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Last Updated: Monday, 24 December 2007, 08:54 GMT
Church leader's 'recycle' message
Christmas cards going in the bin
Revd John Owen said people should recycle unwanted Christmas goods
A church leader has called on people to think of the environment this festive season by recycling leftover food and unwanted Christmas presents.

The Reverend John Owen, leader of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, said "the nativity had a minimal effect on the environment".

He added that everyone should remember their "duty to the planet".

Meanwhile, the head of non-conformist chapels in Wales said the idea of making Christmas secular was "foolish".

Mr Owen, who is Moderator of Presbyterian Church of Wales for 2007-08, welcomed the Bali agreement on tackling climate change signed by world leaders.

He said: "Yet this does not mean that we as individuals should rely on our governments to save the planet.

"Rather, we should redouble our efforts to take action and campaign against climate change.

"Over the festive period, when we focus on celebrating Jesus's coming, we should remember our duty towards our planet by recycling and trying to avoid food waste.

Nobel Peace Prize

"Even unwanted presents can be recycled and put to good use through, for example, charity shops and freecycle schemes."

Mr Owen, from Ruthin in Denbighshire, said he wanted to remind people in Wales that "people in developing countries suffer because we draw excessively on the world's resources".

One of the elders of the church is Sir John Houghton, the former head of the Meteorological Office and member of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who was born in Dyserth in Denbighshire and now lives in Aberdyfi, Gwynedd.

Sir John and the IPCC team shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice president Al Gore for their work on tackling climate change.

Meanwhile, the leader of Union of Welsh Independent Churches said although Christmas was an event on the Christian calendar "it tends to embrace others".


Dr Geraint Tudur, the union's general secretary, said it was "nonsense" to say that "doing away with the religious dimension will bring people together".

He said: "People have been coming together over Christmas for centuries, despite their differences.

"Even where there are religious differences, friendship can be seen trying to close the gap that keeps people apart.

"We all remember the story about British and German soldiers leaving their trenches in the middle of the Great War to play football and enjoy each other's company for a few hours.

"And when was that? On Christmas Day, which shows the spirit of the festival."

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