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Today’s breaking eco-news from Nairobi sounds promising, but forgive my caution. Reuters has a lengthy account of the United Nations’ hope for better ecological and energy coordination among its member states, but this AFP report (New 'environment governance' on agenda in Nairobi) captures both the good news and the bad.

Read the report, below, then I’ll explain my hesitancy. 


NAIROBI — Environment ministers and experts gathered in Nairobi on Monday to discuss reforming "world environment governance" in order to better manage crises linked to climate change and environmental degradation.

Delegates from 140 countries, 80 of them at ministerial level, attended the 26th session of the governing council of the United Nations Environment Programme, headquartered in Nairobi.

The delegates will discuss beefing up international environmental management tools, deemed to be insufficient given the scale of the problems facing

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Much of the Western world was built from the power of coal and the men who mined it. In many places, this is still the case.

All this makes a new study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences so meaningful. Read through the report, it has some chilling statistics on the harm brought about by the mining and use of coal. Overall, the negative costs are said to be some $500 billion. In short, the study finds that coal is dirty, dangerous and needs to be phased out. Well, it’s hard to argue with many of the findings, and it’s also difficult to be surprised.

Here’s a few points to ponder:

  • The deforestation and landscape changes associated with [mountain top removal] have impacts on carbon storage and water
  • ...

This story, from the Tidings, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, provides a handy summary of over a century of Catholic social teaching, as recounted recently by a visiting Prince of the Church.

In part, we read of  ecology joining the many other issues that affect both the globe and the human person. And we find that these issues are related.

"We are the heirs and inheritors of 'Rerum Novarum,'" the 1891 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII considered the starting point of modern social teaching, said Cardinal Peter Turkson, the council's president, speaking to the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering.

The conference is co-sponsored by a dozen Catholic organizations, including various departments of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, JustFaith, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the

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Thanks to Jerome Christenson of the Winona Daily News, here's another notable media entry about the beautiful blending of faith and reason in Catholic thought. You can view the story here, but what follows are some great bits ...

As a Jesuit, Brother Guy Consolmagno is seeking an understanding of God and the universe — through prayer and through his telescope.

Consolmagno is a research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory. He will speak on “Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance” at 7 p.m today in Somsen Auditorium as part of WinonaStateUniversity’s Big Sky series.

“Most major religions have a concept of ‘the heavens’ ... the perfect realm of the gods,” said Jennifer L.B. Anderson, WSU associate professor of geoscience and one of the organizers of the Big Sky series, and Consolmagno’s talk will address the intersection of

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Warning: If you've already bought those Valentine roses, you may want to skip this. Just saying.

One of the dilemmas that any environmentalist has to deal with is guilt—our own, yes, but making others feel guilty, too.

Maybe that’s one reason why ecology and being Catholic go so well together. We can never turn a blind eye to what effects our actions are having on someone else.

Well, just in time for St. Valentine’s Day, here’s some news from The Guardian to make all you buyers of very expensive roses (especially in Europe and the United Kingdom) feel, umm, guilty ...

Consumer appetite for cut-price Kenyan roses for Valentine's Day is "bleeding the country dry" by threatening the region's precarious ecology.

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"A bitter GOP-led hearing on EPA's climate regs highlights an intractable ideological division over whether CO2 rules will create jobs and prosperity."

This is the header of a new and telling Reuters story on the seemingly never ending conflict between the economy and the ecology. The two aren’t always mutually exclusive, but when they are, it sells papers.

Reuters seems to have done a fairly nuanced job in telling this tale of misplaced anger by Republicans at the Environmental Protection Agency, which is countered by the Democrats refusal to acknowledge original sin. An objective reading of the story will show that neither side comes out looking good.

After all, the science of climate change is just that—science—and as such should be given the attention it’s due, and no more.

I’ll have more on this in the future (when I'm not completing a thesis). But for now, read the Reuters story and see where you can spot both ideological...

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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.