LIVING LIGHT
Living Light
Welcome! You have found the site of the CreationKeepers team (Christ Church's Eco Church Committee), which shares ideas and experiences about how we can all lighten our environmental footprint. We do this because we see our planet and its resources at a breaking point and believe in the power of personal examples. Most weeks, we will reflect on some aspect of living, working, shopping, consuming, reading, learning, etc. These are all local experiences and can easily be adopted by others in our community. Our authors (Rosie and Monika) look forward to any comments or ideas that you may also have and want to share. Send us your ideas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Blog #23: Rosie Evans. CreationKeeper.

June 17, 2021
Monika Weber-Fahr
Later this month, Rosie Evans, Christ Church Vienna Intern and one of the CreationKeepers, is leaving us for greener pastures. As part of her farewell, we asked her to fill out the Proust Questionnaire for us. The questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. For this week's Living Light blog, we have slightly adapted the basic Proust Questionnaire to see what messages Rosie would like to leave us with. Enjoy! You were wondering what a CreationKeeper is? It's the name and theme or motto that those of us on the eco-church committee at Christ Church Vienna chose for us and our work.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness as a CreationKeeper?

A world where we all take measures to care for our environment, look after God’s creation, and can more readily appreciate its beauty.

2. What is your greatest fear as a Creation Keeper?

A concern rather than a fear: that we continue to use up the earth’s resources without regard for others and for future generations.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself as a Creation Keeper?

Wastefulness (of energy, resources, food etc.).

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others as a Creation Keeper?

Wastefulness (of energy, resources, food etc.).

5. Which living person do you most admire as a Creation Keeper?

Hannah Malcolm. She's the winner of the first Theology Slam for her presentation on Theology and the Environment. Her work is worth a listen/read/watch!

6. What is your greatest extravagance as a Creation Keeper?

Paper. I admit that printing and writing out my notes is something I continue to do. Sometimes screens just don’t cut it! Though maybe I should make a compromise?

7. What is your current state of mind as a Creation Keeper?

A splash of sorrow coupled with many glimpses of hope and encouragement, that together, and with God’s guidance, we can make a positive difference.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue as a Creation Keeper?

Patience. I never thought I would write of patience being an overrated virtue. In fact, being patient is a characteristic that I truly value. But not where climate change is concerned. Climate change itself is not patient, and we therefore cannot afford to be either!

9. On what occasion do you lie as a Creation Keeper?

I’m not sure I do? Honesty is important!

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance as a Creation Keeper?

To be honest, being a Creation Keeper and realising that we are all made in the image of God does wonders for body image - it has for me at least!

11. Which living person do you most despise as a Creation Keeper?

If I had to say, it would be people who don’t put recyclable materials in the recycling bin (of which I am also guilty!). But nobody is perfect!

12. What is the quality you most like in a man as a Creation Keeper?

A willingness to listen to concerns about climate change and to play their part in caring for creation. 

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman as a Creation Keeper?

A willingness to listen to concerns about climate change and to play their part in caring for creation. 

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse as a Creation Keeper?

Stewardship, love and care are the most regularly-used words as a Creation Keeper, although I don’t think one can ever overuse these words!

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life as a Creation Keeper?

Of course, the Lord and his creation. Though, I am also loving looking through the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition! There are so many beautiful images of wildlife to look at!

  Farewell Rosie! CreationKeeper, now and always!
Want to be part of Christ Church Vienna's CreationKeepers? Got some ideas for us? Suggestions or questions? Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'd love to hear from you!

 

Blog #22: Hot in Vienna

June 10, 2021 
Monika Weber-Fahr
It’s hot. And it’s getting hotter. After a cool and wet spring here in Vienna, we now regularly see 27, 28, or even 29 Centigrade on the thermometer, with 14 hours of sun throughout the day, blue blue skies, and relatively little wind. Like many people, I live in a flat without air conditioning, glad that temperatures go down in the evening, allowing us to cool down overnight. This is something we won’t be able to do in July or August. Climate Change has put Vienna, like many many cities around the world, on a path towards more and more Heat Days per year, defined as days with 30 Centigrade or more. Last weekend, I found out what the city administration is doing about this, and how we can all help - and so this week’s Living Light blog offers some of the facts and insights I learned.
How did she find out about this, you might ask yourself... Well, I did a tour with Austria Guides for the Future, one of several organizations offering guided walks and bike rides across Vienna that combine traditional sightseeing and historical storytelling with concrete insights in the green dimension of urban planning and interventions in Vienna. The tour was offered as part of the Wir Sind Wien Festival (We are Vienna), a month-long series of activities that includes, on the green side of things, a June 11 a bicycle tour through Simmering featuring new and green concepts of urban mobility, and on June 13, a walk through the greenest part of Vienna (Hietzing). Much of it may be in German only, but one can also arrange for English-only tours directly.

Yes, these poppies are blooming in the middle of the 5th district, part of the city's program to have wild plants grow in public and semi-public places, reducing the city's heat and improving liability. City-speak for this is "Naturnahe Grünoase" (Green Oasis, close to nature)
But back to what we ourselves can do: Given that the number of Heat Days in Vienna has been growing steadily over the past decades, and that many people, notably children and more senior folks, tend to not react well when exposed to heat over longer times, the city has developed a useful heat map, listing parts of town that are particularly exposed. This is based on the temperatures typically measured in these areas and based on the share of young people and senior citizens living there. Check it out. The third district, home to Christ Church Vienna - is not the hottest among them, but does have a few heat islands. The tour I took last weekend mostly focused on Margareten, the 5th District, which joins Favoriten (10th) and Ottakring (16th) for the dubious record of having more of these islands than other parts of town. Here, our guide told us, temperatures can be up to 10 degrees hotter than in other parts of town. Why? It’s about the way houses are constructed, the amount of green infrastructure in the streets, in terms of trees and other plants, and structural elements that can bring or prevent a cooling breeze.
Vienna’s way of dealing with the (increasing) heat is based on two elements: More green and more blue. The blue side of things is both visibly impressive and fun: It involves, for example, setting up some 1100 water fountains (Trinkbrunnen) on the premise that no one should be further away than 500 metres from an opportunity to drink. There are also Water Mist Showers being put up, in addition to mobile carts with a water misty function, and then, of course, there are water playgrounds and free bathing opportunities alongside the various shores of the Danube. How can one find these when you are in a hot apartment? The city now offers a free app that can guide you to the closest water fountain, water park, coolest park to sit in, and so on.
 
Green facades, vertical gardens, contribute greatly to lowering outside temperatures in the city, and so the municipality is offering subsidies to those greening their facades. This building houses Vienna's waste management teams ("48ers"), located in the 5th District.
While the city seems to have a lot of great plans and initiatives, regular citizens can do a lot to help too. One thing we can do is to apply for and run a Parklet. These are little wooden structures that will be built on top of 1-3 parking spaces, offering areas to sit and enjoy some greenery. Another way of being engaged is to become an urban gardener, looking after one or more Baumscheiben, planting and looking after flowers and other greenery there. A third thing you can do if you own a flat in a house: Convince your neighbours to invest in greening the front of your building. The city is currently offering generous subsidies for Green Facades. Also called living walls or vertical gardens, these nice looking green structures are becoming increasingly popular around the world and seem to be effective in fighting city heat.
As we move into the summer this year, let’s keep our eyes open also for those who struggle to deal with the heat. Coordinated by Caritas Wien, a number of churches are opening up their properties for people living in overheated flats with no place to go or who may be homeless, inviting them to cool down for a few hours a day. If you are looking for a list of facilities and tips on what to do and how to help, check out the city’s resources in German or English.
 
Water points like this one offer both drinking water and heat-relief through mist, this one is in the 5th District. Check out the app that tells you where there is a misty water point close to you.
Want to be part of Christ Church Vienna's CreationKeepers? Got some ideas for us? Suggestions or questions? Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'd love to hear from you!

Blog #21: Active, Not Anxious... in Vienna

June 2nd, 2021 
Monika Weber-Fahr
"This is our moment. We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We are the generation that can make peace with nature. Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid. Join #GenerationRestoration.” This is the intro-text to the 2021 World Environment Day Campaign, a day that is celebrated around the world on Saturday, June 5, including here in Vienna. Our Living Light blog today invites you to take a look around town and learn about activities offered and organisations contributing. Maybe you’ll find something that inspires!
World Environment Day is the UN’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment. First held in 1974, June 5 has provided opportunities for awareness campaigns focusing on many of the most pressing environmental concerns of the past decades, including, but not limited to, marine pollution, global warming, sustainable consumption, wildlife crime. Each year, governments, civil society organizations and businesses, as well as churches (!), organize events to advocate for environmental causes on or around June 5. This year’s motto is one trying to provide avenues for action: Reimagine, Recreate, Restore.
Across Vienna and Austria, you can celebrate World Environment Day by looking up some of the initiatives featured. Many of them are arranged to bring attention, on the same day, to Umweltzeichentag (Environment Tagging Day). The Umweltzeichen is a Tag that the Ministry for Climate Protection and Environment offers to organizations and businesses to distinguish themselves through environmental protection initiatives. Anything you can participate in yourself? Well, if you love walking in nature and consider yourself a Foodie, do check out the list of mountain refuges and huts offered by Naturfreunde Osterreich: Here you can enjoy local produce at special rates, singled out because of specific ecological and seasonal profiles. If you want to stay in town rather than venture out, another option is to visit Naturfreunde Haus Vienna right by the Alte Donau. Also closer to home, the Kunsthaus Wien (Hundertwasser Museum) invites everyone to visit their Pop Up Honey Shop, where, on Saturday between 2pm and 4pm, they will be featuring products from their own two beehives. In the meantime, the Austrian Alpenverein offers multiple ways for people to get active themselves by helping local groups of the Alpenverein restore pathways for hikers, spend time restoring forest areas, and so on. Other activities are also spread across the coming weeks and months, but announced on the occasion of Environment Day. For example, on June 8, one of my personal favorites, you can participate in an online visit with the Vienna City’s Wastemanagement team (called the 48ers, by their department name). There is also a little Facebook page with more information. Most initiatives are offered by individual organizations or firms. The general idea of the day is to mobilise action. And if you walk around Vienna with open eyes on June 5, across your market or downtown, you might see unexpected and fun things going on.
Also, church communities celebrate World Environment Day. The Anglican Church’s website features a number of parishes and also offers several special prayer ideas for the day. The Anglican Diocese of London seems to have even declared the Sunday closest to Environment Day, this year June 6, to be Environment Sunday.
If you do go out and participate in something to celebrate Environment Day, or if you find out about something noteworthy, do send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'd love to hear from you!