Articles and Press Releases

Articles written for the local press in Uttlesford and for St Mary’s Parish Church Saffron Walden as part of the Eco Church project

It's time to get Excited!

 It is time to get excited about the possibilities of a life lived in harmony with our ecosystems!   The possibilities for happiness, social justice, economic and emotional fulfilment are still available on our precious and delicate planet, if we are only prepared to change now.  ...

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As ye sow, so shall ye reap!

 I have greatly enjoyed acquiring a new skill this year: that of scything. Indeed, the first thing I learned is that you don’t ‘scythe’ with a scythe; you Mow. The ‘One man (who) went to mow, went to mow a meadow…’ went with his scythe and the four, five, si...

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Ring out for Climate!

 When this edition of the Parish News gets published, the UN Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow will be about to start, and I will be in a state of extreme nervousness!   Back in the summer I was appointed as a Christian Aid Climate Campaign Organiser, with a brief to raise awaren...

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A budget for the past

 I was sickened by the self-interested moaning of the Ryanair spokesperson about the delay in Rishi Sunak’s halving of Air Passenger Duty in your article last week. Looking up the costs of getting to Glasgow, a return flight from Stansted would have cost me £71 compared to a r...

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A toilet for Christmas

Fresh from singing ‘Enough is Enough’, many minds must have pondered once again how sad it is to see Christmas so commercialised and wondered what they could do about it.   Politicians have completed their negotiations at COP 26, and maybe provided some reassurance that the...

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What is COP 26 and why does it matter?

 COP is the ‘Conference of the Parties’ and the 2021 meeting in Glasgow this November will be the 26th meeting. They started following UN treaty agreed in 1994. We are all aware of the Paris Agreement in 2015, COP 21, at which countries agreed to try to keep global warming dow...

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What does Climate Justice actually mean?

 When I take to the streets to protest about the destruction of the planetary balance we depend on, the most popular chant is: “What do we want?”                      &nb...

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Statement to Stansted Expansion Inquiryl 14th January 2021

 I was immensely proud of the UDC councillors when they overturned MAG’s application to expand the airport. They were courageous in disregarding the shockingly one-sided advice of their planning officers, and unanimously agreeing that climate change, air quality and noise were material co...

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Being Ethical isn't Easy

 Being ethical isn’t easy, but affluent westerners with a conscience, should try harder than most.   Last month, Uttlesford District Council were put on the spot by their investment in a property that is going to be leased by an American Company with a wide variety of technical p...

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Meditations on the birth of a Grandson

 A few weeks ago, I raised a solitary glass of champagne to toast the birth of my fourth grandson. What an amazingly lucky man I am! But within seconds I was choking back tears to think of the appalling legacy I will be leaving him.   Even if we manage to reach global carbon zero by 2050...

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One Planet Economics

 They kept coming, witness after witness, to tell the inquiry that the economy of our region depends on the growth of Stansted Airport.  As if Uttlesford District Council were trying to close the airport, rather than put a cautious limit on its growth to 35 million passengers each yea...

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Crossing the Boundaries of Ethics

 On Thursday last week, at a bizarre and painful meeting, Uttlesford District Council effectively confirmed its £35m investment in a property knowing that the tenant is heavily involved in the arms trade, with connections to the war in Yemen.    Bizarre, because that was stu...

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Hopeless Optimism

 As a new year dawns, I wonder how hopeful we all feel about the future….   A constrained Christmas has saddened us, the chaos and confusion around Brexit continues, the UK Covid death toll has accelerated past 100,00 but the vaccine programme is underway. There are some very ha...

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The Answer Lies in the Soil!

My local church has been awarded the ECO Church Bronze award for helping to preserve the environment in practical ways.   Recycling, twinning toilets to support sanitation in Africa and investing church savings in carbon free, ethical funds had their role to play, but much of our work dur...

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Are solar farms 'trashing the countryside'?

At Uttlesford District Council Stakeholders’ meeting last week, it was claimed that local solar farms were ‘trashing our countryside’. I’m afraid the fact is that much of our countryside has already been trashed. A recent UN report, compiled by 300 scientists, states that the...

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Grasp the Scale of the Challenge!

 532 billion tonnes of ice were lost from Greenland in 2019 – the most since records began. It is an incomprehensibly huge figure.    That equates to about a million tonnes per minute; enough to fill seven Olympic-sized swimming pools per second. Mind boggling!   Just a...

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The People have Spoken!

In September the UK’s first ever Peoples Assembly on Climate change published a ground breaking report. In response to pressure from Extinction Rebellion, six Parliamentary Select Committees joined together to set up the assembly. It included people from all walks of life, balanced in terms of...

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Let's NOT Save the Planet

 July 2020   I disagree with the concept of ‘Saving the planet’. It is dangerously misleading.    It implies that we are greater than the planet and that, if we are altruistic and generous, we might just condescend to save it, as we might try to save giant pandas ...

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Carpe Diem!

June 2020    It has been a joy to see clear, unpolluted blue skies; to hear birdsong rise above the traffic noise and to connect with the beauty of nature on our own doorsteps. And while we’ve been doing that, daily greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) dropped 17% in April!   The...

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So this is what an emergency looks like

So now we know what an emergency looks like.  Government takes swift and decisive action; they listen to the scientists, basing their policies and strategies entirely on the science; they pass swift laws that compel the public to radically change their lifestyles; they scrap the budget the...

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Is it already too late?

For someone living on the banks of the River Severn, who has been flooded several times and can no longer get insurance; for an Australian whose home has been burned down and for the 80 million animals who died in the fires; for the farmers of Kenya or the Sudan whose crops have failed and whose cat...

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Sharing a platform with Bishop Stephen

At the start of Lent, before the coronavirus put paid to everything, I was invited to speak at St John’s church, Colchester, alongside Bishop Stephen, the next Archbishop of York, and the Rev James Gilder. It was part of the diocesan Lent talks on the Environment and the theme on this occasio...

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It is time to take sides

It was clear at Davos last month that there could be no more sitting on the fence; it is time to take sides. We can side with Donald Trump, who urged us to ‘reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of apocalypse’ and claimed that it is ‘a growing and vibrant eco...

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Time for an ECO Resolution

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? And have you managed to keep it? How about making a resolution for the whole of the Twenties decade? One that will make all the difference to future generations?     The UN published an Emissions Gap report in December, saying t...

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Our New Perspective

We have just celebrated the remarkable and heroic journey of the astronauts who landed on the moon fifty years ago. Just a few months before that, Apollo 8 had taken the first humans out of Earth orbit and around the moon. As they re-emerged from the far side of the moon, after the agonizing moments...

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My Environmental Dream

Last month the PCC at St Mary’s Saffron Walden signed up for the journey to become an ECO church. It needs to be a journey that challenges us all. At a recent conference the speaker, Rupert Read, said, ‘This civilization is over. It will be over in one of two possible ways. Either we ma...

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