Thursday, 29 September 2011

Moorsholm Community Wildlife Garden wins Northumbria in Bloom awards!

Moorsholm in Bloom, including the St Mary's Community Wildlife Garden, has picked up awards at the recent Northumbria in Bloom 2011 Awards. Congratulations!

PCC Secretary Ken Gillance told us, "We won the Gold Medal for the 'Best conservation project' in the Special Awards, and in the Major Awards we won the Best Village class (population 301 - 1000), Gold Medal and 'The Wansbeck Trophy' for the Best Village of that size, in the Northumbria area.

"The work in the village and the promotion through the Northumbria in Bloom campaign, is all done by our groundforce team 'Moorsholm in Bloom' a voluntary community group which also cares for the churchyard and church hall grounds. The conservation award, whilst based on a number of heritage features across the village, did also include the conservation work in our churchyard which the judges inspected and were very impressed by. The team are highly delighted with these results, particularly as it is only our second year of entry in the competition.

"On Sunday 28 August 2011 we held a joint service for all the Danby Castleton Benefice led by Revd Dr Michael Hazelton of Danby, which included a blessing of the new garden and official opening."

Congratulations to all involved in Moorsholm!

Eleanor Course

Yorkshire campaigners ask: The Conservatives – The Greenest Government Ever?

On Saturday 1 October over one thousand campaigners from the north of England will gather at Manchester Cathedral to urge the Conservative party to live up to its green promise by doing everything in its power to make sure global climate talks deliver for the poorest people in the world.

On the eve of the Conservative party conference in Manchester Christian Aid, CAFOD and Tearfund will warn the party not to abandon its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever.’

Eighteen months on from David Cameron’s promise, the charities now want to see the Prime Minister playing a proactive role in delivering firm climate policy that works for the world’s poorest.

The group of charities will come together for an ecumenical service which will begin at 5pm

Tearfund President, Elaine Storkey, will lead the service and speakers will include leading South African theologian Professor Tinyiko Malueke and Christian Aid’s Director Loretta Minghella.  This will be followed by a procession from 6.15pm to the G-Mex centre (where the Conservative party conference is being held) and on to Albert Square.  Here a candlelit vigil and a minute’s silence will be held to stand in solidarity with the world’s poorest who are already suffering the impacts of climate change.

The campaigners will stress that developing countries desperately need world leaders to take stronger global action on climate change, and that the UK must take a lead in the G20 and the upcoming international climate negotiations taking place in Durban, South Africa in November.

North East campaigner, Valerie Barron, said, “It is vital that our government lives up to its promise to be the greenest ever.  We need strong leadership from them ahead of the UN climate conference in Durban.  I felt compelled to make sure they hear this in Manchester.”

In 2009, developed nations pledged to have a fund up and running by 2013 and that this should deliver $100bn of climate finance per year by 2020 to help poorer countries cope with the impact of climate change. But the charities fear that the economic crisis may result in rich nations not fulfilling this pledge or finding new sources of finance to fulfil this.

Climate finance is key to making the next UN climate conference in South Africa a success, the charities say, but currently there is no agreement on where money for the new Green Climate Fund, agreed at UN climate talks last year, will come from. These discussions are happening at the G20.

Christian Aid’s Director Loretta Minghella said, “We need the government to galvanise international support for the extension of the Kyoto Protocol, without which there would be no enforceable rules on carbon emissions and we would risk climate anarchy.”

The charities acknowledge that the UK has, in the past, positioned itself as a world leader on climate finance issues, but that in the midst of the economic crisis, such leadership is notable for its absence.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - what can you change?

We hope that this focus on purchasing has helped you think about what you buy and what changes you could make to help our world.

Is there anything your church could do with its purchasing power?  Could you become a Fairtrade Church, use Fairtrade communion wine or start a community Grow Zone?

As an individual, could you plan meals that only use British food, buy recycled toilet paper, or Fairtrade wine?  Let us know!

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - buying Fairtrade

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and local sustainability. You can read more about Fairtrade here and discover what you can buy and what it means to the producers.

We interviewed Christine Church from One World Shop in Hull - watch the video to discover how what you purchase can change people's lives.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - buying recycled

Buying recycled products means less rubbish ends up in landfill sites and fewer valuable natural resources are wasted. For the recycling industry to be able to work, there has to be a market for recycled materials. By buying recycled products, you are helping create this market and ensure that valuable materials don’t go to waste. Buying recycled doesn’t mean having to skimp on quality either.

The most common recycled product is paper. You can easily find recycled toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, tissues, stationery and packing materials, as well as printer, copier and writing paper.

Other recycled products that are available in supermarkets and on the high street include:
  • wine and water glasses – and even champagne flutes
  • glass jugs and bowls
  • school uniforms
  • bin bags and tin foil
  • reusable shopping bags
  • newspapers
  • clothing, including fleeces made of recycled plastic
  • furniture
  • play materials and toys
  • tiles and bathroom fittings
Try searching online for 'recycled products' or have a look at the UK recycled products guide. 

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - grow your own?

If you have your own allotment or garden, or even a grow bag in your yard, you'll know how satisfying it is to grow your own food and keep your food miles low.  Could you form a group at church to grow food, perhaps even inviting members of the community to get involved? 

Grow Zones is a community project bringing help and inspiration to your garden, wonderful food to your table and adding friendship and purpose to your life.

A Grow Zones team clubs together to share skills, tools and produce to eliminate food miles and turn gardens over to permaculture at whatever level you want – from a redesign of your whole plot to simply helping and sharing with someone else’s once or twice a year.

The project gets people growing; introduces permaculture ideas; forms community; and teams even benefit from insurance cover for their group activities. Backed up by the Grow Zones Kit you’ll have all the resources, ideas and inspiration you need to get going.

To order a Grow Zones Kit and find out more visit

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Focus on purchasing - buying locally

If you buy products that are made locally, you reduce the amount of fuel burned in transporting those goods to your door.  It's hard to buy a washining machine that's made locally, but you can buy locally grown food.

17th September to 2nd October is British Food Fortnight when retailers encourage people to buy food grown in Britain.  It's also the York Festival of Food and Drink until 25th September, where local producers will be showing off the best of local food and drink.  If you want to know more about food and drink producers in our area, deliciouslYorkshire has some great lists of where to shop. 

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

What does purchasing have to do with the environment?

When you shop, the decisions you make really do matter.  The products that we buy, including the food we eat, has taken energy to produce and transport it to you.  Energy produced by burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change, which can lead to devastating floods or droughts in developing countries. 

As the customer, you have a lot of power.  Ask for what you want!  If you’re looking for greener products, want to know how something was made or can’t find the information you need, ask the manufacturer or retailer.  Keep asking if you have to.  If more people ask, retailers are more likely to start stocking greener products and providing the information you want.

Over the next week, we’ll be looking at how buying locally, buying recycled and buying Fairtrade can make a huge difference to our world. 

Eleanor Course

Monday, 19 September 2011

Focus on Purchasing

From 19th to 25th September we're looking at purchasing as part of the Year of the Environment. We’ll be posting ideas and stories on our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts looking at how you can use your spending power to make a difference to the world.

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling has written collects for the Year of the Environment – here’s the collect for purchasing. Could you pray this throughout our period of focusing on purchasing?

Heavenly Father, help us as consumers to use the power that we enjoy to influence the world of commerce for good.
Make us mindful of the provenance of the goods we buy;
show us how to guard against the exploitation of people, the ill-treatment of living creatures, the misuse of the environment and damage to this planet,
and give us an appreciation of the true cost of everything we buy, and of the fuel and resources used to bring it to us.
Save us from indifference, and help us to act responsibly,
that we may play our part in bringing fairness through trade and commerce to people wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Eleanor Course

Headstone Cleaning

Elizabeth Hardcastle from the Living Churchyards Project has alerted us to a product for cleaning headstones that could harm the delicate ecosystem of our churchyards.  HG Headstone Cleaning Spray is widely available, and is designed to remove algae and moss growth from gravestones.   These algaes and mosses are vital to the ecology of churchyards, and there’s a possibility the chemicals could damage the stones as well.  If you want to make your churchyard a greener, more environmentally friendly place, please encourage people not to use these sprays.  For more information on managing your churchyard to help the natural habitat and ecology of native plants and animals, visit the Living Churchyards website.  Elizabeth Hardcastle is the Project Officer, and she will be pleased to discuss any thoughts or aspirations relating to your churchyards.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Green Travel Sunday

Churchgoers around Northallerton and Thirsk will be travelling to their Sunday services in environmentally friendly ways on 18th September.  The Revd Ian Houghton, vicar of 11 churches, will be driving an electric car around his parishes.

Canon Richard Rowling is Rural Dean of Mowbray (the churches in the Northallerton and Thirsk area).  He said, “As part of the Diocese of York’s Year of the Environment, we’ve challenged churchgoers in the Deanery of Mowbray to travel to church in green ways on 18th September.  I hope lots of people will walk or cycle to church instead of driving, and maybe even decide to travel green on other occasions.  The natural world is a gift from God to enjoy; but we are also called to join with God in sustaining and caring for it.”

The Revd Ian Houghton, vicar of 11 churches including Cowesby, Felixkirke, and Leake said, “I’ve been lent an electric car, a Peugeot iOn by Simon Bailes Peugeot in Northallerton, so that I can travel to my churches in an environmentally friendly way on 18th September. I can easily cover 60 miles on a Sunday, visiting my churches, so there’s no way I could walk that!  The electric car from Simon Bailes will help me to reduce my carbon footprint and help the planet.”

Bridget Charlton of Simon Bailes said, “Eco-driving is becoming really popular across our region and it is extremely positive to see local communities embracing the new technology and playing their part in becoming more environmentally aware. The iOn is ideal for these types of trips and will make a real difference to Ian’s carbon footprint.”

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Harvest Festival Resources

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling, the Archbishop's Advisor for Rural Affairs, has put together some excellent resources on celebrating Harvest Festivals. You can download these here.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

What will I do?

We hope this focus on transport has helped you to think about ways you could travel in a more environmentally-friendly way. What changes can you make?

I’m going to get a bike. Bike Rescue in York that sells recycled bikes – I’m going to go along and find a bike that suits me, and get cycling. I want to be able to cycle to do my grocery shopping, and cycle to my allotment. Eventually, I’d love to be able to bike to work – but that may take some time to get my fitness levels up!

What will you do?

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Going on holidays

Air travel is a growing contributor to climate change. In 2006, air travel accounted for 6.4 per cent of the UK’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas causing climate change. Forecasts suggest that this could grow. If no action is taken, carbon dioxide emissions from aviation could make up around 10 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions by 2020.

Reducing the amount you travel can lessen your impact on climate change – and could also save you time and money. Instead of holidaying abroad could you think about taking a holiday within the UK? Or, if you do want to holiday abroad, taking one longer holiday will have a lower impact than going on several short trips if you are flying each time.

When making journeys in the UK, and even internationally, there is often the option of getting there without flying. On average, travelling by rail results in about a third of the CO2 emissions of the equivalent domestic or short-haul flight in Europe. Travelling by train is often as convenient as flying too.

If air travel is unavoidable, you could think about offsetting your emissions.

Planes burn fuel when they fly, and this produces emissions that contribute to climate change. You can compensate for your emissions by paying someone to make an equivalent emissions saving or reduction – this is called carbon offsetting.

More and more air travel companies now offer an offsetting scheme when you purchase a flight. There is also a government quality mark you can look for, which could help you choose a good quality scheme. For more information, see the link below.

Carbon offsetting can help reduce the impact of your activities in the short term. However, it’s not a substitute for producing fewer emissions in the first place.

Road traffic is a major contributor to air pollution near airports. Leaving your car at home and finding other ways of travelling to the airport can help reduce climate change effects and local air pollution
Airports usually have good public transport links, and you may find a bus or train quicker and more relaxing than going by car.

Eleanor Course

Friday, 9 September 2011

Cycling to work

As well as taking a more environmentally friendly way to get to church, could you walk or cycle to your workplace? Quite a few people cycle to work at Diocesan House – one of these people is Anita Ranyell, Administrator & PA to Canon Dr Ann Lees, Diocesan Board of Education.

"I live in Stillington, 9 ½ miles from Clifton Moor, and I got a job working in the education team at Diocesan Office, 3 years ago. I thought there were only 2 ways for me to get to work – by car or bus (and only on the bus if I was desperate as there was still quite a walk from the bus stop!).  I never gave a thought to the rising fuel and car running costs, keeping fit or my impact on the environment.

Having always been a keen cyclist (I’d like to think it’s in my blood, my second cousin Gatis, is a professional road bicycle racer in Latvija), I hadn’t thought about it as a means of transport to work. Having decided to “fitten up” I decided to cycle to work one day a week. Friday seemed a good day as it is “dress down day” so it would be ok to look a little more casual in the office. I may only be taking one car off the road one day a week, but I have looked into the statistics; both local and global pollution would be reduced if each car-driving person pledged to use their car 30% less, starting immediately. This is a responsible, individual contribution to a global problem. At least 30% of vehicle use is optional – either recreational or lazy driving when walking, cycling or public transport would be a better choice.

The environment is also doing something good for me; just last week as I cycled through Sutton on the Forest, I heard the twit twoo of two barn owls, a sound I would never have heard had I been in the car with Radio 2 on full volume.  I was also really fortunate to have a woodpecker fly parallel with me one day, just a few feet away, going from tree to tree, a sight I have never seen before and won’t forget. 

Of course it is better when the sun shines, but even in the rain it is still a win win situation as everyone benefits. I’m now looking to extend to 2 days a week, then who knows..?"

Thursday, 8 September 2011

What could our congregation do?

Could you encourage your church to try to travel to church without using their cars on a Sunday this year? Could this be on Sunday 18th or 25th September, the Sundays either side of World Car Free Day on 22nd September?

The Deanery of Mowbray is encouraging its churches to have environmental awareness Sunday on 18th September. People are being encouraged to walk, cycle, ride or share a lift to get to church, or to offset their mileage if they have to use their car. There’s more about carbon offsetting here.

Eleanor Course

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

World Car Free Day

Each year, 22nd September is celebrated as World Car Free Day. This not only a day to give up your car, but also a chance to put pressure on politicians to give more importance to cycling, walking and public transport.
If you’re interested in World Car Free Day, there are ideas and resources here.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Making cars more efficient

Although a world without cars would be much greener, it would also be very difficult to live in, especially if you have a disability, or you live in a rural area. There’s no doubt that it is easier to do without a car is easier in if you live in a town or city. So here are some tips to make your car greener and more energy efficient:
  • Keep your tires inflated at the maximum recommended pressure(check once a month) and properly aligned (get your alignment checked every 5,000 miles)
  • Keep up on your car maintenance, especially ignition timing, spark plugs and wiring, and idle speed setting (a poorly tuned car can loose up to 20% fuel efficiency)
  • Watch your petrol mileage for problems. Compare mileage for different brands of petrol - some may give you better mileage.
  • If you own more than one vehicle, try to use the one with the best mileage.
  • Minimize use of your air conditioner (but only if you can leave the windows up) and improve your fuel efficiency
  • Drive the speed limit - you can save 15-20% by driving 65 instead of 75. Optimum MPG are found at 35-45 MPH.
  • Avoid quick starts and stops. In general, drive as smoothly as possible.
  • Keep windows shut at high speeds.
  • Don't start your car until you are ready to drive off.
  • Avoid idling your car for more than 30 seconds.
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary, heavy items around in your car. On trips, avoid using roof-racks, car-top packs or towing a trailer if at all possible. 
Eleanor Course

Monday, 5 September 2011

Greener transport

One of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon emissions from travel is to reduce the number of times you use your car.

This is obviously easier for shorter journeys, but also more relevant - the heaviest car emissions occur during the first two miles that a car is driven, while the engine is still cold.

Before setting off on a journey, think if you could walk, cycle, or take the bus or train. Alternatively, could you combine errands, and save a journey later? Could you plan out the shortest route possible when combining errands?

Eleanor Course

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The problem of pollution

Travel by motor vehicles – whether it’s the journeys we make everyday, or the transport of goods across the world – is a major cause of pollution. That pollution affects our health and the health of our planet.

The exhaust fumes from a car or lorry’s engine contains a large number of different chemicals or emissions. Once released into the air, exhaust emissions are breathed in and transported in the bloodstream to all the body's major organs. Diesel seems potentially to be more of a problem than petrol.

The most obvious health impact of car emissions is on the respiratory system. It's estimated that air pollution - of which vehicle emissions are the major contributor - is responsible for 24,000 premature deaths in the UK every year. Many of these deaths are due to asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases - all of which are known to be aggravated by exposure to car fumes.

And just as exhaust emissions can harm our health, they harm the planet’s health. In the 21% of the greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide and methane) emitted in the UK are from motor vehicles. These greenhouse gasses are contributing to changes in climate, affecting people all over the world, but especially in developing countries.

Over the next week, we’re going to look at ways that we can reduce the greenhouses gasses we produce when we travel, to help protect our environment.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Focus on Transport

From 3rd to 11th September we're looking at transport as part of the Year of the Environment. We’ll be posting ideas and stories on our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts looking at what you can do to change the way you travel to help change the world.

Personal travel accounts for up to a quarter of all the damage individuals do to the environment across Europe, including climate change effects. How many times have you used a car today?

The Revd Canon Richard Rowling has written collects for the Year of the Environment – here’s the collect for travel. Could you pray this throughout our period of focusing on travel?

Lord, our life is often likened to a Journey, a journey of discovery, a journey that changes perspectives and brings us closer to you. As we go about our daily business, enable us to think and plan our travel so that it minimises the impact on your planet. May we in all things be respectful and honourable travellers for the sake of your creation and the glory of your name. Amen.

Eleanor Course