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From ScienceNews comes word of coral species off the coast of Japan that have been doing something odd. They’re moving.

Here’s a snippet of the story: 


A new study of reefs around Japan reveals that a handful of coral species have migrated from the balmy subtropics to temperate climate zones over the last 80 years. The study is the first to track coral reefs for such a long time and over several latitude lines, a Japanese team reports in an upcoming Geophysical Research Letters.

The team, led by geographer Hiroya Yamano of the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Tsukuba, Japan, analyzed maps of corals from four time periods starting in the 1930s. They found that of nine common coral species, four had expanded northward, and two went as far as temperate waters.

Now it appears that some coral species will migrate—and fast—in response to

...

I drove my mom this afternoon to visit a very sick relative, and waited in the car to give everyone their privacy. After a few minutes, I looked through my Forester’s sun roof and watched a silent unfolding of grace.

Above me was an arctic high-pressure air system; it offered a fantastic, wintery view to infinity, laced with roiling strands of clouds, similar to the video above.

It was mesmerizing.

For about twenty minutes I watched as the laws of physics—the interaction of sunlight, gusty air and ice crystals—soothed me. It was a slow, sometimes chaotic evolution and dissolution of clouds that came and went and made amazing or funny or stunning shapes. There was order there, for sure.

Watching clouds is lot like faith. You don’t have to be a meteorologist to appreciate the sky, and you don’t have to be a theologian to love God.

In fact, those...

Ecologists champion life. If so, why do some ecological advocates support abortion, which is, by any account, the ending of something living? Hence the dilemma in which so many environmentalists find themselves: Life vs. choice.

But as it turns out, this choice is not new.

 The ancient text known as the Didache admits this in its opening words: “There are two ways, one of life and one of death.” The Didache also recounts a Christian understanding of the Ten Commandments, which includes this: "thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born." Keep in mind, this text was written in approximately 50AD.

The Didache, circa 50AD

For Catholic Ecologists, the link between ecological advocacy and abortion is obvious. And denying this link results in angst for many so-called...

From my own backyard comes a story of a package store—a small shop that sells beer, wine and other liquors—that’s green not just on St. Patty’s Day, but year round. The moral of the story? Small-business owners can make big decisions for the good of more than the bottom line.

Read this snippet from the story by the Providence Journal’s Peter Lord:


Much of the [store's] large parking lot is built with blocks that allow rainwater to drain into the ground. A large advanced septic system was installed, lessening the chance that pollutants will make their way underground to the nearby Ninigret Pond.

The building’s siding looks like wood shingles, but actually it’s recycled PVC.

Hot water from the geothermal heat pump is pumped through radiant heat tubes in the floor. They will be covered by wide, white pine planks. The walls and roof are made from insulated panels that are 8 to 10 inches thick.

Much of the lighting is...

Six days after a Nor’easter dumped one to two feet of snow on Southern New England, it rained. Hard. Roads flooded with a slushy concoction and utility crews scrambled to find and dig out thousands of storm drains buried under snow.

Each time they did the lives of pedestrians and commuters improved.

But all the grungy, salt-saturated, oily, gritty water that drained into those catch basins had to go somewhere. Most of it flowed into streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, bays and the ocean rather quickly—carrying with it a good amount of gunk and garbage.

And so we come to the big news these days in the world of water pollution control: stormwater management. It’s so important that it now has its own word; in fact, I had to add “stormwater” to my word processor’s dictionary just now.

To better understand its importance, here’s a little of the back story: For over a century, residential and...


Among all the horror and loss in Haiti this past year, scientists have made a small discovery that brings good news: the island's remaining natural ecosystem is showing signs of strength. As detailed in the above video, species long unaccounted for have been found, thanks to a recent and intense survey seeking clues about the country’s eco-health. Thank you Conservation International for the good work.

But if such a survey sounds odd, given the devastation and suffering occurring in the human population, remember that ecosystems provide food, clean water and help minimize disease. The more biodiversity, the better.

From a story reported in Haitilibre.com, Dr. Robin Moore notes the importance of finding so many more amphibians than they’d expected.

"Amphibians are what we call a species barometer of the health of our planet". The good health of forests is crucial to Haitian people, and the presence of these frogs is a positive indicator and an encouraging sign, since in Haiti, only 2% of original forest survives "We're at a point where we really must try of protect these forest fragments,...

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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.