Libya’s Silent Majority Speaks

At the 2nd February Earthing Faith network gathering we heard briefly from Dr Andrew Gosler on his work with  the Institute of Human Sciences who recently in association with Oxford Research International and the University of Benghazi carried out the first Public Opinion Survey of Libya.

We heard about Dr Gosler’s visit to Libya and how when the survey put those questioned in a position to spend 100 million Dinars, most Libyans said they would put health at the top of their list of priorities, providing it with an average of 34 per cent of the total budget. Education would receive an average of 27 per cent of the total budget while, perhaps surprisingly, environmental improvements such as tree planting would be given an average eight per cent of the total budget, according to the survey.

Dr Gosler, said: ‘The first National Survey holds many surprises for the world on what the Libyan people want following decades of autocratic rule under the Gaddafi regime. It reveals that there is a great deal of optimism amongst the population about the future of their country. When asked about their spending priorities, health and education came top as you might expect, but the Libyans also seem surprisingly ready to do more on the environment where there is universal concern across all political divides.’

For further information see www.ihs.ox.ac.uk

Dr. Andrew GoslerDr Andrew Gosler is Head of the Biological Conservation for the Institute of Human Sciences at the University of Oxford, President of the Oxford Ornithological Society, and Deanery Synod Lay Chair for Cowley. He has recently co-edited Ethno-ornithology – Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Society.

Earth Hour 2011 – Sat 26th March from 8.30pm

Earth Hour 2011

From London to Sydney, New York and Singapore, people across the world will be marking Earth Hour this Saturday (26 March 2011) and switching off their lights. A simple idea that has rapidly gained global support. For just one hour everyone is asked to switched off their lights and make a symbolic stand against climate change. It’s a reminder to us all that we only have one planet Earth. And it’s an urgent message that we want to reduce the impact our energy system has on that planet.

Find out more at: earthhour.wwf.org.uk

Earth Day – Connect with your patch of earth today

Originally uploaded by basswulf

Today (Thursday 22nd April) is Earth Day. A day celebrated around the world (although not very widely in the UK), and designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. With the sunny weather putting a spring in our step and helping people venture into their gardens or nearby parks, why not take an opportunity today to mark Earth Day by connecting with your local patch of earth?

Head outside and appreciate creation where you are. You could even walk outside barefoot, like Francis did, so he would experience no disconnect between himself and “Sister Earth”. You may like to use the following Garden Blessing from Christine Sine. Whatever you do take some time to enjoy connecting with your little patch of earth today.

God bless this garden

Through which your glory shines

May we see in its beauty the wonder of your love

God bless the soil

Rich and teeming with life

May we see in its fertility the promise of new creation

God bless our toil

As we dig deep to turn the soil

May we see in our labour your call to be good stewards

God bless each seed

That takes root and grows

May we see in their flourishing the hope of transformation

God bless the rains

That water our efforts to bring forth life

May we see in their constancy God’s faithful care

God bless the harvest

Abundant and bountiful in season

May we see in God’s generosity our need to share

God bless this garden

As you bless all creation with your love

May we see in its glory your awesome majesty

Amen

Garden blessing prayer from Christine Sine’s ebook To Garden With God

Is Climate Change Natural?

The debate about climate change is not whether the temperature of the earth is rising, it is about whether humans have caused this and whether humans can thus reverse it. In other words is it a natural phenomenon that we have to accept, or not? A few weeks ago ‘The Express’ published an article with 100 reasons why climate change is natural:

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/146138

This was quickly followed by an article in the ‘New Scientist’ describing why Climate Change is not natural:

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/12/50-reasons-why-global-warming.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

Of course neither article claims global warming is entirely natural or entirely due to humans, but the question is whether human activity has a significant impact or not. If it does then we must change our lifestyles, if it doesn’t then we must eat drink and be merry..

For me, graphs like the one below are convincing. The red line appears in all three graphs and is the earth’s temperature and no one will disagree that this is rising. The first graph also shows a model in grey of natural effects on temperature, such as solar flares, in the second graph the grey line instead shows a model of solely human effects on temperature due to CO2 emissions, and in the third graph the grey line is a model combining the two.


This begs the question about what happened before 1850, as 1850 was a comparatively short time ago. The graph below shows the temperature of earth and compares it with the CO2 in the atmosphere at that time:

Human activity has only really caused a rise in CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution, as burning wood is carbon neutral, hence shown in the graph below is the effect of us in the form of solids – coal, liquids – oil and gas.
I suppose my conclusion is that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere causes the temperature to rise or fall and that since 1850 we have put a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere, hence we might expect to see the rapid increases in temperature we are experiencing: