Environmental Matters

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Church of England Caring for Creation Policy

to Future Earth: Essential global climate news and hopeful developments, emailed to you every Tuesday.


June 2024 Newsletter

Kitchen Counter Recycle
If you keep your recycling bins outside of your home like we do, you might be running into the issue of recycling matter accumulating on your kitchen countertop. These small waste bins fit neatly on the countertop, are covered, and are different colors in order to distinguish recycling plastic/metal from paper products. The glass, because it is larger, we take directly outside. But, these waste bins have proved to be very handy as a holding space before transitioning to the outside recycling bins. We found these at a kitchen/household store in Matosinhos, but you can likely use any small bin with a lid.

picture of small bins
If you are taking a walk on the beach, you might consider taking along a trash bag & gloves. This organization even has a phone app so you can track how much trash you are picking up. Each wrapper, piece of plastic, straw that is picked up makes a difference.


Julie Allen
Read about the Coat of Hopes

Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

May 2024 Newsletter

What do you think of this? A corner of a car park was transformed. Could we do this at St James?

yardTransformation

Dove’s CEO, Hein Schumacher, should hang his head in shame.

He knows the tsunami of plastic Dove produces each year risks impacting the health of millions of people in the Global South. But instead of taking real action, he’s scaling back Dove’s eco pledges, prioritising short-term profits over the health of our planet [1].

As you read this, Schumacher is sitting with world leaders influencing decisions at the UN Global Plastics Treaty. He has the power to end Dove's destructive practices and support a bold, comprehensive ban on throwaway plastic. But he’s choosing to betray our environment and all the people who depend on it. We cannot let him get away with this.

Will you leave a comment on Schumacher’s LinkedIn to demand real action on plastic?

[1]
[2]

You can message Hein Schumacher, CEO at Unilever, on

Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

April 2024 Newsletter

Another cause for individuals to support


Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

March 2024 Newsletter

Take a look at , another group aiming to improve government policy in the UK.


Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

February 2024 Newsletter

A Rocha's ideas.

If you’ve not already signed, can you add your name to the petition calling on the government to secure a strong Global Plastics Treaty? Adding your name means Greenpeace will make sure to reach out with updates and opportunities to get more involved as the treaty negotiations progress
Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

January 2024 Newsletter

What is Plalking? It’s All the Rage!
Ask Peter Blackburn or Rob and Julie Allen. Or, peruse this article. It will tell you how easy and fulfilling PLALKING is! So, don’t WALK…..PLALK!

Christmas Message: King Charles poses alongside replantable tree
Even though Christmas is over, keep this in mind for next year. King Charles has a “replantable tree.” “The trees, which advocates say are better for the environment than alternatives, are dug up at the roots and kept in a pot so they can be replanted after Christmas and reused the following year."

Home Recycling Made Easy: Help make a difference!
If you have a household that generates lots of rubbish, get large bins.
If you have a household that only has 2 people, get medium bins.
This is easy to do, and when it’s time to empty, simply lift the sacko out and empty into the appropriate street bin. Hopefully, everyone is already recycling at home, but if not, there is no time like the present.

photo of bins

Thank you to Rob and Julie Allen for these ideas.


Environmental Policy
Rather than a small team, to get a 360 view we need everyone in St James to be involved. Please get in touch if you have an idea or question.

Projects for the coming year:

A Rocha Environmental Tips calendar

Peter Blackburn
Local Environment Officer (LEO)

December 2023 Newsletter







Catarina has offered this about Christian responsibility vis-à-vis climate change and the environment.

Ask Dove to stop using single-use plastic bottles and sachets. Sign letter



What Greenpeace has achieved in 2023

Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

November Newsletter

We turn to a more localized setting. Please see link

The Scottish Wildcat is an endangered species, due to various factors including loss of habitat and interbreeding with other cats. This initiative aims to protect an area where they still live. Please read and share if you can.
Shell is threatening to sue Greenpeace for a staggering $8.6 million because we dared to challenge their reckless oil expansion plans in the North Sea. We will not be silenced.
We're standing up for all our futures in court, but we can't do it alone. We need your help to support our legal defence against Shell.
to rise up against the fossil fuel industry and protect our planet.
I used this TED talk in a lesson this week, and I think it would be interesting for anyone concerned about our interaction with the environment
As Christians we simply cannot ignore petitions like this:


More information:





Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

Greenpeace News

Incredible news! The UK has just announced their support for a moratorium on deep sea mining. [1] This is a huge win for our oceans and is down to people like you across the country - and the world - taking action. Thank you for being part of the movement and pushing the government to act. People power works!

But the work to protect our oceans is far from done. The UK is yet to ratify the Global Ocean Treaty even though they pushed for it on the international stage for years. Can you help us double up on this huge win and call on the government to pass the Treaty into law immediately and protect our oceans?

Today is the beginning of the International Seabed Authority meeting - where world governments (and corporations) are deciding on what the regulations should be if deep sea mining goes ahead.

The UK announcing support for a moratorium at the start of the conference is a HUGE blow to the industry. While this is not a full ban - they join over 20 nations who are calling for a stop to this destructive new industry [2]. This is made an even bigger blow considering only a few months ago the UK was a key supporter of the industry and sponsoring new licences.

This huge win is thanks to people power - here in the UK, and internationally. Almost 170,000 people like you signed the petition to ban the industry, 3171 people donated to our deep sea mining appeal and every single MP in the UK received emails from supporters calling on them to take action. This also led to Labour coming out in support of a pause too. [3] Thank you for taking action!

We’re on a winning streak. People power also helped deliver the Global Oceans Treaty earlier this year - which has been described as the biggest conservation victory ever - but the UK still hasn’t signed it into law even though they pushed for it on the international stage. [4]

Can you help keep up our winning streak and call on the government to properly protect our oceans by passing the Global Ocean Treaty into UK law before the next general election?

Today’s win should provide hope that even in an increasingly polarised world, we can come together and protect our natural world. Together, we’ve almost stopped the threat of a new destructive industry before it’s started - and we’re on our way to delivering real action to protect at least 30% of our global oceans by 2030.

Thank you for your support, please celebrate this win!

Thank you so much for everything you do,
Anthony and the Oceans team.

[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]


October Newsletter

Environmental Workshop 30th September 2023

The environmental workshop was attended by approximately 17 individuals and was chaired by an expert who asked to remain anonymous due to potential dangers posed by countries with vested interests in petroleum. We were also privileged to welcome our archdeaconry environmental officer, Dr Chris Shiell.

The three main issues are community building, water security, and food security. We were invited to express our thoughts about these. Most comments focused on community building.

The workshop proved to be a platform for a wide range of ideas and discussions centred around climate change.

Participants recognized that despite the global scale of the problem, each individual has the power to make a positive impact. One of the key takeaways was the importance of reflecting on our own lifestyles and considering changes that can contribute to a more sustainable future.

The workshop emphasized that small actions can have significant consequences. Participants discussed various ways to reduce their carbon footprint, such as eating less meat, minimizing waste, and promoting the use of renewable resources. They also explored the benefits of sustainable transport, such as walking, cycling, or using public transport whenever possible.

Additionally, the workshop highlighted the significance of raising awareness and educating others about environmental issues. Participants discussed the importance of engaging in conversations, sharing knowledge, and inspiring others to take action.

Overall, the workshop served as a reminder that everyone has a role to play in protecting the environment. By making conscious choices and encouraging others to do the same, individuals can collectively contribute to a more sustainable and greener future.

Please see links on this web site for more information.

Peter Blackburn
Local Environmental Officer (LEO)

September 30th Workshop

An expert gave an environmental workshop on 30th September at 16:00 in the Well House. Around 15 people focused on what we as individuals can do to improve the grave situation the world faces.


We started by watching .

Here are some links to articles and videos:








takes an optimistic view of AI and the developments to expect in 2024. See the paragraph entitled Sustainable Technology.









Sunak expected to limit powers of councils in England to curb car use





August 2023 Newsletter

If you’re flying with SAS (Scandinavian Airlines), there may be hidden passengers beneath your feet.

PETA US has found that the company is among a diminishing pool of airlines still profiting from flying dogs to laboratories in UK. Its unconscionable contracts are resulting in the torment and death of animals in pointless experiments.



Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

July 2023 Newsletter

Leading from the top.
From a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaign:

Between April 2022 and February 2023, PETA Asia’s investigators visited cashmere operations in Mongolia. Investigators found that goats screamed in terror as workers pinned them down and pulled the hair out of their sensitive skin with sharp metal combs. The animals sustained injuries, and kid goats were crudely castrated without any pain relief.

Investigators also visited abattoirs, where they documented that cashmere goats are dragged to the kill floor and hit on the head with a hammer. Then their throats are cut with a knife. Goats continued to move for as long as four minutes after their throats had been cut. They were killed in full sight of others awaiting the same horrible fate.

One herding operation had ties to major clothing companies such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Gucci, Hermès, Burberry, and Bottega Veneta. Please urge these companies to drop cashmere immediately!



Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

June 2023 Newsletter



Report from Greenpeace





Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

May 2023 Newsletter


Message from Greenpeace

Unfortunately deep sea mining is no joke. The industry wants to send monster machines down to one of the last untouched ecosystems on the planet - the bottom of the ocean.

They want to mine tens of thousands of square kilometres of the Pacific ocean floor which could have unimaginable consequences for marine life; wiping out undiscovered species and causing havoc for whales, sharks and dolphins.

The industry wants to get the greenlight to start mining this year - but we can stop this destructive industry from starting. The problem is, not enough people know this is happening!

Momentum is on our side, countries like France, Germany and New Zealand have come out against this industry - now we need to grow support here in the UK too. Make sure you play your part.

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

April 2023 Newsletter


Reforestation

It is remarkable how even a small country like Portugal embraces such different geographical and climatic conditions.

Even in the north of Portugal, there are not large distances between villages and habitations, unlike in neighbouring Spain or France, where huge land masses mean one can drive for over an hour and see few signs human life.

Depopulation, through emigration and migration to towns and cities, has been the dominant factor shaping the environment. Hillsides which used to be used for pasture and production of hay for animals, when population density was much higher, have been overgrown by trees, either through natural seeding, or the introduction of tree types to meet an emerging paper industry. The subsequent neglect of those woodlands has increasingly made them vulnerable to fires.

Eucalyptus is the most unfriendly tree for bio-diversity, as its high level of the compound citronellal repels most species of insects. A possible plan is to gradually substitute most of the eucalyptus with the most resilient native tree varieties, but the tree cycle means that this may not be achieved in the near future

The challenge in the Minho is perhaps not so much planting new trees, but the improved management of what woodland remains in private hands. Forested areas which fall within the national parks, such as the Geres, are fairly well looked after. Increasingly hot and dry conditions will threaten many existing tree varieties, so any project certainly requires careful thought. We are told that tropical forests generate their own micro climate, and it would be wonderful if it was possible to achieve the same with smaller woodlands in southern Europe.

It may be possible to engineer a separate area as a community project linked to St James.

Angus McDougall

If anyone would like to become involved, please contact the environmental team. At this stage we would be discussing possible projects, but if there is interest and the necessary funding it would definitely be worth discussing.


Reforestation Project Outline

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

March 2023 Newsletter

St Vincent's in the Algarve writes:

Low carbon cookery book

We plan to put together a Chaplaincy low carbon cookery book. Recipes to be healthy and carbon aware, i.e. low red meat/dairy content in ingredients.

General Synod is looking at ways to encourage a reduced carbon lifestyle as part of Christian witness, including eating less meat or choosing more sustainable options.

The book so far: Please send low carbon recipes for inclusion to this mentioning that you are from St James', Porto. Who knows – our Chaplaincy cookbook could go Archdeaconry-wide!
St Vincent's newsletter

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

February 2023 Newsletter

Turkey is situated in the Mediterranean seismic belt, a region with strong seismic activity brought on by the collision of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. As a result, Turkey experiences earthquakes frequently, and during the course of its history, the nation has seen a number of significant earthquakes as the one we observed on the 6th February 2023. In this newsletter we want to highlight the presence of chemical facilities in Earthquake prone areas as a potential hazard.

For chemical storage facilities and research units, particularly those that hold harmful materials, earthquakes can offer a substantial risk in terms of the potential for chemical disasters. Hazardous chemicals may leak as a result of storage tanks and containers being damaged by an earthquake's shaking. Furthermore, earthquakes can harm storage tanks and other infrastructure, resulting in leaks and spills.

In Turkey, there are a number of chemical industries and research institutes located in areas of high seismic activity. For example, the city of Izmir, which was hit by a major earthquake in October 2020, is home to a number of chemical and petrochemical plants. The earthquake did not cause any major chemical disasters in the city, but it did lead to the release of hazardous chemicals from some of the plants.

Therefore, to mitigate the risk of chemical disasters caused by earthquakes, it is important for chemical storage facilities and research institutes to implement rigorous safety measures and contingency plans. This can include measures such as seismic retrofits to make buildings and storage tanks more resistant to earthquake damage, as well as emergency response plans to quickly and effectively respond to any spills or leaks that may occur.

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

January 2023 Newsletter

News from Greenpeace:




Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

December 2022 Newsletter

shine forth and let thy light restore earth’s own true loveliness once more

We wish everyone a blessed Christmas and happy new year.

* * *

The sermon that Chris Wells from the St Vincent's Algarve chaplaincy preached earlier this year at St James' Church:

So, we are completing our celebrations of the coming of Christ. Christmas Day is his Birthday, or at least the official day we celebrate it, as truth be told we have no idea of the actual day, and only scant evidence of the place. But when we think about it, we usually have no knowledge of the date and place of birth of many of our role models or heroes. Consider Gandhi, Kennedy, Florence Nightingale; I don’t know or care what day they were born, it’s just about what they did, how that changed things for the better, and what legacy they left. We know Jesus was born, lived in Galilee, came as our Saviour and Redeemer to bring the good news of forgiveness and eternal life, and created the greatest legacy ever.

He asked us, in return, to “follow” him. And that is what we do, or try to do. But what does that involve? Well really, it isn’t terribly clear, it’s not carefully written as a formulaic set of rules, which even then would be subject to interpretation and argument, just as the Sadducees and Pharisees demonstrated, and Portuguese (and other) bureaucracy demonstrates today. But he clearly expected us to follow his example, and sadly, we rarely think about the example he set as how to live our lives. “If any man serve me, let him follow me” (John 12:26). 

Because, I would argue, that he lived a life of joyful simplicity, which was in keeping with the appropriate stewardship of the world that he created, and which we were expected to look after. It all started to go wrong some 170 years ago when we accelerated our burning of fossil fuels to provide what we think of as a “better” lifestyle. But it’s not sustainable, as we now know. Burning fossil fuels, which took thousands of years to produce naturally, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which brings about climate change and undesirable weather patterns. There are other bad lifestyle choices and one of these must surely be the doubling of the world’s population from four billion to eight billion people in the last 50 years: but that’s another story. We are facing the loss of many animal species, including our own, over the next 170 years. We know this, and yet we are too slow to change, too greedy and too inflexible to alter our ways.

So how did Jesus live? And how should we be planning to live in the future? We need to move away from our current lifestyles towards the simpler living embraced, usually compulsorily, by the majority of those on earth.

Jesus lived as an example to us, he showed us just how we should follow him, and what we should do. His lifestyle is a perfect example of a person in tune with nature, with the environment.

What did Jesus eat? He ate local food only: no strawberries came in from Peru, no lamb from New Zealand, no beef from Argentina or Japan, no Tuna from the pacific. Bread was the staple, it was coarse and gritty, made from local barley. It was hard and the grit wore down your teeth. It was best dunked in water, soup, or wine.

There were local fruits and vegetables. The fruit could be lovely, figs, dates, pomegranate, grapes, peaches, olives. All in season, all fresh. Often people ate soups and stews, mainly vegetarian, usually with lentils and beans. Clearly in Galilee and Capernaum there was fish. Jesus was given a meal of fish after his resurrection, and we have the two miracles of the loaves and fishes. Maybe lamb for special occasions, Passover, but the poor people (of which Jesus was one) could not afford beef, only perhaps a little if lucky. Pork wasn’t allowed, maybe there was rabbit, fowl or goat on occasions. A little dairy. There was very little waste, they simply couldn’t afford it. Few people who are starving waste anything.

How did Jesus travel? Well, Jesus walked. Even on the water. Jesus walked literally thousands of miles, in naturally made sandals. Most Jews went to Jerusalem once or more a year, for him it was a return journey of more than 200 miles through dangerous countryside with bears, even lions and of course bandits. Occasionally he travelled on a boat, and once on a donkey, a humble mode of transport for the infirm, pregnant and elderly, when he came, humbly, as King to Jerusalem. No bicycles then, only the rich and warriors had horses or chariots. There were no cars, no trains, and absolutely no jet planes!

Where did Jesus live? Well, there is little evidence he had a home. Maybe at his mother’s family house. If he did have a home, in his last years he did not use it and that was not his style. He slept with others, maybe at Peter’s family house, or with villagers and supporters on the way, sleeping outside during the warmer summer months. But it could be cold in winter, and beds were simple with straw on the ground, covered with a rug. Buildings were made of wood and natural products. There were no concrete high rises. Heating would also have been simple, warm clothes, open fires. In summer, light clothes. There was no central heating, no air conditioning, no electric fans. No electric lights and no home applicances.

How were goods transported? Everything had to be carried on people’s backs, or occasionally by beasts of burden, carts, some by sail or rowing boats by lake or sea.

Recycling, Jesus only used natural products. There was no plastic to clog the landfills and oceans for hundreds of years.

But still, people could have a good time! He and the disciples talked, chatted, joked, laughed. They went to weddings and parties. The only music was not on your iPod but was live! There were pipes, drums, and voices. Entertainment was simple but fun, you made your own. There was dancing, there were feasts. There was wine, usually watered down, red, sometimes white.

Life was indeed like this for hundreds of years afterwards.

Deterioration started only when steam trains came in, then ecologically, things went downhill. Now we are staring at the destruction of the Earth as a place of abundant life. So, we seem to be trying to turn it into the inhospitable planet of Venus, where life, if it were ever there, is impossible. Jesus, our Christ our Redeemer, surely won’t be pleased. I think he will hold us collectively responsible. We need to change things back again quickly, live more like Jesus, eschew fossil fuels, damaging transport and lifestyles, live simply but with joy in Christ. Then when Jesus comes again, he can be pleased with our stewardship of his world.

* * *

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

November 2022 Newsletter

picture of plastic bottles
Ecobottles
A generous donation of some recycled aluminium bottles containing spring water has been made. These can be refilled, saving the expensive method of buying small plastic bottles. They will be on sale after services on Sunday, price €5. This will be donated to the Bishop's Appeal.
During last month St James received the Bronze award in A Rocha's EcoChurch scheme. This reflected what we have already been doing for some time. It is logical to assume that we should continue to think about ways in which the church can increase our awareness of the environment and thereby be more effective in caring for it.

This means not only making St James' premises more green, but also effecting small changes in our everyday lives. Many of us travel to the church by public transport, by bike or on foot, and some also give others a lift. These are small but cumulative actions.

Already we print double-sided scripture readings every two weeks. The Pews News comes out every month and is also a two-sided print out, but mostly distributed as a pdf and available on the web site. This letter is printed out as a poster for the well house, and the link to this page is shown on the web site. Any one-sided pages from other documents are used as rough paper and all paper is recycled, or destroyed if it is confidential.

The Church Council meets by zoom to save on energy costs in travelling to meetings.

Our thanks to Lesley Costello, who has been part of the group, and now steps down for a while.

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

October 2022 Newsletter

News just in: please see Greenpeace's over a company pretending to be environmentally responsible, but actually causing immense damage.
For the moment the beach survey has been postponed. We will organize it in the new year.
Goby the plastic gobbling whale
Depending on the condition of the beaches here in the north, we may obtain a Goby (see below), although so far we have noticed that they are well kept. Our interest is more in scientific research into effects that cannot be seen by simply looking at the beach.
has been around for a couple of years now, however following lobbying by the St Vincents Chaplaincy, the local Camera (Council) in Lagos, Algarve agreed to install one on the beautiful Praia da Luz beach, right in front of the church.

They were able to get Goby through our

Goby was duly placed on June 7th with the Mayor, local dignitaries, photographers and a dozen of us from the Church and two from A Rocha Alvor, watching, cheering, and then starting the filling process.

The idea is to stop beachgoers leaving their plastic on the beach. No one was sure how successful it would be, so we were delighted to find that Goby was full within three weeks. We were also pleased that the council emptied Goby right away, so that he was ready to gobble more plastic in July and August.

Have you a Goby on your beaches? If not, ask your local council to place one, elections are coming up soon, and it should be a vote winner!

Chris Wells, St Vincent's Chaplaincy, Praia da Luz (edited)

Goby first fill Goby full
On 25th September Chris and Tricia Wells, from the St Vincent's Chaplaincy in the Algarve where they are responsible for environmental matters, visited St James with this message:

Change for the World
Not too far in the future, the way we treat our world means that we ourselves will be starving, we will have nothing for ourselves, and we will have nothing to give. Such are the stark effects of climate change.

We have seen many changes in our lifetime, and some are for the better. But some changes are destroying our planet, and that is something that has to change. So, we have started an eco-church movement in St. Vincent’s Algarve and we’d like many others to join us. We work with A Rocha at Cruzinha in Alvor, and we have already collected over €1000 for a reforestation project in Peru, and have just started on support for water aid.

We can be in no doubt that God wants and expects us as Christians to care for his creation; it is written throughout the scriptures. Although many of us would like to do this, we don’t really know how and we don’t really know how to measure the changes we want and need to make.

Change for the world wants everyone to make changes, and to measure that change. We have a questionnaire to assess “how green you are”. It doesn’t matter how good or how bad you are now, what matters is us all getting better as time goes on!

We look for two sorts of change, a change in behaviour on ecological issues and some of the change in your pocket! You might hear more about all of this over the coming months, if, after talking with your environmental team, you all feel you can join us.

picture of plastic bottles
Ecobottles

There are three things you can do right now to help the Earth
Vote. Many English speakers in Portugal don’t vote. Please register to vote, and vote at elections. Make your voice and your vote count. Find out which parties and candidates understand ecological values, and care about Eco-issues and will act on them, and vote for one of them.

Collect- your loose change, a small amount every week, in a tin, flower pot, or bucket. Put it all together for projects to help our poor neighbours, low-income Nations. If you can’t do that consider, just once a year, forgoing a slap up meal. Instead have a simple meal of soup, bread, fruit and some lovely fresh pure water.

Nearly 2 billion people throughout the World, 27% of the population, don’t have regular access to clean water. Giving money for the gift of clean, fresh, safe water to low-income nations really helps. €40 would give one-person clean water for a year. €100 buys a bio-sand water filter that gives a family safe water for a year. If we all did this, the 20% of the world with 80% of resources, then within a year the whole world would have access to fresh clean water. Wouldn’t that be pleasing, to God, and to us all.

Pray
Pray for all eco charities, for Change for the World, for Eco-church, A Rocha, Tearfund, for addressing climate change, for saving the polar ice caps and the glaciers, for neutralising carbon footprints and to stop plastic getting into the rivers, the seas the fish and into us! Pray as if our lives depend on it; because it does. Pray, because prayer changes things. Pray for change for the world.

Amen

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Victor de Holanda

September 2022 Newsletter

Environmental impact of cruise ships; read
The planned beach clean and scientific survey will most likely take place in November. Detailed arrangements need to be in place before then. If you would like to help with this, either setting up or taking part, please
France moves to promote cycling nationwide; read
Our thanks to Linda Wilson, who has been part of the group, and now steps down.

Peter Blackburn
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda

August 2022 Newsletter

Planning for research, and plastic and other litter collection, on a local beach is now under way.


Message from Greenpeace

Greenwashing. Fossil fuel giants are expert at it. Since the 70s companies have used advertising to promote lies and delay climate action in order to protect their profits.




Ads legitimise their business. But there is nothing legitimate about opening up new fossil fuel projects in the midst of a climate emergency. We don’t want to hear any more of their dangerous lies.

We need all media companies to ban this spin. YouTube has already taken a lead and blocked people from making money on the platform if they spread lies about climate change. But to truly make a difference we need them to go further.

Ads from fossil fuel companies paint a pretty picture. Shell claims it is part of the “greatest push for renewable energy the world has ever seen.” But take a closer look, and it’s all hot air. In Shell’s 2020 budget, it allocated $17 billion for fossil fuels, and only $3bn for renewables - the same amount as it planned to spend on marketing.




Influential companies like YouTube, owned by Google, are still accepting ads from fossil fuel giants. Together we watch more than one billion hours of videos there every day. YouTube has a duty to tackle greenwashing on its platform.

Greenwashing is dangerous - it makes people complacent and lulls us into a false sense of security. Who wouldn’t want to believe that Shell and BP are on the case; doing their best?

It’s time to wake up from that dream and ban these falsehoods from the public domain. We need big companies like YouTube to take a stand for the good of people and planet.

Will you ask YouTube to join us in our fight for the climate - and ban fossil fuel ads from their platform?


Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

July 2022 Newsletter

Environmental Research

Form 8 students from the Science Club at the Oporto British School set up some experiments for the Form 5 students to test different soils from around the church grounds.

They first looked at what they knew about soil in general. The samples had previously been collected by some Form 2 students from the graveyard, the path in the graveyard and flower bed near the Well House.

The students carried out pH testing on the soil to indicate how acidic or alkaline it is. Soil sieving was done to separate different layers of soil, and identify any organisms that were present. They filtered the soil, passing water through it and comparing which samples the water passed through the quickest.

Finally they looked at the different layers in the soil.

Some small particles of plastic were found in some of the soil.

Earlier this year, scientists discovered the presence of microplastics in the lungs of living people for the first time ever.

Globally, plastic waste is set to treble by 2060.

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

June 2022 Newsletter

This month we look outwards and cover a few stories in the UK.

We are also completing the A Rocha survey to see how St James can improve its environmental rating. Once analyzed, the survey will lead to advice on our policies. More information
News from Greenpeace

Peatland is the UK’s largest natural carbon store on land, locking in an estimated 3.2 billion tonnes of the stuff, as well as being vital habitats for birds, rare insects and plants. But landowners and grouse shooters are intentionally setting fires in these precious parts of our countryside.

UK Centre for Hydrology and Ecology

Despite the government banning this practice, gaping loopholes and weak enforcement mean it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Will you call out the government and demand a proper ban on this senseless burning of our natural land?

Last year, the government promised to protect what it called “England’s national rainforests” from grouse moor fires, stating that “there is a consensus that burning of vegetation on blanket bog is damaging to peatland formation and habitat condition” and introducing a partial ban.

UK Government

But using satellite technology (including NASA’s heat spot technology) we identified hundreds of fires set over the last year on peatlands that are used for grouse shooting.

Unearthed

If this government really thinks our peatland is “England’s national rainforests” that must be protected, then it’s time they matched their words with real action and properly banned the burning of these areas for things like grouse shooting.

Not only did our investigative unit Unearthed spot hundreds of fires using satellite technology, they went to witness it first hand and found that burning has still been happening on areas of deep peat covered by the government’s “ban”.

We’ve done the digging - now it’s time for the government to look at the facts and take action.




THE FIREWORK CAMPAIGN UK Campaigning to reform UK firework legislation since 2013 (Formally FAB firework campaign)

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

May 2022 Newsletter

picture of insect hotel
The insect hotel that has been installed in the cemetery.

The next steps may be to complete the ARocha questionnaire to help determine how St James can be more environmentally friendly, and to publish the report from the Oporto British School when they have completed it.

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

April 2022 Newsletter

Now that the summer time (daylight-saving time) has come into effect we look forward to spring and summer. The latest activity reflects this.

Bird nesting boxes

Thanks to Barry, who has installed these on trees in the cemetery.

picture of nesting box
picture of nesting box 2

Environmental Science Project

Primary Students from The Oporto British School (OBS) visited the churchyard on Wednesday 30th March. More details will be in May’s newsletter.
It was good to see them working on their environmental science project. They installed a bee and insect house/hotel as well as conducting research. It was a very happy group of children strengthening the links between St James and the school.
This capitalises on our conversation with St Vincent’s in the Algarve, who have already been conducting similar research. Thanks to Lesley for organising this.

cemetery flowers
Wild flowers in the cemetery [photo: Nick Holland]

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

March 2022 Newsletter

Transport

One of the themes of previous newsletters has been that each individual can make a small difference according to their own circumstances. Jonathan Ayerst, our organist, and I, Peter Blackburn, cycle to St James on most occasions.

cyclist at St James cyclist at St James

Cycling conditions have improved over recent years, with motorists more conscious that they need to give cyclists more space when overtaking, and cycle lanes on major streets. If you use these, be careful at junctions where motorists tend to turn right without checking whether the cyclist is continuing straight on; otherwise the obvious advice is to ensure you have good lights and some visible clothing.

is a link to Cycle UK’s advice page on a variety of topics.

Several people also walk and travel by bus and metro.

Bird Boxes

Barry has constructed two of these and they will be placed strategically in the churchyard any time now, ready for spring.

Saving Paper

St James’ Church is making an attempt to save paper in regular publications. The Sunday readings will be printed every two weeks on both sides of the A4 sheet. Vicky Field, our Church Council Secretary, sends regular emails with attachments, and these are also available on this web site. Attachments include this letter and monthly church notices. If you are reading this in the paper version you will see it is two-sided A5. Please try the online version to see if it suits you.

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

February 2022 Newsletter

Wood for two nesting boxes has been donated by a local carpenter and Barry is putting these together to place in the church yard ready for spring.

This month has been relatively quiet, however ideas for the next weeks include insect hotels.

Over recent months we have seen very little rain, and remaining conscious of our usage is important. How we save water is dependent on individual circumstances, but the important thing is to keep it in mind.

St Albans Diocese has kindly allowed us ​​to use the environment logo at the head of the newsletter. We will maintain contact with them for ideas.

And finally the St James’ web site’s recent move to a new host is good news from an environmental point of view.

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

January Newsletter

Around nine million tons of plastic litter enter the sea yearly, influencing coastal and marine life, just as human wellbeing. It is assessed that 3461 species are affected, and marine plastic contamination is perceived as a significant worldwide danger to the wellbeing of the sea, environments, biodiversity, wild creatures and government assistance. (Charitou, A., et al., 2021. Investigating the knowledge and attitude of the Greek public towards marine plastic pollution and the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive)

cloth bag
A simple idea: use a cloth bag for shopping

Many supermarkets now charge for plastic bags, and encourage shoppers to use their own reusable bags. When buying vegetables you can use lightweight cloth bags to put them in ready for weighing: both time-saving and environmentally sound. This idea is mentioned by Nation resources defence council inc. (NRDC) a US-based organisation as one of the effective ways to reduce plastic pollution.

Through our newsletter, we want to encourage the use of recyclable bags and bottles. This would help us to start the New year with the slogan “We can be the change we want to see”.

Sub-notice: Contact has been made with two local schools, who may agree to allow their Environmental Science students to conduct research in St James’ churchyard.

has some ideas. St Vincent’s Church in Praia de Luz has worked with them.
Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
Victor de Holanda
email

December Newsletter

Here are a few ideas just before Christmas. Some of you may already have prepared presents, but those who still have that task to do might find these suggestions helpful.

At least 50,000 trees are chopped down each year to make our wrapping paper and bags. It's time to make a change, so:

Get into the habit of saving the packing paper from online purchases, and to that, add discarded flower-bouquet paper, old comics, sheet music, newspapers, magazines, and so on. Even old maps can be used if your mobile phone is your main navigation tool.

If you don’t have room to put your children’s artwork on the wall, use it to wrap the grandparents’ gifts.

Brown packing paper can be scrunched it up into a tight ball then smoothed out to give a textured finish. It also has a high content of already recycled paper.

Even cloth can be fun. Look up Furoshiki, the Japanese method of wrapping gifts in fabric.

Wrap, the sustainability charity that advises on waste and recycling, warns against ‘zero plastic’ clear tape: they describe it as a ‘greenwashing gimmick’. Use paper tape instead.

These ideas are adapted from a Telegraph article.

Since the last letter, Linda and her husband, Anthony, have planted bulbs around the war memorial. The next task is to build nesting boxes to put in the churchyard.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and happy new year.

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
Lesley Costello
email

November newsletter

God’s earth has been entrusted to humanity, and it is our responsibility to look after it. While this may seem obvious, it is not always easy to see how to put it into practice. As Christians we feel it is our duty to do something. The aim of this newsletter is to let each other know what we can do, and are doing, and so to invite contributions from anyone who has an idea.

It is difficult to make suggestions without sounding patronising or bossy, and in any case most of us have heard or read about the issues facing the world. We have seen how COP26 unfurled, with some useful progress, but not enough to guarantee the crucial barrier of only 1.5°C.

The church as a community can monitor heat and light to ensure we are only using the necessary amount of energy. While not expecting people to worship in a crepuscular or freezing environment, we can experiment with reducing the electricity or gas that we use.

It is a standard saying in the UK that there is no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing. If you have lived through a tropical storm or witnessed the current disruption closer to home in Germany and Belgium, such extreme weather gives the lie to that. For the average Sunday in Porto, however, winter coats may go a long way towards mitigating winter temperatures.

Lighting in the Well House is already from low-energy bulbs. Other usage will be observed in the next month.

So, what suggestions have been made so far?

The churchyard can be a haven for wildlife, and with this aim we will plant more flowers and other plants to make it more attractive not only for people, but insect and bird species. It is surprising how many birds and other animals live in the centre of this city, and as they adapt to an urban environment we can help. Nesting boxes for small birds are another idea that could easily be taken up.

Please let us know if you have any thoughts. As a church community we can achieve much if we share ideas.

Peter Blackburn
Linda Wilson
Srishti Singh
email