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It sounds like something out of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but sadly it's yet another study showing what happens when a climate changes. This latest news comes from the Arctic Sounder


A new study released in the scientific journal Ecology Letters offers one of the first confirmations of a wholesale shift in the boreal forest ecosystem due to climate change.

Among the findings, researchers said, is increased tree growth in the Western Alaska tundra margin.

Collaborators on the study, which compared three-ring data to satellite images, include Glenn Juday, a professor of forest ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and co-author of the article.

"This is one of the first extensive analyses of annual growth and climate response of black spruce in Alaska," said Juday, who collaborated on the UAF research with Valerie Barber, Patricia Heiser and Emily Sousa.

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As reported in the Economic Times, a clash between security forces and local residents protesting the construction of a power plant resulted in two people shot dead and more injured.

Here’s some of the story:


NEW DELHI: A day after a violent protest by local farmers, Environment Ministry today ordered suspension of construction work of a power plant in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

The Ministry sought a report by March 6 from the company East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd on compliance of conditions for environmental clearance.

The ongoing construction work related to the project should be "suspended forthwith", the Ministry said in its order with regard to the power plant.

It said the 2,640 MW Super Critical Coal plant was being constructed on wetland and cited recommendations of the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Ministry as a reason for order to suspend work.

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Those low, low prices of made-in-China goods come at a high price after all. China’s industrial hyper-activity is causing problems. In what is seen as a rather unusual note of honesty, China’s leaders are admitting that the damage being done to their country’s ecology is something they can no longer ignore.

And so we read this from the New York Times:

China’s environment minister on Monday issued an unusually stark warning about the deleterious impacts of unbridled development on the country’s air, water and soil, saying the nation’s current path could stifle long-term economic growth and feed social instability.

In an essay published on the agency’s Web site, the minister, Zhou Shengxian, said the government would take a more aggressive role in determining whether development initiatives contributed to climate change through a new system of risk assessment.

Ignoring such risks, he

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General Electric (and other companies) has a scheme: Make technology look clean and glorious on television and we might overlook the price that every innovation brings.

While Catholic ecologists are ever wary of equating technology with salvation, it’s foolish to argue the good that science does. God gave us a mind to use. And use it we must to make things clean, tidy and healthy as we go about our business—remembering always our Holy Father’s words. “It is not science that redeems man; man is redeemed by love.” (Spe Salvi, section 26.)

Okay, back to GE. They do have some very, very creative commercials, and in the spirit of the American motion picture industry’s big award night this Sunday, here are my finalists for the category of Best Commercial From A Corporation Selling Eco-Technology To A World that Badly Needs It.

(Care to vote in the comment section?)


Number 1: The Line Dance

 

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The saying “we’re from the government and we’re here to help” usually comes in jest. But EPA means it.

Check out these eco-grant offerings for which faith communities, conservation groups and even individuals might be eligible. It's real funding for good ideas and programs . . . and you may just have one or two to offer.

Peruse the EPA grant site, and look especially at grants for the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program (the main page is here or here). There’s an environmental education grant program, too, which will be offering its 2011 allotment soon. More specific announcements include:

Environmental Fellowships: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requests proposals for the National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowship Program. This fellowship program provides students with an opportunity to participate in a project directly related to their field of study.  Fields of interest include:  Environmental Policy, Regulation, and Law; Environmental...

The Denver Post has some good news about the people in the great American West:


A new survey has found a majority of voters in the RockyMountain region regard clean water, air and land that sustains wildlife as very important.

Two thirds of surveyed voters said these natural resources are fragile and must be cared for and protected.

The "Conservation in the West" survey, commissioned by ColoradoCollege and released this morning, also found that two thirds of voters believe current laws protecting air, land and water should be strengthened or better enforced.

Even when offered an economic rationale for relaxing environmental standards, 77 percent of voters surveyed said standards that apply to major industries must be maintained. Only 18 percent favored relaxing standards in an effort to boost the economy and generate jobs.

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Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.