Network gathering – 2nd Feb 2012

You are invited to the first ever Earthing Faith network gathering on Thursday 2nd February 2012.

Sharing | Showcasing | Connecting

The gathering will provide space for sharing stories from projects around the Diocese of Oxford. We will highlight the new energy monitoring pilot scheme, hear creative responses to installing solar PV, learn how your church can grow food and a sense of community, as well as see how lent could connect us with our global neighbours.

There will be space for prayer and reflection. We will be showcasing resources to highlight environmental issues in your prayer and worship.

And there will be plenty of time for conversations over light refreshments. If you register you’ll also get a free goodie bag of resources.

Please do join us – everyone is welcome.

Where: Diocesan Church House, North Hinksey, Oxford, OX2 0NB – full directions here

When: 7pm until 9pm, Thursday 2nd February 2012

Register: Please help us plan by registering to say you intend to join us.

Click here to complete the online registration form (includes lift share details).

Alternatively rsvp via Facebook or by leaving a message on 01865 208745.

Share: The gathering is an opportunity to share with one another and it would be great if you could:

Share a favourite book – bring a favourite book or two on a Earthing Faith theme to share (you can print these slips to fill in and insert in your book)

Share your project – if you are involved in a project, or have a dream for a project, bring a leaflet/poster about it to share.

Not able to come? It would be great to see you or someone from your church – please use the share buttons below to help you spread the word.

Questions?  If you have questions about the gathering please use our contact form or call 01865 208745.

New £10m Government green fund – churches urged to apply!

The Church of England has welcomed the Government announcement of a new £10 million Local Energy Assessment Fund which gives community groups, including churches, a chance to bid for money.

The new Fund, announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, DECC, will provide grants for around 200 community organisations, including churches, to undertake energy efficiency projects and renewable energy generation in their area.

David Shreeve, the Church of England’s national environment adviser, said, “It is good news that DECC consider churches and other faith groups as vital parts of the local community. The deadline for application and delivery is tight but many churches are currently considering ways of harnessing renewable energy for their buildings and this may just be the spur they need.

“A recent communication I received from 10 Downing St stressed the Prime Minister’s recognition that Church assets often sit at the heart of the community Shrinking the Footprint the Church of England’s national environment campaign, provides advice and toolkits for the local church as it rolls out vital green community projects as part of its ministry and mission.”

There is around £50,000 available for each successful community to be used to help assess the potential for energy efficiency and local renewable energy generation and get things started in their area. This is a short-term scheme where work will need to be completed by end of March 2012.

Interested communities can apply via the Energy Saving Trust and money will be allocated in two rounds. The first round closes at noon on 22 December 2011 with successful applicants notified in the week beginning 9 January 2012. The second round will close to applications at noon on 20 January 2012 with successful communities notified at the end January.

Full details about the scheme can be found at www.greencommunitiescc.org.uk

You may also find help and advice on this, and other funding, at the new Oxfordshire based Low Carbon Hub: www.lowcarbonhub.org

Help a trail-blazing school go solar this Christmas!

Amy Cameron from the carbon cutting organisation 10:10 shares in this post how some schools in the Diocese of Oxford are trail-blazing a funding model that may be one of few ways community buildings can install solar in the future, and how you can help!

10:10, the carbon cutting organisation, began in 2009 with the aim of helping businesses, organisations and individuals reduce their emissions by 10% in a single year. Our plan was to inspire and motivate people towards a change that was fast, achievable and meaningful. Since we launched, over 125,000 individuals have pledged to cut their carbon in over 42 countries, alongside 6000 businesses, 3000 organisations and over 2500 schools, universities and colleges.

The results of our sign-ups to date have been impressive, with everyone from Tottenham Hotspurs cutting 14% to the British Embassy in Beijing cutting 48%, but we’re always looking for new ways to get people acting on climate change. That’s why, this September, we launched Solar Schools, a groundbreaking project to save energy, help schools, build communities and, most importantly, enable thousands of people to engage positively with renewable energy.

The idea, in a nutshell, is to help schools across the country generate their own solar energy by raising the cost of panels from the local community. Each school gets its own webpage, populated with empty solar panels. Family, neighbours, friends, local businesses and ex-pupils sponsor segments of panel by buying vouchers or donating online. The whole scheme lives and breathes community interaction, with pictures and messages of support left by donors.

Recently, it’s been difficult to avoid stories about chaos in the solar industry.  With the government making rapid cuts to Feed-in Tariffs, many projects have been left in the lurch. However, while we wait for a clear pathway to a sustainable future for the UK, the eight schools in the Solar Schools pilot continue to trail-blaze a model that may be one of few ways community buildings can install solar in the future.

The schools involved are based around the country – a hub of five in Reading, one in Cambridge, one in Norwich and one on the sunny Scilly Isles. They are working flat out to reach their targets and they would love your support! If you’d be interested in donating then please do head to www.solarschools.org.uk. You can also send friends and family a tile as a gift, ready to open on a specified date – a nice way to cut down on your Christmas card recycling this year! Plus, if any of the schools involved are in your area, they would love some hands-on support – they have lots of Solar Schools voucher booklets to sell and events to organise, and they need as many people to know about the project as possible – email hello@solarschools.org.uk  to find how you could get involved.

These schools are trying something new to become cleaner, greener places for children to learn, they would love your help to do it!

Amy Cameron is the Solar Schools co-ordinator at 10:10.

Be the Change Symposium – 28th Jan 2012

A symposium: “Be the Change: Awakening the Spiritual Activist Within” will be held in Abingdon on Saturday 28th January, 2012.

How do we bring about a human presence on this planet that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilled? Using the powerful Be the Change video and workshop processes, you are invited to explore this leading question for our time.

Hosted by Abingdon Quakers but open to all. See http://bethechangeinitiative.org

For more information please ring Tony on 01235 529188 or email sallyreynolds@btinternet.com

When: Saturday 28th January 10am – 4pm

Venue: Abingdon Resource & Wellbeing Centre, OX14 3GD

Low Carbon Communities Conference – 14 Jan 2012

Low Carbon Communities Network is organising a conference entitled: New times, new ways forward for 14th January 2012 in Oxford.

The conference will take at Kings’ Conference Centre, Osney Mead, Oxford, and will look at new ways forward for community action in a time of significant economic and social change. National speakers will include Jonathon Porritt, former head of the Sustainable Development commission. Local organisations from across the UK will also be well represented, along with speakers from local government, universities, and energy companies.

For further information and to book a place visit: http://lowcarboncommunities.net/conference/

Let Live by John Madeley

Let Live: A bike ride, climate change and the CIA is the new novel about climate change by local author John Madeley. Through the eyes of an environment journalist on a bike it deals with the impact of climate change and the powerful interests that don’t want people to know who is causing it.

Cycling through West and East Africa, the guy on a bike meets people who have been forced from their homes because of the climate change that Western countries are largely causing. He writes critical articles about the West’s failure to curb carbon emissions, and is especially damning of United States policy. The US, he points out, is invading the sovereignty of other countries. The CIA don’t like it, and a plot is hatched to remove him.

Drama and pathos combine with wit and humour to make this a powerful novel for our time. Set in 2007, in the dying stages of the George W Bush presidency, the book is a strong challenge to Western government policies on climate change.

“Let Live” is published by Longstone Books. ISBN: 078-0-9568344-1-6;
240 pages, price £8.99.

“Entertaining, sharp, penetrating, an incisive account of the damage that climate change is doing to the poor. A searing indictment of the policies of Western country governments. Read it….and demand action” – Caroline Lucas MP

“A fascinating read, bringing out many poignant issues and experiences, amidst a gripping story line” – Jeff Alderson

Buy online or at your local book shop

Website: www.johnmadeley.com

Feed-in-Tariff changes and your project?

We talked about the proposed changes to the government Feed-in-Tariff recently, but how are the changes affecting church based projects on the ground in the diocese? Share you experiences and responses here in the comments.

We are hearing of community solar PV projects that are now in serious financial jeopardy because of the proposed changes to the FiT and the short notice given. Blewbury Energy Initiative is advising, “those leading such projects to keep careful records of their documentation – especially bills and payments, as it is possible they may be able to reclaim expenditure committed before the DECC announcement on 31st October.”

Is your project in such a situation? Or have you shelved plans because of the proposed changes?

Please use the comments section below to share your experiences and how you are responding to the proposed changes, both so we know who is being affected and also to share with others ideas and resources of how to respond.

Also if you haven’t already signed the e-petition started by the CofE’s Shrinking the Footprint campaign, asking DECC to consider exempting not-for-profit group projects from the Feed-In Tariff reductions, please do consider doing so.