Fairtrade Fortnight 27 February-12 March

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, Devon Development Education is hosting a social evening in Kennford on Sat 4th March, with special guests from Twongerekawa Coko Women’s Fairtrade Coffee Co-operative in Rwanda. All
welcome; details and booking at eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebrating-fairtrade-fortnight-2023-indevon-
. This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight message is simple: buying Fairtrade helps producers protect the future of some of our most-loved foods, as well as the planet. Climate change is making crops like coffee, bananas and cocoa harder to grow, jeopardising the livelihoods of millions of farmers, so climate justice and trade justice go hand in hand. Sad, therefore, that Traidcraft, a pioneer of trade justice and founding member of
the Fairtrade Foundation, has just gone into administration.

If you want to continue buying from the producers who supplied Traidcraft, see their website traidcraftshop.co.uk. You can also find places selling Fairtrade goods on the Fairtrade Foundation website fairtrade.org.uk/buyingfairtrade.

You might want to mark EARTH HOUR : Sat 25th March 8.30-9.30pm

Earth Hour is always the last Saturday of March, the evening before the clocks go forward in Britain. It began in 2007 in Sydney and has grown to include tens of millions of people from over 190 countries in recent years. Originally it was a symbolic turning off lights event to raise awareness of climate change. So for example, in the second year, buildings like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Colosseum had floodlights switched off for an hour. But it rapidly became a grassroots movement driving legislative changes. The WWF co-ordinates Earth Hour, and in 2012 a petition led by WWFRussia resulted in Russia passing a law to better protect the country’s seas from oil pollution. This was the first people-powered law to be kindled by Earth Hour but there have been many
around the world since. In 2021 the Earth Hour Virtual Spotlight (watch it in two minutes at youtube.com/watch?v=hvBsgfn_cvY) highlighted the links between the coronavirus pandemic and our broken relationship with nature. It was shared tens of thousands of times on virtual media by the likes of UEFA, World Scouting, and the United Nations, as well as many prominent figures including Sofia Vergara and Armin Van Burren. We are all aware nowadays of the climate damage our lifestyles cause, and it may be that some of our Mint community choose to use Lent as a whole to take one or more positive steps towards living more sustainably. However, the Eco Church Team believe it is important that we stand alongside non–church initiatives for the planet, and would therefore like to suggest to others that you use earth hour on March 25th (or an hour earlier in the day would be fine!) to do something that has a positive impact on you and/or the earth.

The Earth Hour website (earthhour.org) lists seven types of activity you could choose from. You will find lots of ideas and links if you go to the site. But these are the broad suggestions:

  1. Reconnect with nature. Spend the hour with family and friends: stargazing, forest bathing, a night hike…
  2. Cook up a meal with your family or friends. Dine by candlelight cooking up some planet–friendly dishes (there are lots of suggestions!)
  3. Spend time with your loved ones. One of the ideas is to watch a film together, perhaps one of the Our Planet documentaries (which are free on YouTube)
  4. Develop your knowledge. If you are inevitably on your own you could use the Hour to learn more about our incredible planet and the challenges we face. Again the website has plenty of suggestions as to how.
  5. Connect with and give back to your community. For example, join in an Earth Hour event (there are plenty of virtual ones), or think about how you could volunteer in a local environmental project.
  6. Get active. Suggestions include a night cycle or run, dancing in the dark, or candle–lit meditation, but each to their own…
  7. Discover your artistic side. An alternative to a workout for your body! Do some night photography or light painting, upcycle something from your home or wardrobe, write a song or poem inspired by nature…
    Share with us all afterwards what you did. Email to Roger Day (rogerkday@gmail.com) and we’ll include it in a future edition of Forward. Make sure you also look at the “Beyond the Hour” section of the website if you feel you might take some permanent steps forward (earthhour.org/take–part/beyond–the–hour)
    Stephen Mosedale

Making eco-friendly choices

Viv Davies has used a carbon calculator to help work out how to reduce her carbon footprint.

What’s the name of the footprint calculator? It’s called Climate Hero (climatehero.me). I found it fun to do and certainly much easier than others I’ve tried.

How did you come across it? Members of the Iona community are accountable for how we use our money, time and talents, and also for our use of the earth’s
resources. Various carbon calculators have been recommended to us, but this one seems more straightforward than the others.
How does it work? You answer a series of questions on housing, travel and consumption, and based on your answers, it calculates your footprint. It then tells you in which areas you’re doing well, so that’s encouraging. Then it shows you the areas where you could consider reducing your footprint, and you’re invited to make pledges on what changes you’ll make. Based on the promises you make, it tells you how much that will reduce your footprint. Lastly it offers you the chance to pay some money to the Climate Hero organisation to offset the remaining footprint.
What’s the offset money used for? According to the website 20% of the money is used to maintain ClimateHero, and 80% goes to a range of climate projects that are certified by the UN and/or have the Gold Standard label supported by WWF and others. Projects include a wind farm in Aruba, solar water heating in India and geothermal electricity generation in Turkey.
In which areas are you aiming to reduce your footprint? I don’t have a car, so walk or take a bus where possible. If I need to take a taxi I request an electric or hybrid car. My house has solar panels and cavity wall insulation, but installing a heat pump would require a total re-fit of the piping, so not really feasible. I’ve reduced the amount of meat I eat, and I aim to reduce further, although I certainly don’t intend to be a strict vegetarian!
Do you have any advice for others trying to reduce their carbon footprint? All I can say is that we must all begin to think seriously about our carbon footprint if this beautiful world is going to remain beautiful for our grandchildren and great grandchildren to live in and enjoy.