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 #127: Summertime - Lilac

July 6, 2023
Janine Teufl
The scent of lilac
reminds me of olden days —
Göttweig like my home. 
 Foto: Janine put together our second Summertime Haiku - reflecting on the beautiful smell of lilac ("Flieder").


During the summer months - instead of putting together our regular blog - we invite our readers to contribute a Haiku reflecting on creation or efforts in creation-keeping.  Haikus are a short form of poetry, originally from Japan. Traditionally, they consist of three phrases - the first one with five syllabi, the second one with seven syllabi, and the third with five syllabi again. One Haiku is enough, but you can also combine it with a picture, a story, or another Haiku. Feeling inspired? Please send your haiku to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Blog #126: LivingLight in Summertime

June 29, 2023
Gabriel Byng and Monika Weber-Fahr
Summertime is here!  Last week’s June 21st marked the summer solstice or midsummer.  Next week, on Monday, children in Vienna will begin their two-months long summer breaks.  Also, many doctor’s offices and other services will close for some time in the coming month or so, and even Christ Church moves onto a summer schedule. In July and August clocks in Vienna will be ticking slower than for the rest of the year.
Summertime is for many of us an opportunity - indeed an invitation - to notice life around ourselves with more attention. We take time out of our busy schedules, and if we are lucky we are able to slow down and create more harmony between the speed at which we live and the pace of nature and its beings. A perfect time, it seems, for reflecting on what God’s creation means to us.
This the spirit of Living Light in Summertime: Instead of the regular blog, we want to invite our readers to contribute what they see and feel, and to share short observations on creation or creation care. To make it easy, we will again invite you to use haikus as the main format. Haikus are a short form of poetry, originally from Japan. Traditionally, they consist of three phrases - in a 5 - 7 - 5 pattern, containing a seasonal reference. They seemed a good fit for the Living Light Blog in Summertime last year: If you want to see what we did last year, do check out Brandy’s Haiku on the Beauties of a Flowerbed in Blog#76 - or any of the following Haikus, about the Heat, Rainbows, a River’s Fingerprint, What To Do, Quiet Buzzes, the Moon, and our Space, through to Rosalind’s concluding reflection on Haikus for Creation in Blog#86.
Foto: Rubenspark in the Fourth District in Vienna is where Gabe put together our first Summertime Haiku - reflecting on a moment of appreciation of God's creation around him.

To inspire us all, Gabe is giving us a head-start with a Haiku called Rubenspark - a beautiful little recreational area in the fourth district, worthwhile spending some time at.

Leaning back on the bench/
until there are just shouts and/
sun on my eyelids.

So, now the invitation to you all is to compose a creation-minded thought or observation in three lines, the first one with five syllabi, the second one with seven syllabi, the third with five syllabi again. And yes, Philip, if you’d like to compose a Limerick, you are very very welcome (and so is everyone else). The emphasis is on short and creation-minded.
You can do it! Just write a three-liner, or put together several, telling a longer story. Or you can send us a Haiku together with a text or picture. Or just send me some bullet points and I’ll turn them into a Haiku (no promises on Limericks). Inspired? Do send your haikus to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or any other idea or thought, of course.
Have a great summer! We look forward to hearing from you!

Blog #125: Friday Night Fun

June 22, 2023
Monika Weber-Fahr
Who was it who said about people with an environmental consciousness that we cannot have fun? No idea, but whoever might even think such odd thoughts could not be more mistaken - and all it takes to prove it is to go to Heldenplatz on Friday nights at or around 9 pm during most summer months.  What happens there feels like magic.  Hundreds - sometimes thousands - bicyclists and inline skaters are gathering there, all in a good mood, many decorated creatively with lights of all sorts.  Some participants look very professional, with fast-moving roadbikes and the appropriate gear - others come with their ViennaMobilBike, or whatever other bikesharing app they are using. In the meantime, loud music - very loud music - usually a mix between the most recent top 10, Austro pop and Rock classics, is shared across the group via some gigantic loudspeakers installed in a green car right in the middle of the Platz. And once that green car gets going, the fun begins!
It’s called Friday NightSkating, and from a formal perspective it is a (political) public statement against the often existing preference for cars in urban planning, a demonstration for more urban spaces to be made available to skaters and bicyclists (and those moving around on foot). The Austrian Green Party has been organizing it for years but it has long ago lost the feel of party politics and become more of a feast. And while these evenings do feel festive, they are organized entirely without food or drink (what you consume is strictly byo), drawing solely on the joy that comes from freely cycling or skating right in the middle of the big wide streets of Vienna that are normally reserved for cars.
Foto: Most Friday nights during the summer you can join Friday NightSkating - an activity that is both fun and a political statement for investing in safe spaces for bicyclists and sakters across town. Come to Heldenplatz by 9pm on any given Friday and chances are that you will get to enjoy a view of Vienna you have not had a chance to experience before (note: this week's NightSkating is canceled due to the Danube Island Festival).  The Facebook site offers updates on dates and times.
These evenings are a joyous affair indeed. I can’t quite explain why - and it is somewhat puzzling to me since cycling in a large group of overexcited people I never met before is normally not my idea of happiness. But doing so on these Friday nights is pure joy for me - and visibly so also for many others. Probably because it feels so extraordinary to have the streets to ourselves - there is a sense of taking back the urban space in the group, and combined with music and the carefree atmosphere of a beginning weekend the whole affair becomes a mini-vacation right in the middle of town.
Friday NightSkating events do make a political point: The usually large number of participants, between 300 and 3000 depending on the weather and the routes, is a strong statement directed at Vienna’s city government and mobility agency, asking them to keep working on further expanding spaces for safe cycling (and safe skating). Vienna, just having been rated yet again the World’s most livable city, is fairly bike friendly but it did not make it on the most recent list of top 10 cities for bicyclists. A few years back, it was among the top 20, but already then commentators pointed to gaps in investment planning, and as a frequent bicyclist I know why. There are still too many streets in Vienna on which cyclists - even on marked cycling paths - are exposed to risks posed by cars. Indeed, the number of cyclists injured or killed in traffic accidents has been rising steadily over the past years, even though under normal circumstances having more bicycles on the road should lead to car drivers paying more attention, resulting in less accidents. So it's a good thing to remind city planners and fellow Viennese occasionally of the need to take more action here.
In the meantime, the Friday NightSkating organizers do a lot to keep the hundreds - and sometimes 1000s - of participants safe.  Police cars in the front and the back and friendly police along the way make sure that regular car traffic stays away. There are plenty of orderlies skating up and down the otherwise reasonably slowly moving rows of cyclists and skaters, reminding everyone of what good behavior constitutes and helping out when someone falls. The tour sports lots of well thought through rules - bicycles in the middle, skaters outside, no racing, and considerate behavior everywhere.  Of course, neither cycling nor skating are always entirely risk free. A few years back my brother - a little overconfident as a skater perhaps - got his blades stuck in one of the many tram tracks that we crossed, fell and broke a leg. Completely recovered by now, he is still amazed though that his accident at the time did not cause havoc amongst the large group of skaters and cyclists surrounding him; overall, NightSkating is a well orchestrated and by and large a safe undertaking.
So will you join me, in the coming weeks, for a Friday NightSkating? This coming Friday, activities are canceled due to the festivities on the Danube island, and next Friday, June 30, our retreat at Gottweig takes priority for me. As you consider joining, do note that routes vary and every time a different part of the cities’ streets get closed and used for Friday NightSkating.  Routes for July and August are already online, and all you need to do is show up on Heldenplatz on a Friday just before 9 pm - with your bicycle or your with your blades strapped on
Are you ready to roll!?
Feeling inspired? Want to contribute? Remark on or question something? Please send thoughts about or suggestions for the Living Light Blog to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Blog #124: Let’s enjoy the Vienna Wasserfest

June 15, 2023
Monika Weber-Fahr
We all enjoy it - the wonderful water that comes from the tabs here in Vienna, clean and so very drinkable. But did we also know that it is good enough - all across Austria - for the country to celebrate National Trinkwassertag or Drinking Water Day?  Arranged and hosted by water utilities all across the country, the third Friday of June is the day of days, tomorrow, June 16th.  In many towns and villages, there are info events and activities inviting citizens - in particular but not limited to kids - to enjoy and have fun with but also to learn about drinking water, how precious it is, and what we can do to preserve it.
Here in Vienna, celebrations take place as part of the Wiener Wasserfest, and lots of action is scheduled around the Wasserturm in Favoriten, from 9 am till 6pm. The Wasserturm is a beautiful and historic building, built in 1898 to provide the higher-up areas of the 10th and 12th district with drinking water until the Vienna Hochquellenleitung - bringing water from the mountains - took over that task. The Wasserfest offers the opportunity to not only visit the Wasserturm and get a (free) guided tour, but also to enjoy the Wasserspielplatz or Water Playground right in front of the tower, to take a quiz about drinking water, to learn from the Youth Firebrigade how to splash water in a useful way, and to meet the people who work on bringing drinking water to our homes, 24/7, safely and reliably.
Foto:Tomorrow, June 16, you can join in celebrating the Vienna Water Festival – behind the Vienna Wasserturm – and learn more about drinking water in Austria and what we can do to preserve it.
If the Wasserfest got you curious, there are more options for you to learn about our drinking water in Austria and how it is kept safe also in the future. There is an excellent website - - that offers updated information on quantity and quality of water used, on safety and security, and on its origins. In Austria, unlike many other countries, 100% of drinking water comes from underground resources, commonly considered the safest and highest quality water. For further reading, I recommend the government’s Wasserschatz Study, published in 2021; a few months ago, it came out in English under the title Austria’s Water TreasureIt looks at groundwater availability through 2050 and finds that groundwater resources - due to climate change and other shifts - are likely to go down by around 23% in the next 30 years while water needs are likely to grow by about 10-15%, mainly due to population growth. The report also lays out measures that communities and cities need to take to address these developments - such as building reservoirs and becoming more efficient in the use of water. A nationwide discussion forum - the Wasser Plattform - has been established last year to involve everyone relevant in dialogue and planning. Worthwhile following this and seeing where we all can contribute.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy the water we have, learn about where it comes from, and celebrate the Wiener Wassertag.
Feeling inspired? Want to contribute? Remark on or question something? Please send thoughts about or suggestions for the Living Light Blog to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.