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February 2011

The funeral for my mom’s Aunt Rose took place four days after a major winter storm and two days before another. It was a bright morning, but a cold, blustery one—a harsh way to say a goodbye to a strong, feisty, faith-filled woman. Rose fought cancer on and off for fifteen years, and she never flinched at a doctor’s bad news.

A week after the funeral, her daughter-in-law summed it up best: this woman knew how to carry her crosses.

While I drove my mom in the funeral procession through streets narrowed by large heaps of snow, it occurred to me that Rose’s determination to face difficult truths stood in contrast to those who find humor in news of climate change—which, I admit, seems easy to do in the midst of a snowy winter’s single-digit temperatures.

I’ve been studying the science of climate change as part of a project at work; the...

From the Times of India comes the story of a papal envoy to tribal peoples in India. His message was one of solidarity, hope and concern for ecology.

Once again, the Church’s efforts to help the lives of the poor factors in the condition of the environment in which they live, eat, drink and breath.

A few snippets are below:

Ranchi—Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, a representative of Pope Benedict XVI, took home the details of the plight of the tribals of Jharkhand.

Two papers were presented during the symposium both of which highlighted the sorry state of affairs of the tribals. While director of Xavier's Institute of Social Service (XISS) Alex Ekka spoke about the social concerns of Jharkhand highlighting the rich resources of the state and deprivation of the tribals, former principal accountant general of West Bengal Benjamin

...

On this Feast of St. Blaise, let me share a saying my doctor uses often: “You need to take care of the temple.”

He’s a good man, very fit, an innovator in the medical profession, a sports doctor for a local college, and knows a thing or two about faith.

When I went for my physical the other day, and told him I wasn’t doing what I should be doing—hence my weight and blood pressure not quite being where it should—and when I told him all that I’d been too busy doing to eat right and exercise, he said his line: You’re not taking care of the temple!

Well, I’m trying...

For me, spring comes sometime in the middle of February. By then, the days are longer, the spring constellations rise in the early evening, and the sound of migrating song birds greet me in the morning.

But lately, I’ve heard such spring songs as I leave the house to begin my day. And it's only January.

This got me wondering. Why am I hearing these song birds so early? Am I just imagining all this? And so I went to a source that knows a thing or two about birds, The National Audubon Society. And I came across this report: Birds and Climate Change; Ecological Disruption in Motion.

Within it was a good amount of sobering information. Including this: 


Analysis of four decades of Christmas Bird Count observations reveal that birds seen in North America during the first weeks of winter have moved dramatically northward—toward colder latitudes—over the past four decades. Significant northward movement occurred among

...

Reuters reported that President Obama didn’t refer to climate change in his State of the Union Address. No mention of it. At all. As this recent Pew study shows, people rank climate change at the bottom of their list of priorities.

But candidate Obama and, until recently, President Obama had made climate change adaptation and mitigation part of his priorities—for which I was glad. It’s nice to know I agree with at least one policy of my president.

And so let’s be clear: reducing greenhouse gases is, gladly, still part of the mission of this White House. Wisely, President Obama is playing up the economic benefits of clean energy and other innovations while playing down anything to do with the “c” word. Good for him. Our economy needs a boost. We need jobs. And people must be reminded that here in America we strive for excellence. If stoking the fires of innovation means not mentioning the science of man-made changes in climate...

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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.