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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Madeleine Holmes At European Christian Environmental Network

The new Diocesan Environmental Officer, Madeleine Holmes (above), represented the diocese at the 8th Assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network, ECEN, in Prague from 9 - 13 June, one of 85 participants from 23 European countries. The theme for the assembly was Our Daily Bread - Living in a Time of Climate Change.  ECEN is the main instrument of the Conference of European Churches for addressing environmental issues, and also works closely with the World Council of Churches and with the Council of European (Roman  Catholic) Bishops' Conferences.

Madeleine notes that despite the disappointing outcome from the COP15 United Nations climate summit last December in Copenhagen, churches continue to be committed to addressing the challenges of global warming which threaten God's creation on earth. One way is to encourage Christians to review our eating habits. Intensive meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Madeleine writes, 
"The main thrust [of the ECEN] this year was regarding food - 18% of greenhouse gas emissions and the drive to provide cheap food comes at an environmental cost.  Giving up meat for one day a week - this would equal all the cars in the USA being taken off the road for one day!"
Furthermore, species and habitats are becoming extinct as human demands for cheaper unseasonable food take effect. Soils are becoming overstressed with agro-chemical input. Madeleine reports that much of what was discussed looked at more responsible purchasing habits with regard to food.
'Daily bread' for all is a gift of God. We are invited to recognise that food for life raises deep questions as people experiencing hunger or poor diet are not able to grow abundantly in the image of their Maker.
Thank you Madeleine for representing us at ECEN, and for drawing our attention to the connection between what we eat and care for the environment.

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