On Sunday 18th June, young church will spend the morning at “Forest Church” in the forest school near Budleigh Salterton, run by The Outdoors Group. We will get back to nature, experience and explore the wonders of creation, and consider the things we can do as the stewards of God’s creation. Last year we made charcoal, built and decorated shelters, and ate by the fire. More details to follow on what we get up to this year! Stephen Hardiman.
Great Big Green Week Events
Climate Action Hub in Exeter is hosting a litter picking
event, to show commitment to increasing waste
awareness and reducing littering behaviour. Meet at
5pm, Wed 14th June, at the Climate Action Hub, 40
Bedford Street, Exeter EX1 1GE.
Devon Development Education (DDE) is holding a Zoom Meeting on Behaviour Change and
Climate Goals, at which the keynote speaker is Baroness Kate Parminter, Chair of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee. Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 852 7282 2847 Passcode: 889486. Thursday 15th June 6pm to 7:30pm.
Choosing the right bin to help reduce and manage waste
Since the Mint received Bronze certification as an EcoChurch, the EcoChurch group has continued to look at ways we can continue to improve in each of the certification categories. Some categories require a large effort and investment to reduce the environmental impact of the Mint community, such as improving insulation or installing solar panels. Other elements involve many small changes where every member of the Mint community can and should
contribute to overall improvement, such as reducing energy usage by turning off lights, and not using heating when it’s not needed.
A very important item is waste management. The best outcome is to reduce waste overall e.g. avoiding single use plastic, or not buying more food than necessary for an event. And unavoidable waste should be recycled as much as possible. Unfortunately, not everything can be recycled at this point (we continue to consult with the Council about how this can be rectified). It’s important that things that can’t be recycled, such as contaminated packing and food, are placed in the correct bin (black for general waste). Things which can be recycled should be rinsed/cleaned to remove food remnants and placed in the recycling bin (green for recyclables). Placing general waste items in with recycling can result in contamination of our own bins, and make it difficult for items to be processed. So let’s all make whatever contribution we can to reduce our waste, and manage it responsibly by selecting the right bin to put in, and little by little we can continue to reduce our environmental impact overall. For more information on what can be recycled in the Mint area, see the Exeter City Council pages:
Knowing Creation, Knowing God : Busy Bees
May 20th was UN’s World Bee Day, https://www.un.org/en/observances/bee-day, not because bees are quite cute, but because, as beekeeper Martin Myhill explains, they are fundamental to our own food security. Albert Einstein supposedly said ‘If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live’. Although there are around 25,000 species of bee on the planet, there are other pollinators such as butterflies and some birds. However, we would be in for a very hard time without them, as the World Wildlife Fund reminds us that one out of every three mouthfuls of our food, and 75% of leading global crops, depend on pollinators. Such is the intended harmony of creation.
What about honey bees? Ask anyone and they’ll tell you at least two things; bees sting and bees make honey. You can probably discern much about their outlook on life by which comes first. The Western world relies on just one species, Apis mellifera – the European honey bee, which was later introduced into North America and Australia by colonists. Honey bees form a social organism, the ‘hive’, consisting at its annual peak of around 60,000 bees, all working together for the common good, even to the extent of making the ultimate sacrifice (bees are defensive creatures and die when they sting). The honey bee is also unusual in that it stores more food than it needs – and it’s that surplus which we harvest.
Sugar remained a rare and luxury item until the eighteenth cen tury. Our ancestors and biblical forefathers relied on honey as a sweetener in foodstuffs but also for healing, preserving and even embalming. It was a traded commodity. Mead (‘honey wine’) is an ancient drink with surviving evidence of recipes dating back over 9000 years. Beeswax was a very valuable by-product in the pre-electric age, used especially for candles which burned more brightly and without the smog and smell of animal fat (tallow) alternatives. If not quite life-sustainers, honey bees were certainly life improvers for many millennia and in some parts of the world remain so. Bees and honey feature heavily in Christian teachings and practices. Isaiah 7:14-15 prophesies:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (King James version).
A few weeks ago, our EcoChurch service included a text from Psalm 24: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. As we have seen, honey bees form an essential part of that life-sustaining balance. Do all you can to help them – avoid using pesticides, donate to Bees for Development (which provides life-changing support for beekeepers in developing countries) but above all else be kind to our environment. That’s what creation relies upon. Space is too limited for me to go into the practical aspects of beekeeping, but above is a picture of me collecting a honey bee swarm – one of the many joys of this hobby.