The effect of our decisions on the environment

This post is a bit of a rant. Holy Week is a time for serious thought! I wondered what to write about this week, for publication on Maundy Thursday.

The Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge is about to begin. I haven’t finished reading any books, so a What I read post is not possible. So here is something I feel strongly about. The size of the problem is overwhelming. However if everyone did a little to reduce their use of plastic and synthetic materials, it would make a significant difference.

I have taken part in two organised beach cleans in the past few months and picked up litter on other occasions, putting plastic bottles and drinks cans in recycling skips. It is well-known that litter finds its way through inland waterways to the oceans.

There is a huge campaign against litter, plastic and other forms of pollution, which are damaging wildlife, especially marine life. The proliferation of hashtags relating to these issues bears witness to its reach on social media. Here are a few:-

#Plastic, #PlasticFree, #PlasticPollution, #BanPlastic, #PlasticKills, #PlasticFreeCoastlines, #2MinuteBeachClean, #StopThePlasticTide, #SurfersAgainstSewage

What I really want to highlight in this post is how our decisions regarding items we buy can also affect the environment. Much clothing is manufactured from synthetic (similar to plastic) material. It is interesting that plastic items may be recycled as polyester fleeces, for example. Not enough recycling takes place. In any case, we are warned that washing polyester clothing results in microplastics being released into our waterways.

Natural fibres are more friendly to the environment. Bamboo is a relatively new source of fibre for clothing and as a replacement for plastic drinking cups. Wool, cotton and silk are more traditional natural fibres, at least in the UK.

Consumers have rights, protected by law. For example, if goods are faulty they may be returned to the retailer for a refund. I wonder what the retailer does with the faulty goods. It is not cost-effective to repair a seam, which has not been stitched during manufacture, for instance. I suspect the goods are either sent for recycling or binned, ending up on land-fill sites.

It might be better for the environment to waive the right for a refund and repair the faulty item oneself. Of course there are many considerations. Safety may be an issue sometimes, but not in the case of finishing off an unfinished garment.

How do you react to the pollution problem? Have you changed your habits since this became such a high profile issue?


Peter’s story

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My brother Andrew introduced me to the teacher, “We have found the Messiah!” (John 1:35-40)

We were simple fishermen. Why should we be chosen to join him?

Our lives were completely changed. We never knew what might happen next.

When he healed my mother-in-law of a fever, I could hardly believe my eyes. She was out of bed and waiting on all of us as if she had never had a day’s illness in her life.

He gave me a new name. I was Simon, but he called me Peter, the Rock. He gave us a new job description as well. Instead of catching fish, he made us fishers of men. There were extreme highs and an especially extreme low. We stood on the mountaintop with Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

I hate to think about my part in the lowest time. My promise, which I really meant, failed completely. Fear is a strong enemy. I didn’t think I would ever forgive myself for denying that I knew my dearest friend.

But he forgave me and restored me. I had to put the past behind me and move forward into the new life his resurrection brought. Resurrection? Yes! And Ascension. I saw him leave with my own eyes.

Then the Day of Pentecost came. Being with Jesus had given us a new sense of purpose and being valued, but the Holy Spirit gave us power – power to speak and to bring his healing love to others. (And to make some enemies as well, but we had been warned.)

This year for the A to Z Challenge I have taken my 2013 Challenge as a starting point for most of the posts. I have written a post based around something or usually someone from the Bible. Sometimes it is a fictional story, for example when I have added some back stories (as a writing exercise). Sometimes it is a summary.

 I hope my readers will be challenged to consider the original texts in more depth. (If only to discover what liberties I have taken with them!)

My P post from 2013 does not mention Peter


More March madness

My earlier post mentioned the busyness of March.  As the first part of the month has been unfolding more interesting days and dates have come to my attention.

The first of these was Pi day or π day.  The date (written the US was 3.14.16).  Pi is 22/7 or a very long number beginning 3.14.  It was another crazy hashtag on social media; I realised what it meant when someone joked about 14.3.16 being the way we express the date in the UK.

The following day was the Ides of March, a date immortalised by William Shakespeare in his play, Julius Caesar.

Beware the Ides of March!

The Romans had a different way of expressing dates from whichever numerical system we favour nowadays.

The 16th of March was Budget Day in the UK Parliament (the one in London).  On social media there was a campaign to spread awareness of a very important verse in the Bible.  In the Good News (Gospel) written by St John Chapter 3 verse 16 (3.16 – the US date) we read in the New International Version (NIV):

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This is a verse, which many people use to begin to explain why they are Christians.  In an older translation, the words are set to beautiful music in the choral work, Stainer’s Crucifixion.  Last Sunday the church choir I sing in performed this as the anthem.  It was appropriate for Passion Sunday, when we think about God’s son dying for us.  We are going to sing the whole work (apart from some verses of very long hymns) one evening in Holy Week.  Other performances are being promoted on Twitter.

Then the 17th was St Patrick’s Day. Through him Christianity spread in Ireland, where he became the patron saint. He was not Irish, but from mainland Britain and possibly the area now known as Cumbria.  Far more fuss seems to be made of his day than of our own patron saint’s day.  St George’s Day is 23rd April, which was also the birthday of William Shakespeare.  This year (2016) is the 400th anniversary of his death and is being marked by many special events.

Tomorrow (20 March) is Palm Sunday, which is the beginning of Holy week.  There are extra midweek services in many Christian churches as Easter approaches.

So my one word for 2016, Rest, is set against the busyness of this month.  Some of the additional activities are restful.  Other tasks may perhaps be postponed.  There is no need to be perpetually rushing.  I have been taking a break from knitting, sewing and craft group, but I have been reading books, colouring and playing Scrabble®.  I’ll be writing about the books in a future post.

Are you finding March extra busy?