The Climate Change Thread

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durangopipe
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by durangopipe » Thu May 14, 2020 7:58 pm

Del wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 7:49 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 7:42 pm
pandemic Dempanic
Sometimes, quoting Del is helpful.
To wit: “No comment.”
:twisted:
I was in the process of editing it while you were posting, Del.
That witticism rather reminded me of Spiro T. Agnew.
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by hugodrax » Thu May 14, 2020 8:02 pm

Del wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 7:48 pm
I don't dare to presume that anyone else already agrees with me.
That’s pretty good, bud. You can’t tell me you weren’t giggling when you wrote that. :lol:
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by Del » Thu May 14, 2020 8:24 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 7:58 pm
Del wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 7:49 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 7:42 pm
pandemic Dempanic
Sometimes, quoting Del is helpful.
To wit: “No comment.”
:twisted:
I was in the process of editing it while you were posting, Del.
That witticism rather reminded me of Spiro T. Agnew.
Funny guy, that Agnew!
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Mon May 18, 2020 8:49 am

+JMJ+

Here's what to expect for Laudato Si' Week as pope's ecology document turns five [In-Depth]
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El Yunque National Forest, a rainforest in Puerto Rico, pictured in 2012 (CNS/Octavio Duran)

Festivities to mark the five-year anniversary of Pope Francis' landmark encyclical on the environment begin this weekend, just not how anyone originally anticipated.

With the planet still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, a more subdued, mostly digital Laudato Si' Week kicks off May 16 and runs through May 24. The nine-day Vatican-sponsored event will commemorate the pope's 2015 social encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" — the first papal letter focused entirely on the Catholic Church's teachings on the environment and human ecology.

In early March, Francis invited the world's 1.2 billion Catholics to take part in Laudato Si' Week, saying, "I renew my urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis. The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor cannot continue."

The theme for the week is "everything is connected," a central message in the encyclical made all the clearer as the novel coronavirus has raised dramatic consequences for all aspects of life around the world.

[…]

Laudato Si' Week is sponsored by the Vatican's Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, which is led by Cardinal Peter Turkson. More than 100 Catholic organizations worldwide have signed on as partners, among them numerous religious orders, chapters of Caritas Internationalis, development agencies and bishops' conferences.

The website for Laudato Si' Week lists the official events, as well as numerous ones planned by partner groups. Many require online registration, and some will be livestreamed on the Global Catholic Climate Movement Facebook page.

The week's main programs kick off with Insua leading a two-day online retreat May 16-17. It ends on May 24 with a global day of prayer at noon around the world, with all using a shared prayer for the anniversary.

Francis signed his first encyclical, an authoritative papal letter, on May 24, 2015. It was released to the public on June 18 that year.

[…]

Outside official events, many parishes, religious congregations and dioceses have organized their own online activities.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the official Laudato Si' Week partners, produced a series of study guides, liturgical resources and homily helps to assist pastors, parishes and families reflect on the encyclical as well as Querida Amazonia, Francis' apostolic exhortation on the Amazon synod. Daily email reflections will offer ways to pray, learn and act on caring for creation.

In addition, the conference produced a postcard that calls Catholics to care for creation and invites them to learn more "how the climate crisis is a profound moral issue greatly affecting the poor and vulnerable."

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Young people gather for a climate change rally in New York City Sept. 20, 2019. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

"Grounded in our Catholic Tradition, now is the time to protect the earth for our children and grandchildren," the card reads.

The conference will hold two virtual roundtables of bishops who will discuss how the encyclical has been received and implemented in the U.S. church.

[…]

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The Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, Wisconsin, use solar energy. Their panels are pictured Aug. 28, 2019. (CNS/The Compass/Sam Lucero)

[…]

As with the main Laudato Si' Week programs, many Catholics have made connections with the encyclical's urgent call for an ecological conversion with the circumstances raised by the pandemic.

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns this week released its policy guide on climate change, part of a series on faithful voting ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. In it, they highlight the global consequences brought by climate change, quoting Figueres, the former U.N. climate chief, saying, "Some people used to think that they would be immune to global crises like climate change unfolding 'on the other side of the world.' [With the COVID-19 crisis,] I think that bubble has burst."

In Canada, Catholics have prepared a public letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to mark the Laudato Si' anniversary by urging the country to devise its post-pandemic recovery through a just transition to a low-carbon economy.

"In light of this anniversary, as a community of faithful Catholics, we are taking a pledge to shape our individual and community choices with care for all Creation. We are urging the Canadian government to join this commitment and take immediate concrete actions to flatten the curve of global warming and move towards a just and sustainable future," reads the letter organized by the Joint Ecology Ministry, a coalition of religious communities.

Leah Watkiss, ministry director for social justice, peace and creation care for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, told EarthBeat her community felt it was important as Catholics to make the appeal now, as the deadly pandemic unfolds amid major milestones for Laudato Si' and Earth Day.

"Things that we would have said were impossible a few months ago are happening every day," Watkiss said. "… Anything is possible. So it's our responsibility as citizens of Earth to ask the question 'What comes next and how can we work toward this?' "

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"[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."
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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Wed May 20, 2020 7:32 pm

+JMJ+

Vatican office invites church on journey to 'total sustainability' in next decade [In-Depth]
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Pope Francis walks in a procession at the start of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican in this Oct. 7, 2019, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Plan for yearlong Laudato Si' celebration touts action platform toward carbon neutrality, fossil fuel divestment.

The Vatican's peace and justice office is inviting Catholic communities across the world to join a grassroots movement to gradually work toward "total sustainability" in the coming decade, a path that would include carbon neutrality, simpler lifestyles and divestment from fossil fuels.

The initiative was revealed May 16 by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development as part of a "special anniversary year" planned for Pope Francis' 2015 social encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."

The news came on the first day of Laudato Si' Week, a Vatican-sponsored event running through May 24, the encyclical anniversary date. Now the week will kick off a full calendar of events through May 24, 2021.

As part of those plans, the dicastery outlined a multi-year "Laudato Si' Action Platform" that in gradual stages will invite Catholic dioceses, religious orders, schools and other institutions to publicly commit to a seven-year journey toward ecological conversion and "total sustainability." The hope is by starting small, the movement will eventually reach a "critical mass" with more and more corners of the church taking part over time.

The action platform is framed across seven "Laudato Si' Goals" grounded in the encyclical's concept of integral ecology. The holistic goals reflect the gamut of Catholic social teaching, and each lists examples of various benchmarks to accomplish.

Among the roughly two dozen benchmarks are becoming carbon neutral, defending all forms of life, adopting simple lifestyles, promoting ecologically centered liturgical celebrations and educational curricula, and divesting from fossil fuels and other economic activity harmful to the planet or people.

The action platform would begin in early 2021 by inviting an unspecified number of initial participants. The official launch is scheduled for the following May. At this stage, the platform remains an invitation, and no participants have been announced.

Participants would represent seven categories (families, dioceses, schools, universities, hospitals, businesses, farms, religious orders) and would commit to complete the goals in seven years. The dicastery said it hopes the number of participants in each group would double with each successive year. The rollout would continue through 2030.

"In this way, we hope to arrive at a 'critical mass' needed for radical societal transformation invoked by Pope Francis in Laudato Si'," the dicastery document states.

[…]

In the Laudato Si' year anniversary plans, the integral human development dicastery, led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, states that the multiple "cracks in the planet" — melting Arctic ice caps, wildfires in the Amazon and Australia, extreme weather and biodiversity loss — "are too evident and detrimental to be ignored any more."

It adds: "We hope that the anniversary year and the ensuing decade will indeed be a time of grace, a true Kairos experience and 'Jubilee' time for the Earth, and for humanity, and for all God's creatures."

In the Book of Leviticus, a jubilee year occurred every 50 years, or "at the end of seven weeks of years," and was a sacred period of restoration with prisoners freed, debts forgiven and the land left fallow, free from sowing or reaping. "The land will yield its fruit and you will eat your fill, and live there securely." (Leviticus 25:19)

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Front page of document released May 16 by Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (EarthBeat Screengrab)

The Laudato Si' Action Platform and its related goals resemble the United Nations' own Sustainable Development Goals. The U.N. agenda lays out a blueprint for the global community by 2030 to achieve 17 goals addressing a range of issues, among them: poverty, inequality, peace, hunger, water access, gender equality, clean energy and climate action.

The seven Laudato Si' goals address a range of areas related to sustainability and ecological conversion:
  1. Response to the cry of the Earth: work toward carbon neutrality through greater use of clean renewable energy and reduced fossil fuel use; support efforts to protect and promote biodiversity and guarantee water access for all.
  2. Response to the cry of the poor: defend human life from conception to death and all forms of life on Earth, while giving special attention to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, migrants and children at risk of trafficking and slavery.
  3. Ecological economics: sustainable production, fair trade, ethical consumption and investments, investments in renewable energy, divestment from fossil fuels and limiting any economic activity harmful to the planet or people.
  4. Adoption of simple lifestyles: reduce use of energy and resources, avoid single-use plastics, adopt a more plant-based diet, reduce meat consumption and increase use of public transportation over polluting alternatives.
  5. Ecological education: redesign curricula around integral ecology, create ecological awareness and action, promote ecological vocation with young people and teachers.
  6. Ecological spirituality: recover a religious vision of God's creation, promote creation-centered liturgical celebrations, develop ecological catechesis and prayers and encourage more time in nature.
  7. Emphasis on community involvement and participatory action around creation care at all levels of society by promoting advocacy and grassroots campaigns.
For months, the dicastery has explored ways to mark the five-year anniversary of what it called the pope's "watershed" encyclical on the environment and human ecology.

[…]

The integral human development dicastery sketched out a full calendar of events for the Laudato Si' special anniversary year.

In June, the dicastery plans to release operational guidelines for other Vatican offices to implement the encyclical. On June 18, the anniversary of the release of Laudato Si', it will hold a webinar assessing the impact of the text and where it goes next.

[…]

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"[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 May 21, 2020 4:34 pm

+JMJ+

Vatican launches year-long celebration of Laudato Si’ [In-Depth]
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Prayer card with the Vatican's prayer for the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis's environmental encyclical Laudato Si, published in June 2015. (Credit: Courtesy of the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development)

ROME — This week Pope Francis inaugurated “Laudato Si’ Week” at the Vatican commemorating the 5th anniversary of the publication of his eco-encyclical with the same title, opening a wider year-long commemoration of the document aimed at spurring global citizens to adopt more sustainable practices.

Speaking from the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace during his livestreamed Regina Caeli address Sunday, the pope said the coronavirus has highlighted the importance of “caring for our common home,” and voiced hope that reflections surrounding the Laudato Si’ anniversary will “help to create and strengthen constructive attitudes for the care of creation.”

He then formally inaugurated Laudato Si’ Week, set to run from May 16-24, and which is the beginning of an entire year of activities dedicated to implementing Laudato Si’, beginning May 24, 2020 and ending May 24, 2021.

Though Laudato Si’ was published in June 2015, it was signed by the pope May 24 of that year, on the feast of Pentecost.

In a video created for Laudato Si’ Week, Pope Francis questioned viewers, asking, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who will come after us, to the children who are growing up?”

Flashing on scenes of protests from a student-led climate movement, Francis invited viewers to participate in this week’s activities, and reiterated his “urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis.”

“The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor cannot continue. Let’s take care of creation, a gift of our good Creator God. Let us celebrate Laudato Si’ week together,” he said.

A project of the Vatican department for Integral Human Development, headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, the Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year will offer a clear emphasis on both ecological conversion and action, according to a communique from the department.

Five years on, Laudato Si’ is “ever more relevant,” they said, pointing to melting ice caps, recent fires that burned swaths of the Amazon, increasing extreme weather patterns, and a loss of biodiversity as indicators that change is needed.

Noting that the anniversary coincides with the outbreak of a pandemic, the department insisted that the message the encyclical offers “is just as prophetic today as it was in 2015,” and can provide “the moral and spiritual compass for the journey to create a more caring, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world.”

“We have, in fact, a unique opportunity to transform the present groaning and travail into the birth pangs of a new way of living together, bonded together in love, compassion and solidarity, and a more harmonious relationship with the natural world, our common home,” they said, insisting that COVID-19 has demonstrated “how deeply we are all interconnected and interdependent.”

[…]

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"[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 Goose55 » Thu May 21, 2020 4:51 pm

Glenn Frey - The Heat Is On (extended mix) ♫HQ♫

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Fri May 22, 2020 7:17 am

+JMJ+

Laudato Si’ at five: Dioceses embrace pope’s call for care of the earth [In-Depth]
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Children plant trees on the feast of St. Francis in October 2019 in Indianapolis. (Credit: CNS photo/Archdiocese of Indianapolis Creation Care Commission)

A weeklong church-wide observance is planned to mark Pope Francis’s signing of the encyclical May 24, 2015. Laudato Si’ Week, set for May 16-24, will include a number of online workshops.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is “greening.”

So are the dioceses of Stockton, California; Joliet, Illinois; and others across the United States.

Participants in diocesan environmental ministries credit Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, "Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home", for raising awareness and motivating Catholics and others to act in countless ways to protect creation.

“The pope’s encyclical lays out the scene very well and is something we can have an impact with,” said John Mundell, an environmental consultant and a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Indianapolis, who is a leader in the archdiocese’s creation care ministry.

“Besides the environment being part of our faith, there’s a resurrection (in the encyclical) of some of the core values we should have. It is living the Gospel, living simply, loving your neighbor. It’s all part of Catholic social teaching. That’s the core,” he told Catholic News Service as the encyclical’s fifth anniversary neared.

A weeklong church-wide observance is planned to mark Pope Francis’s signing of the encyclical May 24, 2015. Laudato Si’ Week, set for May 16-24, will include a number of online workshops. The week, sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development, ends with a day of prayer May 24, a Sunday, at noon local time.

“It’s a time for Catholics around the world to pray, reflect and prepare to build a better world together,” said Anna Wagner, director of network engagement for the Global Catholic Climate Movement, which is working with RENOVA+, an Argentine Catholic organization promoting the encyclical, to facilitate the week with the dicastery.

A website — laudatosiweek.org — includes a video message from the pope and other resources for observing the week.

Diocesan environmental ministries have been key to bringing the encyclical’s core messages to the faithful.

[…]

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"[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 » Mon May 25, 2020 10:57 am

+JMJ+

Pandemic’s turmoil an opening to boost protection of creation, bishops say [In-Depth]
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The beach in Del Mar, Calif., is seen closed March 24, 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters via CNS)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the world into turmoil, but Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical on care for creation can guide individuals to reassess life’s priorities in response, a trio of prelates agreed during an online roundtable discussion.

Such reflection can lead to a fundamental personal conversion away from materialism and consumerism and toward new values rooted in the protection of the fragile environment, they said.

The encyclical, "Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home", was the focus of an hourlong conversation May 20 hosted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops among Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego and Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles as part of a week of programs, activities and prayer observing the document’s fifth anniversary worldwide.

“What strikes me most is the whole notion of ecological conversion,” Coakley said of the pope’s encyclical. “That’s a very fruitful path, I think, for a way into the document and the teaching of the Holy Father.”

The idea of conversion permeated comments from all three prelates. They encouraged Catholics and non-Catholics alike as they reflect on the fundamental questions of what matters most in daily life: family, a home and food.

“So the conversion is a biblical conversion, a conversion to a different worldview,” Barron said, explaining that God has not just redeemed people but creation as well. “That’s a deep level of conversion of consciousness,” he said.

Barron also described the pope’s writing as a critique of anthropocentrism, the view that human beings are the central or most significant entity on the planet who can manipulate nature to their liking.

The encyclical encourages a recovery of “a biblically rich imagination that doesn’t put the human powers at the center, but creation at the center,” he said.

The prelates acknowledged the encyclical has gotten increasing attention in U.S. dioceses. While some dioceses have been slow to embrace it, many have readily moved forward in developing study groups, adopting curricula in schools and religious education classes, implementing the teaching across parish life.

[…]

Coakley suggested that raising awareness of the encyclical and environmental threats to the world may hinge on building a sense of solidarity — a principal of Catholic social teaching — among people across boundaries of nation and economic class.

The pandemic may forge solidarity as people realize no one is exempt from the threat COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. “The pandemic has led us to see that we are all in this together,” he said.

In much the same way, people can come to understand that Pope Francis explains in his encyclical that creation is threatened by excessive lifestyles, materialism and excessive waste, the archbishop said.

[…]

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"[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 » Tue May 26, 2020 9:25 am

+JMJ+

'This is water management.' St. Joseph sisters create massive rain garden in New Orleans [In-Depth]
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St. Joseph Sr. Pat Bergen speaks at the January 2016 news conference announcing the plans to convert the congregation's former provincial house in New Orleans into a water garden. Listening are Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, second from left, and then-mayor Mitch Landrieu, third from left. (Courtesy of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph)

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

Editor's note: It's the five-year anniversary of "Laudato Si', on Care of Our Common Home," Pope Francis' landmark encyclical on the environment. Read about other things sisters are doing for the environment on GSR and follow NCR's Laudato Si' anniversary coverage on EarthBeat here.

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

On a beautiful June day in 2006, St. Joseph Sr. Joan Laplace was driving back to New Orleans after visiting the Gulf Coast with some sisters when her phone rang.

It was from a sister in Cincinnati, asking how far Laplace was from Mirabeau, the New Orleans provincial house of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

"There's been a fire," the sister on the phone said. "How soon can you get there?"

Laplace arrived to find the campus filled with firefighters and equipment. A helicopter ferried loads of water from the nearby Bayou St. John.

"It was an absolutely beautiful Sunday afternoon," Laplace said. "It was a ridiculously fine day. But there was apparently a tiny little storm, and lighting had struck the roof of the center building and traveled in every direction."

By the time the fire was out, the second floor of the building no longer existed.

The first floor offered nothing to save. It had been gutted months before after 8 feet of water flooded it during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

Soon, it could be flooded again, but this time, the water will spare local homes and businesses; feed 25 acres of prairie, wetlands and forest; and help stop New Orleans from sinking further below sea level. The sisters hope for an August groundbreaking to transform the land into a massive water garden, a place to store floodwater during storms.

"New Orleans has never managed water," Laplace said. "They've always fought it. This is water management."

There is a large storm sewer running beneath the street on the north edge of the property. In normal times, that system drains rainwater from the streets of the neighborhood to Bayou St. John. But the bayou can only hold so much water, so the storm sewers fill up and rainwater floods streets, then homes and businesses.

[…]

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Illustration of the planned Mirabeau Water Garden in New Orleans showing a 10-year flood scenario (CNS/Courtesy of Waggonner & Ball)

When the water garden is complete, a set of pumps at the northwest corner of the property will lift water from the storm sewer up to the surface, where it will flow through swales and slowly fill low-lying areas.

Another storm sewer at the southeast corner of the land will drain onto the land by gravity. A small berm around the edges of the property will ensure the water stays where it belongs as it waters the landscape, soaks into the soil and evaporates. When the storm sewers have capacity again, the water — up to 10 million gallons of it — will flow out of Mirabeau back into the city system and to the bayou.

Architect J. David Waggonner III, who proposed and designed the water garden, said one of the biggest problems facing New Orleans is the way it has fought the water.

Yes, the city does lie below sea level, but it didn't always. A century of pumping water out of the ground to lower the water table has caused the land to sink — a process called subsidence — up to 8 feet in places, he said. That means the more engineers use pumps against the water, the deeper the hole they find themselves in.

Mirabeau will do something different.

Instead of pumping out groundwater and causing more subsidence, Waggonner said, Mirabeau will return groundwater — and more than engineers originally thought. In studying the land, they found what was once a barrier island thousands of years ago that is now underground, meaning a huge tube of sand is there that can easily move groundwater away, making room for more.

"This is not designed to protect you from storm surge. It's designed to protect you from rainfall, which is a much more common occurrence," Waggonner said.

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St. Joseph Sr. Pat Bergen, right, with architect J. David Waggonner III (Courtesy of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph)

When complete, the Mirabeau Water Garden — land the sisters still consider holy, a place where generations of sisters lived and worked and served God — will serve the neighbors, their city and the environment and will be a model for other cities dealing with stormwater.

[…]

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(GSR graphic/Toni-Ann Ortiz)

[…]

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Click for full-size graphic

[…]

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St. Joseph Sr. Joan LaPlace (center, in black) with St. Joseph sisters in the library of St. Joseph's Academy in Baton Rouge, one of the Catholic high schools the order founded (Courtesy of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph)

[…]

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The concrete shield that marked the center of the lobby floor in Mirabeau, a provincial house of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in New Orleans, is all that's left of the building after Hurricane Katrina and a 2006 fire largely destroyed it. The shield was kept when the building was razed and will be used to mark the water garden built on the site. (Courtesy of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph)

[…]

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"[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 May 27, 2020 7:39 am

+JMJ+

If COVID-19 frightens you, you should be terrified by climate change [in-Depth, Opinion]
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Physician Assistant Cori Kostick demonstrates the Brigham B-PROTECTED testing booth used to administer tests for COVID-19 at the Brigham and Women's Hospital community testing site in Boston May 5. (CNS/Reuters/Brian Snyder)

[…]

Some people are talking about an eventual return to "normal" life once a vaccine is developed or herd immunity achieved. But the experts caution us to not be so Pollyannaish. Others talk about an ongoing version of the current state of affairs — masks in public, social distancing, restricted travel — as indicative of a "new normal."

But that also fails to take into consideration the fact that we have not reached a new equilibrium. We are not even close. There is nothing "normal" (new or otherwise) about what we are experiencing during this pandemic because, as Wallace-Wells writes [in his 2019 book, The Uninhabitable Earth], "The truth is actually much scarier. That is, the end of normal; never normal again." Things are bound to get much, much worse, and there are no indications that we can ever return to the historical place from which we came.

Wallace-Wells dedicates a chapter in The Uninhabitable Earth to "Plagues of Warming," in which he outlines the frightening likelihood that what we have witnessed with COVID-19 is merely a foretaste of "existing scourges relocated, rewired, or even re-evolved by [global] warming." He gives several examples of how climate change will only exacerbate future pandemics.

As the planet continues to warm, tropical climate regions will expand and reach new places heretofore unaccustomed to such heat and humidity. Along with the climate shift will come vectors like mosquitos and ticks that transmit diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, malaria and Lyme disease. As Wallace-Wells recounts, each year new outbreaks of these and other illnesses are recorded in locations where they have been previously unseen.

Additionally, these infectious diseases will continue to mutate, wreaking havoc on larger and larger populations in new and, at times, entirely unpredictable ways. Think back to 2016 and the Zika outbreak. Wallace-Wells notes that few people in the so-called global north worried about this disease (or had even heard of it) just a few years ago. He writes: "One reason you hadn't heard about Zika until recently is that it had been trapped in Uganda and Southeast Asia; another is that it did not, until recently, appear to cause birth defects." It seems that this disease mutated in its journey to the Americas, and its consequences became dire in new and frightening ways.

Image
A health worker fumigates for mosquitoes as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus at a cemetery Feb. 1, 2016, near Lima, Peru. (CNS/Reuters/Mariana Bazo)

In the wake of this pandemic, there is understandably a lot of concern about harmful bacteria and viruses like SARS–CoV–2, which causes COVID-19. But what about the billions of "good bacteria" upon which we depend in order to live and perform basic bodily functions like digestion? As Wallace-Wells points out, "More than 99 percent of even those bacteria inside human bodies are presently unknown to science, which means we are operating in near-total ignorance about the effects climate change might have on the bugs in, for instance, our guts."

If you are not concerned about the possibility of climate change directly affecting the trillions of bacteria already living inside you, potentially turning them into mortal enemies instead of necessary friends, take some time to learn about what happened to saiga antelopes in 2015, in which most of the global population died off suddenly from a bacterial infection. If there's anything this virus pandemic should teach us, it is a reminder that we are creatures too, susceptible to all the same things every other organism on this planet is.

[…]

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 Jester » Wed May 27, 2020 8:59 am

wosbald wrote:
Wed May 27, 2020 7:39 am
+JMJ+

If COVID-19 frightens you, you should be terrified by climate change [in-Depth, Opinion]
Image

Image
Physician Assistant Cori Kostick demonstrates the Brigham B-PROTECTED testing booth used to administer tests for COVID-19 at the Brigham and Women's Hospital community testing site in Boston May 5. (CNS/Reuters/Brian Snyder)

[…]

Some people are talking about an eventual return to "normal" life once a vaccine is developed or herd immunity achieved. But the experts caution us to not be so Pollyannaish. Others talk about an ongoing version of the current state of affairs — masks in public, social distancing, restricted travel — as indicative of a "new normal."

But that also fails to take into consideration the fact that we have not reached a new equilibrium. We are not even close. There is nothing "normal" (new or otherwise) about what we are experiencing during this pandemic because, as Wallace-Wells writes [in his 2019 book, The Uninhabitable Earth], "The truth is actually much scarier. That is, the end of normal; never normal again." Things are bound to get much, much worse, and there are no indications that we can ever return to the historical place from which we came.

Wallace-Wells dedicates a chapter in The Uninhabitable Earth to "Plagues of Warming," in which he outlines the frightening likelihood that what we have witnessed with COVID-19 is merely a foretaste of "existing scourges relocated, rewired, or even re-evolved by [global] warming." He gives several examples of how climate change will only exacerbate future pandemics.

As the planet continues to warm, tropical climate regions will expand and reach new places heretofore unaccustomed to such heat and humidity. Along with the climate shift will come vectors like mosquitos and ticks that transmit diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, malaria and Lyme disease. As Wallace-Wells recounts, each year new outbreaks of these and other illnesses are recorded in locations where they have been previously unseen.

Additionally, these infectious diseases will continue to mutate, wreaking havoc on larger and larger populations in new and, at times, entirely unpredictable ways. Think back to 2016 and the Zika outbreak. Wallace-Wells notes that few people in the so-called global north worried about this disease (or had even heard of it) just a few years ago. He writes: "One reason you hadn't heard about Zika until recently is that it had been trapped in Uganda and Southeast Asia; another is that it did not, until recently, appear to cause birth defects." It seems that this disease mutated in its journey to the Americas, and its consequences became dire in new and frightening ways.

Image
A health worker fumigates for mosquitoes as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus at a cemetery Feb. 1, 2016, near Lima, Peru. (CNS/Reuters/Mariana Bazo)

In the wake of this pandemic, there is understandably a lot of concern about harmful bacteria and viruses like SARS–CoV–2, which causes COVID-19. But what about the billions of "good bacteria" upon which we depend in order to live and perform basic bodily functions like digestion? As Wallace-Wells points out, "More than 99 percent of even those bacteria inside human bodies are presently unknown to science, which means we are operating in near-total ignorance about the effects climate change might have on the bugs in, for instance, our guts."

If you are not concerned about the possibility of climate change directly affecting the trillions of bacteria already living inside you, potentially turning them into mortal enemies instead of necessary friends, take some time to learn about what happened to saiga antelopes in 2015, in which most of the global population died off suddenly from a bacterial infection. If there's anything this virus pandemic should teach us, it is a reminder that we are creatures too, susceptible to all the same things every other organism on this planet is.

[…]
Terrorism.
****OUT OF SERVICE****

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Thu May 28, 2020 10:45 am

+JMJ+

Pope Francis announces year of reflection on “Laudato Si’” and prays for Catholics in China [In-Depth]
Image
This is an aerial view of a deforested plot of the Amazon at the Bom Futuro National Forest in Porto Velho, Brazil, Sept. 3, 2015. (CNS photo/Nacho Doce, Reuters)

During his Sunday afternoon address, Pope Francis made a surprise announcement of a year-long “special reflection” on his encyclical Laudato Si’. The year of reflection starts today, on the fifth anniversary of the publication of the encyclical in which, Pope Francis said, “I sought to draw attention to the cry of the earth and of the poor.”

Pope Francis also sent special greetings to Catholics in China on this Sunday, May 24, as they celebrate the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians and “venerate [her] with particular devotion at the sanctuary of Sheshan” on the outskirts of Shanghai.

This year of reflection on Laudato Si’ will be held “thanks to an initiative” of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Francis stated. He also introduced a prayer for the year of reflection, saying, “It would be beautiful to say this prayer.” The full text of the prayer is included at the bottom of this article [in the 'spoiler tags']. Pope Francis concluded: “I invite all persons of good will to adhere to this, to take care of our common home and of our most fragile brothers and sisters.”

[…]

Today is a major feast for Catholics in China, and Francis, following the practice of his predecessor Benedict XVI, has sent greetings to Catholics in mainland China on the occasion of this feast ever since becoming pope.

“Let us entrust to the guidance and to the protection of our Heavenly Mother the pastors and the faithful of the Catholic church in that great land, so that they may be strong in faith and firm in fraternal un𝗂on, and be joyful witnesses and promoters of charity and hope,” Francis said as he invited Catholics throughout the world to join in this prayer for Catholics in China.

He then addressed the roughly 12 million Chinese Catholics with some personal words. “Most dear brother and sister Catholics in China, I wish to assure you that the universal church, of which you are an integral part, shares your hopes and sustains you in the trials of life. It accompanies you with prayer for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that the light and the beauty of the Gospel may shine forth in you, together with the power of God for the salvation of whoever believes.”

His reference to the “trials” of Catholics in the mainland is particularly significant, signaling his awareness that even after the signing of a provisional agreement between the Chinese government in Beijing and the Holy See on the appointment of bishops, on Sept. 22, 2018, the situation has not improved much for the Catholic community in that land, and least of all for the roughly five million to six million members of the “underground” community of believers. He concluded his message of encouragement to Chinese Catholics with a special apostolic blessing, assuring them of his “great love and sincere affection” and ending with “May Our Lady protect you always!”

[…]

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Laudato Si' 'Common Prayer' 5th Anniversary Card (Download Prayer Card Here)
► Show Spoiler

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"[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 Goose55 » Thu May 28, 2020 3:24 pm

"In the last decade, the speed at which Florida’s sea level is rising has increased and is now rising by as much as 1 inch every 3 years. Around Miami, it took around 31 years for the sea level to rise by 6 inches. Scientists now forecast that in just the next 15 years, the sea level will have risen by another 6 inches.



More here:

https://sealevelrise.org/states/florida/
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: The Climate Change Thread

Post by wosbald » Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:10 am

+JMJ+

Farms may depend on water — but they are also polluting it. [Analysis]
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In the Ohio and Upper Mississippi river basins, 10 million metric tons of commercial fertilizer is applied each year, and much of it ends up in our waterways. (iStock/filmfoto)

Five years ago, Pope Francis laid out a standard for water quality in his encyclical “Laudato Si’”: “Access to safe, drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights” (No. 30).

In the agricultural heart of the United States and in the grain and livestock regions of central Canada, there is a quiet danger to this fundamental right: farm runoff. This danger has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken root in rural and Native American communities as well as in big cities. In these places, some people suffer from lung ailments caused by contaminated water, putting them at higher risk from the pandemic. Others have no clean water with which to wash their hands.

Our contemporary methods of farming are nutrient-intensive, meaning that for crops like corn and soy, large amounts of fertilizer are used. But the methods used in the farming of commodity crops also result in soil losing the structure that would have retained the fertilizer’s chemicals — and would keep them from entering groundwater and nearby waterways. Larger livestock operations, likewise, result in the leaching of massive, concentrated quantities of animal waste. This means polluted wells, aquifers, rivers and lakes.

In the agricultural heart of the United States and in central Canada, there is a quiet danger to the right to clean water: farm runoff.

The upper Midwest, where much of this nutrient-intensive farming is done, constitutes much of the watershed for the Missouri, Ohio and Mississippi rivers, which flow into the Gulf of Mexico. In the gulf, nutrients from U.S. farms contribute to hypoxia, a condition where an overabundance of oxygen results in the mass death of aquatic life. But one need not go that far downstream to find harmful effects. Places like Armenia, Wis., are finding what The New York Times called “their own, private Flints,” as residential water wells become unusable because of bacteria from animal waste or nitrate far in excess of healthy levels.

In the Ohio and Upper Mississippi river basins, 10 million metric tons of commercial fertilizer is applied each year. In streams running near farms, the nitrogen levels frequently exceed the maximum safe levels for drinking, and the nitrate levels in the water flowing from drainage tiles in row-cropping operations (large farms that plant commodity crops in long, wide rows) is on average double the maximum safe level of saturation. In cities like Des Moines, the local waterworks must spend tens of millions of dollars to filter out nitrate water from the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers, where a growing number of fish kills are being recorded. Extreme weather, like last year’s devastating floods, has exacerbated the problem by causing even higher quantities of pollutants in the soil to contaminate groundwater, waterways and drinking wells.

Residential water wells become unusable because of bacteria from animal waste or nitrate far in excess of healthy levels.

Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI, both emphasized that a “trinitarian” vision of the world demands action to protect the environment. “The divine Persons,” Pope Francis wrote in “Laudato Si’,” “are subsistent relations, and the world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships” (No. 240).

This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in our water system, which really does reach around the globe and into every living thing. Water ought to remind us that we exist always in countless relationships, by which we are undeservedly blessed and toward which we have responsibilities.

[…]

Countries and populations privileged with greater resources have a responsibility to share wealth, techniques and expertise with poorer countries where water quality problems are most acute. There are many private and public efforts to improve clean water access around the world, whether through the U.S. Agency for International Development or The Water Project, they deserve our support. With the renewed attentiveness to public health brought on by the coronavirus, we can make some progress toward clean water, here and around the world.

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 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:40 am

+JMJ+

Panel explores how encyclical promotes connection between people, nature [In-Depth]
Image

Image
Participants are seen in a May 29, 2020, Zoom dialogue about "Laudato Si After Five Years: Hearing the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor." They are Kim Daniels of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University; Christiana Zenner of Fordham University; Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Dan Misleh of Catholic Climate Covenant ; and Kim Wasserman of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. (CNS/screen grab via Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, Georgetown University)

Cleveland — Pope Francis' message in his 2015 encyclical on the relationship of people to the environment is simple, agreed a panel of speakers during an online dialogue.

It's a message that focuses on how each person is connected to each other and to the natural environment, while recognizing there is a call to be good stewards of God's creation by respecting each other and the communities in which people live.

The pope's call in the encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," was the starting point for the hourlong discussion sponsored by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life and Georgetown University May 29.

The encyclical builds upon the teaching of the pope's predecessors, including St. Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The document focuses on an "integral ecology" that incorporates the "ecology of the human person, the ecology of nature and the ecology of peace," he said.

"The word ecology is not something academic, far away removed from us," he said. "It is the environment in which we live. Let us recognize we all create the environment in which we live, and recognize how we all play a role in building and maintaining a clean environment," Turkson said.

[…]

Other panelists unpacked the encyclical by exploring the connection of people to each other while citing specific actions in response to the threats of climate change on poor and vulnerable people around the world.

"The ecology is not just about the environment," said Christiana Zenner, associate professor of theology, science and ethics at Fordham University. "It's that we humans are not separate from the environments that we inhabit, that climate change is not just about science and industrialized nations. Ecology permeates everything."

Zenner urged viewers of the livestreamed broadcast to step back to reflect on "who do we understand ourselves to be and who are we beholden to."

[…]

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"[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 Jun 03, 2020 8:34 am

+JMJ+

Amazon missionary says health care system collapsing under COVID-19 [In-Depth]
Image
Kukama boys watch boats on the Amazon’s Maranon River near Dos de Mayo in Peru’s Loreto region. (Credit: Barbara Fraser)

ROSARIO, Argentina — It’s a paradox that the ancestral guardians of the world’s lungs now “lack oxygen to survive,” says one missionary to the Amazon region, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis drew attention to the crisis in the region on Sunday, praying for those affected by the disease. So far the virus has killed over 500 indigenous people.

Dominika Szkatula, a lay Polish missionary who’s been in the Peruvian Amazon for four decades, said it arrived her region “late” after hitting the Peruvian capital Lima and other regions.

At first, it seemed like a distant threat, she and her people heard of a case in the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, in the town of Indiana, some 15 miles from where she lives.

Szkatula is based in Iquitos, a port city and gateway to the jungle lodges and tribal villages of the northern Amazon. After the first case was reported in the vicariate, the second was a “shock”: Bishop Jose Javier Travieso Martin — he was the first prelate in the region to get it. The secretary of the local charitable Caritas office followed. After almost two months, both recovered.

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A nurse adjusts an oxygen tank next to a tent for COVID-19 patients in the parking lot of a hospital in Lima, Peru, April 16, 2020. (Credit: Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters via CNS)

“Little by little, in the city of Iquitos, the numbers of infected, suspected cases and deaths increased until authorities could not handle the situation,” she said in a series of phone exchanges with Crux. “It completely escaped the control of health authorities and the regional government. Two hospitals for COVID-19 care collapsed.”

“Even today, beds, medicines, protective equipment for health personnel, hygiene and cleaning articles, medical instruments, oxygen and, most urgent, doctors and nurses, are insufficient in number,” Szkatula said on May 31.

“Many have died from lack of oxygen and ventilators, and those who fall ill are being quarantined,” she added. “Oxygen tanks were scarce and some of the few we had were damaged, with an urgent demand in the face of massive contagion and consequently countless people in need of this product, today its value exceeds that of gold.”

The Vicariate of San Jose in the Amazon is an enormous territory of 100,000 square miles and only 150,000 inhabitants. A majority of the people live along the rivers, and there are nine ethnic groups living in a territory with a complex geography that make transportation and communication all the more difficult.

[…]

“We were clear that the most important task was to convince the communities to isolate themselves, to prevent anyone from visiting them from outside, because this is the best way to avoid contagion that could put several ethnic groups at risk of extinction,” Szkatula said.

The prevention campaign was initially very successful, she said, although it was not easy: Some the boats travelling in the area with the necessary permits to carry essential items were actually used to carry unauthorized people into the region.

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Health care workers protest the lack of proper medical supplies outside Hipolito Unanue Hospital in Lima, Peru, May 4, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters via CNS)

“At some point we found out that a group of 60 loggers got off a boat and without further ado, they dedicated themselves to their illegal logging work while we were in a state of emergency,” she complained. “Elsewhere, the drug traffickers arrived after leaving the mountains where they hide because they ran out of supplies and were hungry.”

This helped the spread of COVID-19: The vicariate has 389 confirmed cases and 35 deaths.

“Some would argue that these numbers are small, but the loss of a life, for us, means a lot,” she said, adding that it’s also a matter of perspective: “When you have 10 deaths in a community of 50 people, this is a tragedy. Furthermore, the numbers, as has been the case in many countries, are very inaccurate and bound to grow.”

A second stage in fighting the virus was trying to strengthen the “little operational capacity of the small reference hospitals located on the three great rivers that our vicariate encompasses: The Amazon, Putumayo and Napo. In addition, we have thought of the small centers in each of the 15 mission posts, the headquarters of which are mostly in the district capitals.”

They’ve been “replacing the state” in some cases, buying protective gear and diagnosis equipment for these centers — some very basic, such as thermometers, oximeters and stethoscopes; and some more complex, including an ultrasound scanner. But as they are trying to equip these health posts, they are also been sending letters to government organizations “to remind them of their duties.”

“We have to raise our loudest, most prophetic voice in defense of the most vulnerable and coordinate better with other institutions, Churches, indigenous organizations, etc.,” Szkatula 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 » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:26 am

+JMJ+

Community garden inspired by ‘Laudato Si’’ becomes a lifeline [In-Depth]
Image
A community garden planted by the Olancho Aid Foundation in Honduras in response to "Laudato Si'". (Credit: photo courtesy of the Olancho Aid Foundation)

NEW YORK — Five years ago the Olancho Aid Foundation (OAF) planted a community garden in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. Today, what was intended as a gesture to amplify the pope’s message has become a lifeline to a region crippled by food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For 30 years, OAF has worked to provide clean water and education programming to the rural region of Olancho, the largest department within Honduras. Five years ago, the foundation overhauled its strategic planning using Laudato Si’ as a framework for refocusing their mission.

Now, in the face of the pandemic, their staff of 125 workers are shifting gears for an all hands on deck approach to caring for their common home.

“Life is so closely linked to the land and the agricultural community that it’s just something we’ve naturally integrated into our work,” OAF president Susan Nedza told Crux, describing how the organization, which operates 29 clean water projects and runs several bilingual and special needs schools, is also now in the business of feeding the hungry — many of whom are the families of their students.

Once the country entered a national lockdown in mid-March, OAF’s schools all switched to an online education system, made possible by the fact that it manages its own fiber optic network.

Next came the challenge of food insecurity, both for the families in the region and the employees themselves, where the inability to travel from department to department within the country has led to a food supply shortage.

One of the school facilities was turned into a distribution center, making use of a bountiful harvest from the community garden of tomatoes, peppers, and other fresh produce — along with other staples that the OAF arranged to purchase from other suppliers — to distribute food to the community.

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Workers from the Olancho Aid Foundation prepare to deliver food. (Credit: photo courtesy of the Olancho Aid Foundation)

The process, Nedza says, is carefully choreographed, with the packaging and distribution being done in small, socially distanced groups. While the OAF has told employees they are not required to work during this time, the majority of them are showing up, donning new hats, and happily distributing food to approximately 175 families.

“For about three thousand U.S. dollars a week, we’re able to make sure every household is fed,” Nedza told Crux.

[…]

Nedeza says that the local bishop, José Bonello, a Franciscan, and the OAF team have effectively combined forces, dividing up the region to make sure that families are accounted for and that their needs are met.

As the department is surrounded by mountains and largely isolated, the first case of COVD-19 only reached it three weeks ago, meaning the economic disruption to the region is far more likely to outweigh the health devastation. Even so, due to fragile medical infrastructure of the country, the shutdown has required everyone to work together for the common good to contain the spread of the virus.

“We are not an island! We share the fate of an entire country and an entire planet. And now what?,” said the bishop in a statement earlier this month.

“It’s time to evaluate what’s done so far, rectify it, to decide and act better,” he said. “That is as a great family we must prevent with a greater dose of conviction, responsibility and collaboration, solidarity and respect.”

Image
Workers from the Olancho Aid Foundation prepare to deliver food. (Credit: photo courtesy of the Olancho Aid Foundation)

Nedza said that the spirit of cooperation and concern for the common good has been the guiding principle for OAF.

“You don’t see the controversial discourse like we have here in the United States, they’re just getting work done,” she told Crux.

[…]

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 » Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:11 am

+JMJ+

Pope Francis: ‘We have the chance to reverse course to a better, healthier world.’
Image
A volunteer collects garbage on a beach in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 5, 2020, during an event to mark World Environment Day. The theme of World Environment Day 2020 is "Celebrate Biodiversity." (CNS photo/Dinuka Liyanawatte, Reuters

“We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick,” Pope Francis said in a letter to President Iván Duque Márquez of Colombia in which he called on the world’s governments “to reverse course” and not remain “indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit.”

He sent his letter to the president of Colombia because it hosts this year’s World Environment Day. Each W.E.D. focuses on a pressing environmental issue and involves governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens in 143 countries. The United Nations General Assembly in December 1972 designated it to be celebrated annually on June 5.

Pope Francis noted that this year’s event — which focuses on biodiversity — is being held virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic and said this challenging situation “reminds us that in the face of adversity, new paths always open in order for us to be united as a great human family.”

[…]

Pope Francis put it this way: “The protection of the environment and respect for the biodiversity of the planet are issues that affect us all. We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick. The wounds inflicted on our mother earth are wounds that also bleed in us.

“Caring for ecosystems demands a look to the future,” the pope said, “one that is not concerned only with the immediate moment or that seeks a quick and easy profit, but rather one that is concerned for life and that seeks its preservation for the benefit of all.”

He told participants, “Our attitude toward the present state of our planet should indeed make us concerned for and witnesses to the gravity of the situation.” He added, “We cannot remain silent before the outcry when we realize the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem.” Francis spelled these concerns out clearly in his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” published then on the eve of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris.

In today’s letter, he told the world’s governments and people “this is not a time to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit, very often in the name of progress.”

“We have the chance to reverse course,” Pope Francis said, “to commit ourselves to a better, healthier world and to pass it on to future generations.” He emphasized, “Everything depends on us, if we really want it.”

Pope Francis recalled that, in Laudato Si’, he “drew attention to the cry that mother earth lifts up to us” and said he has recently invited everyone to reflect on that document over the next year. He hopes it will inspire people “together, to become more committed to the care and protection of our common home and of our most vulnerable and marginalized brothers and sisters in society.”

[…]

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 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:40 am

+JMJ+

Laudato Si' validates centuries of indigenous knowledge to defend nature [In-Depth, Opinion]
Image

Image
The Amazon rainforest, bordered by deforested land prepared for the planting of soybeans, is pictured in this aerial photo taken over Mato Grosso state in western Brazil in October 2015. (Reuters/TPX Images of the Day/Paulo Whitaker)

With profound joy and hope, five years ago we got word of the release of Pope Francis' "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," the encyclical focused on the environment. At last, a respected spiritual leader whose voice was heard around the world understood what we, the indigenous peoples, had been trying to explain without being understood.

Laudato Si' was bringing to light the importance of caring for nature, the respect for the Earth and its ecosystems; it was validating our millenary cultures and our ancestral knowledge. For us, this meant that, at last, someone with great influence was grasping the eternal truths that we all share a common space and should question the consumer lifestyle that destroys and violates human rights, the rights of nature and those of our people.

It was vital for so many of our people to deeply understand that destroying nature and life, from which we are inseparable, meant destroying our common home. For many, this might have been something new, but for those of us who have been voicing this problem from the start, this meant an endorsement of our centuries-old struggle to defend life on the planet and the sacred places as living creatures: the ecosystems all around the world.

Since its publication, the response to this encyclical has been slow, even within the structure of the Catholic Church. For the indigenous people, it has always been very clear that, as Catholics, we needed to accept before it was too late that our habitat is part of the divine creation and, as such, sacred. So, too, has it long been for the Sarayaku people, of which I'm a member, and where the Living Forest (Kawsak Sacha) is considered sacred. And as one entity, it has rights.

However, the extractive industries and the great majority of governments seem to have understood nothing and continue with a course of action that is small-minded, polluting and predatory of nature, generating social inequity and supporting a culture of waste. The forums and global agreements are going back, losing some of their previous achievements.

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Local community members show crude oil contamination left behind in open oil pits never remediated by U.S. oil companies in Lago Agrio in Ecuador in May 2019. (Stand.earth via Reuters/Tyson Miller)

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We also see that cutting-edge technology has been unsuccessful. We've seen this in Ecuador, with the recent break of the oil pipelines that carry millions of barrels of oil, causing spills in important rivers like the Napo, and other tributaries of the Amazon River. This type of water contamination has had huge consequences and is currently affecting in a serious way the fish population and the health of men, women, children and elderly in hundreds of communities living by the shores of the affected rivers. We should add the big floods we just experienced like never before, which have wiped out entire communities. The impact is so obvious in every respect; we can't understand how they continue to be ignored.

In spite of so much, the impact of Laudato Si' in many parts of the world is very important for our people, but also for life and the human being as a whole. Francis has encouraged and supported the ecclesiastical institutions to get involved, at last and wholeheartedly, to take care of our common home, to support the steps to preserve nature and territory. A number of meetings and reflections on the topic have originated in that regard.

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Author Patricia Gualinga attends a news conference to discuss the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 17, 2019. (CNS/Paul Haring)

It could be affirmed that, as of today, one of the direct outcomes of this encyclical has been the synod for the Amazon, which took place in Rome in October of last year. This represented the opportunity for our peoples to be finally heard. It was a chance to work directly on the current Amazonia situation and its frailty, to take action but, above all, to be mindful of the role that the church should play in this diverse territory, working with the different peoples and cultures.

We should be a church that reacts with a strong presence, and not as feeble or for appearance's sake anymore. It is then that it becomes an ally, a friend, an ecclesial institution that walks side by side with those who strive to preserve nature. This was something new for all, and a big step forward on the part of the church.

If this support continues, the indigenous peoples will have the wonderful and unique opportunity to rely on an unrivaled ally in our fight to defend life. The final document and the decisions taken by Rome have marked our plan to work arduously to execute this initiative in our territory, which is a task of serious responsibility but necessary in a pressing situation that threatens us all.

In spite of being a complex situation, it may seem that our global citizens are starting to react, albeit weakly and slowly. The encyclical has also been an example in several areas and places, acting as an instrument that could be used as an argument — a valid tool for all to defend nature, to question the relationship between man and creation, to reflect about the core elements of life, which includes us all. For the first time, we seem to agree on the respect due to the sacredness of creation; that includes scientists, indigenous wise ones, and our ecclesiastical institution in the voice of Pope Francis.

With that in mind, our youth is our greatest hope. During these five years, many young people have risen from all corners of the world, questioning governments and businesses, and whose conscience, charism and understanding are worthy of admiration. They are well-informed and present convincing arguments about the future. They are the new generation to whom we will pass the baton, the generation that has taken notice of the planet they will inherit and recognizes that all efforts in this direction are worthy as they relate to our survival. They might not all know about Laudato Si', but they all agree that they need to fight for this future, for them and for all.

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"[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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