The Climate Change Thread

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by sweetandsour » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:30 am

Some are now saying that we are currently in an ice age, actually.
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:49 am

+JMJ+

Nigerian farming communities win landmark court ruling against Shell [In-Depth]
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Oil spill damage in the Niger Delta region, April 6, 2010 (Flickr/Sosialistisk Ungdom)

Simon Ayafa has witnessed oil pollution in the Niger Delta region since he was 15. Now, at 35, he feels the region has been made uninhabitable by decades of oil spills.

"You to go the stream to fetch water and you get oil," said Ayafa, who is a parishioner at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Bodo, a fishing village that has suffered from massive oil spills. "You go to the farm and the crops are damaged and cannot produce because of pollution. That is our fate here."

A series of pipeline spills between 2008 and 2009 left the entire area flowing in oil. With support from Amnesty International, the community took legal action against Royal Dutch Shell. The case was settled out of court in 2015 for the equivalent of about $36.6 million, with part going to the community and the rest divided among the community's residents.

Now a handful of farmers from two other communities, who stood up to the oil giant over spills that occurred between 2004 and 2007, has won another landmark case.

On Jan. 20, a Dutch court ruled that Shell's Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) was liable for oil pollution in several farming and fishing communities in the Niger Delta region where many families are Catholic.

"This is a victory for the people and for a region which has been so badly affected by pollution," said Fr. Paul Nsoka, a priest of the Portharcourt Diocese, which has over 1 million Catholics.

"The water, farmlands and other sources of livelihood of the people have been largely affected because of some cheap gains, and the government over the years has been paying lip-service to issues of pollution by multinational oil companies affecting its citizens," he added.

Nsoka said that despite the cost and damage in the region, the ruling constituted "environmental justice."

Besides holding the Nigerian subsidiary responsible, the Court of Appeals in The Hague ruled that Shell, which is based in Holland, had breached its "duty of care" in its operations abroad. It ordered the subsidiary to pay compensation to the farmers and begin cleanup of the polluted areas.

Now another lawsuit looms. On Feb. 12, the British Supreme Court ruled that a group of Nigerian farmers and fishermen can sue Shell in English courts, overturning lower court rulings that had blocked such suits.

[…]

For the past 13 years, four Nigerian farmers who have become environmental activists from the region have been representing the affected communities and leading efforts to get justice for those affected by the pollution. With support from the nonprofit environmental group Friends of the Earth Netherlands, the four launched their lawsuit against Shell in 2008.

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Fishing has become almost impossible in rural communities in the Niger Delta as oil spills have contaminated water sources. Locals say the recent court judgement might help them. (Patrick Egwu)

The four have sought compensation for damage and loss of livelihoods that they say they suffered from spills of crude oil from a well and pipelines. They demanded that Shell clean up the contamination more thoroughly and take measures to prevent a recurrence. The court also ordered Shell to build a better warning system in the affected villages to alert residents to possible leaks.

"Finally, there is some justice for the Nigerian people suffering the consequences of Shell's oil," Eric Dooh of Goi, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement from Friends of the Earth Netherlands. "It is a bittersweet victory, since two of the plaintiffs, including my father, did not live to see the end of this trial. But this verdict brings hope for the future of the people in the Niger Delta."

In the same statement, Rachel Kennerley, climate campaign manager at Friends of the Earth Netherlands, called the court ruling "a fantastic victory."

"For too long, companies like Shell have been shirking their responsibility for the impact of the dirty industry they push on communities around the world," she said. "Thirteen years of fighting for justice has finally turned this around, and today's judgment is a wakeup call for polluting companies and governments everywhere."

She also called for the British government to end its investment in fossil fuel projects overseas "unless it wants to face legal challenges."

[…]

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Even though petroleum contributes about 70% of Nigeria's revenue, development and facilities are lacking in most oil producing communities especially in the rural areas. (Patrick Egwu)

The court ruling could mark a turning point. Catholics in the affected communities who spoke with EarthBeat welcomed the decision, but they said much must be done to clean up the pollution in the region.

Nnamdi Amaechi, who lives in Oruma, said residents often track oily residue into their homes after walking outdoors.

"This has been a natural injustice the people are facing, but with this [court ruling], the people will find some form of compensation to fall back on," he said. "Our community has been rejoicing because of the outcomes."

[…]

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A man holds up an oil-covered hand in the Niger Delta area, May 30. 2019. (Wikimedia Commons/Ucheke)

[…]

Meanwhile, oil pollution continues in the Niger Delta region, leaving much of the region uninhabitable. This has led to small-scale migration, as residents of affected communities have left their homes and livelihoods and moved to other areas with less impact.

"It will take a very long time before the region becomes the way it has been before oil exploration and, of course, pollution started taking place here," Takai Dome, an environmental activist who has been following the court cases and developments in the region, told EarthBeat. "The impact will still be there and on the way people in affected communities lead their lives."

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In oil producing communities in the Niger Delta, oil spills have affected water sources and livelihoods. (Patrick Egwu)

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

[Patrick Egwu is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Nigeria who reports on global health, education, religion, conflict and other development issues in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. He has been published in African Arguments, FT's This is Africa, Ozy, BRIGHT Magazine, and IJNet, among others.]

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by sweetandsour » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:12 pm

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul.

G. K. Chesterton

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by durangopipe » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:21 pm

Nothing distinguishes more clearly conditions in a free country from those in a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principles known as the Rule of Law.

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by Del » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:07 pm

sweetandsour wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:30 am
Some are now saying that we are currently in an ice age, actually.
I'm pretty sure than an "Ice Age" requires mile-thick glaciers over what is now the Upper Midwest of North America.

Maybe that was an ironic remark from some cynical climate alarmist -- saying that future Earthicans living in a Tropical Age will look back upon our Temperate Age and call it and "Ice Age."
==================================

I think I just figured it out.... those climatologists are looking at the cooling trend over the last few years and predicting that we are entering another "Little Ice Age," like the one that lasted from 1300 to 1860.
G.K. Chesterton — 'It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.'

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by sweetandsour » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:22 pm

Del wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:07 pm
sweetandsour wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:30 am
Some are now saying that we are currently in an ice age, actually.
I'm pretty sure than an "Ice Age" requires mile-thick glaciers over what is now the Upper Midwest of North America.

Maybe that was an ironic remark from some cynical climate alarmist -- saying that future Earthicans living in a Tropical Age will look back upon our Temperate Age and call it and "Ice Age."
==================================

I think I just figured it out.... those climatologists are looking at the cooling trend over the last few years and predicting that we are entering another "Little Ice Age," like the one that lasted from 1300 to 1860.
You did much more figuring than I even thought about doing. A guy on another forum was quoting something about a Milankovitch hypothesis, which muses about small changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit and axis inclination. It made me chuckle but otherwise went in one ear and quickly out of the other, so to speak. But not before I made my little comment on here, obviously.
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:14 am

+JMJ+

Catholic Climate Covenant launches youth mobilization initiative [In-Depth]
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Screenshot from Feb. 23 online event presented by Catholic Climate Covenant, with Anna Robertson, the group's new director of youth and young adult mobilization

The Catholic Climate Covenant launched a new initiative this week that looks to mobilize young Catholics to spur greater action on climate change in the church and around the country.

More than 70 people, predominantly young adults, joined an online event Feb. 23 to learn more about the youth-oriented program.

Anna Robertson, the group's new director of youth and young adult mobilization, said its goal is "to inspire and empower meaningful action" among young people in the church, within their parishes and dioceses, as well as in the wider national public square.

"This is a new initiative, and we at the Covenant really desire that it is shaped by the people who are in this room right now and other young folks in the Catholic sphere throughout the country," she said.

The mobilization effort will focus on four main areas: advocacy, community resilience, education and ecological spirituality.

The 29-year-old Robertson, a former campus minister at Seattle University, said the goal is to create a community where young people can share ideas and work together on ways to take steps on climate change in their own regions, as well as to join larger collaborative efforts. It also seeks to encourage young Catholics to move toward the personal ecological conversion that Pope Francis has championed, by learning about church teachings on care for creation and growing in their understanding of ecospirituality.

The four focus areas will guide the program, but the hope is that young Catholics will mold it to support what they want to do to further environmental stewardship.

Participants in the online webinar shared their concerns about climate change — its health impacts, threats to food security, how it's become a polarized issue and the enormity of the challenge — as well as frustrations with the seemingly slow pace of action, in their parishes and in society at large.

One participant said the church has to move past a dichotomy that seems to say Catholics can focus on spirituality or justice, but not both. Another wanted to be a part of a wider, holistic pro-life movement that incorporates protecting the environment and ending racism. One young woman said she has fears about having children with a climate crisis hanging over the planet.

[…]

The introductory event, titled Emergence, offered a glimpse into the new initiative.

The online evening included prayers and reflection as much as presentation and education. Robertson led an Ignatian-inspired ecological examen and broke down elements of ecological spirituality that Francis identified in Laudato Si'. Early on, participants took part in a land acknowledgement, sharing the names of Native tribes that previously lived in their regions of the country.

The theme of emergence, Robertson explained, came in part from a definition of the term offered by Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio, who said it points to the idea that the complex web of nature can't be reduced to the sum of its parts, and that even the smallest pieces, or fractals, can contribute to the larger whole in ways that aren't readily apparent.

That metaphor also applies to steps for addressing climate change, Robertson said, adding that a growing number of "fractals" of actions happening in the U.S. and around the world will animate greater action at the larger level.

"When we think about the individual work of defending our climate and defending creation, it can feel really tiring," she said, adding that it is important to remember "that each of these little pieces that we're doing actually is a piece of this whole."

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:15 pm

+JMJ+
TheShepherd wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:51 am
Del wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 8:16 pm
The Climate Dogmatists have reached their High Middle Ages.


The Crusade is under way, and woe to the heretics and unbelievers!
Honestly, just raise the average IQ by 10 points, and most of the alarmist nonsense (along with evolutionist nonsense and other forms nonsense takes) would mostly disappear, and then maybe we could have a thinking person's discussion on the subject.

Or just put all of the alarmists in prison (ideally, death row) - so that the intelligent men and women don't have to be tainted and bored by their reality denialism, spurred on by the superstitious, eschatological fear of statistically-unlikely deaths, that "people" of remarkably low intelligence tend to demonstrate so laughably.
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by TheShepherd » Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:49 pm

Back to an intelligent take on the subject:

The one issue here is the confirmation bias inherent in the linking of damage caused by hurricanes to climate change:

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/America ... ate-change

How Nicaraguan coffee farmers are adapting to climate change

Some Nicaraguan coffee farmers are experimenting with a more diverse and sustainable mix of crops, which could prove to be more profitable and better equipped to handle rising temperatures.

Maria Gonzalez knows that growing coffee in Nicaragua’s northern mountains – as she has done since she was a little girl – gets harder and harder each year.

Rising temperatures are spoiling harvests when berries ripen too fast and a coffee leaf disease wiped out about half of the region’s crop between 2012 and 2014, killing most of Ms. Gonzalez’s plants.

Just as her new plants were starting to flourish, whipping winds and torrential rains from hurricanes Eta and Iota last November uprooted the bushes and shook the unripe berries to the ground.

With an initial hard few years now stretching into a decade, coffee farmers like Ms. Gonzalez face a tough decision: stay loyal to their coffee crop or find a new way to survive.

“I’m experimenting with a lot of things because if I see that one is doing better, I’ll stick with that,” she said. “And if not, we’ll be there fighting for our coffee.”

More than 494,211 acres of food and other crops throughout Central America were devastated by the 2020 hurricanes that slammed the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts and caused flooding and landslides across the region.

The storms destroyed an estimated 10-15% of this year’s coffee harvest for producers in Ms. Gonzalez’s co-operative, Soppexcca, according to its manager Fatima Ismael Espinoza.

As a result, Ms. Gonzalez expected to sell 10% less than the year before, making it harder to feed her children and fund their education.

Other parts of the country have reported higher losses. The Nicaraguan Association of Producers and Exporters registered a 40% decrease in coffee exports from October 2020 to January 2021, compared to the same period a year earlier.

“That kind of a loss magnifies the challenges farmers were already facing,” said Rick Peyser, senior director of private sector partnerships at aid agency Lutheran World Relief, who has worked in sustainable coffee for three decades.

Many are already struggling to get enough food and may go hungry for months when earnings from the coffee harvest run out.

“These twin hurricanes make us even more vulnerable,” said Ms. Espinoza. “All of this investment we had been doing is lost, and we have to start over with programs of reforestation, soil improvement, and diversification of crops.”

A coffee picker carries sacks of coffee cherries at a plantation in the Nogales farm in Jinotega, Nicaragua January 7, 2016. Soaring temperatures in Central America due to climate change are forcing farmers to pull up coffee trees and replace them with cocoa, spurring a revival in the cultivation of a crop once so essential to the region's economy.
Curious about cocoa

Soppexcca works with more than 600 small-scale coffee farmers to develop and promote sustainable production methods.

The co-operative, which sells to fair-trade buyers in Europe and the United States, focuses on teaching farmers how to better care for the environment, particularly soils and forest cover.

Ms. Espinoza also emphasized the need to move from single crop agriculture that leaves coffee farmers vulnerable in a bad year.

She recommended trees that can provide shade, like guava, plantain, and banana, which also supply another product to sell.

“We can’t wait to take action until 2050,” she said.


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Jinotega, with average annual temperatures historically around 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit, is known as an oasis from the scorching temperatures that can hit much of Nicaragua.

But in 2019, Jinotega’s average temperature was 0.9-1.8 F. higher than in previous years and is only expected to keep climbing, according to the Managua-based Humboldt Center, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable development.

Ms. Gonzalez will try just about anything, with her efforts to date including soil conservation, new crops, cultivating a vegetable garden, and even growing two small cacao plants.

A few years ago, a nongovernmental organization came to her home to explain the benefits of planting some cacao instead of coffee, saying cacao was less labor-intensive, better adapted to warming temperatures, and offered more stable prices.

But the farmer was concerned that swapping out too much coffee for cacao would leave her with nothing if the plants did not flourish.

“I was curious so I got two plants,” she said. “We’re testing to see how it goes.”

Other coffee farmers have resisted change, fearing their gamble will end badly.

“I want to see if it works for someone else,” said Flora del Socorro Montenegro, a coffee farmer who lost at least 10% of her harvest to the storms.

Stay or go?

Ms. Gonzalez learned to harvest coffee from her father, but it’s unlikely her seven children will follow in her footsteps.

Instead, they have sought other opportunities. “We feel like it’s not enough with the coffee we produce,” Ms. Gonzalez said.

In 2017, her only son migrated to Costa Rica for temporary farm work. He came home after making enough money in eight months for his family, and now works as a taxi driver.

Ana Julia Montenegro often works long hours during the coffee harvest, from 3 a.m. to 9 p.m., to eke out a living.

But it still does not provide enough to support her three children, so her husband does a construction job to earn extra money.

Even though they struggle, leaving home seems too dangerous for her or anyone else in her family to take the risk.

“It’s better to figure out how to do things and to survive here,” she said.

Ms. Montenegro is trying to diversify her crops and has planted fruit trees including banana and guava, but is not convinced cacao is worth the five-year wait before it bears fruit.

Future on the farm

Jinotega has not seen the same exodus of migrants as other parts of Central America in recent years.

Ms. Espinoza, of Soppexcca, is convinced families in the co-operative can have a sustainable future there.

“There is a percentage that dream of leaving, but we see a mainly stable youth, that are committed [to staying],” she said.

“Our challenge is to create adequate conditions for progress and development so that the rural zone is attractive.”

Helping Nicaragua’s small-scale farmers overcome the challenges of climate change will need to include all parts of the supply chain, including co-operatives, exporters, and buyers, as well as national and local governments, according to Lutheran World Relief’s Mr. Peyser.

After the recent hurricanes, the central government announced a plan to support small coffee producers through workshops teaching skills to boost their harvests.

“Small-scale coffee farmers are probably the most resilient people I’ve ever met,” said Mr. Peyser. “But at the same time, they need assistance – and it’s only fair [they get it].”

“Everyone can play some kind of role. But it really needs to happen soon because it’s not going to get better.”

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by Jester » Tue Mar 09, 2021 12:33 pm

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:28 pm

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Catholic Church helps Zambian villagers stand up to mining companies [In-Depth
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Villagers who say toxic waste from the Nchanga copper mine in Zambia's Chingola district affected their health, livestock and farmland have won a settlement from the London-based Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines. (Wikimedia Commons/BlueSalo)

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — More than five years after taking one of Zambia's largest mining companies to court in England, villagers who say toxic waste from the Nchanga copper mine affected their health, livestock and farmland have won a settlement.

Terms of the Jan. 19 compensation, which will benefit some 2,500 people, were not disclosed, and London-based Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines, did not admit responsibility for environmental impacts from the mine, which is located in Zambia's Chingola district.

The case is the latest in which communities affected by extractive industries in Africa have successfully sued a foreign parent company over a subsidiary's operations in their country. It also highlights what activists, including Catholic organizations, say is widespread lack of enforcement of environmental regulations.

Mining is a lucrative business in Africa. In West Africa, gold production is expected to reach 8 million ounces this year, an increase of 2.7% over 2020. In Zimbabwe alone, the government is seeking to boost investment in mining to $12 billion by 2023. Much of the investment comes from foreign companies.

But the boom comes at a cost to the environment. Zambia, Africa's second-largest copper producer, is one of the countries hit hardest by mining pollution.

"In the absence of regulations governing natural resource extraction, or when they are weak or poorly enforced, increased openness to foreign investment can accelerate unsustainable resource use patterns," Micomyiza Dieudonne, program officer at the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Lusaka, Zambia, told EarthBeat.

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A view of the Nchanga copper mine in Zambia's Chingola district (Wikimedia Commons/BlueSalo)

Despite legal action like the Chingola case, many communities suffer similar problems in silence, either because they are not pursuing their right to redress or compensation or because governments are not holding mining companies to account.

Catholic organizations have been stepping into the gap, providing technical advice, raising awareness about the impacts of pollution from mining and pressuring governments and companies to ensure that toxic waste is handled properly.

[…]

The court case was part of an effort by church and other organizations to pressure the government to enforce mining regulations and hold companies accountable for violations, said Eugene Kabilika of Caritas Zambia.

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Eugene Kabilika, executive director of Caritas Zambia (Courtesy of ZCCB)

Caritas Zambia and the Caritas office of the Ndola Diocese, along with the international humanitarian agency ActionAid, helped collect evidence of contamination and raise awareness in the communities that eventually filed the lawsuit.

"Extractive companies must be taxed on their profits, to provide public services to benefit communities, and be made to adhere to environmental standards," said Nalucha Nganga Ziba, ActionAid's Zambia director. "There must be no bailouts or public investments in mining companies, which continue to pollute and contribute to climate change. They must no longer be allowed to act with impunity."

In the Copperbelt province, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection has identified waste rock dumps, slag heaps and tailings dams covering nearly 40 square miles. That area represents "a loss of opportunity for the local population in terms of other land use, such as agriculture, forestry, housing [or] ranching," the center's Dieudonne told EarthBeat.

Besides the Copperbelt province, there is also widespread contamination in the North-Western and Central provinces, Kabilika told EarthBeat.

[…]

According to Kabilika, the main reason for ongoing pollution from mining operations is that companies in Zambia "are not willing to curb their discharge and there is no law that compels them to minimize damage" to the environment.

Because of lax government enforcement, "nothing happens [when] there is serious pollution in some mining areas where hazardous substances found their way into streams where communities rely on for water. Until this is reviewed the situation will remain the same," Kabilika said.

The Jesuit center and Caritas are involved in efforts to bring mining companies, government officials and local community members together to ensure that the revenues from mining benefit the communities living around Zambia's mines.

The problem of pollution from mining and oil operations, especially the contamination of water sources, also affects other African countries, Dieudonne said.

[…]

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Click for full-size graphic

[…]

Increasingly, local communities and organizations that support them are seeking redress against the foreign parent companies of mining and oil corporations operating in Africa.

The settlement in England between villagers from Chingola, Zambia, and Vedanta Resources followed a similar case in which Nigerian farmers successfully sued Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands. A British court recently agreed to admit a similar suit against Shell.

The lawsuit, filed by 42,500 farmers and fishermen from the communities of Ogale and Bille, in the Niger Delta, argues that the local residents' livelihoods have been affected by persistent oil spills that have contaminated land, swamps, groundwater and waterways, and that efforts to clean up the spills have been inadequate.

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by Jester » Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:44 pm

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:58 am

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Severe isolation, highest per capita death rate mark Native American COVID-19 experience [In-Depth]
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Homes line a dirt road in 2014 on the Rosebud Reservation of the Lakota in south central South Dakota. (CNS/Catholic Extension/Ron Wu)

When word of the novel coronavirus spread through the U.S. a year ago this month, various Native American tribes closed their borders to outsiders in an effort to keep the pandemic at bay. On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Lakota tribal leaders ordered residents to "shelter in place" by staying home, avoiding gatherings and especially protecting elders.

"We knew the vulnerabilities. We know our population," said Tashina Banks Rama, executive vice president of Pine Ridge's Red Cloud Indian School, a Catholic school with Jesuit roots. "And we were terrified that once COVID got here, it was going to be catastrophic to an entire generation."

[…]

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(NCR, GSR logo/Toni-Ann Ortiz)

Despite efforts at isolation, Native Americans have died of COVID-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 hit hard in communities already suffering from high rates of chronic illnesses, where large families of multiple generations share close quarters and have limited access to safe water and fresh food. Climate change adds to those difficulties, with increasing bouts of extreme weather that threaten residents' safety and health, as well as traditional means of healing.

American Public Media Research Lab's Color of Coronavirus project, which compiles figures from 43 states that report data broken down by ethnic group, recorded 5,477 deaths among Native Americans as of March 2. Although that may seem low compared to total COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., which have eclipsed 520,000, it is the highest per capita death toll of any ethnic group in the country.

The Color of Coronavirus project calculates that for every 100,000 Indigenous people, there have been 256 deaths from COVID-19, compared to 180 for Black Americans, 150 for white people, and 147 for Hispanic and Latino Americans. Other calculations place the figure slightly lower than that of Black Americans, but still far above the death rate for the white population.

At Pine Ridge, the early lockdown helped save lives, but enforced isolation has taken a toll on the community in other ways, Rama, who is Oglala Lakota and Ojibwe, told EarthBeat.

"The impacts of COVID for our community have been detrimental to our economy, but more importantly to the spiritual health of our community members," she said. "A lot of our families were isolated more than they normally are, and they had less access to food than they normally would."

People whose work could not be done remotely lost their jobs, adding to the reservation's already-high unemployment rate. And extended families could not gather for traditional ceremonies, including the funerals of those who died during the pandemic.

"So you had a loss of money, a loss of social interaction, a loss of ceremony — we weren't gathering for sweat or naming ceremonies or birthdays," Rama said. She added that the impact of the isolation "is severe — I say 'is,' because it still is something that our community is working to address with all generations."

[…]

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Cars in Coyote Canyon, New Mexico, on the Navajos' reservation, are seen lined up May 15, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. Because of the federal Indian Health System, Native Americans living on tribal lands have better access to COVID-19 vaccines than the 70% of Native Americans who live in urban areas and have trouble accessing IHS services. (CNS/The Republic/USA Today Network, via Reuters/David Wallace)

[…]

Although tribes were especially concerned about protecting their elders from COVID-19, young people have suffered significantly during the pandemic, Black Elk said.

"For teenagers and pre-teens, the staying at home, the shelter in place, the virtual schooling has been incredibly difficult," Black Elk said. "The motivation is incredibly low. There's just a real despair that I think sort of [hangs] over that age group across the reservation."

There also appears to have been "an increase in teenage suicide attempts and successes," possibly because, with schools closed, young people had nowhere to go to escape abusive family situations, he said.

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Tashina Banks Rama, executive vice president of Pine Ridge's Red Cloud Indian School. (Provided)

The youth suicide rate is higher for Native Americans than any other demographic group in the U.S. and 2.5 times the national average, according to the National Congress of American Indians.

Another factor affecting health on tribal lands is changing weather patterns, at least some of which are probably linked to climate change.

In the Southwest, Redvers said, elders say that drought makes it harder to find the medicinal plants they traditionally use. And in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions where she grew up, caribou populations are declining.

"Up north, a caribou is used for so many different purposes, not just for food, but for tools and for ceremony and for other things. So when that gets removed, a huge part of the culture goes with it," she said, adding that the loss has spurred some communities to take a stand against oil drilling in Alaska or demand protection of caribou calving grounds.

And on the historically dry Pine Ridge Reservation, record rainfall in recent years has damaged or destroyed homes in an area that already has a chronic housing shortage, making people even more vulnerable to health problems, Black Elk said.

Redvers hopes the pandemic will spur greater government investment in public health infrastructure and preventive healthcare "to ensure that the next time this happens — because it likely will — we have better preparedness overall."

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:28 am

+JMJ+

As we pollute the oceans, sea life isn't alone at risk — our health is, too [In-Depth]
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A man casts a fishing net into the polluted waters of the Yamuna River on World Water Day in New Delhi, India, March 22, 2021. (CNS/Reuters/Adnan Abidi)

A healthy and clean ocean is critical for coral reefs, coastal waters and the hundreds of thousands of species of sea creatures that call the underwater home. But scientists and researchers increasingly see the seas as also tied to human health.

Ocean pollution "poses serious threats to human health and well-being," but like other forms of pollution it can still be halted, according to a report published in December 2020 in the Annals of Global Health. The authors recommended ending the burning of coal and eliminating single-use plastics, which contribute to the more than 10 million tons of plastic waste that end up in oceans each year.

"It's a big problem. It's a growing problem. It's a complex problem, and it's a problem that needs action," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, the report's lead author and director of Boston College's Global Observatory on Pollution and Health.

Caring for the oceans is a topic the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development will explore this week in a series of dialogues to mark World Water Day (March 22) and to promote "Aqua fons vitae, Orientations on Water: Symbol of the Cry of the Poor and the Cry of the Earth," a document it published in March 2020.

The Vatican's weeklong focus on water began March 21, when Pope Francis, after his Angelus prayer, called for access to clean drinking water and sanitation for all people. He repeated his message that "water is not a commodity" but rather "a universal symbol and a source of life and health."

In Aqua fons vitae, the dicastery wrote, "The survival and health of human beings depend directly on water," including the oceans, which make up more than 70% of Earth's surface." It points out a myriad of threats to marine life, such as increasing plastic pollution, pollution from ships and underwater mining and drilling, and water acidification due to climate change.

The document quotes a 1988 pastoral letter from the Philippine bishops' conference, which stated, "An out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality allows us to flush toxic waste and mine tailings into our rivers and seas in the mistaken belief that they can no longer harm us."

The dicastery webinar on oceans is scheduled for March 25 and will include Fr. Augusto Zampini, adjunct secretary for the dicastery; Chiara Porro, Australian ambassador to the Holy See; and Dr. Hervé Raps, co-director of the World Health Organization's Collaborating Center for Health and Sustainable Development at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and a co-author of the December report.

The report, released at the end of the International Symposium on Human Health & the Ocean in a Changing World (Dec. 2-3), was the first to comprehensively examine the many ways in which human activities affect the ocean and how those impacts, in turn, negatively affect people's health. Among the symposium's sponsors was Boston College.

The report was written by 44 scientists from more than 20 countries who examined nearly 600 studies. "The seas are under threat," they wrote, "and human activity is the main source of that threat."

Although ocean pollution is widespread, worsening and expanding around the globe, it can still be prevented and controlled, the scientists said.

Most ocean pollution, 80%, comes from land-based sources. It is worst along coasts and harbors, particularly in the Mediterranean and developing countries in the Global South, and some of its main causes are wastewater discharge, industrial releases and agricultural runoff.

[…]

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Workers collect plastic waste from the Tisza River in Vasarosnameny, Hungary, Feb. 5, 2021, after flooding. (CNS/Reuters/Hungarian Water Authority handout)

[…]

"I think it's now established that our health depends on the health of the ocean," Lora Fleming, director of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, said at the report's release Dec. 3 at the Monaco symposium.

Ocean pollution is "environmental injustice on a global scale," the report said, because the populations most at risk are the ones who have generated the least pollution.

Widespread polluting of the oceans "can be directly ascribed to the 'take-make-use-dispose' economic paradigm," which Francis has called a "throwaway culture. The researchers said a focus on endless economic growth mistakenly views natural resources and human capital as abundant and expendable, "gives little heed to the consequences of their reckless exploitation" and "ignores the precepts of planetary stewardship."

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Coal-burning power plant at Dortmund-Ems Canal in Datteln, Germany, 2006 (Wikimedia Commons/Arnold Paul)

The report added that much is still unknown about the level of pollution in the seas, the extent of human exposure and the magnitude of related health effects. Those gaps, the researchers said, mean that the impact of ocean pollution on human health is likely underestimated.

Among the report's recommendations were national bans on single-use plastic items like bags and straws; promoting effective waste management and reduction of chemical discharges into coastal waters; expansion of marine protected areas around the globe; and an end to the burning of coal for energy, which is also a major contributor to air pollution and climate change.

"Ending all combustion of coal around the world and transitioning as rapidly as possible to wind and solar power is … incredibly important for protecting the planet and for protecting human health," Boston College's Landrigan said.

The epidemiologist told EarthBeat that the two-year report built off a study he led, published in the medical journal The Lancet, which found that pollution overall accounts for an estimated 9 million premature deaths each year.

Ocean pollution can be reduced and prevented, he said, pointing to the success countries have had in controlling other forms of pollution. One thing that makes ocean pollution more difficult to address, however, is that much of the pollution is invisible, especially to people not living on coasts.

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Trash can be seen at the coastline where there is a "red tide" caused by an abundance of Noctiluca scintillans organisms, Nagasaki, Japan, March 2004. Powerful toxins from algal blooms, which are fed by industrial waste and human sewage dumping, can accumulate in fish and shellfish that other fish and humans eat. (Flickr/Marufish)

[…]

He added that religious leaders can play "a powerful role" in correcting misinterpretations of dominion in the Book of Genesis and in reinforcing teachings on stewardship of the Earth and preserving it for future generations. Religious leaders may have greater success bridging current political divides when speaking of the need to act, he said.

Asked about the potential consequences of ignoring ocean pollution, Landrigan described a dire scenario in which, along with climate change, it could contribute to increased migration, hunger, civil unrest and parts of the world becoming inhabitable.

"Pollution in all its forms [is] a threat multiplier," he said. "It interacts with all the other pressures on our planet and can have the ultimate effect of undermining the stability of modern societies."

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:01 pm

+JMJ+

US Catholic church is failing to respond to climate emergency, theologian says [In-Depth]
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The Catholic Church in the U.S. is failing in its capacity to respond to climate change and to live up to its mission to safeguard God's creation, said Daniel DiLeo, an assistant theology professor at Creighton University, during the annual Schemmel theology lecture. (Unsplash/David Lee)

The Catholic Church in the U.S. is failing in its capacity to respond to climate change and to live up to its mission to safeguard God's creation, a theologian said this week during a lecture that spawned an act of contrition from the archbishop in attendance.

Daniel DiLeo, an assistant theology professor at Creighton University and director of its justice and peace studies program, made the comments March 22 during the annual Schemmel theology lecture at Clarke University, in Dubuque, Iowa. The online talk provided an overview of Catholic teaching on the environment, climate science and how the two intertwine.

Toward the end of his presentation, DiLeo, who is also a consultant for Catholic Climate Covenant, said the U.S. church is in an "almost ideal" position to respond to climate change. "We've got the mission, we've got the ethics" and the call to evangelization, he said, but moreover, it has the logistics to make a serious difference — in terms of people (about 70 million Catholics in the U.S., or 20% of the population), institutions (176 dioceses, nearly 17,000 parishes and thousands of schools, hospitals and advocacy networks), infrastructure (more than 100,000 buildings and millions of acres of land) and money.

"The Catholic tradition has a tremendous amount of potential," DiLeo said. "Unfortunately, we have not realized this potential."

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Daniel DiLeo, assistant theology professor at Creighton University and director of its justice and peace studies program, at right, presents the 2021 Schemmel theology lecture online March 22. (NCR screenshots)

He continued: "The U.S. Catholic response has not been anywhere near what is commensurate with the science and the magnitude of what [Pope] Francis describes as the climate emergency. So we've done some things, but it's not anywhere near commensurate with what's required."

The comments came in the midst of the special Laduato Si' Anniversary Year that the Vatican declared to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Francis' ecological encyclical ‘Laudato Si'’, on Care for Our Common Home. Later this spring, the Vatican is expected to launch its Laudato Si' Action Platform in an effort to galvanize more Catholics to take action on the encyclical's message.

While numerous Catholic universities and schools have embraced Laudato Si', and various dioceses and parishes have put it into action, including expanded use of solar energy, the full weight of the U.S. church has yet to coalesce behind the pope's call for environmental stewardship as a core part of Christian identity. During the U.S. bishops' meeting in November 2019, then-president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the sense among his fellow prelates was that climate change was "important" but not "urgent."

The reasons why U.S. Catholics have not fully embraced Laudato Si' so far are many, DiLeo said. Part of it is education, both in understanding the science of climate change and in catechesis of church teaching on the environment. DiLeo pointed to surveys conducted in the months following the June 2015 release of Laudato Si' that low percentages of Catholics had heard the encyclical or climate change discussed at Mass.

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Daniel DiLeo, assistant theology professor at Creighton University (Courtesy of Daniel DiLeo)

"Folks just aren't aware of the church's teaching about this issue," he said.

[…]

"The problem is that labeling some issues as "preeminent" gives the impression that we can ignore the "merely eminent" issues, like racism, or brutality from or toward police, or poverty, or immigration reform and protecting the environment," [Dubuque Archbishop Michael] Jackels said.

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Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels speaks March 22 during the annual Schemmel theology lecture at Clarke University, in Dubuque, Iowa. (NCR screenshot)

"We defend the fundamental right to life, yes, but we also defend what people need to live in dignity," he added. "Productive work and fair wages. Food and shelter. Education and health care and protection from harm. And we defend the Earth, because where else will the people live whose right to life we fight for?"

Jackels said that protection of the environment is a key part of the call to stewardship for people of faith, one that reflects humans' role as caretakers and not possessors of God's creation. He also pushed back against those who would characterize Francis, with his emphasis on Catholic social teaching, as "just a wide-eyed, South American liberal." In fact, he said, the pope is building on Catholic social teaching that extends back to the 19th century and Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum.

"Pope Leo XIII wrote that encyclical in order to counter claims made by communists and socialists against the ownership of private property," Jackels said. "Catholic teaching defends the right to own private property, but it also defends the duty, as stewards, to share with others the universal destination of goods. This right and duty go hand in hand."

Jackels agreed with DiLeo that education is important, saying, "You can't love a teaching that you don't know." He added, however, that it isn't enough nowadays, when people are more likely to completely dismiss things that don't align with what they already believe.

[…]

Both speakers acknowledged that political polarization is a hurdle. DiLeo cited studies showing that Catholics who identify as Republican, about half the U.S. church, are more likely to dismiss the pope's teaching on climate change and other issues that run counter to conservative values.

"Whether it's the environment or social teaching, the common good … if it doesn't match up [with] what they already believe, then it's, I think, almost a miracle for them to open their minds and hearts enough to receive the teaching," Jackels said.

Nevertheless, he added, "I'm going to keep hitting at it until it starts to make a dent."

DiLeo said education can be the foundation, but not the end, quoting Francis in Laudato Si', saying, "A commitment this lofty cannot be sustained by doctrine alone, without a spirituality capable of inspiring us, without an 'interior impulse which encourages, motivates, nourishes and gives meaning to our individual and communal activity.' "

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Pile of discarded single use containers, mostly coffee cups (Unsplash/Jasmin Sessler)

"It's not enough to just talk about the principles. There have to be strategies and campaigns and movements to enact and operationalize those," he said.

An example of that played out at Creighton, where over three years students mobilized to pressure the Jesuit school and its board of directors to fully divest its $587 million endowment from fossil fuels, a move the university announced in January.

On July 13 to 15, the Omaha, Nebraska, university will host the second Catholic Climate Covenant conference on implementing Laudato Si' within the U.S. church, at which Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich is expected to deliver a keynote address. DiLeo said he hopes that event, as well as the Vatican's Laudato Si' Action Platform, can build momentum to turn U.S. church's potential into progression.

"Aspiration is underpinned by a recognition that it's possible," he said. "But it's possible only through action."

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by Del » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:24 pm


You keep posting articles from Fishwrap like they are real information or something.

Nobody cares.

Except for myself, nobody comments. Not even yourself.

If you have nothing to say, then please don't post it here.
G.K. Chesterton — 'It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.'

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by Del » Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:07 pm

I suppose that I should politely respond to your article, and not just bust on you for failing to talk about your post.

I take exception to this remark from the bloviating climate theologian:
Both speakers acknowledged that political polarization is a hurdle. DiLeo cited studies showing that Catholics who identify as Republican, about half the U.S. church, are more likely to dismiss the pope's teaching on climate change and other issues that run counter to conservative values.

"Whether it's the environment or social teaching, the common good … if it doesn't match up [with] what they already believe, then it's, I think, almost a miracle for them to open their minds and hearts enough to receive the teaching," Jackels said.
This isn't true. Faithful Catholics are mostly conservative voters precisely because we care about handing down a better world more than the woke secular ideologues do. They have their agenda to push on our children, and they don't care if our children suffer.

Conservative Christians care about sustaining the environment more than woke secularists do. We just don't embrace the false dogmas of climate alarmism.

There is a monster difference between virtue signaling (which is loud) and actually living close to the earth (very quietly).

Homeschooling conservative families are likely the most frugal and efficient at conserving resources for sustainable environments. (We don't have stats for this, because the climate alarmists wouldn't support their independence. But it sure looks like it.)

Conservatives Christians care about immigrant families more than woke secularists do. That's why our elected governors weren't mass migrations into the hands of cartel gangs and putting tens of thousands of children into concentration camps.

Conservative Christians donate far more of our income to charity for the poor and schools that offer real education.

Conservative Catholics continue to be the best ministers to victims of sex trafficking, even after the Obama Administration refused to work with us. He cared more about the abortion lobby's agenda than about vulnerable women.

It's a long list. I'm just saying that that conservative Christians truly care about everything that the woke secularists say that they care about. And the conservative Christians care more deeply and participate more actively than the noisy secularists like National catholic Fishwrap.

I dare you. Find a conservative-voting American Catholic who doesn't care about the environment, taking small steps in his own life and vicinity to care for the Earth as Pope Francis urged us in Laudato Si.

Go ahead and find a Trump voter who isn't proud that America surpassed our goals for reducing emissions as stated in that silly Paris Accord. No other nation did.

We just don't believe that government mandates are the best way to do what we all know needs to be done. Too many Democrats are getting rich that way already, and making it difficult for us to be good stewards for our posterity.
G.K. Chesterton — 'It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.'

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:54 pm

+JMJ+

Subject Header: Economic Magisterium/Integral Ecology/Seamless Garment/Fratelli Tutti
Intra-Thread Trackbacks: pg 14 / pg 14 / pg 15

Inter-Thread Trackbacks:
"The Statement on Social Justice": pg 6
"Pro-life Bills/Laws": pg 15
"Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism": pg 9
"Economics": pg 6 / pg 6
"I'm Starting to Like This Pope": pg 65 / pg 121 / pg 121 / pg 122 / pg 127 / pg 128 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 129 / pg 130 / pg 130 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 131 / pg 132 / pg 133 / pg 133
"Biden has done a ['X'] job so far": pg 17
"THE CATHOLIC THREAD": pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 119 / pg 150 / pg 150 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 151 / pg 153
"THE CHRISTIAN THREAD": pg 8 / pg 8 / pg 9 / pg 9 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 10 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11 / pg 11



Pope Francis: Human selfishness is creating millions of climate change refugees [In-Depth]
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A boy sits near a destroyed house at the scene of a landslide following torrential rains near the University of Kinshasa in Congo in this Nov. 27, 2019, file photo. Many climate scientists have associated an increased number of natural disasters and their severity with climate change. (CNS photo/Kenny Katombe, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Whether people admit it or not, climate change and environmental destruction are forcing millions from their homes, and Catholics have a responsibility to assist them, Pope Francis wrote in the preface to a new document.

“When people are driven out because their local environment has become uninhabitable, it might look like a process of nature, something inevitable,” the pope wrote. “Yet the deteriorating climate is very often the result of poor choices and destructive activity, of selfishness and neglect, that set humankind at odds with creation, our common home.”

The papal preface appears in “Pastoral Orientations on Climate Displaced People,” a document released March 30 by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

In addition to offering parishes, dioceses and national bishops’ conferences suggestions for offering pastoral care to people forced to move because of rising sea levels, desertification and increasingly strong storms, the document encourages Catholics to study and track climate change and to change their lifestyles to help mitigate some of its effects.

“The climate crisis has been unfolding since the Industrial Revolution,” Pope Francis wrote. “For a long time, it developed so slowly that it remained imperceptible except to a very few clairvoyants.”

“Even now it is uneven in its impact: climate change happens everywhere, but the greatest pain is felt by those who have contributed the least to it,” the pope wrote. “The huge and increasing numbers (of people) displaced by climate crises are fast becoming a great emergency.”

According to the document, “In the course of 2019 alone, more than 33 million people were newly displaced, bringing the total number to almost 51 million, the highest number ever recorded; and of these, 8.5 million (were displaced) as a result of conflict and violence and 24.9 million due to natural disasters.”

“In the first half of 2020, 14.6 million new displacements were recorded; 9.8 million as a result of disasters and 4.8 million associated with conflict and violence,” the document said, citing statistics from the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.

In addition, it said, climate change is “a threat multiplier, intensifying existing conflicts where resources are scarce.”

Responding to the needs of people displaced within their home countries or forced to migrate because of climate-related catastrophes is “at the heart of being a credible and witnessing church, a caring and inclusive ecclesial community,” the document said.

Many people either do not know about the human cost of climate change or refuse to believe it, the text said. “Blindness about these issues is widespread and its causes are mainly: a) plain ignorance; b) indifference and selfishness vis-à-vis phenomena that endanger the common good; c) the purposeful denial of reality to protect vested interests; d) misunderstanding.”

“God gives the means to see, but human beings must be willing to journey from blindness to awareness,” the document said, which is why many of the suggestions in the text involve education at all levels of the church, ecumenical and interreligious cooperation in sensitizing people to the issues and in responding to the needs of people displaced by climate crises and listening to and advocating for the real needs of displaced people and those threatened with displacement.

Presenting the document during an online news conference March 30, Salesian Father Joshtrom Kureethadam, an official at the dicastery, said, “Climate crisis and other ecological hazards are becoming the primary drivers for displacement, and could re-shape patterns of migration in the coming decades.”

The crisis, he said, “is ultimately a moral problem. The poor and vulnerable communities whose carbon emissions are only a fraction of those of the rich world are already the early and disproportionate victims of the crisis.”

Asked to clarify the moral teaching behind the document, Cardinal Michael Czerny, undersecretary for migrants and refugees, said, “I don’t think the moral argument needs to be any more complex” than that all human beings were created by God, are brothers and sisters to each other and are living on the same planet. They have an obligation to each other and to the earth.

“We really seem to be at the point of deciding, actively or passively, whether we will take care of the one home we have or we destroy it,” the cardinal said.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:50 am

+JMJ+

Scientists: Humans must respect these 9 boundaries to keep Earth habitable [In-Depth]
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As cities spread across the landscape, they consume and pollute, pushing Earth Systems toward destabilization and the overshoot of planetary boundaries. (Courtesy of NASA)

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in Mongabay and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

=========================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================
  • All life on Earth, and human civilization, are sustained by vital biogeochemical systems, which are in delicate balance. However, our species — due largely to rapid population growth and explosive consumption — is destabilizing these Earth processes, endangering the stability of the "safe operating space for humanity."
  • Scientists note nine planetary boundaries beyond which we can't push Earth Systems without putting our societies at risk: climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, ozone depletion, atmospheric aerosol pollution, freshwater use, biogeochemical flows of nitrogen and phosphorus, land-system change, and release of novel chemicals.
  • Humanity is already existing outside the safe operating space for at least four of the nine boundaries: climate change, biodiversity, land-system change, and biogeochemical flows (nitrogen and phosphorus imbalance). The best way to prevent overshoot, researchers say, is to revamp our energy and food systems.
  • In 2021, three meetings offer chances to avoid planetary boundary overshoot: the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Kunming, China; the U.N. Climate Summit (COP26) in Glasgow, U.K.; and the U.N. Food Systems Summit in Rome. Agreements with measurable, implementable, verifiable, timely and binding targets are vital, say advocates.
Advanced human societies emerged during an unprecedented period of stability on Earth. During the 12,000 years prior to the Industrial Revolution, our planet's surface temperature varied by less than 1° Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) above or below the average for that entire period. As a result, life — both human and wild — thrived.

But over the past two centuries, humanity has dramatically increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, pushing us outside this "safe" climate zone; outside the conditions for which civilization has been designed.

Unfortunately for us, climate change represents just one of nine critical planetary boundaries, which the imprudent actions of our species risk dangerously destabilizing and overshooting.

A safe operating space for humanity

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The nine planetary boundaries, counterclockwise from top: climate change, biosphere integrity (functional and genetic), land-system change, freshwater use, biogeochemical flows (nitrogen and phosphorus), ocean acidification, atmospheric aerosol pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, and release of novel chemicals (including heavy metals, radioactive materials, plastics, and more). (Courtesy of J. Lokrantz/Azote based on Steffen et al. 2015/via Stockholm Resilience Centre)

In the mid-2000s, Johan Rockström, founding director of Sweden's Stockholm Resilience Centre, gathered an international, interdisciplinary team of scientists to unite behind a single goal: define the boundaries for a "safe operating space for humanity" on Earth. They asked themselves: what are the safe operating limits of our planet, and what changes can we force on it before we trigger rapid, catastrophic environmental harm?

In 2009, the center published the Planetary Boundaries Framework, which outlined nine key processes, influenced by humanity, that threaten the stability of the entire Earth System. These are: climate change, biodiversity integrity (functional and genetic), ocean acidification, depletion of the ozone layer, atmospheric aerosol pollution, biogeochemical flows of nitrogen and phosphorus, freshwater use, land-system change, and release of novel chemicals (including heavy metals, radioactive materials, plastics, and more).

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Together, the stability of these nine processes is essential to maintaining the Earth's atmosphere, oceans and ecosystems in the delicate balance that has allowed human civilizations to flourish. However, these are also the processes that human activities have impacted most profoundly.

The researchers then estimated a limit of just how much human activities could exploit and alter each of these processes before the global system would pass a tipping point — a threshold beyond which we risk sending the Earth spiraling into a state that hasn't been experienced for the entirety of human existence, bringing extreme change that could crash civilization and endanger humanity.

"Systems — from the oceans and ice sheets and climate system and ecosystems — can have multiple stable states separated by tipping points," explained Rockström, now the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. If those "stable" systems are pushed too far, he said, they lose resilience and can transition, abruptly and irreversibly, into a new self-reinforcing state — one that might not support humanity.

The original 2009 Planetary Boundaries report, and its update in 2015, revealed a stark assessment: researchers found that humanity is already existing outside the safe operating space for at least four of the nine planetary boundaries: climate change, biodiversity, land-system change, and biogeochemical flows (Earth's nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, which are being heavily impacted by global agribusiness and industry).

However, the experts warn, these limits are estimates: what we don't know is how long we can keep pushing these key planetary boundaries before combined pressures lead to irreversible change and harm. Think of humanity, blindfolded, simultaneously walking toward nine cliff edges, and you gain some sense of the seriousness and urgency of our situation.


Dawn of the Anthropocene

The dynamics of large, complex and interconnected biogeochemical systems like those operating on Planet Earth can be thought of in terms of pathways or trajectories, weaving between different steady states. The Earth's trajectory can be altered by tipping points, which shift us from one steady state to another (something like a car changing gears). A number of complex feedback processes can either reinforce the current steady state, or weaken it, and send the planet spiraling toward a completely new state, like a bowling ball with too much spin careening toward the gutter.

Climate change, the best known of the nine planetary boundaries on which we're encroaching, offers a good example of how this equilibrium process works.

[…]

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Earth Trajectories: Think of the Earth's climate taking different trajectories through time — pathways weaving between different climate states. Different paths through all the possible climates can be influenced by distinct tipping points. Self-reinforcing feedback processes can lock the planet into a particular trajectory for centuries or millennia. There is no evidence that modern societies can exist, let alone thrive, in conditions substantially different from the Holocene. (Courtesy of Steffen et al. 2018)

[…]

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Ocean abundance: As important as biodiversity is, scientists say that measuring total species populations — abundance — is a more informative basis for assessing biosphere health. (Olivier Roux/via Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0)

On a path to climate and biodiversity overshoot

[…]

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Living Planet Index: Diverse ecosystems deliver an astonishing array of natural services, from pollination and pest control to flood regulation, erosion prevention, and clean air and water, and they provide us with food, biofuels, materials, and medicine — benefits that could start to degrade and disappear if we push the biosphere boundary too far. The Living Planet Index (LPI) is a measure of the state of the world's biodiversity produced annually by WWF and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), based on assessments of populations of vertebrate species. It shows that populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish have declined by 68% since 1970. (Courtesy of Living Planet Report 2020, WWF/ZSL)

Early warnings

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Greenland ice sheet: This great icebound northern island lost 3.8 trillion metric tons of ice between 1992 and 2017, contributing 10 millimeters to global sea-level rise so far. Future ice loss is certain to accelerate as the globe warms. The flow of melting ice into the oceans is not only raising sea levels, but the influx of freshwater could alter global ocean currents and even the world's climate. This image of northwest Greenland was captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite. (Image by the European Space Agency/via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Feedback loops upon feedback loops

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Oil palm plantations in Malaysia. Humanity's food systems, along with energy production, contribute most to destabilizing planetary boundaries. (Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay)

Food systems key to conserving a habitable Earth

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Repairing the ozone layer: The first evidence for degradation of the ozone layer over Antarctica was presented in 1985 and ultimately led to the international adoption in 1987 of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Now, more than 30 years later, the ozone layer is showing signs of recovery. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Setting ambitious policy priorities

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Cause for hope

Experts are calling for a transformative, holistic approach to avoid risky tipping points, seeing the entire Earth System as a shared global commons, with humans as stewards. "The intertwisted nature of this framework calls for the development of a novel governance approach at global, regional, and local scales," Loboguerrero said.

One such framework is the Global Commons Alliance, which brings together more than 50 international NGOs, multinational corporations, and city policymakers to promote the adoption of science-based targets to operate within planetary boundaries. But that partnership will need to grow geometrically if we are to act effectively.

That's a daunting global goal. But there is one planetary boundary — the first we ever realized we were in danger of crossing — that offers hope: the depletion of the ozone layer. In 1987, the world's nations recognized the urgency and validity of the science, and embraced the politically binding requirements of the Montreal Protocol. We stepped back from the brink, shrinking the ozone hole, which could now be healed by 2050.

If nations can come together to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, as they did to address the threat to the ozone layer, then there is a chance we can reverse current trends and steer Earth's trajectory back toward a stable Holocene state. That chance is growing dimmer — but it is an effort we absolutely need to make.

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A young orangutan in the wild. If we fail to prevent the overshoot of planetary boundaries not only does humanity risk oblivion, but so do many of the world's species. (Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay)

The Nine Planetary Boundaries: A closer look

The Planetary Boundaries Framework (last updated in 2015) defines nine key Earth System processes and sets safe boundaries for human activities. They are:
  • Climate change: Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are leading to increasing global temperatures. We passed the safe boundary of 350 parts per million of CO2 in 1988. By 2020, levels were 417ppm.
  • Novel entities: One of the more elusive planetary boundaries, novel entities refers to harmful chemicals, materials, and other new substances (such as plastics), as well as naturally-occurring substances such as heavy metals and radioactive materials released by human activities. We release tens of thousands of synthetic substances into the environment every day, often with unknown effects. These risks are exemplified by the danger posed by CFCs to the ozone layer, or of DDT to biodiversity.
  • Stratospheric ozone depletion: The depletion of O3 in the stratosphere as a result of chemical pollutants was first discovered in the 1980s and led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The ozone layer is now showing signs of recovery.
  • Atmospheric aerosols: Atmospheric aerosol pollution is a bane to human health and can also influence air and ocean circulation systems that affect the climate. For example, severe aerosol pollution over the Indian subcontinent may cause the monsoon system to abruptly switch to a drier state.
  • Ocean acidification: Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing the acidity of the world's oceans, posing a severe risk to marine biodiversity and particularly invertebrates whose shells dissolve in acidic waters.
  • Biogeochemical flows: We have profoundly altered the planet's natural nitrogen and phosphorus cycles by applying these vital nutrients in large quantities to agricultural land, leading to runoff into neighboring ecosystems.
  • Freshwater use: Agriculture, industry and a growing global population are putting ever greater strain on the freshwater cycle, while climate change is altering weather patterns, causing drought in some regions and flooding in others.
  • Land-system change: Changes in land-use, particularly the conversion of tropical forests to farmland, have a major effect on climate because of the impact on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, on biodiversity, freshwater, and the reflectivity of the Earth's surface.
  • Biosphere Integrity: The functional integrity of ecosystems is a core planetary boundary because of the many ecoservices they provide, from pollination to clean air and water. Scientists are concerned about rapid declines in plant and animal populations, the degradation of ecosystems, and the loss of genetic diversity which could disrupt essential biosphere services.

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by Jester » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:06 pm

FIGHT LAUGH FEAST

“Liberal Christianity” may be more appealing to the masses than “conservative Christianity,” -TNLawPiper

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