Summary

 

St Francis is an eco-congregation registered with SAFCEI – Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute. This Institute has been in the news lately because, together with Earthlife Africa, it recently won a court case to prevent the government from confirming any nuclear energy deals. SAFCEI believes that renewable energy sources, like solar or wind power, are better for the environment.

Being an eco-congregation means that St Francis church, as well as its parishioners in our own homes, does its best to save electricity & water and to practise recycling the following items:

- Paper: the Mpact bin outside the parish centre;

- Glass: a Glass Bank near you;

- Plastic, tins/cans, glass: Waterkloof Primary School or any other school recycling facility;

- Plastic bottle tops & bread tags: the bin (tops) and the bottle (tags) in the parish centre.

 

Saint Francis also gives thanks to God for the environment by celebrating it on special occasions. This year, on Sunday 18 June, it will celebrate two special days in June: World Environment Day and World Day to Combat Desertification.

Finally, the church gets involved in local eco-projects – in October every year it combines with Waterkloof Primary to clean up a spruit near the school. 

See websites:

- Tumelong: www.tumelong.org.za

- SAFCEI: www.safcei.org

 

Celebrating the Environment in June

 

On 18 June 2017, St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church in Waterkloof, Pretoria celebrated two dates on the environmental calendar – WED World Environment Day (5 June) and WDCD World Day to Combat Desertification (17 June).

It used the service in the booklet World Environment DayConnect with Nature issued recently by the Southern Green Anglicans, but changed the Readings to reflect the dual themes of WED and WDCD: Gen. 1:16-31, Psalm: 104: 1-25, Rev. 22: 1-5 and  John 4: 5-14. The Genesis passage recounts days 4 to 6 of the Creation and the privileged position of humans who are placed in control of the environment, while the Psalm evokes of the diverse splendours of nature. The Gospel tells the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. They both need to drink water in order to live and water is then transformed into the symbol of life everlasting, demonstrated also in the description of Heaven in the Revelation passage.

Having been placed in charge of the environment, human beings must take care of it. They destroy it at their peril, because their very survival depends on it. Combatting desertification means preventing arable land from becoming a desert. This is what can easily happen in countries like South Africa, with scarce water resources and periodic drought. If citizens waste their water, pollute their rivers, allow soil erosion to take place, release too much carbon dioxide into the air, they will no longer be able to grow crops or farm with grazing animals, and so will no longer be able to provide food for themselves. Even people living in a town like Pretoria can help to save water (by using ‘grey water’ and ensuring that taps do not leak) and electricity (by installing timers on electric geysers or converting to solar power). They can also support NPO organisations that speak out against socio-ecological injustices. St Francis is registered as an eco-congregation with SAFCEI, which campaigns against fracking (which will deplete the water in the Karoo) and the building of more power stations that use non-renewable energy sources like coal or uranium.

The prayers as well as the music and hymns chosen for the service reflected the dual themes – the beauties of nature and our poor stewardship of God’s amazing creation. Parishioners were urged to participate in our annual clean-up of a spruit in Waterkloof in October. A picnic in a local park was announced for the following Sunday in order to ‘connect with nature’, the theme of this year’s World Environment Day. So on 25 June after the service, a group of parishioners gathered to share lunch together in the sun in the beautiful setting of Protea Park in Groenkloof.

 

Jill Daugherty

 

A Tip to Save Water

In a study of water consumption, conducted by a townhouse complex in Waterkloof Ridge, the trustees came to the conclusion that the amount of water being used for garden watering was excessive. They considered various options to reduce usage, such as separate water meters for each hose, etc. Finally, they decided that we should try a simple approach.

One of the tap washer sizes fits perfectly into the Gardena adaptor which, when fitted to the outlet of the tap, permits snap on snap off connection of the hose. They fitted the washer firstly to each of the hoses used by the gardeners, and in the first month the water consumption dropped by 20%. They followed this up by fitting the washer to every tap on the complex other than those used within the units themselves, thus ensuring that all outside taps were equipped.

While saving precious water, there was a spinoff – municipalities charge for sanitation by applying a factor to water consumption. In Tshwane the cost of sanitation is 60% of the cost of water consumed. The result of our intervention was dramatic, being a saving of 46% of water related costs over a three month period.