Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Solar Panels for Coventry Cathedral?

Coventry Cathedral has applied for planning permission to put solar panels on its roof - if the permission is given, it would be the first cathedral in Briatin to have solar panels.  You can read more in the Daily Telegraph

Eleanor Course

Friday, 24 June 2011

Smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century

New technologies are developing all the time.  The BBC Envrionment website has details of new "apps" for mobile phones that can be used to track wild life.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13454621

Graham Andrews

Scarborough Deanery Environment Weekend

Scarborough Deanery are holding an Environment Weekend on 9 - 10 July, at St Mary’s Church and Holy Apostles, Castle Road.  It's free admission, so come and join in the fun - lots to do & learn about saving the Environment.  It will be opened by Green Councillor Dilys Cluer.

On Saturday 9th July, the following will be going on from 10 - 4pm
  • Primary & Junior School Children Poster Competition “Caring for our Environment” results announced 11am at Holy Apostles
  • BIODIVERSITY: Bug Hunt. Children will be helped to identify bugs they find with a bug catcher and magnified container, then return them to their natural habitat. Bird box building if you want to take it home at a cost of £3.00 Advice on creating and maintaining a wildlife garden or churchyard.
  • WATER: How do you save water.? Quizzes & Games. Learn about Aqua box which provides rapid safe drinking water and aid to disaster areas around the world
  • WASTE & RECYCLING: Make your own paper. What to do with waste and how it is recycled.
  • ENERGY: Calculate your Carbon Footprint. Alternative forms of Energy. How to save money & the planet.
  • PURCHASING: Fairtrade Refreshments & Products on sale. Coffee & Chocolate tasting. Find out about the work of Fairtrade.
  • TRANSPORT: Protect your cycle, have it identification stamped. Join in the short treasure walk between the venues, be aware of what is around you.
On Sunday 10th July, from 2 - 4pm there will be Beach Art at North Bay Beach, and a Guided Walk to follow the trail of Angels & Gargoyles.  Meet at St Martin’s Church South Cliff.  At 6.30pm there will be a Thanksgiving Service for Creation, led by the Venerable David Butterfield, Archdeacon of the East Riding, at St Mary’s Church Castle Road.

For further information regarding the Environment Weekend contact Ros Brewer on ros.brewer@btinternet.com or 01723 369731.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Green Fund in Baildon Methodist Church

John Anderson is the Eco-officer of Baildon Methodist Church, and a guide at York Minster.  At our recent Big Environment Celebration inYork Minster, John led some of the Green Man tours.  He tells us how his church have used a Green Fund to make changes in their church.

"Emissions of carbon dioxide by humans are far too high for Gods earth and its creatures to survive in their present form and numbers. We must reduce emissions. As regards travel, it is better not to set off than to offset.  But in some cases we MUST emit carbon dioxide to live, for example in using electricity or heating our houses.  We can pay a sum of money for action to be taken that will off-set our own emissions by reducing those of our church. These donations comprise our Green Fund.

"I recommend a Christian website set up by A Rocha [the Rock] which also oversees our Eco-congregation activity:   www.climatestewards.net.  It works out the costs of carbon offsets. Go to ‘Off set now’, and then click on ‘Flying’ and ‘Land Travel’ and ‘Heat and Power.’ You can use the calculations there for donations to your own Green Fund. If you have not got access to a computer at home, please use those in the library:  the librarians will help you!

"We suggest people donate, per person, £10 for flights outside Europe, £7 per person for flights inside Europe, and £2.50 per 1000 miles for your car.  Moreover, all of us emit carbon dioxide if we use fossil fuel like gas or coal for heating, and by using electricity.  If you cannot go to a website, then I suggest you consider an offset payment of £10 per year if you have one bedroom, £20 a year if you have two, £30 a year if you have three, and £40 a year if you have four bedrooms. This could be a donation for Lent.

"Our Green Fund has contributed much to the campaign to put an energy- and draught-saving porch on Wesley’s.  Once this is done, it will be used to help pay for other energy-saving measures in our church buildings."


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Interfaith Seminar on environment and sustainability

Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environment campaign organised an Interfaith Seminar on environment and sustainability at Lambeth Palace on 21 March 2011, to look at practical action and the faith communities.

The event was coordinated with the London School of Jewish Studies, and sponsored by the British Council with support from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

You can download reports from the seminar at http://www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/news-events/news/, or watch the video for a whistle stop tour of the event at Lambeth Palace, including a personal word from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Wild Gardening

We’ve looked a lot at what can be done in churchyards to help local biodiversity, but what can you do in your own home and garden?

Wild About Gardens is an excellent place to start. Their website has projects you can do from month to month – for example, in June you could:
  • Top up bird feeders and put out food on the ground and bird tables
  • Avoid chunky foods that could choke young fledglings
  • Trim hedges less frequently to allow wildlife to shelter and feed
  • Leave nesting birds undisturbed in garden shrubs and hedges
  • Put out hedgehog and badger food
  • Use wildlife-friendly slug pellets if chemical slug control is needed
  • Leave roses that produce hips without dead-heading them
  • Mow spring flowering meadows once bulb foliage has died down
  • Leave annual meadows un-mown
They also have a good guide to what you can spot in your garden throughout the year, and ideas for projects you can do in your garden in a couple of hours. Get gardening!

Eleanor Course

Friday, 17 June 2011

Farming and wildlife

There are lots of farms in the Diocese of York, and many farmers are working hard to protect wildlife on their farms. Robert Campbell is chairman for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, and farms 404 hectares (1,000 acres) across four farms at Stokesley.  I spoke to him about farming and wildlife management.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Save the Bees!

Today’s post comes from Paul Taylor, a Reader in the Benefice of Pocklington Wold and a beekeeper. 

Honey bees, bumble bees and mason bees are important to the environment and for the most part, quite harmless if left well alone. They are busy getting on with living; building a home, rearing young and storing food. They have been doing this successfully for millions of years. The natural world has come to rely on them for pollinating flowers in fields or forests. Then along came man!

We like the sweet taste of honey and though the bees resist our interventions with their suicidal sting, we have persisted and following in the footsteps of monks and others, the art of beekeeping has grown. In Victorian days it was at its peak of popularity in this country but has steadily declined; that is until now. The awareness of the role and benefit of bees in the environment has caught the public imagination and there is resurgence of interest. Research into bee and their diseases is of major interest, especially at the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) in Sand Hutton.

Gardens have more bee friendly plants and shrubs like heather and hawthorn. We are putting up with bumble bees sharing our clipped lawns and warm, safe eaves. You can buy or make a bamboo mason bee home. Allotments are becoming a place for bee hives because they ensure good pollination of peas, beans, strawberries and so on. World wide, bees make a huge contribution to the economy particularly in the pollination of fruit trees.

Food for the bees brings food for us. As well as pollen, bees also need water and nectar. You can help them by having a small pond and a ‘wild garden’ with clover and honeysuckle. There is more local honey nowadays in Yorkshire; try it and taste the difference.

For details of local beekeeping visit York Beekeepers, Yorkshire Beekeepers and FERA.

Paul Taylor

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

England’s Endangered Species

In a constantly changing world where wildlife is under threat, many species are declining at an alarming rate. Since 1977 the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has been helping to ensure a future for many endangered species throughout the country. Did you know that water voles, hedgehogs, otters and dormice are under threat or have rapidly declining numbers?

If you want to help these mammals, visit the PTES website for ideas.

Hedgehog numbers have declined by 50% in the last decade – are we facing a future with no hedgehogs in England? A new project to help is Hedgehog Street – visit their website to become a Hedgehog Champion, and learn how you can rally support from your neighbours and work together to create ideal hedgehog habitat throughout your street, estate or communal grounds.

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Bird boxes

As part of the Year of the Environment, we sent a nesting box to every church and church school at the beginning of the year to encourage local biodiversity. The churches at Gilling East, Easingwold, Dalby and Stamford Bridge, as well as York Minster, sent us photos of their nest boxes in situ, and St Martin, Kirklevington sent us a picture of their baby tree sparrows!

Mike Page, Churchwarden of St Martin, Kirklevington contacted us to say, "This photograph shows the first brood of any species to be hatched and reared in the bird box supplied by the D of Y earlier this year. Thanks to Alistair McLee (Chairman of Teesmouth Bird Club and licensed “ringer”) who not only recommended the location for the box, but also was correct in forecasting that we would successfully attract tree sparrows and not the more numerous blue tits. The photo was taken as the birds were being fitted with identity rings on 12 May 2011."

Have any birds nested in your bird box? If so, please do let us know at comms@yorkdiocese.org. Congratulations to Kirklevington!

Eleanor Course

Monday, 13 June 2011

Sheriff Hutton churchyard – haven for wildlife

There are some wonderful churchyards in the Diocese, carefully managed to care for plants, insects and animals. John Oakley, PCC secretary at St Helen & the Holy Cross, talked to me about what’s happening in their churchyard.

Eleanor Course 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Living Churchyards

If you think your church could do more to help local biodiversity by caring differently for its churchyard, get in touch with Yorkshire’s Living Churchyard Project, run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The purpose of the Yorkshire Living Churchyard Project is to promote the management of churchyards and burial grounds in ways that are sympathetic to the natural habitat and ecology of native plants and animals. At the request of local people, members of the Project make advisory visits to Yorkshire churchyards and burial grounds to survey the wildlife present and draw up a suitable management plan. A large number of parishes, after a visit by the Project’s volunteers, have become self–reliant and successful in developing their churchyard or burial ground as a well–kept haven for wildlife that still remains a place of reverence and remembrance, the last resting place for our forebears.

Taken together, the 1300+ Yorkshire churchyards make a significant area of land that has survived untouched by pesticides and herbicides or by intensive agriculture and urban development. Many native plant and lichen species and their associated fauna survive only in churchyards.

Visit their website, and have a look at their brilliant booklet giving advice on how to manage your churchyard. Elizabeth Hardcastle is the Project Officer, and she will be pleased to discuss any thoughts or aspirations relating to your churchyards.

Eleanor Course

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Cherishing Churchyards

The Diocese is focussing on biodiversity from 10th to 19th June, which is also Caring for God’s Acre’s Cherishing Churchyards week. Churchyards are vital tools for churches wishing to help the biodiversity of their locality.

Caring for God’s Acre is a national organisation which aims to inspire and support local communities to care for churchyards and burial grounds in a way which benefits both people and wildlife. Cherishing Churchyards Week is a chance to celebrate churchyards and burial grounds and to raise awareness of the treasures they contain.
You can visit their website and discover how you can celebrate your churchyard and discover what it contains. They’ve got great ideas to make your churchyard a place for families with quizzes, treasure hunts, a mini beast safari and more.

Eleanor Course

Friday, 10 June 2011

Focus on Biodiversity

From 10th to 19th June we're looking at biodiversity 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 in your churchyards and in your own homes to help the variety of plants, insects and animals that share our world.

Biodiversity is the technical term for the variety of life on Earth. It refers not just to the diversity of species of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria etc, but also to the variety within any one species and to the various ways species live together in ecosystems. Often there is a sense that what is to be preserved is the genetic diversity so that future generations can draw on this as a resource, but many people feel delight in the diversity itself and want to preserve it for its own sake.

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

Almighty God our Creator, you have given us a world that is rich and diverse.
Help us to honour the integrity and balance that lies at the heart of your creation.
Give us vision to see the harm that is done by us and in our name, through greed and carelessness;
and give us true repentance, that through humility and reconciliation with your creation we may bring healing to your world and restore it to your glory,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Eleanor Course

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Rogation Service in Whorlton with Carlton and Faceby

The Revd Linda Shipp, vicar of Whorlton with Carlton and Faceby, emailed us to tell us about her churches' Rogation day service.

She said, "Every year we hold a Rogation service in a local barn, this year we decided to celebrate local farming, using local produce to make pancakes during the service. The children helped to make pancakes from eggs donated by a local farmer (laid fresh that morning) and then ladies cooked the pancakes as the service continued. The pancakes were eaten at the end of the service with locally produced jam and honey before we had a BBQ. It was great fun, we prayed for our environment, local farming and blessed soil, seed, water, and went outside to bless the land and animals. Donations were made to Farm Crisis Network."

What a great idea!

Eleanor Course

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Caring for our Churchyards

The BBC Website has news of a new Government white paper.  (Link - Natural Environment White Paper) This is very encouraging, as the biodiversity of our churchyards represents one of the commitments the church is able to make to the nurture of our Environment.  Let us hope that the new legislation reflects this.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Visitors get growing in York Minster

Visitors to York Minster on Saturday got a taste of the green life as they enjoyed drama, competitions and a host of stalls and displays at the diocese’s Big Environment Celebration.  You can see our pictures here.

Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environmental campaign, staged a ‘get growing’ seed giveaway along with a competition to win a year’s supply of local Yorkshire Tea, supporting the Yorkshire Tea Rainforest project.

The event, organised by York Minster and the Diocese of York as part of the Diocese's Year of the Environment, was supported by environment groups and organisations from across the county. Visitors also enjoyed an art competition themed on celebrating God's creation and drama sketches throughout the day, performed by the Riding Lights Theatre Company.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said, “The Big Environment Celebration is a great way to show that the Church of England cares about our environment. As Christians, we have a duty to care for our environment. We believe that we are only tenants on this Earth, and it ultimately does not belong to us. If we are tenants of the Earth, we have a duty to care for it – a duty to God, to the rest of the creation that we share the world with, and to future generations.”

David Shreeve the Church of England’s national enviornment adviser said: “The Big Environment Celebration is a great example of sharing our buildings to show our concern and best practice about the importance of caring for the environment. Not only are many people making the most of their land by growing their own produce but the large number of stalls showed how the Church is working with a whole range of groups and organisations.”

Eleanor Course