Eco Catholic

Two years later, BP oil spill still affects Gulf way of life


Two years after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the news remains grim on numerous fronts, reports Mother Jones in an April 2012 series of environmental impact articles. Besides eyeless shrimp, toxic beaches and dead dolphins, Gulf oysters are now in trouble, and people who swim in the Gulf are picking up carcinogenic PAH compounds on their skin.

A team of scientists, led by Dr. Peter Roopnarine of the California Academy of Sciences, has learned that oysters now have higher concentrations of the heavy metals found in crude oil than they did before the spill. Roopnarine also discovered signs of metaplasia, a condition that occurs when tissues are transformed in response to stress, in the mollusks. The scientists don't yet know what these effects could have on high-level consumers in the food chain, which includes people who love Louisiana's famous Po' Boy sandwiches, but previous studies show heavy metal pollution combined with warmer temperatures are especially deadly in oysters.

Global community connects the dots about climate change


Saturday, May 5 was somewhat of a marquee day on the calendar for many Americans.

For some, it meant partaking in Cinco de Mayo festivities; for others, gathering at their local racetrack or in front of their televisions to watch three-year-old colt I’ll Have Another overtake Bodemeister in the last legs of the 138th Kentucky Derby.

But for a third group, the day had far more significance — it was a day for connecting the dots.

Americans across the country joined thousands of people across the globe to gather in their local communities, with a dot in tow, to bring attention to the connections between extreme weather and climate change.

Catholics, Methodists unite to craft paper on Eucharist, ecology


Can you guess who crafted these poetic images about creation? "The pure in heart see all things full of God. They see Him in the firmament of heaven, in the moon. They see him making the clouds his chariots and walking upon the wings of the wind. They see him preparing rain for the earth, giving grass for the cattle and green herb for the use of man ... They see the Creator in all, wisely governing all." Meister Eckhart or Hildegard, perhaps? Nope.

John Wesley, 18th century English Methodist preacher and evangelist, is the author. Wesley's words appear in "Heaven and Earth Are Full of Your Glory: A United Methodist and Roman Catholic Statement on the Eucharist and Ecology." The new bilateral document, released April 22 in celebration of Earth Day, "calls upon both Methodists and Catholics to remember that the grain for bread and grapes for wine become part of salvation and that salvation itself is an act of God at work in all of creation," reports The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.

"When we celebrate Eucharist, we offer thanks to the Father for the goodness of all the things that he has made, visible and invisible," the document states.

Franciscan center demos sustainability for Ohio community


If you’re in Tiffin, Ohio, then you’re not far from anything, say some locals. Roughly 60 miles southeast of Toledo, the rural northwest town of the Buckeye State stretches a mere three miles from one end to the other.

But that also means you’re not far from the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center, an education and demonstration facility designed to encourage sustainable living practices through hands-on learning for all ages.

Established in 1994 by the Sisters of St. Francis, the center offers a variety of programs for the surrounding Seneca County community that springs from one of the sisters’ core missions – care for creation.

Things to remember this Earth Day weekend


For women in Guatemala, a good Earth Day can mean simply holding onto a parcel of land that is legally theirs. Historically, however, women have little power in this Central American country. For example, a 2005 newspaper survey reported that men regard the ideal woman as "meek, docile, sweet and submissive," -- traits that do not bode well for women in property disputes. During negotiations, a woman's concerns around access to drinking water and inheritance rights are usually ignored, reports Dan Sadowsky of Mercy Corps.

But changes are happening for the better.

Mercy Corps is now training women in techniques of conflict resolution. Since their first class last fall, the eight Mercy-hired and Mercy-trained female mediators have already resolved three land conflicts, with seven more in process, Sadowsky writes.

"Even more impressive are the number of people the mediators have reached through trainings in topics such as self-esteem, alternative dispute resolution, local governing structure and land issues: 158 women who were selected by their communities to become leaders in mediation and another 1,800 women who have been trained by those leaders," he writes.

A literal rags-to-riches story and hope for the environment


This is literally a rags-to-riches story -- a group of poor women living on the fringes of one of the largest dumpsites in the Philippines now support their families by weaving high-fashion purses, rugs and wine bottle holders from garment factory leftovers, organic materials and indigenous fabrics. Writer Simone Orendain provides details in an April 11 story appearing on the Catholic News Service website.

Filipinos protest monstrous impact of mall expansion


MANILA, Philippines -- Bishop Carlito Cenzon of Baguio on Wednesday accused a Philippines shopping mall giant of defying the law and called people to boycott the shopping center in his northern mountain city to protest its expansion project, which requires the transplanting of trees.

Cenzon said when people give SM Mall their business, they continue to "patronize a monster" because the mall's project "destroys our oxygen tank."

The regional court Tuesday ordered the mall to halt the transplant of 182 alnus and pine trees from Luneta Hill compound as part of its expansion project, but the mall proceeded with digging up trees, citing consultations it had already conducted with the environment and natural resources department. Cenzon of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary said mall officials refused to receive the court order.

Interfaith group to rally in D.C. for moral response to climate change


In an effort to “awaken our nation’s elected officials … to the urgent need for immediate and effective action to address the climate emergency,” an interfaith group has called for rallies across the country during the week of Earth Day to bring attention to climate change.

The Interfaith Moral Action on Climate describes itself as “deeply concerned about the effects of climate change ravaging our planet, and are compelled by our faith traditions and collective conscience to speak out on this deeply moral challenge,” according to their website.

Where is Easter for those on the cross?


Were you among the more than 1 million viewers who went to YouTube last week to see the story of Fiona, a blind, stray mixed-breed poodle whose owner abandoned her at a garbage heap in south Los Angeles? If so, you probably wept and rejoiced, just as I did.

Eldad and Audrey Hagar, directors of Paws for Hope, a local 8-year-old humane group, learned of the pup's plight last June through a friend's phone alert. A video made that day shows them rescuing the pitiful, trembling animal. She is starving, scraggily, flea-infested and covered in filth. The couple bathes and feeds her. They seek veterinary help. Can her vision be restored? Dr. Michael Chang, an ophthalmic veterinarian, assures them he can fix one of her eyes so she can have partial sight.

The Hagars post a plea for help from their supporters. Within four days, good-hearted people contributed $4,000 for the surgery. A follow-up video shows a transformed Fiona. She has turned into a happy puppy, cuddling with her new adoptive family -- the family she can actually see.


Subscribe to Eco Catholic


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

February 24-March 9, 2017