of holidays from home – also known as the staycation – but, to many, just ‘a holiday’! 

With the country in a cost of living crisis, people having to wait weeks for passports and airlines cancelling flights at the drop of a hat more and more of us will be looking to holiday at home this summer. Add to that, those of us choosing not to fly or drive for environmental reasons, SDEN invite suggestions for day trips in the local area or reasons to visit places a little further from home this summer…

Consider whether places, attractions or venues can be reached by public transport, the costs, facilities, accessibility, what is on offer, opening times and website. Think Trip Advisor for the environment.

Last Sunday’s reading for Trinity Sunday reminds us that the Holy Spirit is always ready to delight in us. So, too, may we take time to delight in these beautiful places!

We split into small groups by Diocese for 20 minutes to discuss and promote our favourite places. Here are the ones we chose...

Arundel & Brighton and Portsmouth (joint group)

Place: The South Downs Way

A 100-mile walk, starting in Winchester (Diocese of Portsmouth) and ending up in Eastbourne (Diocese of A & B)

There are hostels from the Youth Hostel Association for cheap accommodation. You can also camp there. There are lots of National Trust properties to see along the way.

The South Downs Way

Place: The Isle of Wight

It is also easy to get to the Isle of Wight by taking the train to Portsmouth then ferry. It is possible to circumnavigate the island by bike, road sign blue route takes you off the major roads onto smaller paths. Notably hilly! Also great for a beach holiday and has dinosaurs.

Brentwood

Place: All of the Diocese!

The Diocese is very blessed for walks in woods, fields, beaches, lucky to have a bit of everything, The Brentwood environment document includes a map of many places of natural beauty.

The group would like to expand what we discussed to create a guide for the Diocese, to update the Diocesan Environmental Policy with something for everyone – kids, dogs, churches to visit etc. 

Diocese of Brentwood Laudato Si’ Document

Clifton

Place: Cleeve Hill

Highest point in Gloucester, set in a 1000-acre public park. Includes pubs along the way to get good things to eat and drink. Easy to reach from Cheltenham by bus to Winchcombe.

https://www.visitcheltenham.com/things-to-do/cleeve-hill-p395953

Place: Bristol

You could easily have a week’s holiday in Bristol without going out of the city’s bounds; lots of theatres, various festivals, visit the SS Great Britain, Bristol Suspension Bridge, Aquarium, Gallery. There is a good, cheap Youth Hostel.

Plymouth

Place: Buckfast Abbey

We would like to recommend a venue with a religious theme. Buckfast Abbey in Devon is free to visit and has beautiful gardens, shops and a café, as well as the Abbey itself and an interactive display about the Benedictine way of life. Buckfast Abbey is a model of green energy generation. It hosts the hair shirt relic of St Thomas More and hosts regular music concerts.

https://www.buckfast.org.uk/

The Abbey is within walking distance of the South Devon steam railway and the otter and butterfly farm, so lots to do for the children. There are buses to Newton Abbot and Totnes from the Abbey, and those towns both have great railway stations with regular trains to a range of destinations.

Shrewsbury

Place: Bollington

Known as the Happy Valley. Lovely place to be based to explore nearby South Cheshire and Macclesfield. Can stay at Savio House Retreat Centre or other local accommodation.

Savio House

Southwark

Place: The South Bank

The south side of the Thames is very accessible by public transport. You probably want to bring your own lunch as food options are expensive! As well as walking along the river, there is an outdoor second-hand book store, street-theatre, art displays, St George’s Cathedral, the Imperial War Museum and Peace Garden. It is a little further to Crystal Palace Park, which also has dinosaurs.

Kent has Leeds and Hever Castles.

Westminster

Having just celebrated Feast of The Holy Trinity, Fr Tom O’Brien proposes a holiday trinity of ‘education, relaxation, exercise.’

Place: St Albans

The town itself is good for walking around, with many Tudor buildings of interest. Then there is the Roman town Verulamium – the ruins are free to visit if you live in St Albans. The Abbey is free to everyone and has a Tapestry showing the origins of the cathedral, plus models of how it was constructed, video shows about the Abbey and a café. There is a Learning Centre for children. If you have the energy, you can go shopping in the nearby massive shopping area. You might need 2 days to visit! 

Book Recommendation:

Britain’s Holiest Places

Nick Mayhew-Smith

(2011)

Pope Frances on rest and relaxation:

“On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality. It also proclaims “man’s eternal rest in God”.168 In this way, Christian spirituality incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity. We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity. Rather, it is another way of working, which forms part of our very essence. It protects human action from becoming empty activism; it also prevents that unfettered greed and sense of isolation which make us seek personal gain to the detriment of all else. The law of weekly rest forbade work on the seventh day, “so that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your maidservant, and the stranger, may be refreshed” (Ex 23:12). Rest opens our eyes to the larger picture and gives us renewed sensitivity to the rights of others. And so the day of rest, centred on the Eucharist, sheds it light on the whole week, and motivates us to greater concern for nature and the poor.”

 (Laudato Si’, 237)

Ethical Travel Advice

  • Journey to 2030 travel page – Intended for how we get to church but with many reflections on our faith and being conscious how we travel:

How to get there

  • The Man in Seat 61 is the greatest and most useful geek website in the world ever! This man loves trains to a level you never will. This means he has compiled all your journey plans for you:
  • Eco-Passenger – for working out the most economical way to get somewhere:

9th May 2022 – All Creatures Great and Small: Reflecting on Biodiversity

‘Biodiversity’ was the theme for the May meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network on Monday 9th May 2022.

John Paul de Quay

Guest speaker John Paul de Quay from the Journey to 2030 project spoke on the need to safeguard nature to ensure the future and diversity of all life on earth which is essential for the health, wellbeing and prosperity of humanity.

What is biodiversity? It is the diversity of all living things which includes genetic diversity within and between species, and of ecosystems. This ensures the stability of the natural world.

Evidence shows that there has been on average 68% decrease in wildlife population sizes between 1970-2016 with some areas such as South America being affected more. Why is this happening? Changes in land due to farming, over-fishing, pollution and climate change. Loss of biodiversity happens due to these constraints on species.

Laudato Si’ states that we are dust of the Earth, as we breathe air and need water, nothing is indifferent to us. In Acts 6:26 it shows that nature provides everything we need to survive, not only healthy air and water, but our happiness and wellbeing. Throughout scripture nature is continually mentioned showing God’s immense care for biodiversity. If we hold the attitude that we are more important than nature, we have forgotten that we are ‘dust of the earth’. This connection with faith is essential and it is important to spread this knowledge especially in schools to give confidence that we can do something to change the situation.

Mary Colwell

We were also very fortunate to be joined by the environmentalist, Mary Colwell. Mary has been campaigning for 11 years for a UK GCSE in natural history which has now been agreed upon and is set to take effect in 2025. This is essential so children are able to learn about how wildlife relates to us, to fall in love with nature again, to encourage them to make the right decisions in the future.

She runs a charity called Curlew Action which aims to help protect the curlew population, which is a flagship species for conservation.

She has now begun writing her 4th book.

See http://www.curlewmedia.com/ for more information.

14th March 2022 – Nourishment for Lent

Rebekah O’Keefe chaired the meeting and began by reflecting on words from Bishop John Arnold given at the previous meeting, especially when he said that 85% of the world’s population are men and women of faith who believe the environment is an important aspect of their faith. This is very encouraging.

We were asked last time to reflect upon what we will have liked to achieved by this time next year with regards to protecting the environment. What one thing has spoken to us personally and what steps do we need to take to make this achievable?

We invited to enter into a time of reflection used a 20-minute guide from the Pray-as-you-go website, Session 1 – The Providence of God:

Visit the Pray-as-you-go website to listen to the meditation

The reflection provides nourishment for our Lenten journey. It was taken from the ‘Pray as you go’ earth sessions and entitled ‘the providence of God’. It started with a reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’  Do we share in Paul’s certainty that nothing can come between us and the love of Christ? Do we believe in everyday miracles?

We were given the consoling message of how ‘hope’ is to become aware of God’s providence shaping our lives and guiding us amid all that is happening in our world and unwanted experiences. As love is at the heart of divine providence, so we should love one another especially those in need; this is the essence of the season of Lent. We should listen to Him in prayer, choosing to do without what is superfluous in our lives.

28th February 2022 – Leaving Something on the Table

The Southern Dioceses Environment Network were pleased to welcome Dr David Ko and Richard Busellato to our first online evening event, discussing their recently published book, ‘The Unsustainable Truth’ (2021), how investing for the future is destroying the planet.

They demonstrate how, by seeking comfort and security, we end up with an economic system that exhausts our resources. Instead they propose a model of ‘Transformational Ownership’ to safely steward harmful resources to their end of life.

Arising from over thirty years’ personal experience of the investment industry, Richard and David’s presentation forms a powerful contribution to the debate surrounding the ethics of investment and sustainability.

15th February – Bishop John Arnold

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, was the guest speaker at the second meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network, held at lunchtime today, 14th February 2022.

He talked to us about his experiences as the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales spokesman on the Environment and his attendance at the UN Climate Conference, COP26, in Glasgow. While much was achieved in that meeting, he was disappointed that there wasn’t a sense of commitment from the world leaders to make the changes needed for 1.5C and we could still have scenarios of 2C, 3C or even 4C. We’ve got to look to COP27 (in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 7-18 November 2022) to make more courageous efforts to introduce the changes that should have happened at COP26.

However, he told us as we look at the Church we should be pleased with the efforts of Pope Francis. “It was Laudato Si’ that really engaged so many people this time, pointing out real dangers and, as with everything he writes, it’s always a reminder that this isn’t for just institutions and bishops, it’s for each and every one of us. We, all of us, have got our part to play and he brings that gospel down to the individual level.” Our choices each and every day can make a difference.

Real interest has grown among our church members in the last few years, especially in our schools. He is pleased that Salford has started the Guardians of Creation project which will be helpful to all Dioceses, especially in matters of property where we can make changes in energy use as a large property owner. We all play a part in caring for our common home.

As it was Valentine’s Day, we also shared our Green Hearts and messages of hope on-screen during the meeting as part of The Climate Coalition’s annual #ShowTheLove campaign!

The next meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network will be on Monday, 14th March 2022, 12.45-2.00pm. All welcome.

To register in advance with Eventbrite please visit:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/255432404197

For more details please contact Colette Joyce on 07593 434 905 or colettejoyce@rcdow.org.uk

See More: Key Climate Dates