St Marks celebrate Earth Keeper Day

2015 Earth Keeper DayOn 15 February 2015, St Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Môregloed, Pretoria celebrated Valentine’s day as a day to care for the Earth.

Our theme for Earth Keeper Day was “The Gift of Land and its Management” with the emphasis on God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants, and the promise of land conditional upon responsible behaviour, justice and equity.  The clear link between personal salvation and redemption of the earth as a whole was highlighted with reference to Romans 8:19-21.  Children, teenagers, parents, grandparents and great grandparents pasted leaves for healing on an image of the “Tree of Life”.  The heart-shaped leaves carried written commitments for action to bring healing, well-being and sustainability to the earth.

Some of the commitments included:2015 Earth Keeper Day 2

  • Saving water and electricity
  • Walking or cycling instead of driving
  • Shopping less and using home-made or local goods
  • Water-wise gardening & home-grown fruit & vegetables
  • Rain-water harvesting
  • Avoiding pesticides & products with harmful chemicals
  • Recycling, re-using, composting: not wasting anything
  • Having love, mercy & compassion
  • Sharing with others, eg lift clubs.

The congregation is now planning a multi-generational clean-up of green spaces, especially along streams and stormwater channels in the area, the day after international River Action Day on 14 March 2015.

United Methodist Church plants trees in Zimbabwe

Rebecca Gurupira motivating the conference

Rebecca Gurupira motivating the conference

Story from Tendai Rebecca Gurupira, United Methodist Church Coordinator, Ministry with Women, Children and Youth in Zimbabwe.

In 2014 I attended a Faith Leaders Environmental Advocacy Training (FLEAT) with SAFCEI. I learned a lot about being God’s stewards, and that we must continue to care for God’s creation.

After the training I sourced more than 1500 seedling trees from Nyaradzo Funeral Company. The company is helping our country by promoting tree planting. This company also raises awareness on issues of climate change.

On 13 December 2014 more than 500 seedling trees were planted by the resident Bishop E.K Nhiwatiwa and his cabinet, their spouses and all church leaders at Murewa Mission of The United Methodist Church. I spoke about climate change to more than 500 pastors and delegates. All pastors and delegates present at the conference were given trees to take home and plant in their communities. The same was also done at Old Mutare Mission on 20 December 2014 were more than 500 trees were given to pastors and delegates.

I am inspired to continue with this effort in 2015. Let’s continue to be good Earth Keepers!!

Rebecca Gurupira with tree seedling

Reflections from Lima

A People-centred COP

SAFCEI Regional Coordinator Lydia Mogano sends us some quick impressions directly from Lima where she is attending the COP20 climate talks.

SAFCEI's Lydia Mogano at COP20 climate talks in Lima, Peru

SAFCEI’s Lydia Mogano at COP20 climate talks in Lima, Peru

At the opening of the international climate talks (COP20) in Lima, a new COP president from Peru took office. He highlighted that COP 20 was a space for dialogue, innovation and commitment to action.  It is space to foster alliances for climate, development and action. Civil society’s participation is a high priority and will have the voice of the people heard. “Youth and women rights will not be put last but at the beginning of this session” said the new COP President. This is a COP for transformation and an opportunity to make climate history. Yet again, the green candle received from the interfaith group was clearly acknowledged to guide the process and illuminate the solutions and decisions!

Christina Figueres of the UNFCC holds a green candle at the interfaith climate vigil

Christina Figueres of the UNFCC holds a green candle at the interfaith climate vigil

All speakers, including the Mayor of Lima, said all the right things one would expect to hear at a conference opening. The Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the UNFCC, shared the scientific facts, reflecting on key messages from the latest Climate Change Assessment Report (AR5). A strong emphasis was placed on the fact that the human influence on climate change is now clear! Furthermore, temperatures continues to rise. What is new in the report is that the oceans absorbed most of the heat. There is a rise in sea level from 0.2 to 0.5% and an increase in GHG emissions by 2.2% per year. He warned that the longer we delayed action, the more expensive and difficult it will be to resolve the climate crisis! The window for climate action really is rapidly closing (65% of the carbon budget is used up). He then called for an ethical, equitable and implementable agreement. “The choice is ours,” he said. I hope to see all those beautiful words translate into action at the actual negotiations! There will be a Lima climate action day on the 11th December 2014.

Interfaith Climate March at the start of climate talks in Peru this week

Interfaith Climate March at the start of climate talks in Peru this week

The climate fast stunt (where participants sat at a table with empty plates) successfully drew media attention. Participants shared with bystanders why they are fasting and this was followed by a press conference. There are a few climate change deniers here in Lima who try  to cover this event as a purely social one. They insist that climate change is not real. Moreover, although science is clear about the human impact on the climate, many people find it hard to relate to the scientific evidence and reality of our current circumstances. In response I shared a tweet on Twitter about connecting the reality on the ground with science. I want people to taste and experience climate variability and imagine how unpleasant life will become on Earth if temperatures continue to rise. I saw a few people and organizations retweeting my messages which was really encouraging!

Follow @Safcei and @LydiaMogano on Twitter for more news directly from COP20

We encourage you to join the worldwide #LightforLima vigil on the 7th December

Season of Creation Service

Season of Creation 3St Andrews Anglican Church at the Strand had a special service on the 19th October, as part of their Season of Creation. This was the 5th week, the theme being “Creation and Redemption – Faith like a Mustard Seed”.  During communion they put on a CD of nature sounds – birds and whales! Here is their pew leaflet: St Andrews – Season of Creation

When it was time for coffee, congregants walked into the church hall which was filled with artwork by the children which have been working with the new Ryan the Rhino Sunday School resource. The Sunday School program focuses on the Story of Creation, relating it to our care for God’s creation. This is a new resource which is being piloted by the Green Anglicans in collaboration with SAFCEI and funded by WWF Nedbank Green Trust.

Introducing the MSA Humanitarian Project

THP Repurposing Waste square newThe Union of Muslim Students’ Association (MSA Union of South Africa) and it’s initiative Green Deen South Africa, in conjunction with SANZAF, takes great pleasure in announcing the National Flagship Project for 2014 – The Humanitarian Project: Repurposing Waste.  We aim to create mass student involvement and raise awareness on our campuses.
About The Humanitarian Project:
The Humanitarian Project is MSA’s flagship project. A flagship project aims to fulfill the
following objectives:
   – Student involvement on a mass scale
   – To fulfill a social need
   – To encourage social development and eradicate social apathy
   – To be replicable across campuses
   – To be edgy and address current needs and hype
Items that will be collected are: second hand clothing, electronic waste and upcycling material. Collection boxes will be placed at campuses around the country. The recipients of the second hand clothing will be people identified by SANZAF, who will also liaise with the recognised recipients. The recipients will receive training and support by SANZAF, which will ensure continuity and success of the project. Additionally campuses can choose to raise awareness by upcycling waste into cool novelties on campuses, collecting electronic waste for recycling and raising awareness on the importance of repurposing waste.
For more information like our Facebook pages ‘The Humanitarian Project’, ‘Green Deen Campaign South Africa’ and ‘MSA Union’, follow @MSA_Union and @MSA_GreenDeen on twitter or go to the website

CC Eko-kermis & Durbanville Bergsig se Eko-ekspo

‘n Kerk basaar met ‘n groen krul? Eko-ekspo’s of Eco-kermisse is ‘n nuwe manier waarop kerke gemeenskappe bewus maak van verskillende ekologiese kwessies , asook die wye verskeidenheid maniere waarop mens vandag ‘n eko-vriendelike leefstyl kan handhaaf.

Alhoewel gelowiges bewus is van hulle verantwoordelikheid om na die aarde om te sien, verksyn daar steeds vraagtekens as dit kom oor hoe ons ons verbintenis tot aardesorg prakties kan uitleef. Daarom dat volhoubare, groen besighede hulle produkte by hierdie kermisse kom bekendstel – vanaf sonpanele en watertenks, tot by eko-vriendelike kosmetiese produkte en skoonmaakmiddels.

As daar een ding is wat ons groenes goed ken, is dit herwinning. Maar wie sou kon dink dat mens klimrame, stoele, speelgoedkiste en blompotte van herwinde material kan kry! Gee ‘n ou motorband ‘n tweede lewe, in die vorm van ‘n speelgoed kis. En dit is nie net plastiek en glas wat herwin word nie, ook hulpbronne soos water kan meer effektief benut word – soos met die handige  2-in-1 wasbaktoilet.

Hierdie geleenthede is egter nie net vir “groen” loerkopery nie, dit is ook ‘n geleentheid waarby gemeentelede kan leer oor die aardesorg inisiatiewe van organisasies soos WWF, Lucky Lucy, Princess Vlei Forum en SAFCEI

SAFCEI het by die eko-kermis in Christchurch Constantia die bevindings van hierdie kerk se energie en water oudit ten toon gestel – hierdeur kan mens sien hoe klein intervensies en gedragsveranderings ‘n groot verskil in jou beursie en jou voetspoor op hierdie aarde kan maak.

Hopelik steek die inisiatief van hierdie twee gemeentes ook ander geloofsgemeenskappe aan om groen-ekspo’s te hou, of selfs net hulle kermisse en basaars  eko-vriendelik in te rig.

By hierdie geleenthede vind mens bemoediging, sien mens dat om te sorg vir die aarde nie moeilik hoef te wees nie, en vind mens inspirasie om met dieper integriteit en groter harmonie ons lewens as deel van hierdie aarde te leef.

Eco-movies with JAEI

Plant sale at eco-movie nightFor the second year, JAEI screened eco movies on a wintery Saturday evening, this time at St Francis of Assisi church in Parkview, Johannesburg. Since the eco-movies are a fundraiser for JAEI, our intern, Michelle, popped and bagged corn, and we shared wine, sparkling Oros (for the young and brave), and hot soup with rolls. We had home potted plants (mostly indigenous but that is a work-in-progress and a rather humbling exercise) on sale (see pic).

First up was “Jane’s Journey”, the autobiographical story of Jane Goodall, primatologist and activist. Ms Goodall’s organisation Roots & Shoots is primarily aimed at young people and requires any projects to be concerned with each of people, animals and the land. Her compassion is riveting and inspiring, even as she ministers to folk who hunt her beloved chimpanzees for food!

The second movie was “The 11th Hour“, a series of conversations on the urgency of our environmental plight linked together by Leonardo DiCaprio. Bart, one of our viewers, was so impressed by the arguments made in the movie that he advised it be ‘mandatory viewing’ for congregations. The video holds supplementary interviews, the ‘religious’ section of which interviews a rabbi, a priest, and an imam, with other faith traditions also represented in the movie. Faith was a linking asset in the fight for Mother Earth’s (and our own) life.

We raised funds, modest though at R860 and as compared to last year, as our attendance was poor (was it the cold, or the French Open women’s tennis final?). Publicising is a ‘growth’ and a challenge area for us. We would welcome a skilled volunteer! We look forward to next year and the ongoing evolution of this event.

St Mikes Earth Hour 2014 celebration

David sets up one of the telescopes for viewing

David sets up one of the telescopes for viewing

To celebrate Earth Hour 2014, St Mike’s, Weltevreden Park, held a “Star Watch” evening.

A small band of enthousiasts joined for a picnic supper before our resident amateur astronomer, David Moore, wowed us with a presentation of unimaginable facts and figures regarding the what’s out in space and the mind-boggling distances – for example light travels 9.5trillion (yes trillion!) kilometres in one year !  So our nearest star (other than the Sun) – Proxima Centauri is a mere 38 trillion kilometres from us!

At the appointed hour, the lights were turned off and we were able to become enthralled all over again, this time by looking at the night sky through the telescopes that David had brought. Jupiter was very evident and we were able to see at least four of its moons. We were also amazed by the density of stars within the Constellation of Orion. Altogether – a fascinating evening!

Noeleen Mullett, JAEI