Tuesday 30 September 2008

Cycle Jump at Settle

After our service on Sunday 29 September I went into Settle to enjoyed the "Settle Community and Cycle Festival.." and took videos of my friend's son at a cycle jump.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Rev Peter Whitaker, Chairman of the West Yorkshire District

I was so busy whizzing round taking photographs for a new Churches Together in Settle leaflet, passing the start of the Three Peaks Cycle event en route, that I nearly missed the morning service at St John's Church Settle, today. But am I glad I made it!

It was Revd Peter Whitaker, Chairman of our West Yorkshire District to preach. (A Chairman of the District is equivalent to an Anglican Bishop) - we were privileged to have him.

As I slithered into my pew near the front, only 1 minute late, he was saying "This time of year is Creation Season.. "

(I nearly slithered onto the floor. "Wow!" I thought "The people at ECEN would be proud..")

"....And as I wrote some prayers specially on this topic on "morning Service" on the Radio 4 this week, I am going to ecologically recycle some of the prayers." See Tue 23 September Radio podcast

..so later in a prayer (and this is a true quote) he said "Forgive us our arrogance and dominance , inspire fresh understanding of our place alongside other creatures.."

Great.. But he did not go on to specifically say "help us look after the world"

Actually his sermon was on Tax - and the story where Jesus is asked about taxes - and he shows a coin and says "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's". Then in his sermon he pointed out that we should be doing everything for God. (So I am not sure where that left Caesar) and we had to think carefully what was God's and What was Caesar's.

He also pointed out that the West Yorkshire District for which he is responsible contains both Halifax - with HBOS, and Bingley with the Bradford and Bingley Building Society. (The news this weekend, remember, is that the Bradford and Bingley is going to be nationalised)

After the service three of us on our rainforest team showed him our sponsor form.


Tuesday 23 September 2008

Earth Overshoot Day - today -

Today is Earth Overshoot Day:
The day our demand surpasses nature’s budget
according to Global Footprint Network

In 2007 it was October 6th, now in 2008 it's today, September 23rd, so for the rest of the year more resources will be consumed globally than can be provided for on a sustainable basis by the Earth’s ecosystems.

Today R.C. gave me a £5-00 donation for the Rainforest fund for borrowing an Owl meter! Thanks RC.

Monday 22 September 2008


Tomorrow several of my friends will be setting off for Milan, in Italy, to the European Christian Environment Network (ECEN) Assembly 24-28 September. I am not going. I went to the last one in Sweden two years ago - by bus, and have been to several others.

The organisation is a loose Network of Church officers with responsibility for environment issues and other people with environment interests, and this year it celebrates its tenth birthday

I have just written a letter (email) translated into French and German by my friend D. and I have emailed it to several of the people who will be going and to some who went to Sweden.

I have mentioned this Rainforest Fund Project. I hope there will be a "Biodiversity working group" at ECEN - and that we can encourage more churches to do more for saving wildlife and habitats -whilst they are still there to be saved.

Sunday 21 September 2008

The Fruits of the Spirit

The text for both this week and last week at St John's Church Settle was "The Fruits of the Spirit"

This week the Worship Group ran the service - the children's talk was very biological (smiles) - lots of visual aids showing what is needed to help grow fruit from seed.

(And ecological - with good reference to peat-free compost)

It reminded us of two of the fruits some of us find harder- patience and self-control. It finished with a humorous sketch with two characters, one who was lacking these two "fruit" - and aware of it - and the importance of "A quiet time with God" each day.

Friday 19 September 2008

Fungus Foray above Settle

Waxcaps, Puffballs, Blushers, Mottle-gills and Stinkhorns!

20th of September might be the "penultimate day of summer" but it was one of the warmest. Twenty five of us plus dog set off on a Craven Conservation Group walk up out of Settle in sun hats and shirtsleeves to walk the round tour of four miles to Cleatop Park Wood.

Archie, our knowledgeable leader was able to name not only the bright coloured fungi such as red waxcaps and yellow Russula but also the little brown jobs as well.

Scarlet Caterpillar Club (Cordyceps militaris) was the first good find - It parasitises caterpillars, - so if you find one and dig it up you will find it is growing out of a (now dead) chrysalis.

.. a Fungus Foray in A Rainforest blog/church motivated. site?

1. Fungi are fun and it is good to walk in the countryside.
2. Archie was actually collecting some specimens to use in the Children's Talk at the Harvest Service he would be giving at Malham Methodist Chapel the following day.
3. If we value our wild habitats in the UK - perhaps people in countries with more important habitats will value their wildlife too.

Norway joins fight to save Amazon

"Norway has pledged $1bn (£500m) to a new international fund to help Brazil protect the Amazon rainforest. The donation is the first to the fund which Brazil hopes will raise $21bn to protect Amazon nature reserves." See BBC website

This is good news - Good for Norway! I wish Britain and other countries would give some.

Cattle ranching is blamed for up to 70% of current Amazon deforestation.

For comparison -

The UK Education Budget is £82 billion.
Between Opening Mon 15 Sep and close of Thur 18 Sept £121 billion was lost from the FTSE100 - Though a lot has been gained today.

Thursday 18 September 2008

An Article for your Parish Magazine

On Christian Ecology Link's Website, short articles suitable for Parish Magazines are written by Ruth Jarman: the topic for October is "Trees". Ruth urges people to support Cool Earth.

you can do it here: www.justgiving.com/settle-cool-earth


Wednesday 17 September 2008

Auf Deutsch -

In meiner Kirche hier in Settle haben wir einen Fond für drei Wohlfarten: zwei kaufen Land und Wälder um sie besser zu beschützen. Die dritte unterstüzt Dörfer in der Nähe des Mole Nationalparks in Ghana.


Tuesday 16 September 2008

Cool Earth - Amazon programme on BBC

On Monday 15 September Cool Earth sent its supporters the following email:

"On BBC 2 tonight (Mon 15th) at 9pm, Bruce Parry begins a trek through the Amazon (http://www.bbc.co.uk/amazon/index.shtml). In the first of six programmes, Bruce travels to the Ashaninka Tribe. The Ashaninka are supported by Cool Earth, in one of our most successful projects to date.

Cool Earth's project with the Ashaninka tribe at Cutivireni prevents loggers from entering the community's forests and the neighbouring Ashaninka Communal Reserve which form a buffer zone for Otishi National Park. In collaboration with our local partners Ecotribal, the Ashaninka chiefs at Cutivireni have offered their land for sponsorship through Cool Earth, allowing them to keep their forests intact and continue to live sustainably from their own land.
Don't miss the next five episodes as Bruce continues his journey through the Amazon.
Read the blog entries from when Sky News Environment Correspondent Catherine Jacobs travelled with Cool Earth to meet the Ashaninka.


If you go to the link above you can still watch the programme on the internet for another 20 days.


Monday 15 September 2008

En français

Ici, à Settle, un groupe de l’église Méthodiste – nous avons créé un fond, en vue de protèger les forêts vierges et nous subventionons trois oeuvres de charité (deux en vue d’acheter des terres et des forêts, et une troisième pour aider certaines villages à proximité du Mole Parc National du Ghana, et de les encourager à protéger d’environnement.

Sunday 14 September 2008

More Langcliffe Teas and French Translation

Sunday 14 September -
Today I went to Langcliffe Teas again, following last Sundays effort. Three sets of friends kindly donated (to a total of £4-50) , two sets expressed interest in borrowing the Owl meter, and I had quiche and sponge cake. It was useful to catch up with local news.

French translation. I had asked a friend to translate a letter into French and German for me including material about the rainforest. He has completed the french part. Now I must type it out

Saturday 13 September 2008


What do you think this beautiful flower is called?

We found it growing as a creeper/bush in a clearing when Duncan and Ferdinand took us to Korup - tropical rainforest in Cameroon in West Africa (but that's another story)

It is Strophanthus.

It is used by some people in Africa for arrow poison.

Poison? The poison is called Strophanthin, and it acts a bit like Digitoxin or digitalin (the drug that comes from foxgloves) in that it affects the rate of heart beat and is a cardiac stimulant.

Its name comes from the words strophos (twisted cord or belt - referring to the tapering, twisted ends of the petals) and anthos - flower.

And it is indeed beautiful.

Friday 12 September 2008

Langcliffe Teas and getting sponsors

Last Sunday 7th September I thought "I must work on getting some sponsors."

So I went to Langcliffe Institute. They do wonderful teas there over summer. There is usually a second had book sale in the church opposite too. They hire the village hall to different organisations most Sundays - and this Sunday it was to Settle Parish Church- who used it for lunches as well as teas.

I had both!

A kind retired clergyman donated £3-00
A kind hiker donated £2-00

This effort cost me £3-50 for lunch and £2-50 for afternoon tea. - Is this a profit?.

But delicious quiche, and succulent cream cake - and an inch to my waist line.

Another charity will be providing sustenance this coming Sunday

Thursday 11 September 2008

Greenbelt 2008

Fri 22- Mon 25 Aug 2008 (link to longer picture report)

I had never been to Greenbelt.
I have never been to ANY festival - (three folkmusic festivals, but they are different.)

Christian Ecology Link has had a stall at Greenbelt for quite a few years and people had asked me if I was going. Brendan Bowles of A Rocha Climate Stewards who had promised to send me new information on A Rocha Ghana asked if I was going.

I looked at my calendar and thought "I could go"
I looked at the Weather forecast and thought "I could go"
I read a self-help book advocating doing exciting things even if outside your normal comfort zone - so that you don't regret not doing them later. "I could go"

I phoned JB a contact who lives two miles away to see if he had floor space. - He had relatives staying. "You can borrow our tent" he said. "Uhh," I thought.
I looked at the damp wet ground at Settle. "Uhh," I thought.
I looked at the price of a cheap tent in Settle - "Uhh - it will just be "stuff" in my house afterwards." I thought.

Fortunately - thank you J.B. - the relatives would not be coming till later, and he offered a bed.

So off I went.
Settle to Cheltenham by train is about 170 miles (340 miles return) and this would produce 80kg of CO2. Some websites say we should only produce 2000kg CO2 each per year to be fair to everyone else in the world. That's 6kg a day - Hmmm.

But once there mine host lent me his bike.

I had a great time at Greenbelt and have written about it with pictures here

What has this got to do with habitats, species and forests?
Well, I spent a very happy Sunday moring up on Cleeve Hill, away from the Festival, finding wild flowers including the stemless thistle (below) and harebells with the festival in the distance(left). - If everyone valued wild flowers perhaps we could protect them better.

I put a few leaflets out on our CEL stall and hung up one of my instant folders. We collected signatures of people who would like to receive CEL news emails. - I would be able to tell them about the rainforest project later.

I heard little bits of two A Rocha Talks. David Bookless stresses important things about protecting species. People said his talks were good. Some children did a play about Creation. I am not sure if that had anything to do with the environment.

A girl from the USPG stall came to our stall and took the CEL email address - she has contacts in Brazil.

The Wild Life Trusts with a stall. They were doing a good job getting people to join their local Wildlife Trust.

I went to a workshop by Generous and have since been in contact with a girl who ran it. She has a blog

There were lots of items for sale on stalls from third world countries. I bought a mini-music instrument- talking drum and wonder if hardwood was used to make it...

I attended many worthy workshops and talks.

I met Brendan. He had emailed me the list of items that would be useful to fundraise for for the A Rocha Ghana Project - So I would read these when I got home.. see next blog entry.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Addingham Friendly Hour - Tea Visit

On 13th August thirty people from the old peoples club "Addingham Friendly Hour" based at Addingham Methodist Church had arranged to come for tea on the way back from their day out for a trip to Ribblehead Viaduct.

We had arranged for them to have tea in the church hall.

I was away teaching. Other members in our group (I am told) did a splendid job catering for this group.

In the morning there had been the children's holiday club in the church hall so their were extra decorations in the hall.

As well as paying the prearranged amount for the tea, the group had an extra collection at the end of the meal for the Rainforest fund.

A big thank you to all!

Tuesday 9 September 2008

More Nature Walks in Summer

In Summer I have taken four groups of people out on nature walks.

I have said on my "Sponsor me form" that I would take old people out on nature walks - i.e.(usually) use my car to get people out and then do a (very) short walk.

This has been a chance for me to go out too – Looking back, these trips have been very good days for me too.

I have taken four groups out. They were back in May and June (remember... we did have some sunny weather then).. Here are some pictures.

What have been the stumbling blocks?

1. Wet weather.

2. The difficulty of approaching people over taking them out - my shyness? I know quite a few people (slightly) through church or through the village or through friends - but it is a big leap from a chat about the weather etc to "Would you like to come out for a ride and walk to look at flowers?" (I only do this with people who I already have some form of contact with)

3. My last minute decisions to ask people to go out - People usually need more notice.

This year has been an amazing year for all three species of cotton-grass Eriophorum spp. that grow near here. I enjoyed showing people the Great crested grebe nest and its eggs near the bird hide.

Monday 8 September 2008

The Owl - Energy Monitor

The Owl Meter

This meter measures how much electricity your house is using -

Once it is set up (and it only takes a minute once you know what to do), it is easy and fun to measure how much electricity individual items use in units of KW, or in pence per hour or even in CO2 produced.

I bought four OWL meters from a friend (though Christian Ecology Link) who has ordered them bulk for his church and contacts. (You can also get them direct www.theowl.com for £35).

I have sold one on. With the other three I am offering them on loan to people locally – for a small donation to the Rainforest Fund.

I helped at the Christian Ecology Link Stall at Greenbelt, where we (CEL) were able to pass on 4 Owls.

Sunday 7 September 2008

Seven updates and "Shun meat" says UN Climate chief"

Three months gap since my last posting! I have been away - Scotland, England, Ireland -and busy teaching and botanising while the flowers are out!– But - We have continued raising money. To catch up I will add seven sections over the next few days.

1) More Nature Walks.
2) The Owl Meter - Measures electricity consumption for each household item -
3) Trip to Ireland - Peat bogs
4) Addingham Friendly Hour – Visit to Settle for Tea
5) A Rocha Ghana – Individual items for which to raise money.
6) Greenbelt - pictures -
7) An opportunity to Talk to the Women’s Group at my church.

On the radio this morning there was an item "Shun meat, says UN climate chief"

I am glad that on the bbcnews website it is at this moment currently the most read article

“UN figures suggest that meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport.”

“The FAO figure of 18% includes greenhouse gases released in every part of the meat production cycle - clearing forested land, making and transporting fertiliser, burning fossil fuels in farm vehicles, and the front and rear end emissions of cattle and sheep.”

“There are various possibilities for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming animals. They range from scientific approaches, such as genetically engineering strains of cattle that produce less methane flatus, to reducing the amount of transport involved through eating locally reared animals. “

“Methane emissions from UK farms have fallen by 13% since 1990.
But the biggest source globally of carbon dioxide from meat production is land clearance, particularly of tropical forest, which is set to continue as long as demand for meat rises.”