Welcome to SHARE!!
Welcome to the Sacred Heart Hook Activities and Resources on Environment (SHARE) webpage!
We believe that responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility and duty as Christians to safeguard God’s creation. Our environmental campaign exists to enable the whole church to address — in faith, practice and mission — the issue of climate change. Please read the ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME for more details.
There are many different ways to tackle climate change, either individually or in a group, and one effective way is campaigning for change. If we don’t act now to reduce our pollution and environmental impact, many more people could be at risk of losing their livelihoods and everything they cherish.
The development of western society since the industrial revolution has led to numerous benefits, making our lives easier in so many ways. However, we are learning more and more about the environmental consequences of our modern lifestyles, and so this webpage is being set up for sharing information that can help us take greater responsibility for our impact on the environment.
We are here to help you take action on the environment. Amazing work is already taking place in churches across the country and we are well placed to share news, tips and resources. The SHARE group aims to increase our community’s engagement with environmental issues by providing information and guidance on the 6 following topics:
- Waste Management
- Nature & Biodiversity
It is easy to forget what happens to our waste after we throw it away, once in the bin we tend to assume it’s all sorted, sadly this is often not the case! Even recycled waste often does not end up in UK recycling plants, due to a limited number of such facilities and the costs involved in sorting and processing certain materials. The truth is that a huge proportion of what we throw away ends up in landfill, the ocean, or being burnt producing ‘greenhouse gases’ which damage our air increase the risk of severe weather events and other native impacts of climate change. We can help improve the situation by changing how we deal with our waste via e.g.:
- Responsible recycling
- Reusing items instead of buying ‘single use’
- Only buy what you need, reducing waste
More information here:
How can I help?
Do you want to do your bit? We as a parish can try and recycle more by adopting small changes – have we thought about:
- using fabric flowers around the church and only getting fresh flowers for special Feast days?
- using less paper – do we need to print loads of newsletters? can you try downloading them and reading them online?
- do we need to print the readings for each Mass – can you buy a Missal or download it to your phone? we could reduce the amount of printing if everyone in the family shared one?
- Did you know we have a purple bin at the church? The purple bin allows you to recycle items that cant be recycled in your green recycling bin. For more infomation as to what can be deposited in the purple bins – please see: https://www.villagemagpies.co.uk/
- Could you spare some time to help sprt out the recycling? Village Magpies recycling initiative (purple bins) require us taking the bin contents to a centre in Rotherwick and then helping to sort it. Perhaps if regularly ued we could look into obtaining several purple bins for specific items so that the sorting activity is done at source. Perhaps you could volunteer to join a rota to help take the recycling to Rotherwick and help with the sorting? Please reach out to us if you can help in any way. You can find out more abou thte Village Magpies here: https://www.villagemagpies.co.uk/
In the UK alone we throw away approximately 9.5 million tonnes of food waste each year, bringing us to the our next topic, Food.
Our food choices have a huge impact on the environment, although this is difficult to calculate due to the complex processes of food production in the modern world. For example, the tragic destruction of our rainforests is mainly done to grow animal feed crops for the agriculture industry.
According to recent studies reducing/avoiding meat and dairy products is one of the biggest ways to reduce your environmental impact, but there are many other ways we can seek to lessen our impact on the environment through our food choices, for example:
- Using locally sourced foods, reducing food transport
- Using foods with minimal or recyclable packaging
- Growing, foraging, and sharing food
More information here:
How can I get help?
Not only could we look at our household consumption but we could also consider the following:
- bringing in surplus food for donation to Caritas families
- bringing in surplus food fo rthe food bank
- bringing in excess vegetables from allotments for parishioners? Have a swapsies programme allowing other people to bring in excess vegetables they have grown from their allotment?
- can we look to set up a “parish allotment”?
‘Food miles’ on average account for approx. 11% of a food product’s environmental impact, bringing us to the next topic, Transport.
Transport is the biggest source of air and noise pollution in the UK, with surface transport contributing roughly a quarter of UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Therefore, private and industrial transport are important considerations when seeking to limit our environmental impact. There are various ways to minimize our movement impact, not only by considering car shares, walking, cycling, use of public transport etc. but also considering how the products we use are transported to us.
- Domestic Travel – Walking, cycling, public transport, car-sharing etc.
- Carbon Offsetting for International Travel – Flights, Cruise Ships etc.
- Where do your products come from? – Calculating Carbon Footprints
More information here:
How can I help?
Do you want to do your bit? We as a parish can try by adopting small changes – have we thought about:
- Car pooling? do you live near some parishioners and can car share to get to Mass?
- Do you live close enough to walk or cycle?
- Do you support local businesses and source local produce?
Not every product travels a great distance to reach us, but with minimal UK manufacturing many items do come from very far away, with one example being our next topic, Clothing.
It may come a surprise to many of us, that the fashion industry is a major offender to environmental decline. The fashion industry accounts for about 10% of global carbon emissions, making our clothing choices more important than a simple question of style. It has long been known that ‘fast fashion’ is available due to the low pay and unsafe conditions for workers in factories abroad, but in addition to unethical labour, the industrial processes involved in clothing production can be further detrimental to our environment. Again, there are a range of options to improve this situation e.g.:
- Favour ‘Eco-fashion’ over ‘Fast/Disposable fashion’
- Choose fabrics using sustainable fibres e.g. Cotton, Bamboo etc.
- Taking part in clothes swaps, donating clothes to charity etc.
How Can I help?
Could we as a parish encourage recycling of clothing? Have we considered the following?
- Could we set up a regular “Handbags and Gladrags” clothing rail which parishioners could donate to and regularly check after Mass?
- Could we have a regular box for donations to Caritas families?
- Could we support our local charity shops?
Another aspect of the environmental impact involves how factories are fuelled, leading us to our final topic, Energy.
Some examples of environmental problems directly related to energy production and consumption include air pollution, water pollution, thermal pollution, and solid waste disposal. We don’t all have the space to erect wind turbines in our back gardens, but it can be a good exercise to check whether your energy providers are transitioning to more sustainable sources such as wind, wave, solar etc. And it is not only your household energy supplier that can be considered, you can also ask your bank, pension providers, etc. where they are investing your money, and encourage them to look into more environmentally friendly energy sources over the traditional fossil fuel industries that have been proven to so negatively impact our environment.
More information here:
How can I help?
We could consider investigating if we could apply for grants to help us with home improvements such as better insulation or solar panels. There are government backed schemes -https://www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures
We could consider switching off lights and plugs when not in use.
Nature and Biodiversity
Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is the multitude of living things that make up life on Earth. It encompasses the 8 million or so species on the planet—from plants and animals to fungi and bacteria—and the ecosystems that house them such as oceans, forests, mountain environments and coral reefs.
But, nature is in crisis. We are losing species at a rate 1,000 times greater than at any other time in recorded human history and one million species face extinction.
Nature-based solutions offer ways to promote human well-being, tackle climate change and protect our living planet.
How can I help?
We as a parish are encouraged to get involved with initatives suchas World Bee Day and plant more wild flowers in our gardens to help the bees pollinate.
Have we thought about planting perennials rather than replacing border plants every year?
More ideas can be found here:https://caritasportsmouth.org.uk/biodiversity-projects/
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 16/09/2022
In early November COP27 will take place in Egypt and it will look at those plans agreed at COP26 in Glasgow last year, and their progress.
The focus is very much on reducing the use of coal across the world (a fossil fuel heavily used by China, India, the US, Germany , Russia and other nations) as well as reducing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage countries and businesses to continue to use fossil fuels . One of the more contentious issues, that of long term financial support for those countries that would expect to use fossil fuels, but need support to use more environmentally friendly energy options, is still on the table for discussion and resolution.
These are high level climate change discussions! And so what can we do ?
We continue to do our best to reduce our impact on this beautiful planet by recycling all that we can and reducing the amount we send to landfill through our black bins. We do our best to reduce our use of fossil fuels – particularly in terms of transport used, looking at alternative means of transport where possible , difficult I know. Our use of energy , for example to heat our homes, we need to be sensible – we need to heat our homes but we can be economic in reducing the heating in those rooms that we don’t use. Thermostatic radiator valves are ideal as they mean we can reduce the temperature of those rooms we don’t use, for example a spare room.
And finally, it is the season to plant trees!
We need to do our best – if we all do our best, we can have a huge positive impact on our beautiful planet !
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON ENVIRONMENT
Plastics continue to be a huge area of concern when it comes to the environment and reducing our carbon footprint, and I found myself thinking about how much further my family and I could go to reduce that footprint.
Buying food without plastic wrapping is incredibly difficult, and we need to do all we can to reduce plastics, by the choice of what we buy – ie foods wrapped in paper as opposed to plastic, by recycling plastic wrappings in our blue bins, at Tescos recycling points and at Village Magpie purple bins, and by complaining to supermarkets about their excessive use of plastics.
Where we can, buy our food from smaller shops that don’t use plastic as much as the bigger shops and supermarkets.
Bringing your own shopping bags as opposed to buying another Bag for Life is also an important way of reducing the use of plastics.
An area that I have moved to is bringing my own bamboo coffee cup to purchase take-out coffees or drinks , again this reduces the amount of plastic being used and recycled.
As always, doing our best is all we can do! Thank you.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 09/09/2022
Welcome back after a strange and at times, very disturbing summer! We had a heatwave and drought-like conditions, and are now welcoming thunderstorms and heavy rain – a very changeable weather pattern! Over the years we have had some extreme weather conditions, but perhaps this was the first time that climate change really hit home, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees C for the first time in our history.
And we think about what we can do to mitigate against another , at times difficult summer, and we have some suggestions for you to think about. Trying to keep our homes cool was challenging this summer and has certainly made me reconsider the carpets in the house; I am now planning to replace carpets with solid flooring such as wood or vinyl. In addition, looking at increasing the number of shady areas within the garden to protect both the plants in the garden as well as the people. Finally, with energy bills reaching extortionate proportions, thinking about how we can reduce our use of energy through
- turning off equipment on standby
- reducing the length of time hot water or central heating are on
- looking at shortening the length of time we are using appliances – for example, using the small oven as opposed to the large ; ensuring the washing machine and dishwasher are full each time you switch them on, switching lights off in the rooms we are not in.
We are having to look at energy economies and fortunately for most of us, we live in a comparatively mild climate see what you can manage. Thank you.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 22nd July
The extreme hot weather earlier this week has been a bit of a wake-up call to many of us, who know that ,increasingly our focus in our homes is not how we are to keep warm, but how we can keep cool – particularly with longer Spring and Summers with dry sunny weather. And there are a number of things we can do to have cooler homes in the summer – but our focus needs to be our contribution to climate change and what we can do to play our part.
Recycle as much plastic as possible – reduce the amount of waste we put in the grey bins.
Reduce the number of journeys we do in the car – try and use public transport wherever possible
Reduce our use of energy in the home – less electricity and gas, where possible.
Use minimal water in our homes – clearly we need to shower and keep clean, but reduce the length of time in the shower – 5 minutes is seen as long enough! (i am sure there are plenty of teenagers who would disagree!!)
Look at insulation in our homes, so that we can reduce our use of energy for heating.
Every little thing we can do to increase our contribution in reducing the rise in the Earth’s mean surface temperature , is vital for our future.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 02/07/2022
We are enjoying a glorious June in terms of sunshine, but the extreme heat can be very problematic and it is worth remembering the following advice :
• Drink lots of water, even when you don’t feel thirsty, as dehydration can really sneak up on you and make you very ill
• Stay in the shade, and certainly avoid being out in the sun between 11am and 3pm, the hottest time of the day
• Keep curtains and blinds closed during the day and open the windows at night to get fresh air. Keeping your rooms cool should help in terms of being able to sleep and remaining comfortable.
• Take cool showers (not cold)
• Wear breathable clothes, like cottons and linens as opposed to synthetic clothes, if at all possible.
Please watch out for others who may be struggling in the heat, it is not easy to recognise that you are dehydrated and so keep an eye out for others, especially those over 60 years old and young children.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 27/05/2022
I hope you were all able to join with me in the Big Plastic Count -see website <a ref=https://thebigplasticcount.com/>https://thebigplasticcount.com/</a>.
Here is a photo of FIVE days of plastic that I collected and what it really highlights is how much rigid plastic containers that are currently going into landfill. It’s frightening. The people behind the Big Plastic Count are planning to write to the government asking for restrictions on the production and use of single use plastics – clearly a worthwhile change to the current situation. Please do log your data on the website, it all helps to demonstrate to the government, the scale of the problem. Thank you. Also I was delighted to see a recycling point for Tetrapak! It’s in the Tescos Hook car park and will take juice cartoons , milk cartoons etc – great news.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 13/05/2022
I have been practising for the Big Plastic Count project which starts this weekend – the website https://thebigplasticcount.com and it has horrified me just how much plastic I use, and how much of it is used once and then disposed of. Now we have the ability to recycle only plastic bottles in our blue bins that are collected fortnightly by the Hampshire County Council. If we look at Tescos , for example, we can also recycle soft plastics – https://www.tescoplc.com/news/2021/shoppers-can-now-return-all-their-soft-plastic-packaging-to-recycling-points-at-every-large-tesco-store-in-the-uk/ essentially salad bags, bread bags, fruit and vegetable packaging.
But the one area that I seem to have a lot of is the rigid plastic trays that contain meat, fish, fruit, ready meals, and so on. These are not recyclable in our area or in supermarkets. They are predominantly single use plastics and will be consigned to landfill. If I buy supermarket meat, fish and fruit, I seem to have no choice but to buy the food in these single use plastic containers. This just doesn’t seem right.
It will be interesting to see the results of the project when it has been concluded. So please, if you can, join in with the Big Plastic Count and let’s get a better idea of just how much plastic we all use!
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 06/05/2022
I am sure you are all doing your best in terms of recycling plastics, within the ‘blue bin’ criteria and others like Tescos and Village Magpies, but exactly how much plastic do we recycle?
There is a view that there is much more plastic in our societies than we all realise, therefore the size of the problem is greater and needs tougher measures.
The Big Plastic Count – see the website – https://thebigplasticcount.com/ are focusing on a week to count all the plastics that we recycle – this week starts from 16th – 22nd May.
Having a clear idea of the amount of plastic recycled will be a powerful way of demanding that the government bans single use plastic and looks at other alternatives, that are not so damaging to the environment. We know that the plastics industry are producing over 380 Million tons of plastic every year and this is rising.
So please get your families and your children’s’ schools counting plastic, and let’s do what we can to reduce the use of plastic.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 29/04/2022
The rising cost of fuel for our cars has been a source of great concern, and I got to thinking about whether there is a silver lining in this dark cloud. Transport (all types) equates to about a quarter of all the carbon dioxide (greenhouse gases) omissions that impact the temperature of the earth’s surface. And in particular road transport accounts for nearly three-quarters of that total. Cars give off carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, all gases that are contributing to global warming.
So what can we do ?
We can look at alternative means of transport – taking the bus or train for example for some of our journeys. We can share -all too often cars have only one person in them, the driver and so taking other passengers, thereby reducing their driving,will contribute to less emissions.
We can also look at our speed; reducing our speed will reduce emissions as well as save money. Driving down the motorway at 65mph as opposed to 70mph meant that I got an extra 70 miles out of the tank of fuel! So I know this works! We need to think differently for every journey we do – together we can make a difference.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 22/04/2022
The costs of energy have sky-rocketed in the last 12 months and look set to increase further, later in the year. Much of our electricity is generated by nuclear and wind (58% at present) , which are more environmentally friendly. But some 30% is generated by gas, and that together with gas as a fuel in our homes, is directly contributed to the increased emissions that are leading to an increase in the earth’s mean temperature.
The IPCC have highlighted the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels such as gas – so what can we do? Firstly we can improve the insulation in our homes – loft insulation, cavity insulation, double or triple glazing, draught-proofing doors and windows to name but a few. This would lead to less heat loss.
Secondly we need to reduce use of fossil fuels by lowering our thermostats by at least 1 deg C – we need to keep warm during the cool and colder weather, but keeping an eye on using less fuel. Perhaps put on an extra layer of clothing in the home – something I am sure there are many parents telling their teenagers! It’s a balancing act – we are not advocating reducing the temperature of your home to very low levels, but reducing our use of fossil fuels.
We can all make a difference .
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 08/04/2022
The IPCC have published their Sixth Assessment on Climate Change – if you want to read it , it’s on this web link – https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGII_SummaryForPolicymakers.pdf.
It makes for very uncomfortable reading.
It explores how climate change is affecting peoples health , both physical and mental ;
It spells out how best to reduce the adverse consequences for current and future generations and it’s message is very much
ITS NOW OR NEVER.
So what can we do ? Firstly we cannot rely on politicians and policy makers to do the hard work for us ; we need to make changes ourselves and some of these will be very painful indeed. Over the coming weeks we will take a look at steps we can take, to make a difference for us and future generations.
Watch this space !
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 02/04/2022
Recently there has been a lot of interest in a campaign called Take the Jump – which looks at the six lifestyle changes you could make that would have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and so in turn reduce the degree of global warming in our planet. At first these will seem quite dramatic! They are :-
- to move to a largely plant based diet, reduce your consumption of meat, aim for healthy sized portions and minimise any
- to buy no more than three new items of clothing
- to keep electrical goods for at least seven years
- to take no more than one short haul flight every three years and one long haul flight every eight years
- ideally to no longer have a personal vehicle, or minimise the use of your car.
- to nudge the system by changing energy provider to a more green energy company, insulating your home, changing your pension or investments supplier to one that more environmentally sound. https://takethejump.org/
Now some of this feels quite difficult – for example three new items of clothing in a twelve month period feels quite drastic,
however you can buy second hand/vintage clothes, you can take existing clothes and up-cycle them, you can swap clothes with friends and family – there are options here to be very creative!
Holding onto electrical equipment for a minimum of seven years is probably much harder. With the rapid changes in technology, mobile phones, tablets and computers are changing all the time, and the idea that you hang onto , for example a mobile phone for seven years, feels very strange – but what you are doing is protecting those scarce resources on our planet and the
processes that occur to manufacture these items (which are very energy intensive indeed).
All we can do is our best! Thank you
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 26/03/2022
Recycling is a very important contributor to reducing greenhouse emissions and in turn reducing the level of global warming in our planet.
Recycling means taking the materials from products you have used and making new products from those materials. We recycle because it means we are using less of the world’s resources, we save money, we use less energy and one outcome is less pollution.
The UK’s recycling rates are lower than many other European countries – and each of us can contribute to this.
Living in Hampshire , we have household recycling collected fortnightly where we can recycle some plastics, glass and cardboard. Tescos provide recycling facilities for plastics, including plastic bags. In addition we have recycling centres where we can bring many items, including small electrical appliances , garden waste, wood, metals and so on.
We also have Village Magpies https://www.villagemagpies.co.uk who recycle a wide range of plastics (see website link).
Most of us recycle clothing within our families and friends, before it ends up in a recycling bag.
Whenever we have a item that we feel no longer has a place in our homes and lives, we should always ask – can I recycle this and where? Do you best to avoid putting things in the bin for landfill!
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 19/03/2022
One of the biggest areas of concern in terms of protecting the environment is the amount of food wasted in the northern hemisphere.
The UK has the highest food waste within the Europe, wasting 9.5 million tonnes in a single year. And this is with a backdrop of over 8.4 million people in the Uk in food poverty. There is enough food within the world for everyone, however it cannot sustain 30-50% of all food produced being wasted.
Food waste generally ends up in landfill, which means that it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions , a major contributor to the global warming.
The foods that are most commonly wasted are potatoes, bread, milk, prepared meals, fizzy drinks, fruit juice and smoothies, pork, poultry to name but a few.
So what can we do? The Love Food Hate Waste website has some suggestions – see below.
I personally have found it helpful to plan the meals that my family and I are going to eat in the week ahead, and then buying the ingredients I need, and no more. Avoiding the 3 for the price of 2 deals and other similar ‘bargains’ – invariably in my house, they are not bargains as they end up in the bin!
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 11/03/2022
These are very anxious times, with the horrific events in the Ukraine and unfortunately commentators are saying that fuel costs, gas, electricity, oil, petrol and diesel are all likely to continue to rise beyond anything we have experienced in the past.
So looking at what we can do to reduce our energy costs in the home is a priority – and there are a number of things we can
We can ensure that our homes are well insulated – loft and possibly cavity wall insulation will also have a positive effect on keeping heat within our homes, lessening losses through the roof and walls. We can ensure that all our windows are double glazed – single glazed windows let out a phenomenal amount of heat. We can make sure that our front and back doors have draught proof insulation around them (some models of doors have draught proofing as an integral part of their protection).
We can have thermostatically controlled radiator valves on our radiators so that we are able to reduce /close down a radiator in those rooms that we do not regularly use (perhaps a spare bedroom for example).
Turning down our thermostats by 1 degree C will have a positive effect as will changing to low energy bulbs for lighting.
The Government website below and the Simple Energy Advice section are very helpful.
Everything we can do to reduce the energy we use is helping our planet.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 04/03/2022
Now we are finally into the month of March and the keen gardeners among you will be busy planning their gardens, preparing their lawns and flowerbeds, researching plants and flowers, and in general getting ready for Spring.
Gardening is a very important way of keeping our planet healthy – all species , be they animal or plant, depend on having access to an ideal habitat, to be able to thrive and continue to be healthy. For example hedgerows are essential for bird and other wildlife such as hedgehogs, field mice and other small mammals. Having plants that bees, wasps and other pollinating insects are drawn to leads to a greater abundance of plant life.
Focusing on gardening and plant life (with the associated insect life ) makes the world a more beautiful place, it improves local biodiversity, it absorbs pollution, mitigates against flooding and helps to cool cities that can overheat care of the materials that they are made of, for example glass and concrete.
Gardening also has a very positive effect on our own well being – there is a real sense of satisfaction when you have tolled and the end result is an attractive garden! Increasingly schools are encouraging children to learn about gardening through working on the vegetable and flower beds in their free time.
The importance of plants cannot be underestimated as they are pretty much the solution to the majority of the problems that all species are facing in the future.
SHARE – ARTICLES AND RESOURCES ON THE ENVIRONMENT 25/02/2022
Recently I met with the owner of a Zero Waste shop and I asked her exactly what they did. She kindly explained that her focus was to enable her customers to have a more zero waste lifestyle through eliminating much of the packaging associated with foods, toiletries and cleaning products that we regularly buy.
How do they do this ?
By using refillable containers that you can bring from home and fill repeatedly. In addition they purchase foods in very large quantities to minimise the packaging used at the wholesale point.
We have two zero waste shops near us –
Organically Speaking in Hartley Wintney (https://organically-speaking.com/1318-2/)and Heart and Compass in the Viables Centre, Basingstoke (https://heartandcompass.co.uk/).
In addition we can encourage supermarkets to use less plastic packaging – for example a number of supermarkets are selling reusable bags for customers to use for loose fruits and vegetables and bakery products . All of this contributes to reducing plastic waste and will have a positive impact on our environment. Perhaps give it a go?
SHARE – Activities and Resources on the Environment 19/02/2022
Spring is definitely around the corner and keen gardeners are already beginning to plan their gardens, their garden nursery purchases, re landscaping parts of their gardens and so on.
And the garden nurseries and centres are already ramping up with increased availability of plants to meet demand.
So how can we be more environmentally focused when it comes to our gardens?
If you are buying new plants for your garden, do make sure that they are suitable for the type of soil and
position – what you want to achieve is successful planting, with no failed plants. Sometimes we have to accept
that our shady flower beds will never have some of the luscious flowering plants that we might want! (I speak
from painful and expensive experience here!)
We also need to consider visitors to our gardens and making our gardens appealing to them. For example bug
hotels in parts of your garden – see website below.
Other pollinating insects such as bees benefit from plants such as catmint, field scabious and hyssop planted in clumps. See below for more information.
SHARE – Activities and Resources on the Environment 12/02/2022
A number of my friends have embarked on a year without buying something new – this means that if they need new clothes, furniture, books, toys etc – they will buy vintage or pre-owned. Why you may ask?
Producing clothes, for example cotton T-shirts or jeans takes a staggeringly large amount of water, per garment – 20,000 litres +.
Increasingly fashion companies are producing clothing using sustainable methods – for example using less water through organic cotton and using sustainable farming practices . Look for labels that say the clothing is green, clean, fair and ethical – those producers are concerned with sustainability.
Buying pre-owned furniture, toys, electrical goods is also possible through websites , charity shops and swap
sites – for example St Michaels Hospice has a large secondhand warehouse packed with furniture in
Basingstoke! And books are available through book exchanges (both Hook and Odiham) , through preowned sections on booksellers websites – World of Books for example (wob.com), eBay to name a few.
Buying preowned or vintage items prolongs their lifetime, reduces landfill waste and reduces the use of resources from our environment. Perhaps give it a go? If a year feels too long, try a month at a time and see what you achieve!
SHARE – Activities and Resources on the Environment 04/02/2022
Do you have a water meter? If so, then you will be aware of how much water your household uses most days. If you don’t currently have a water meter, I would highly recommend that you apply to your water company to install one, it’s free and gives you the information you need to be able to recycle water.
Once you know your usual level of water usage, you can look at ways to reduce that usage – using a tap aerator – a device that reduces the tap flow from approximately 12 litres per minutes to around 8 litres per minute.
Buffaloo bags are another example that reduce the amount of water per toilet flush by up to 2 litres per flush.
You can also look at ways to harvest rainwater for use in your garden. The company SaveWaterSaveMoney have some great ideas – see their website. https://www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk/products/view/32/bubble-stream-tap-aerator.html
One of the areas that I am increasingly concerned with is called grey water – water used in baths, showers, washing machines – water that is not safe to drink but could be used for watering our gardens, flushing toilets or washing clothes.
Between 50-80% of a household’s water usage ends up as grey water so recycling this
would be highly beneficial to both the planet and your bank balance. https://www.thegreenage.co.uk/tech/greywaterrecycling/
Why should we be concerned with reducing our fresh water use ? By using less fresh water, we divert less water from our rivers, estuaries and bays, which enables the environment to remain healthy. And it also reduces the energy used by water companies in the processing and treatment of water. It has a significant impact on our environment.
SHARE – Activities and Resources on the Environment 28/01/2022
With the weather becoming increasingly colder and the price of electricity and gas rising, I found myself thinking about whether my home was well insulated. Some of you may remember last year , activists protesting on our motorways about the government’s approach to insulating homes and trying , somewhat clumsily, to raise awareness.
So clearly if we have a home which has draughty doors, single glazed windows, for example, we will find ourselves. paying more for gas and electricity than we are benefitting from, as there will be heat loss within our home.
This is not good for the environment and contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions that are heating up the surface temperature of our planet. It is also not good for our bank balance!
There is help at hand, but you will need to be quick about applying !
The government has extended the Green Homes Grant initiative until 31 March 2022 – this is where the government will provide grants of up to 2/3rds of the cost of a chosen improvement ,subject to a limit of £5000 to be paid by the government.
To qualify you need to have household income of below £30000 or £20000 after your housing costs.
These grants can be used for a variety of types of insulation including solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation ,under floor insulation , loft insulation, flat roof or pitched roof insulation to name a few.
They can also be used against the cost of air source or ground source heat pumps, as well as replacing single
glazed windows and doors (check the regulations first as these are what they called secondary level in terms of
Have a look at the website below and see if you can benefit from this initiative.
It all helps in terms of protecting our planet.
Activities and Resources on the Environment – 22/01/22
With ‘Veganuary’ , many people are looking at the carbon footprint of animals in our food chain, such
as cows and sheep, and their impact in terms of greenhouse gases, and wondering whether we can
consider a life with considerably less beef and dairy, for example. Cows in particular produce considerable
quantities of methane gas, a particularly long-living greenhouse gas in our atmosphere and contribute
something in the region of 15% of all greenhouse gases, mainly because of the intensive farming
associated with dairy .
Some people will eat meat every day, at one or two of their daily meals and it is something that they have
done for most of their life. Others are trying to be more vegetarian or vegan in their diet.
Perhaps there is a mid path – scientists recommend that if we reduced our meat and dairy consumption,
to possibly a maximum of twice a week – over time, that would have a significant impact on the
greenhouse gas levels.
It’s life changing – Pope Francis in Laudato Si reminds us that we must all, as individuals, do what we can
to protect this beautiful planet that we have been entrusted with.
I would encourage you to read his letter, it is quite beautiful.
Perhaps give it a go – try plant based meals for two/three times a week and see how you get on.
Activities and Resources on the Environment – 14/01/22
Recycling is one important way of helping to reduce waste and maximise the resources that we have, in this beautiful planet of ours and we are fortunate to have Village Magpies purple bin in the church grounds – they are based in Rotherwick and recycle a wide range of plastics including Biscuit packaging, All crisp packets, Taylor of Harrogate coffee and tea packets , Marigold rubber gloves, Pringles packets, beauty products, Cleaning products, Baylis & Harding soap dispensers, To name but a few.
It is always worth checking on their website https://www.villagemagpies.co.uk/ as they are expanding their
recycling all the time. Tescos are also collecting any plastic carrier bags, crisp packets, plastic wrappers, any plastic bags and food and pet pouches- there is a big container in the entrance of the
If you were fortunate to receive soaps, body lotions and other toiletries that you don’t need, these can always be recycled via the Food Bank box in our church porch.
Activities and Resources on the Environment – 08/01/22
January is often the month in which we make New Year resolutions and try to change certain habits or ways of doing things – this year I am more aware of an initiative to make January – Veganuary! Its about making the month of January a month of a plant based diet as opposed to our normal ‘meat and two veg’ diet.
It is a tough one – we are so used to eating meat that the idea of eating only plant based foods will feel a little strange. If you are not able to completely embrace a plant based diet, you could always look at
2/3/4 days a week of solely plant based diets and see how you get on. Thinking about the environment and
how we make an impact in reducing those emissions
that contribute to climate change, we know that the production of meat is one of the key areas of methane
gas production – a greenhouse gas , so reducing our consummation of meat will go some way to reducing
the associated greenhouse gases.
It is a difficult one, a significant change but worth trying to see how we get on. Good Luck!
Activities and Resources on Environment (17/12/2021)
With Christmas in sight, I imagine you, like me, are frantically trying to get ready for the celebrations of Jesus’
birth with family and friends ! And I imagine that you have generously thought of those less fortunate than ourselves in your charitable donations, Caritas shoeboxes and so on. And I imagine too that you have thought about
the resources that you are using and how recyclable they are – gift wrapping paper for example and associated
decorations for presents – we know that the simpler the paper the easier it is to be recycled with brown paper the
easiest of all! I have memories in school of children painting sheets of brown paper for present wrapping! We
are also thinking about the household recycling, as well as Village Magpies (purple bins in the Church’s front garden area), and recycling/reusing clothes, children’s toys, books, electrical goods and others in special recycling
facilities within Hook and Odiham.
Christmas is a time for sharing, a perfect time for doing what we can to protect this beautiful planet that God has
given to us to take care of – and the birth of Jesus is also the perfect time to remind ourselves of all that we can
do to show how we take care of this beautiful planet.
Have a wonderful Christmas.
Recycling and Plastics
Plastics have very much been in the news lately and I am sure that most of you recycle plastic bottles and containers in the blue bins that are provided by Hampshire County Council. You may recall that Village Magpies – the purple bin in the Church’s front garden – also recycle some plastic containers – beauty products, crisp packets and many more ( Village Magpies, Recycle your waste in Rotherwick, Lyde Green, Hook ).
The UK’s target for plastic recycling is 50% of all plastics, but unfortunately it missed this target – 46%. in 2020. In
addition the plastics industry are projecting that they will increase production from 368 million tonnes in 2019 to
1.2 billion tonnes in 2050 – quite scary figures!
From April 2022, the Government will be taxing those companies that do not include 30% recycled plastic in their
packaging – this is very welcome, but we need to do more. Encourage supermarkets to provide more foods without plastic packaging – for example, loose fruit and veg, meat, fish and cooked meats in paper. Also think about shopping in Zero Waste/Refill Shops – there are shops in Basingstoke, Fleet and South Warnborough – you can bring your own containers or they will weigh out foods in paper bags – they are committed to no plastics.
SHARE – Articles and Resources on the Environment – COP26
The last two weeks have seen the world’s leaders, scientists, environmentalists, activists and many of us following the daily events in Glasgow at the COP26 meeting, which finally closed on Sunday with an agreed statement. One of the major achievements of the conference was that acknowledgment by most of the world that Net Zero is the key target by 2050. Many countries have made pledges and plans with that goal in mind, and these will be scrutinised and reviewed in the coming years. In addition deals on ending deforestation are very encouraging too.
Commentators across the globe are saying that there is still a mountain to climb. Probably the area of most concern is that of compensating nations who are already experiencing the impact of climate change – termed as loss and damage – which was still not resolved adequately.
So where does this leave us ?Pope Francis in Laudato Si calls for global dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet through our daily acts and decisions.And that is the key to this for us – what we do to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere .
May I suggest a couple of websites that you may find helpful –
https://journeyto2030.org/parish/This is a website that focuses on individual and parish wide action to help shape our planet for the better.
https://cafod.org.uk/About-us/Policy-and-research/Climate-change-and-energyCAFOD is also working hard to support individuals and parishes , particularly with biodiversity and tree planting.
CARITAS are also actively involved in a diocesan wide initiative called Caring for Creation – we will be hearing more about this in the coming weeks. https://caritasportsmouth.org.uk/
This is probably one of the most difficult areas, particularly for those of us living in a fairly rural area, where public
transport options are a little limited.
While much of the National Rail train system uses electricity, buses and personal cars use fossil fuels, which cause
pollution, use a lot of energy and add considerable CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions to the atmosphere .
Using cars enables us to have access to food shops, education, work, medical and leisure activities but it does
come at a price for our environment. So what can we do? Reducing our driving speed reduces CO2 omissions –
so on the motorway for example, reducing speed to 40-50mph can have a big impact. When in traffic, avoid idling your engine, switch it off. Avoid short trips where possible – walking and cycling are so much more healthy for us and our environment. Supporting local transport where you can – we enjoy a regular bus service from Alton to Basingstoke that is environmentally friendly. London is working hard to improve cyclists’ safety with the development of cycle highways and dedicated cycle lanes, whereas at present we don’t have any cycle lanes – perhaps lobbying Hart District Council will change that? Car sharing – this is a possibility, perhaps for those of us who come to church from outside Hook? Please look at the SHARE webpage on our church website for more information. Comments and thoughts are very welcome.
Clothing Reusing and Recycling
I have fond memories as a child, of wearing second hand school uniform because of the times that prevailed
then and so reusing old clothes is quite acceptable to many families . Often large families share clothing with
cousins and friends, with some items of clothing being used by four or more children.
There is increasingly a fashion for ‘vintage’ clothes – clothes that have had a previous life – particularly with young
And yet an amazingly large amount of clothing ends up in landfill (over 10 million tons annually) with some 3 million tons incinerated. Approximately 2.5 million tons gets recycled every year, and clearly the more we can reuse
and recycle the better the outcome for the planet.
So think about recycling clothing that we no longer need to charity shops , and those clothes that have had their day can also be recycled as textiles and reused as new weaving of old material , by animal rescue centres for example, as rags, as fillers for jackets and coats – the list is endless.
Where possible buy eco fashion – items that are made from cotton and bamboo for example, and are made to
Swap clothes with friends, raise money for charity through selling clothes at various fairs and of course donating clothes to charities.
SHARE – Activities and Resources on Environment – Water
Water has a very rich symbolism within the Bible – for baptism, for changing water into wine at the wedding at Canna , when Jesus met the woman at the well and so on. Throughout the Old Testament there is the belief of water giving eternal life.
Pope Francis in Laudato Si says that drinkable water is a basic and universal human right since it is essential to survival. In the UK we are very fortunate in that we turn a tap and we have clean water available to drink and use for washing . Interestingly enough I have lived in a country where the water in the tap is not safe to drink , that it needs to be boiled and where people get water delivered in large trucks. It really makes you appreciate the avail- ability of clean water when you have times when there is no clean water . And this reminds us just how precious clean water is. We know that CAFOD is committed to supporting community water projects throughout the de- veloping world and we in our parish support this through the charitable donations that we make.
Climate change is leading to more regions in our world experiencing droughts – we have recently seen pictures of drought in Sudan and Ethiopia – drought leads to famine and people suffering.
If you can, please support CAFOD in its efforts to bring clean water to many in the developing world. Be sensitive to any wastage of water through being aware of how much you use and when. Do what you can to reuse water, through collection of rainwater for gardens, for example.
If you have ideas to be considered at our environmental group meetings, or if you want to get involved and help please get in touch by completing this form or reaching out directly to Gill Bryne or Joan Kent by clicking on their names.