You may have read the Sunday Times magazine article on waste but in case you haven’t, here are some salient points we need to consider as Christians with the obligation to care for the environment:

1) In 2008, we used 9.9 billion plastic bags in the UK.  We can make a difference by reusing our plastic bags or using alternatives.

2) We live in a “throw-away” society, with built-in obsolescence and pressures to buy the latest model/fashion every year.  We should be putting pressure on government and producers to return to a “built to last” culture, with longer guaranteed lives and repairability in products, and personally we should think about throwing away clothes and shoes because they are last year’s.

3) Other actions:

Buy less – buy only what we need – don’t waste food.  In  the UK we threw away over £10billion of food!  40% of all salad is thrown away, 31% of baked goods and 26% of fruit, and this at a time when millions go to bed hungry in our world.

Know  more – when you buy something, check if it can be recycled and how much energy was used in its production.  For electrical goods, check how much energy they use.

Do more – recycle, repair or re-use.  If local recycling provision is inadequate, demand more.  Push national and local authorities, and supermarkets to do more to recycle and re-use.

Compassion in World Farming is the name of a UK charity which aims to improve the welfare of farm animals and, indirectly, the quality of the food we eat.  They have a number of campaigns on the go  One of the best known recent campaigns has been the one to outlaw the use of battery cages for hens.

Read about their current work (on chickens, dairy cows and pigs) in the copies of their magazine in the porch or go online to www.ciwf.org .  Some of the information may put you off your food but we have the power and, as Christians, the duty to take action against abuses in factory farming which producers would argue are carried out in the interest of us as consumers.

PS – one fascinating fact quoted from the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Dr. Pachauri) is that a farmer can produce food for up to 30 people over the year from one hectare used for the production of vegetables, fruits, cereals and vegetable fats but if the same area is used for the production of meat, milk or eggs, the number reduces to 5-10 people.  Reducing meat consumption reduces carbon emissions as well as the pressures to factory farm.
National J & P Magazine

The latest copy of the magazine is available in the porch but here is a summary of some of the main articles:-

1) There is a beautiful prayer for peace in Palestine Israel in this the UN International Year of Reconciliation
2) J & P Conference on 5 September in the Ogilvie Centre – speakers Charles Kennedy MP and Ian Davison, singer and composer – if you want to know more about Justice & Peace work, see the advert

3) 12 June was the day that UNICEF and the ILO focused on child labour and trafficking.  Human trafficking now rivals arms and drugs dealing with an estimated annual revenue of $12bn!  There could be 1.2m children trafficked every year and there are 246 m children involved in child labour.  For more facts see www.unicef.org or www.ilo.org

4) in the Newsbrief section (a) see the note on the Jesuit Refugee Centre vouchers scheme – forms to take part in the scheme will be in the porch; (b) see the latest information on the true costs of Trident; (c) Climate Change march in Glasgow on 5 December just before the UN talks in Copenhagen; (d) Labour behind the Label – sweatshops don’t just happen abroad, migrant workers have been found working 80 hours/week for £3/hour in unsafe conditions in Manchester; see www.labourbehindthelabel.org

5) A Glasgow based charity, Working Together for Change is working with a Nicaraguan NGO, Familias Especialias, to help families with special needs.  See the report of a visit to the project.

6) It is 30 years since the founding of the Scottish Justice & Peace Commission – see the articles on this.