Prayabouts

A place for collecting and curating things I find myself holding before God in relation to climate change and environmental concerns. Some are alarming, some a little more hopeful, most have links to help dig into the story more fully. Additions and subtractions will take place over time. I’m very happy for you, dear reader and fellow-prayist, to make suggestions or offer updates in the comments. It may be that some comments could become further ‘prayabouts’.

A brief note on format. Mostly there are no directions or suggestions about how to pray: these are things to hold before God and over time to get a sense of the right sort of petitions that may be inspired as we pray about them.

Andii

So, holding before God

  • Environmentally, tackling deforestation is about more than just carbon. REDD+ (“reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,”) programs deliver numerous other environmental benefits. For example, tackling deforestation reduces soil erosion, repairs water systems, enhances water quality, and increases resilience to drought and floods… Where local community has been engaged in efforts to halt deforestation, and where residents can clearly see the indirect and direct benefits of projects, these have been far more successful. Evidence suggests that deforestation is lower in areas where Indigenous peoples’ collective land rights are recognized
  • …A series of complex challenges, including a lack of funding and political will as well as rising insecurity linked to extremist groups al-Qaida and the Islamic State in Burkina Faso, are obstructing progress on Africa’s Great Green Wall, according to experts involved in the initiative. There have been some modest gains for the project, which plans to build an 8000-kilometer (4970-mile) long forest through 11 nations across the width of Africa to hold back the ever-growing Sahara Desert and fend off climate change impacts, but many involved with the plan are calling for renewed momentum to combat both insecurity and environmental decline. Read more...
  • Four main pathways form the nature-security nexus. These pathways spell out the different ways in which environmental degradation and biodiversity loss interact with conflict, insecurity and peace:
    1. Ecosystem and biodiversity loss, livelihood insecurity and political instability
    2. The environment, conflict financing and organised crime
    3. Competition and conflicts around natural resources
    4. The impacts of war and conflict on the environment
    The scale of the environmental crisis and its critical importance in driving insecurity make it imperative that the UN system recognises and acts more comprehensively on this overarching challenge. The report lays out recommendations that outline critical starting points and possible next steps for UN organs, programmes, funds, specialised agencies and bodies to work towards a comprehensive environmental security agenda. Article here.
  • … a peer-reviewed study in the journal Nature in April… noted the existence of roughly 10,000 viruses with the potential to infect humans—the vast majority of which, researchers said, are already “circulating silently in wild mammals.” Global climate change and evolving land-use patterns will increase the potential for cross-species viral transmission as animals that were once geographically isolated begin to have increased contact with people https://insideclimatenews.org/news/07062022/monkeypox-zoonotic-diseases-spread-climate-change/
  • Corporate courts give fossil fuel companies the power to sue governments for taking action on the climate emergency. They are an obstacle to a clean energy transition and to achieving climate justice …Industry insiders reckon the amounts at stake could be over $9 trillion. The UK needs to drop corporate courts in new trade deals, and exit the Energy Charter Treaty …the UK has dropped corporate courts from the UK-Australia and UK-Canada trade deals. Now we need to keep up the pressure for the UK to exit the Energy Charter Treaty and stop joining Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • The IGSD paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed the huge potential for “buying time” to change the world’s energy systems by concentrating on cutting methane, and other SLCPs including soothydrofluorocarbons, ground-level ozone and nitrous oxide. These substances contribute almost as much to global heating as CO2, …Dreyfus said sharp cuts to methane and other SLCPs could result in temperatures lower by 0.26C by 2050, which is almost four times greater than the benefit of pursuing CO2 cuts alone
  • We urgently need to diversify global food production, both geographically and in terms of crops and farming techniques. We need to break the grip of massive corporations and financial speculators. We need to create backup systems, producing food by entirely different means. We need to introduce spare capacity into a system threatened by its own efficiencies. –Source article.
  • Climate change has been holding back food production for decades, with a new study showing that about 21% of growth for agricultural output was lost since the 1960s. That’s equal to losing the last seven years of productivity growth, according to research led by Cornell University and published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study was funded by a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Arctic ice is fast retreating: summertime ice coverage is now down to 20% of its 1970s levels. This climate breakdown is creating three potential areas for interstate competition, threatening the uneasy cooperation that has governed relations in the Arctic Circle…First, melting ice sheets are uncovering new sources for raw materials. Arctic oil and gas exploration and mining projects have grown rapidly… Second, as Arctic ice disappears, sea routes that were once impassable for much of the year are being opened up… The third and final potential conflict area also arises from the Arctic’s prime geographical location. Positioned at the shortest possible distance between the globe’s two major landmasses, the Arctic has long been ripe for militarisation.
  • …the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis)… want a mechanism for hard cash to be distributed to victims of climate disasters and they want it by Cop27. The details can be worked out along the way.jThe dialogue isn’t scheduled to end until 2024. Vulnerable nations simply cannot wait until then. Humanitarian aid is not keeping up with rocketing needs. And intensifying climate impacts have held back their economic growth in the last two decades. Had it not been for these losses, vulnerable countries would be 20% richer – money which could have been invested in resilient infrastructure, social protection measures and early warning systems to help societies prepare for future shocks. From report.
  • …soil can break down so quickly when it’s farmed. Under certain conditions, when farmers apply nitrogen fertiliser, the microbes respond by burning through the carbon: in other words, the cement that holds their catacombs together. The pores cave in. The passages collapse. The soil becomes sodden, airless and compacted. More here. …Almost single-handedly, through trial and error, Tolly has developed a new and revolutionary model of horticulture. At first it looks like magic. In reality, it’s the result of many years of meticulous experiments….
  •  “US right-wing groups with links to big oil are desperate to stop action against the climate crisis. Now they are trying to extend their reach into UK political debate.” A registered UK charity, the GWPF is one of the most vocal groups in British politics opposing the government’s ‘net zero’ plans and has been at the forefront of recent calls to restart fracking. The Tufton Street-based group’s trustees include former chancellor Nigel Lawson and Steve Baker, who leads the ‘Net Zero Scrutiny’ group of backbench Tory MPs and was recently criticised for sharing a paper by the group that denied the climate crisis…Of the £1.45m that the GWPF has received in charitable donations since 2017, at least 45% has come from the US….Craig Mackinlay and Steve Baker, the MPs leading the group, are regularly quoted on press releases from Net Zero Watch and have repeated some of its lines on the economic cost of net zero word-for-word. Read More
  • The world’s biggest fossil fuel firms are quietly planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts, a Guardian investigation shows. The exclusive data shows these firms are in effect placing multibillion-dollar bets against humanity halting global heating. Their huge investments in new fossil fuel production could pay off only if countries fail to rapidly slash carbon emissions, which scientists say is vital. (Originating article)
  • Last year, the folks at Our World in Data published an article and some graphics about how human diets affect land use. The conclusion, …is that if everyone in the world ate a vegan diet – one without any animal products at all – global agricultural land use would decrease by 75%. Rapid advances… in precision fermentation (PF), a process that allows us to program micro-organisms to produce almost any complex organic molecule (especially proteins), and cellular agriculture (CA), a process that involves growing animal tissue cells outside the animal. In Rethinking Food and Agriculture, we found that PF will make protein production 5 times cheaper by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035 than existing animal proteins, before ultimately approaching the cost of sugar. They will be up to 100 times more land efficient, 10–25 times more feedstock efficient, 20 times more time efficient, and 10 times more water efficient than animal products and they will also produce an order of magnitude less waste. This means that, by 2030, modern food products will be higher quality and cost less than half as much to produce as the animal-derived products they replace. \-But note this from George Monbiot: “threatened by intellectual property rights: it could easily be captured by the same corporations that now monopolise the global grain and meat trade. We should fiercely resist this: patents should be weak and anti-trust laws strong. Ideally, this farm-free food should be open source.”
  • NewClimate Institute, one of Net Zero Tracker’s partner groups, released an initial “corporate climate responsibility” report. It found net-zero pledges by 25 top global companies added up to, at best, an average 40% cut in emissions, not the 100% promised… fast and reliable systems to document, track and compare action on net-zero commitments will be crucial to efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from rising hunger and migration to more extreme weather… Net Zero Tracker’s work uses an algorithm to scrape the web for key terms such as “net zero” or “climate neutral” while filtering out irrelevant information, to more easily track and document publicly available pledges… The algorithmic approach can be at least 5-6 times faster than a manual search by people… More on this here.
  • The Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass three times faster now than in the 1990s and contributing to global sea level rise.
  • On Nov. 1st 2021, the @_GlobalAssembly‘s declaration was presented to world leaders at #COP26 stating that #Ecocide should be “enshrined in internat. & national laws, and firmly enforced alongside existing environmental protection laws.”
  • This yeast oil comes from right here in Gerboin’s own bakery. At the end of the day, he roasts his unsold leftover bread, grinds it up and delivers it to TUM, one of Germany’s most innovative universities. There, Brück’s team ferments the stale bread with a special yeast, and within two days, a yellowish oil is dripping steadily out of the lab’s centrifuge. This oil is then sent back to Gerboin, who uses it for baking and frying. “The yeast oil lasts longer than palm oil,” he says. “I can reuse it up to 60 times. I even make my Bavarian cream with it.” More importantly, it is a zero-waste, 100 percent sustainable solution. “We replace the conventional palm oil monocultures with a truly circular bio-economy without waste,” Brück says.
  • Women make up 80 percent of those forced to leave their home during climate catastrophes according to UN studies. They are also 14 times more likely than men to die during climate change related disasters.
  • The need to tackle what the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) has identified as the five key drivers of biodiversity loss: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of natural resources; climate change; pollution; and invasion of alien species.
  • “We call on Cop27 to establish an international financing mechanism for climate change loss and damage in solidarity with victims least responsible for, and least equipped to withstand, the increasingly extreme shocks driven by climate change,” (Finance ministers of the V20 group of vulnerable nations, a coalition of 48 developing countries, report here)
  • A Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law. AOSIS Member States … are starting to reject handouts, rather demanding debt relief and fair access to vital financing for mitigation and adaptation as a right. They are now going even further: threatening, in very clear terms, to take their claims for loss and damage to international courts and tribunals.
  • Making QE available to the global south. If the right partnerships were built at the next UN climate summit, COP27 in Egypt, then money created in richer nations could be directed to developing countries to fund climate action. It’s not the only approach. An alternative is the use of IMF Special Drawing Rights. These increase the amount of credit that a government has with the IMF, which it can then use to settle payments due to other countries. If SDRs could be directed towards mitigation and adaptation efforts and limited to those countries with the greatest financing need, they could, with climate QE, meet that funding challenge set out by Mottley in Glasgow when she called for an additional $500bn worth of SDRs to be issued every year for 20 years to unlock the carbon-cutting investments needed to limit heating to 1.5C.
  • The work of Client Earth, using not just legal angles but diplomatic ones to push for the end of coal, will continue to be really significant next year. Comfortingly, that extends far beyond Europe to very-hard-to-read China, where Client Earth claims to have trained 1,000 judges and prosecutors on regional pollution laws.
  • …many cities have done a good job at reducing local emissions. But, … urban dwellers consume a great deal of stuff from beyond their boundaries.

When a product or service is bought by an urban consumer in a C40 city, resource extraction, manufacturing and transportation have already generated emissions along every link of a global supply chain. Together these consumption-based emissions add up to a total climate impact that is approximately 60% higher than production-based emissions.

 The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°C World, by Arup, C40 Cites and the University of Leeds.

So it’s not enough to just cut direct emissions, we also have to cut the footprint of all the stuff that we consume… biggest source of emissions is a usual suspect – buildings and infrastructure. Here, the first thing to do is use less steel and concrete, substituting lower carbon materials and just building less …food, at 13 percent of emissions, actually has a bigger carbon impact in cities than cars. So we have to cut waste, eat less meat and dairy (preferably none), and even limit calories. I suspect that this will be a hard sell. … upfront emissions of building cars matters, totally a third of their total emissions. So we need to cut the numbers significantly (ambitiously, to zero), make them last longer, and reduce their weight by half, which could be done easily by banning SUVs and light trucks for non-commercial uses. …clothing and textiles have 4 percent of total emissions. It’s twice as high as aviation. So no more big shopping sprees for fast fashion; ambitiously, no more than three new items per year. Full article here. Also:  The single biggest factor in the carbon footprint in our cities isn’t the amount of insulation in our walls, it’s the zoning.

  • Science shows that to avoid ecological meltdown we need a two-third reduction in the impact of consumption in just 10 years, starting with rich countries. And yet, even our best examples of sustainable society still show huge and growing consumption emissions. This is because on their own, better technology and policy can’t green fast enough to keep up, when our mindsets, our cultures and our economic, political, technical and education systems are focused on more stuff.” -a movement where you take the jump—a movement fittingly named The JUMP. https://www.treehugger.com/take-the-jump-less-stuff-more-joy-5215018
  • From this article: …carbon footprint of those things that we can control of 2.5 tonnes of carbon per person per year as the 2030 target.
  • In early 2009 Danish oil and gas company DONG Energy began to change. … 2008 …DONG announced it would be pushing forward on a new vision, the 85/15, which stated that the 85% fossil fuel 15% renewable split in its power generation mix would be swapped within a generation and that this would be done through closing coal fired power plants and scaling up offshore wind power… in 2017, DONG, which had oil and gas in its name, sold its final oil and gas production assets and to reflect its fossil fuels-free future, the company rebranded as Ørsted, after the Danish scientist who discovered electromagnetism, Hans Christian Ørsted… “Now that we have transitioned, we want to help governments and businesses do the same and achieve their decarbonisation goals. That’s how we will realise our vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.” -Article.

Reduce and remove plastic packaging: “Nearly three-quarters of British people have experienced “anxiety, frustration or hopelessness” at the amount of plastic that comes with their shopping and 59% think supermarkets and brands are not doing enough to offer refillable, reusable or packaging-free products,”

Footprints of 10 Countries
Hot or Cool Institute

But as the table shows, some people are not even close to this. The Canadians, with a lifestyle pretty close to that of Americans, lead at 14.2 tonnes per year, followed by Finland. [I think that this may illustrate the impact of dairy produce]

diet
Hot or Cool Institute

Some of the differences between countries are surprising: Canada consumes more of everything, even more meat than Brazil.

  • The youth movement has moved on from school strikes …. We cannot have another Cop that holds them at arms length. Cop27 in Egypt must have proper representation built into the structure (in 2018 UN protocols were changed to allow youth leaders to participate in more of the process, but they still don’t have a seat in negotiations).
  • The Amazon rainforest is becoming less resilient, raising the risk of widespread dieback, new research shows. The study found that resilience – the ability to recover from events such as droughts or fires – has declined consistently in more than three quarters of the rainforest since the early 2000s.Experts believe the Amazon could soon reach a tipping point, crossing of which would trigger dieback and turn much of the forest to savannah, with major impacts on biodiversity, global carbon storage and climate change. / The collapse of the Amazon rainforest is inevitable if Jair Bolsonaro remains president of Brazil, … the far-right leader is more interested in placating the powerful agribusiness lobby and tapping global markets that reward destructive behaviour.

Consultancy Crondall Energy has been awarded a share of a £6.7 million UK Government pot to try to use North Sea infrastructure to solve the puzzle of energy storage. In partnership with Durham University, the pair have been awarded nearly £150,000 to develop a project which may ultimately help deal with the problem of intermittency in renewable energy sources like offshore wind. Over a five month period, the pair will explore the cost of using electricity to compress air and store it offshore in the UK North Sea. When such a system is reversed, the compressed air could be used to power a turbine to produce flexible electrical energy.

Something to pray to see more of expressed in the life of the world.

Doughnut economics diagram

A growing gap in green space provision divides the UK according to recent research, with people in northern cities having access to fewer parks than their southern counterparts. Nationwide, ethnically diverse communities and people living on low incomes are more likely to live in areas without accessible or high-quality wild places or parks, according to data from Natural England and the Office for National Statistics. These communities are more likely to suffer poorer health outcomes, with higher incidences of heart and lung disease, depression, diabetes and obesity. To address this inequity, a coalition of environmental charities has called for equal access to nature to be enshrined in law. This echoes proposals for a legal right to nature, which have been discussed by the United Nations. https://theconversation.com/green-space-access-is-not-equal-in-the-uk-and-the-government-isnt-doing-enough-to-change-that-177598

Mondays in climate emergency

There is a brief guide to the principles informing daily prayer in climate emergency here.

To hear and join in: audio

Open link to sound in another tab

— ɷˡˡ̷ —

God is the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it. [Isaiah 42:5]

Who is it that we seek?
We seek God: Maker, Begotten and Upholding.
Let’s seek God with all our heart
Amen. God be our centre.
Let’s seek God with all our soul
Amen. God be our vision.
Let’s seek God with all our mind
Amen. God be our wisdom.
Let’s seek God with all our strength
Amen. God be our souls’ shelter.

God, by your Spirit, move over the face of our hearts and minds.
order our decisions, enliven our attitudes and
enlighten our thinking; enticing our reflection towards  your Wisdom.
pause…
Reader: Let us listen for the word of life.
The Psalms and readings are announced and read. When all have been read:
Reader: God has sent forth the word
May it not return empty.
A framework for reflection, using the pattern of the Lord’s prayer may be used. We resume with a canticle:

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you made all things,
by your will everything persists
and was created *

Hallowed be your name in the Beloved by the Spirit;
as in the beginning, so now and for ever. Amen.

A collect may be said

Everliving God, the heavens declare your praise and yet cannot contain your glory. We join with all creation in honouring you.
Expressions of praise and thanks may be shared here
Blessèd are you, creator God;
to you be glory and praise for ever!
Your Breath was over the unformed creation, and your Spirit overshadowed Mary as the Christ was enwombed, and now flares up, intimating your delight in us, reassuring that we are your children,
Our God In heaven, you are as a father and a mother to us:
Hallowed be your name!

Creator God, send your Spirit forth to bring abundant life to human desolations: free us with truth; awaken us to the urgencies of just such times as this; empower the dispossessed.
There is a prayer guide here, a collection of concerns to prayabout and other resources here to help pray about climate-related matters… prayers or biddings, ending with:
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth. **
Create justice,
Grow peace
Renew creation.
… prayers or biddings, ending with:
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.
Everliving Lover of our souls, you draw all people to yourself, wooing us Spirit to spirit. We remember before you hearts and minds in need of turning to truth, life and love.
 prayers or biddings. The leader ends this section with:
Send forth your Spirit:
And renew the face of the earth.

Passionately faithful God; may the eternal flame of your Spirit burn in our souls and warm the lives we touch in person, process or in prayer.
prayers or biddings may be added here, ending with
Breathe your Spirit forth:
And renew the depths of our lives.

Provisioning God upholding all things by your Spirit, sustain us with the daily bread which earth has given and human hands have made
prayers or biddings for God’s provision may be added here, ending with
Breathe your Spirit forth:
And renew the depths of our lives.

We acknowledge that we have doused your Spirit, turned aside from Wisdom and begrudged others

Set aside our wrongs, we implore, help us to truly turn
to know
and offer
joyful forgiveness,

Breathe your Spirit forth:
And renew the depths of our lives.
Let us attend; Christ breathes upon us the peace and forgiveness of God.
a moment for quiet reflection on our forgiveness.

Father may your Spirit overshadow us: in all that challenges; do not let us fall away from you.
before God we think about the coming hours.
When we are becalmed
blow us forward into your purposes.
If we grow cold towards your ways and purposes,
Rekindle your love in our spirits.
If we find ourselves tested in a dry place,
Water our souls.
In our living of this day:
yours be the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

——————————————————————————————————-

Notes

 *  Revelation 4:11
** See Psalm 104:30

Daily Prayer in climate emergency navigation page -for reference.

Daily Prayer in Climate Emergency

The growing collection of daily prayers in the climate emergency can be seen further down. This collection is not yet complete, so come back here to see what’s new. The hope is that every so often a new office /form will be posted -often as it is tested out during a season. Any thoughts or comments you have, put into the comments section for whichever form you’re commenting on and those comments will be collected in due course and may inform further edits and the collection.

Don’t feel constrained to only use forms on their named day: each day has a salvation-history theme and so could be used more extensively during appropriate times of year; Sundays for Easter, Mondays -Pentecost, Tuesdays -Advent, Wednesdays -Incarnation, Thursdays -Epiphany, Fridays -Lent and Passion, Saturdays -Kingdom and saints.

| Sundays | Mondays | Tuesdays | Wednesdays | Thursdays | Fridays | Saturdays |

There are now an orders of prayer for Lent in Climate Emergency and Eastertide in Climate Emergency

There is also a more general ‘climate office‘ where the focus is much more on the climate crisis -just in case you’d like to use that occasionally.

Here’s the basic thinking behind the daily forms…

Many governments and organisations and churches have recognised that we are in a climate emergency, echoing the deep and consuming concerns of many of us about the accelerating effects of human production of carbon dioxide through industrial processes producing extreme weather events more frequently and changing the biomes of the world faster than living forms can adapt, leading to extinctions and precarity where once there was abundance. Added to this we find ourselves contemplating the harms of plastics leaking into ecosystems and the loss of natural wonders and beauty.

As we pray daily, many of the resources we have inherited to help us in our regular prayer, often do not acknowledge the climate emergency (many because they were written before it). On the other hand there are other prayer resources make the environment and climate concerns the whole of their concern. The difficulty with those which do not really mention it, is that we find ourselves not offered explicit encouragements, ways or words to lay before God our climate-related concerns. Yet, as we pray, those concerns are there with us and within us anyway -tangling up mentally with the words and prayers laid out for us to use. Yet, the difficulty with the very focused liturgies -that present only environmental themes and prayers- is that we do also come with other concerns in our hearts and minds: we still have work and family concerns, matters among our friends and in our churches, projects and outreach which are not directly related to climate change.

The main principle of the materials in this collection of daily prayer for climate emergency, is to work between those two approaches, holding both together. So, the aim is to acknowledge climate concerns explicitly and to offer words and ideas in prayer that allow for environmental appreciation, reflection and distress to be expressed and also to give room and means to reflect on and express other, everyday, concerns and other areas of interest to be laid before God. In short, to enable regular prayer in a climate emergency where other aspects of life go on.

Being as this is a collection under the ‘our commen prayer’ banner, there is a basic commitment to the main part of the prayers following the outline and commitments of the Lord’s Prayer -check out the principles here.

Actions and rituals

On this page, there are a number of ideas for actions and rituals that could be used with, for example, the climate lament ideas on this site.

Please try to use materials with a view to their recyclability, compostability and sustainability.

Mourning Armbands. There is a long tradition -now largely only seen on sports’ teams when they are remembering the death of one of their own- of wearing a black armband to signal a bereavement and to show one is in mourning. So the basic idea is simply to wear one for extinct species or habitats. Make your own and customise it. https://www.ehow.com/how_5143632_make-armband.html. Suggestion: to add to it a simple symbol or a word or two to make it clearer what is being mourned. Further development of this idea: to have a making workshop with prayers for the activity and to ‘bless’ the wearing of the completed armbands. The activity of donning the armband can be a significant moment to reflect and hold before God the grieving and the cause of grieving.

Sackcloth and ashes. The biblical phrase “repent in sackcloth and ashes” is still sometimes in use as a byword for recognising one was wrong about something. It harks back to times when these things were part of rituals expressing grief and/or repentance. Sackcloth could then, be used as an armband (see the armband section). Smaller pieces could be used as badges to be added to a coat or jacket. It is simple to use a safety pin to hold it in place. The suggestions about armbands could be brought to bear in the making and ‘commissioning’. One of the things that could be added might be an ashen symbol (maybe a cross maybe something else). It might be helpful to use a mix of oil and ash ( https://www.ehow.com/how_7530818_mix-palm-ash-oil.html ) to make the symbol. Other materials could be used, of course.

Imposition of humus &/or ash. ‘Imposition’ is a traditional church term which means ‘putting on’ -usually a forehead or hands are in mind and it’s commonly used for the act of smearing ash-oil mix on a forehead on Ash Wednesday. This idea is development of that. Humus is, of course, the dark soil-building material (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/humus/) rather than the chick-pea paste!

Anointing and smearing. See also the imposition of humus/ash section. Other materials -symbolic crude oil (apparently vegetable oil with red or dark food colouring can work for this). Symbolic blood has also been used. It can be applied to people or objects.

Prayer wall. For many people the go-to mental image of this might be the so-called Wailing Wall which is a foundation wall of what remains of the Temple in Jerusalem and is a place where Jewish pilgrims go to pray. One of the activities there is to place a written prayer into the cracks between the stones. Some places emulate this way of praying using small pieces of paper and a suitable wall (sometimes a pinboard or netting is used to ‘receive’ the paper).

Tears -symbolic the psalmist writes/recites of God storing our tears in a bottle. This could provide an action. An eye dropper is an effective way to deliver drops of water (symbolic tears) if some precision is needed about where they land. If not then fingers may well be suitable. Symbolic tears could be dropped into a bottle (try to find an attractive one which is transparent to allow the ‘tears’ to be seen. A flask or a caraffe might be suitable rather than a fairly standard thin-necked bottle. ‘Tears’ could be dropped onto objects or words or pictures as a way to specify symbolically the occasion of, or reason for, lament. People could be invited to moisten a cheek below their eye to symbolise tears. The dropping action could accompany particular words in a liturgy and be done in such a way as to be seen by most people present or it could be even more fully participatory and members of the congregation could be invited to come to where the tears may be dropped to drop them themselves.

Tolling a bell. Most people in western cultures would associate a single bell tolling slowly with an occasion of mourning, and this association is the basis for this symbolic suggestion. It could be done as a standalone action, perhaps with a symbolic number of rings. It could be done to accompany particular liturgical words.

Slow walk. Funeral processions often have a slow walk. This could be used and is most effective if done silently. It is probably most effective to be done with participants wearing sombre clothing and/or mourning armbands and with some people carrying some kind of symbolic object to make evident the occasion for mourning.

Penitential parade. This could be similar to the slow walk though there might be other actions accompanying it and perhaps a litany being recited as the walk takes place. It is recommended that if a litany is used, that the call and responses be clear and fairly succinct to enable onlookers and over-hearers to get a sense of what it is about. This might be an action that would suit a bell tolling or a unified action.

Cairn-raising. This is a traditional funereal practice in some parts of the world -placing small rocks and large stones over a body. The association with remembering and commemorating is widely understood and so inviting people to help to build a cairn to remember extinct species, for example, could be helpful.

Composting griefs. This in simple terms would involve writing griefs, words of lament onto a compostable material (using a non-toxic writing/drawing medium) and burying them or placing them into a compost bin or similar. The symbolism could be taken to be a recognition that our laments can become something that may in due course nourish life.

Earth Overshoot days

Earth Overshoot Day is the date in the year when humanity’s use of planetary resources and  ecological services in a given year exceeds what Earth's ecosystems can regenerate or replace in that year. In 2021, it falls on 29 July. Individual countries will also have different national dates most in the West will be well before July. The liturgy below is offered to be used in part or in whole for penitential-feeling gatherings for prayer. The materials are made available under Creative Commons licence to be freely used for non-profit purposes though please acknowledge the source with a link to this page and please put emendations and additions into the comments to share-alike. You can find ideas for symbolic Actions and rituals on another page on this site.

As we pray on this day when we recognise that we humans have collectively begun to use up more of the earth’s resources than can be replenished in a year, we gather in penitence. We recognise our greed, our pride and our selfishness. We recognise our lack of charity to our neighbours who consume so much less. We are appalled by the harms that we have built into our ways of life and infrastructure. We are penitent before our future selves, our children and their children.

Creator God, we are in awe of the cosmos you have made: its vastness, its minuteness, its beauty, its intricacy. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

O God, how gracious you are -bestowing upon us good gifts we don’t even deserve. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name.

How merciful you are -overlooking our unwholesomeness to hold us in good relation with you. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

Your compassion is wide and deep -slow to be offended and quick to mend our brokenness. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

You delight in all you have made and generously invite us to share in your delight. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

——————————-

Woe to us because humans are moving the created boundaries: exploiting natural systems faster than they can regenerate.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because human enterprise is financing its growth and development by liquidating the biophysical “capital” essential to our own existence.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because our lifeways are dumping waste faster than nature can absorb and recycle them.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who delay collective effort to reduce atmospheric carbon.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who overturn the godly wisdom of our forebears. O God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who harm their neighbours by unseen pollutants.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward from injury to the integrity of nature.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who finance the extraction of fossil carbon and its emission into the air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to foul the land or sea or air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to mislead by greenwash and disinformation.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who devise and promulgate laws which harm God’s good earth and its living creatures.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who employ algorithm or trick of mind to delay our collective efforts to justly reach net zero.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

————————

As ecosystems fray and wither,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As soils erode and become poorer,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As poisons accumulate and pollutants spread,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

Knowing the frailty of the systems that bring us our daily bread

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As the air heats, the oceans warm and biomes move,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we observe the growth of deserts

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we see the loss of glaciers and diminishment of polar ice,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

We cast our anxieties upon you, generous and faithful God

You open your hand:

supply us in season

Wise us up to respond

Grace us to share your provision

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
Into what will sustain earthly life, lead us

————————

Hearing again the woeful consequences as we err and stray from the ways of wisdom …

Mindful that tipping points into runaway environmental feedback effects glower above our heads…

let us throw ourselves upon the mercy and grace of God.

Bewailing and lamenting the saws at the trees, the fires of fossil carbon, the droughts ever more frequent and storms increasingly tempestuous, we return with anguish of heart to our Creator and Upholder.

Pause.

Who can we turn to for help but to you, O God -who shares our righteous indignation for these sins?

When we have followed too uncritically the habits of our nurture in housing and transport, diet and energy use:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we continued complicity with financial and organisational failures to account for ecocidal business models:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have failed to push back against the influencers and greenwashers promoting and normalising unsustainable lifestyles and aspirations:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have unquestioningly accepted bad laws and have not pressed for better laws.

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

Blessed are they whom the Lord forgives, whom God softens with compassion and fiercens with boldness for the poor and the planet.

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who fend off apathy, censoriousness and hard-heartedness

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue justice: the righting of wrongs; restoring true peace.

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who nurture life and the relationships that support it

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who consume as planetary good neighbours

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who reuse, recycle and reduce their consumption

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue the way of the cross, the path of nonviolence.

For they live in the kindom of God

————————

Keep us, Creator of nature’s cycles, from wasteful habits, steer us from carbon fuel conformity, defend us from the wiles of adverts, deflect us from unsustainable choices.

Lead us into gracious and merciful living;
generous and respectful within all you have made.
As we contemplate your creation, O God,
we see wildness and order,
chance and necessity,
Freedom and limits.
Grant us to use lovingly our freedoms
to be wise in living the order of things
And wary of our vulnerability to misleadings.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory.
Now and forever, amen

Jesus comes to us and says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
He breathes on us and says; “Receive the Holy Spirit”
       ….Pause, breathe in, recognising God’s Spirit is with us.
Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God
Who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.