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/ 4 August 2020

Sumer is icumen in

“Sumer is icumen in”.  OK, so they hadn’t quite sorted out their spellings when someone dreamt up this song, in about the 13th century. But the meaning is clear enough.  We know it’s August when we see the wasps buzzing around our picnics.  The queens do their house-hunting in April or May, but it takes another 3 months for them to hunker down in our lofts and our sheds, and get their operation into full swing.

This year after an unprecedented and unforgettable Spring of sunshine and ‘wall to wall blue skies’, Summer hesitated and sputtered, but fortunately we’ve so far avoided any repetition of the floods in February which we may have forgotten since the pandemic struck.  Then last Friday, high Summer was finally launched with a bang, as we enjoyed the 3rd hottest day on record – 37.8 deg at Heathrow.

But weather isn’t all about avoiding discomfort and disaster – even though climate change remains an enduring and perhaps the pre-eminent threat we face.  Summer has its joys too – including for those of who aren’t planning any foreign trips, maybe not even leaving London.  While observing social distancing and wearing our face coverings, we don’t just have to skulk and languish at home.

The picture of Tower Bridge above shows the iconic London we know so well. But as well as buildings and bridges, there is much to enjoy in the natural world within this city, if we care to seek it out.  The image of a foliage-swathed window is scarcely more than a stone’s-throw from the heart of Westminster!

So here are some initiatives, and cues for us to act on:

Thriving with Nature

An excellent booklet ‘Thriving with Nature’, from the World Wildlife Fund and Mental Health Foundation, offers tips for making the most of the UK’s natural spaces for our mental health and wellbeing.   Don’t anyone feel put off by the rather long introductory section – the seasonal tips begin on page 29. It doesn’t have page numbers, but you can tell by looking in the toolbar along the top, which should say ‘29/102’.
Download the booklet here

Wild Christian

A poster can be downloaded explaining this initiative by A Rocha UK, the hosts of Eco Church.  Why not sign up for a monthly email with ideas on how to enjoy, nurture and defend Nature in your home and with your Church community. Beavers and red kites are thriving again in Britain. Not perhaps within the M25 – but who knows what else might poke its nose out of the undergrowth in your street or park or even churchyard?

Outdoor worship

The Church of England’s Outdoor Worship web page is very much alive. As Covid-19 restrictions are gradually lifted, many congregations and communities may be looking for opportunities to safely resume some activities. This might include making more use of your churchyard and other outside areas.

Nature Premium

Here is a fresh initiative courtesy of a small group of volunteers in Portsmouth Diocese. Children especially can derive huge benefits from regular contact with Nature.  Therefore the Nature Premium campaign is calling for government funding of regular nature experiences for every child.  You can sign their petition, ‘like’ and share on social media with friends and family. Watch also on YouTube.

About Brian Cuthbertson

Brian is the Head of Environment and Sustainability at the Diocese of London.

Read more from Brian Cuthbertson

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