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ENVIRONMENT


Artists paint the truth of SA nuclear la la land
'It will be your artists: the poets, painters, actors, dancers, musicians, orators - they will be the ones to lead the changes.'

Mangroves to help restore eco-system
Timor-Leste's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment has launched a joint effort to tackle coastal abrasion by restoring about twelve hectares of mangroves which were damaged by El-Nino or cut down for firewood.

PM’s power scare desperate rubbish
The Coalition government has launched a brazen scare campaign, based on recent power outages in South Australia, over energy. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's team is, if you will, playing base politics with baseload electricity, shamelessly seeking to paint the opposition's push for increased use of renewable energy as a route to stratospheric power prices and chronic unreliability.

Laudato Si’ calls for us to get intimate with the natural world
The care for all creation including the earth is now seen as a vital part of Christian faith, the Irish theologian Sean McDonagh told audiences throughout Australia last month. Fr McDonagh who writes and speaks of the theology of the environment, was a key part of the team which developed the latest encyclical, Laudato Si’. In this excerpt he speaks of new Catholic social teaching in the Pope’s call for a new focus on how we look at all creation.  

Ecocide law could criminalise reef destruction
Last year I sat in the offices of one of the judges of the International Criminal Court and, with NGOs, we spoke about the possibility of ecocide law becoming an international crime against humanity, writes Bronwyn Lay for Eureka Street.  

On our doorstep: climate change in the Pacific
Over the past 12 months the Pacific has been hit by multiple big weather events, supercharged by El Niño. This has affected approximately five million people across 13 countries, leading to food and water shortages, malnutrition and death.  

Groups call for justice for slain anti-coal activist
Faith-based and environmental groups in the Philippines have called for justice for slain anti-coal activist Gloria Capitan, 40 days after her killing. "The aim of the killers was not just Capitan but the anti-coal movement," said the head of the group Focus on Global South and a former member of the House of Representatives.  

Bangladesh rice harvest ruined in flash floods
Catholic charity Caritas is assessing the emergency needs of thousands of farmers after recent flooding devastated thousands of hectares of agricultural land in northeastern Bangladesh.  

Climate change in the Solomons
The Solomon Islands have lost five atolls and seen at least six more severely eroded, as sea levels have risen over recent decades, writes Thom Mitchell for New Matilda.  

Ecology to be taught in Indonesian schools
With some 70 million out of 127 million hectares of forestland in Indonesia facing destruction because of industrial exploitation and plantations, the country’s priests are welcoming plans to introduce a new subject into schools. The government hopes ecological education in schools will help raise awareness about this and encourage future generations to look after their natural world.  

The imperative of human responsibility - an ethics for the technological age
Hans Jonas opened my eyes to how ethics must become part of the fabric of the future as well as of the present, writes John Pawlikowski.  

May’s planned global wave of civil disobedience - right for fossil fuels
Coming off the back of the hottest year on record, and with emissions still rising, it’s time to strike at the supply side of the fossil fuel industry, as well as trying to rein in demand: To create space for alternative clean energy to grow, free from the smog of mining lobbyists and the industry’s revolving door with politics, writes Thom Mitchell for New Matilda

Philippines bishop warns against black sand mining
A Catholic bishop in the northern Philippines has urged Catholics to oppose black sand mining following the release of a study, which says coastal communities in the region are slowly sinking. 

Francis at the heart of an ecological conversion
In mid August, we Jesuits in Timor-Leste were given parts of Laudato Si' to pray with during our eight-day retreat together. While I previously had an intellectual understanding of the need to respond to what we then called 'global warming', I did not have an affective understanding - a feeling in my heart - of my inherent relationship with my human family and our common home, the earth. That was about to change, writes Andy Nguyen SJ.  

Obama: climate hope – a turning point
President Obama took to the UN podium to tell the world: "The growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other."  

Paris COP21 Australia still branded dunce
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull may have convinced himself that the climate policy he is taking to Paris is "ambitious" and "credible", but he has got a lot of work to do to convince others, writes Giles Parkinson from Paris.  


A beginner’s guide to fossil fuel divestment
Divestment is the opposite of investment – it is the removal of your investment capital from stocks, bonds or funds. The global movement for fossil fuel divestment (sometimes also called disinvestment) is asking institutions to move their money out of oil, coal and gas companies for both moral and financial reasons.  

Community says no to gold mining
"Just tell them to go away" - that was the loudest message at a community meeting at Whakapara in the north of New Zealand about how to stop an Australian gold mining company going on to private land to carry out ground tests.  

Pacific bishops climate change concern
Rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and unusual rainfall patterns are harming many of our communities. In some cases, entire regions and nations are under threat from rising sea levels.  

Kiribati: Living in the eye of the climate change storm
Pope Francis recently asked: “What the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’ means, when ‘20 per cent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive, writes Archbishop Dr John Sentamu.  

Get hands dirty for ecological justice – Indian bishops
They call on all Christians to “get their hands dirty” in ecological justice action saying that an integral ecology is “made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness.  

Second major blow for planned “mega coal mine”
It's been a devastating time for the Indian mining company, with serious questions raised about whether it can go ahead with Australia's biggest ever coal mine. Thom Mitchell reports for New Matilda.  

Bank’s dangerous backtrack in environmental social protections
The World Bank has released new draft safeguard policies that will vastly weaken protections for affected communities and the environment at a time when the bank plans to finance more high-risk projects. The proposed new Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework pointedly contradicts World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s commitment to ensure that the bank’s new rules will not weaken existing mandatory environmental and social protection measures.  

Laudato si' a seismic event
Laudato si' has been billed by many as Pope Francis' intervention in the climate change debate, but it is so much more than that, writes Damian Howard SJ for Thinking Faith. In this detailed analysis of the Pope's first encyclical, he sets the text in its cultural and political context, and asks how it fits into the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.  

Towards a sustainable creation
The Pope's document published [June 18] is not just for the benefit of the faithful, but has been deliberately timed to influence decision-makers at a trio of key United Nations summits this year culminating in the climate-change conference in Paris in December. For the United Nations, 2015 is a key year. The challenge is to reach potentially transformative agreements following each of three summits that will deliver meaningful change for people living in poverty and protect the environment.  

My personal climate change bind
Most people think that the effects of climate change are dire but far off. I don't have that comfort. My seafarer father plays a role in generating wealth for miners who then use it as a means to influence politicians - coal, industrial salt, iron ore, writes Fatima Measham for Eureka Street.  

Climate change: the big myths that need to be exploded
Asking whether a specific event is down to climate change is really tricky, but you can look at whether that type of event is more likely," says Professor Adam Scaife. "It's all about the risk of certain events changing. You can say that a specific type of event is more likely.  

Tambora trumps Gallipoli
Australia is spending many millions commemorating in April 2015 the centenary of one disaster. The Gallipoli landing symbolises for Australians one of the greatest man-made catastrophes.
We have almost completely ignored the bicentenary of another disaster more important for the planet and perhaps even for humanity—the eruption on 10 April 1815 of Tambora Mountain in southeastern Indonesia.  

The Greens and Catholic Social Teaching
"The secret's out, all over town," as the cowboy crooner Hank Williams once sang. The same can be said about Catholic Social Teaching. What was once described as the Church's best secret, is now to the faith fore. These days there's no excuses! writes Jonathan Tulloch in The Tablet.  

Let the Son Shine
An Australian Catholic response to climate change

The words 'climate change' are on many people's lips. Scientific evidence has convinced many that humans are largely responsible for this change and must act urgently to address it. Others have been shocked out of complacency and into reflection by fickle weather conditions, ranging from recent hurricanes in New Orleans to a ten-year drought throughout Australia. So says Columban Fr Charles Rue in a new release, Let the Son Shine  

Climate change: limiting its effects
Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change says in its report released last week (2 November 2014), if left unchecked, climate change will boost the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

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Caritas calls for Pacific climate aid
Caritas New Zealand is calling for urgent international funding to help Pacific islands struggling with the effects of climate change.

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Inuit elder tells climate conference of thinning ice
In just 60 years the ice in Greenland has reduced from eight metres to two metres, an indigenous elder has told the Religions for the Earth Conference in New York. Australian Jacqui Remond writes of her experience of the conference and of the Peoples' Climate March last month.

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Global disasters increasing
Weather, climate and water-related disasters are on the rise worldwide, causing loss of life and setting back economic and social development by years, if not decades. From 1970 to 2012, 8 835 disasters, 1.94 million deaths, and US$2.4 trillion of economic losses were reported globally as a result of hazards such as droughts, extreme temperatures, floods, tropical cyclones and related health epidemics, according to a new report.

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Relocating a stricken Filipino community
In a remote northern part of Palawan, Philippines, many small communities of fishers and other subsistence workers are being relocated after typhoon Yolanda wiped out their homes and livelihoods in last November. Sylvia Miclat writes on a project being undertaken by a Jesuit research organisation in the Philippines, Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC). 

Easter outfits, slow fashion and solidarity
Is it wrong to dispose of things that still fit and have some wear left, or is it even worse to hold onto something and rarely wear it? Sandie Cornish reflects on slow fashion and solidarity with the poor and the earth, for CatholicCare Sydney.  

Seven major life changes due to climate change
The United Nations has released a 'pretty gloomy' new global warming report that has already got the world talking, including climate change deniers saying some bizarre things in attempts to discredit the findings.  

El Salvador suffers Australia’s maleficent miners
El Salvador is a small, largely agricultural society, with one of the highest population densities in the world. A largely Australian owned mining company proposes to mine for gold there, at great social and environmental cost to the local population. In Australia the wellbeing of people in areas affected by mining is central in the granting of permits. Are we willing to accept a lowering of standards for the overseas operations of Australian companies.  

Health before profits says Toowomba bishop
Residents living near coal seam gas mining activities on the Tara Residential Estates must have their health and wellbeing put ahead of economic benefits, says Bishop Robert McGuckin of Toowomba.  

Does mining cost more than it's worth
While mining is a source of great wealth for Australia, its socio-ecological benefits are mixed. Yet the sheer power of the industry means a balanced conversation on these issues is yet to start. Both major parties are beholden to the industry and fear the advertising power its money can buy. Two examples demonstrate the problem.  

Pacific Island nations call out
Australia and New Zealand's neighbours in the Pacific: the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau and Tuvalu are asking for our solidarity as they face the consequences of human-induced climate change. The Torres Strait Islands at the northern tip of Queensland face similar threats.  

China's not-so-good earth
China admits its 'brilliant' economic advances in the past 30 years have been at the expense of the environment and now faces a balancing act between further economic progress and arresting the degradation of the environment.  

Pervasive palm oil boosts greenhouse emissions
The extent to which palm oil is a part of our everyday diet is little known. Yet it features in ice cream, chocolate, biscuits, crackers, chips, margarine, fruit juice, batters, soap, toothpaste, laundry powders, detergents, cosmetics, pet food - it is almost impossible to buy products free from palm oil.
It has also been touted as a biofuel - although palm oil-based diesel actually increases greenhouse emissions.  

A renewed call for a mining ban in the Philippines
The Jesuits in the Philippines have released a discussion paper aimed at supporting the bishops in their call for a halt to mining in the country because, 'the Mining Act destroys life'.

The Catholic Bishops Conference in the Philippines said in 2006 that 'allowing the interests of big mining corporations to prevail over people's right to [sources of food and sustenance] amounts to violating their right to life'.  

Catholics and the environment
One test of the way in which we care for the world is how we look out for the poorest and weakest people in our world. Solidarity with the poor means that we shall not allow them to bear the costs of the ways we adjust to a changed world. If people are made homeless by rising waters, for example, we have a responsibility to help them find a home. We should be happy to share the costs of supporting the neediest people, writes Andrew Hamilton in Australian Catholics.  

Indigenous peoples can model low-carbon living if their land rights are recognised
Many indigenous peoples are living examples of societies thriving with sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles. Successfully meeting the global climate change challenge requires that much of the world shift from high carbon-living to low. This shift is daunting. Current emissions for Australia and the United States average about 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person. In the coming decades this needs to fall to two tonnes per person as it is currently in Brazil or the Dominican Republic.  

'Dirty Money'
An inside look at Australian mining companies and their practices both at home and abroad comes from Matthew Benns' book Dirty Money: The True cost of Australia's Mineral Boom. In 13 chapters it gives a clear picture of the behaviour of Australian resources companies. Besides the well-known destinations and producers, Benns introduces us to Australian ventures from Mongolia to the western Sahara, from exploiting rare earth minerals to phosphates.  

New mining policy – not-so-new concerns
We are now living in a context of scarcer and more degraded natural resources, severe environmental problems from unabated consumerism and unsustainable lifestyles, and a deepening social dilemma driving more people into poverty.  

Healing a broken world - Jesuits respond to environmental and ecological challenges
In the time leading up to the General Congregation (GC) 35, there was much excitement about how the supreme governing body of the Society of Jesus would treat the subject of ecology.  

Solving Kiribati's water needs
There aren't too many nuns who are also water engineers. In a video report from Sean Dorney, the ABC's Pacific Correspondent, find out how Good Samaritan Sister, Marella Rebgetz is helping to solve Kiribati's critical water needs as a water engineer.  


Flights for forests
Jesuits in the Asia Pacific region have initiated a new carbon-offset scheme to reduce the impact of air travel on the environment, with the Australian Province one of the first to sign on.  

Ecology
The created world is a gift of God and a common good. To be in right relationship with God and with others, including future generations, we need to respect the integrity of creation rather than treating the environment as simply an economic resource to be used for our own interests.

World Day of Peace Message
Pope Benedict XVI's Message for 1 January 2010 is If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.
"[Human beings] think that [they] can make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to [their] will, as though it did not have its own requisites and a prior God-given purpose, which [they] can indeed develop but must not betray."
Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, n 37



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