Curating environmental concerns, some alarming, some a little more hopeful, most have links to help dig into the story more fully. Over time things will be added or taken off. Please do make suggestions in the comments. -Some could become further ‘prayabouts’. Mostly there are no directions 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 …
If you’d like to have a ‘signs of hope’ for thanksgiving, this article has an extensive listing.
Sunday -new life – signs of hope, renewal, repair
Monday -creation Spirit – air and atmosphere
Tuesday -Advent themes – order & law, ngo’s,
Wednesday -incarnation – soil, the marginalised,
Thursday -Epiphany themes- water, -seas, rivers, lakes , information and media,
Friday -Lent, Cross – The powers that be; governance, provisioning,
Saturday -Saints – activists, scientists
Unallocated -usually because it’s hard to categorise into just one, or I’m still thinking about it!
Sunday -new life – signs of hope, renewal, repair
Algramo are a Chilean company who may be able to take retail refill from middle-class fad to mass adoption, … they’ve done a bunch of deals with bigger corporations, including Nestle and Unilever. …in October they launched a partnership with Lidl. Three Lidl stores are trialling detergent refill machines right now. Like in Chile, refill customers make a saving, and the refill option is the cheapest detergent in the store. This is plastic-free shopping that benefits those on low incomes… they’re a case study in the Story of Stuff series on plastic… see for yourself how their system works…
Across at least 12 million acres of Niger, woodlands have been re-established with little outside help, almost no money, and without driving people off their land. The trees here weren’t planted; they were encouraged to come back naturally, nurtured by thousands of farmers. Now, fresh trees are popping up in village after village. As a result, soils are more fertile and moister, and crop yields are up. Neighboring countries already are racing to follow Niger’s example. But experts say other continents, too, should be looking to Niger as a model. “It’s a really inspiring story,” says Sarah Wilson, a postdoctoral forest researcher at Canada’s University of Victoria, who studied Niger’s rebirth. “It’s the kind of restoration we want. It just spread from farmer to farmer.” Article.
“COP27 ended with an agreement that a fund would be set up during 2023 to provide finance to countries facing the worst climate impacts… there is still a long road and many political battles ahead to ensure that the fund is set up and financed on an equitable basis… need to ensure the fund operates and is funded in a just way, and that it’s paid for by taxing the big polluters that have caused the climate crisis in the first place… The most pressing issue is building public support to make a commitment of new and additional finance (not aid money) to the fund, in proportion with historic carbon emissions, and to tax big polluters like BP and Shell to pay for it….” Read in full.
Greener steel production: In the Boston Metal cell, “an inert metallic anode is immersed in an electrolyte containing iron ore and then electrified. The cell heats to 1600C, and electrons split the bonds in the iron ore. The result is a clean, high purity liquid metal that can be sent directly to ladle metallurgy — no reheating required.” The output is really pure iron, which can then can be turned into steel with the addition of precise amounts of carbon or other alloys.
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.
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.
This yeast oil … roasts his unsold leftover bread, grinds it up and …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 … 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”.
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.”
Monday -creation Spirit – air and atmosphere
Agriculture’s environmental impact has taken a larger spotlight in recent years, and climate advocates continue to push for stronger commitments at both a national and global level to reduce food-related emissions—especially methane gas. One place where significant progress could be made would be at the upcoming COP28 global climate talks being held in November in the United Arab Emirates. As the Guardian reported, only a third of the world’s countries have included policies to cut emissions from agriculture in the climate plans they’ve submitted under the Paris agreement. Advocates are also pushing more nations to sign onto the global methane pledge, under which 111 countries have already promised to collectively reduce methane emissions 30 percent below 2020 levels by the end of the decade (source)
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.
… what the UN’s panel of climate scientists actually says about carbon capture technologies … Deploying carbon capture at a large-enough scale to matter to the climate may not be economically or technologically feasible. Former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond suggested as much, speaking in 2007 at a National Petroleum Council event: “If you tried to inject all the supercritical CO2 that came from all the coal-fired power plants, you end up moving more and more liquids than the oil and gas industry moves today, just for CO2. So it is a huge, huge undertaking,” he said, according to an E&E News transcript, noting that the technology had never been demonstrated at scale. “You can’t assume that’s going to happen. And the cost is going to be very, very significant.” From this article. There are some potentially hopeful developments, though the devil may be in the detail: will the costs make it practical, for example? And the video there talks about things that could be made with the methonol: -are we talking plastics?
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 soot, hydrofluorocarbons, 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.
Rainwater across the globe has been found to be too polluted for humans to safely drink, a study has claimed. Exposure to high levels of these manmade ‘per-‘ and ‘polyfluoroalkyl substances’ (PFAS) has been linked to health problems including fertility issues, higher cholestoral levels and certain types of cancer… “There is nowhere on Earth where the rain would be safe to drink, according to the measurements that we have taken… We can’t escape it… we’re just going to have to live with it. But it’s not a great situation to be in, where we’ve contaminated the environment to the point where background exposure is not really safe.”
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, … 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)
This one seems too good to be true but also seems plausible: “As our climate emergency intensifies day by day, MEER aims to directly tackle the most imminent threat, Earth’s rising temperatures, with the help of solar reflectors installed on rooftops, open spaces and farmland, redirecting portions of sunlight back into space before it has a chance to heat our planet. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is absolutely necessary, and enhancing natural carbon sinks is also essential. But we will break through deadly temperature boundaries before these slow-response strategies can start to cool the planet.” See more…
Tuesday -Advent themes – law, ngo’s, the nations. cities …
“The world’s top 1% of emitters over 1,000 times more CO2 than the bottom 1%.” …this from the International Energy Agency.Their latest piece of analysis looks at the breakdown of CO2 emissions by income, and finds that emissions are grossly tilted towards the top… almost half of all energy related emissions come from the top 10% of emitters – who are also the wealthiest. The lowest 10% of emitters have just 0.2% of emissions to their name… the top decile of the world’s population is 782 million people. If you’re reading this in the US or Europe, you’re likely to be part of it
Investors and other financial institutions should support this call for improved financial governance, and also advocate wider financial system reform, including changing the ‘rules of the game’ so that we acknowledge our economies are embedded in nature. And the IMF and World Bank’s governance and missions must be renewed to recognise both the economic power of emerging markets, giving a greater voice to underrepresented countries, and the need to attract private investment in public goods such as improved public health infrastructure, climate adaptation, and nature-based solutions. Tackling climate breakdown, delivering a just transition, and building lasting resilience rely on forging a global economy that is not just net zero but also nature-positive. The good news is that opportunities for scaling such investment continue to grow. And with the World Economic Forum highlighting ‘biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse’ as a critical risk over the next decade, there is no time to lose. Read full article here.
Environmental lawyers ClientEarth have filed the lawsuit against the 11 directors at the high court in England. It is the first case in the world seeking to hold corporate directors liable for failing to properly prepare their company for the net zero transition, ClientEarth said. ClientEarth, which has a token shareholding in Shell, is suing under the UK Companies Act, and is supported by a group of large pension funds and other institutional investors. It argues a global transition to low-carbon energy is inevitable as world governments act to end the climate crisis and that Shell’s failure to move fast enough threatens the company’s success and would waste its investors’ money on unneeded fossil fuel projects… The high court will now decide whether ClientEarth’s claim will proceed… also sued this month in London’s high court by 14,000 people from two Nigerian communities, who claim Shell is responsible for devastating pollution of their water sources. Report here.
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.
…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...
ClimateOS, the integrated platform developed by … ClimateView, aims to help cities plan and manage their transition to zero carbon by breaking it down into distinct but interconnected “building blocks”. Combining data-crunching and analytics, the blocks are in effect mini-models, individually showing the effects of a wide range of high- to low-carbon environmental levers, and collectively generating a comprehensive socioeconomic picture. “Cities get the big, integrated picture.They can connect emissions, climate actions and now also economics, at a system-wide level. They see what activities drive emissions, and what the effects of reducing them will be. It allows them to simulate, and understand, the ‘what if’ scenarios.” More info.
Wednesday -incarnation – soil, the marginalised, food
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.
Michael Fakhiri’s report highlights structural constraints and outlines how a just transition to agroecology could provide a way forward… hunger has been on the rise since 2015. In 2021, between 702 million and 828m people were affected, 103m more than during the 2019-20 period and 46m more than in 2020. The gender gap … In 2021, 31.9 per cent of women were moderately or severely food insecure, compared to 27.6 per cent of men… the world is in a food crisis. because of a failure to co-operate and co-ordinate efforts to alleviate it, thus enabling the growing influence of agribusiness and commodity speculation… to improve what is a dire situation …the international legal framework for the right to food should be updated to include trade policies informed by food sovereignty and labour rights instead of being simply about buying and selling edible commodities… [currently, the] priority is shareholder profits not public good. Moreover, states are constrained in their actions as regards food policy because of World Trade Organisation edicts limiting domestic support and public stockholding, together with intellectual property rights favouring transnational corporations. Newspaper report here.
…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….
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.”
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.
…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.
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
Thursday -Epiphany themes- water, -seas, rivers, lakes , information and media,
Oceans soak up about a third of all carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere, making it the world’s biggest carbon reservoir. And now, researchers have come up with a way to remove carbon dioxide from the oceans… easy to deploy, and does not require expensive membranes or chemicals, write the MIT engineers in a paper published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. It needs less energy than other technologies to capture carbon, such as directly capturing the gas from air. Plus, the researchers’ preliminary analysis suggests that this ocean capture system could be economically feasible… estimate the cost of the system to be between $50–100 per ton of carbon dioxide. Direct air capture today costs between $250–600 per ton from Anthropocene article.
The Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass three times faster now than in the 1990s and contributing to global sea level rise.
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
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,”
“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
Friday -Lent, Cross – The powers that be; governance, provisioning, forests, harms …
… the UK has contributed nearly £1bn towards the Clean Technology Fund since 2011. Such financial support for climate-impacted communities is vitally important and the clear responsibility of industrialised nations like the UK. However, our investigation shows that UK climate aid is also trampling over the rights of marginalised communities. Read more…
Vanuatu called on other nations to join them in establishing a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, a proposed international mechanism that aims to explicitly address the source of 86% of CO2 emissions that cause climate change: fossil fuels. The President of Vanuatu His Excellency Nikenike Vurobaravu made the historic call on the floor of the UN General Assembly, making Vanuatu the first nation-state to call for an international mechanism to stop the expansion of all new fossil fuel projects, and manage a global just transition away from coal, oil and gas.
An action plan for Cop28 that requires donors to contribute to climate finance based on their capacity to pay – and, in the case of loss and damage, based on historic liability for greenhouse gas emissions – should be the starting point for the next round of climate finance… What we now need is the political will. -Full article. Also this comment: “Yet to be determined is how the fund will be administered, who will pay into it, and which countries will receive money.”-See more.
In the 1970s it looked as if Nepal’s forests were going to be lost entirely. They have recovered spectacularly, a result of switching from government management to community control. The Verge has the story. (A good reminder that the choice between government control and privatisation is a false binary, and the best solutions are often the democratic and inclusive ones in the middle.) It’s not a one-off either, as studies are validating similar approaches in Brazil.
… 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/
Saturday -Saints – activists, scientists
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.
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
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.
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).
Unallocated, so far …
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]
Some of the differences between countries are surprising: Canada consumes more of everything, even more meat than Brazil.
Something to pray to see more of expressed in the life of the world.