“Protect the earth, dignify humanity”

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS

The Blue Marble -- taken during Apollo 17 lunar mission 1972. (Google Image/unknown)
The Blue Marble — taken during Apollo 17 lunar mission 1972. (Google Image/unknown)

World leaders meeting at the Vatican for a conference on climate change have issued a final statement today, declaring that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality” and “its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity.”

The statement says that humans have the technological and financial means, and the know-how, to combat human-induced climate change, while at the same time eliminating global poverty.

The conference, entitled ‘Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity’ was organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, SDSN and Religions for Peace.

Declaration of Religious Leaders, Political Leaders, Business Leaders, Scientists and Development Practitioners
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Six Things to Expect When Francis Goes to Washington

AMERICA MAGAZINE / THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REVIEW
By David Gibson (RNS)

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Credit: America Magazine)
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Credit: America Magazine)

Everyone wants Congress to stop fighting and get working, and that includes Pope Francis, a top adviser said on April 29 in a preview of the pope’s upcoming U.S. trip.

The Argentine-born pontiff has never been to the U.S., but he will make history in September as the first pope to address a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.

“The pope will come humbly but will talk clearly,” Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a top adviser to Francis, told an audience at Georgetown University. More…

EPA issues new rules to protect Americans drinking water, streams

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
By Mary Clare Jalonick, ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Obama said in a statement Wednesday that the rules will provide needed clarity for business and industry and ‘will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable.’

WASHINGTON

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks in Washington Nov. 19, 2014. The Obama administration issued new rules Wednesday to protect the nation's drinking water and clarify which smaller streams, tributaries, and wetlands are covered by anti-pollution and development provisions of the Clean Water Act. McCarthy said the rule will only affect waters that have a 'direct and significant' connection to larger bodies of water downstream that are already protected.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks in Washington Nov. 19, 2014. The Obama administration issued new rules Wednesday to protect the nation’s drinking water and clarify which smaller streams, tributaries, and wetlands are covered by anti-pollution and development provisions of the Clean Water Act. McCarthy said the rule will only affect waters that have a ‘direct and significant’ connection to larger bodies of water downstream that are already protected.

Drinking water for 117 million Americans will be protected under new rules shielding small streams, tributaries and wetlands from pollution and development, the Obama administration said Wednesday.

The White House said the rules would provide much-needed clarity for landowners, but some Republicans and farm groups said they go much too far. House Speaker John Boehner declared they would send “landowners, small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers on the road to a regulatory and economic hell.”

The rules, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are designed to clarify which smaller waterways fall under federal protection after two Supreme Court rulings had left the reach of the Clean Water Act uncertain. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the waters affected would be those with a “direct and significant” connection to larger bodies of water downstream that are already protected. More…

Brazil leads way in Latin America in taking Syrian Refugees

ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP)
By Stan Lehman

In this May 15, 2015 photo, Syrian refugee Abdulhannan Mouhammed, second from left, attends Friday prayer at a mosque in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Two years after the Syrian civil war broke out, Brazil adopted measures that made it easier for Syrians to be granted refugee status. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
In this May 15, 2015 photo, Syrian refugee Abdulhannan Mouhammed, second from left, attends Friday prayer at a mosque in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Two years after the Syrian civil war broke out, Brazil adopted measures that made it easier for Syrians to be granted refugee status. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

SAO PAULO (AP) — The comfortable life Muna Hassan Derweech and her family enjoyed in the Syrian port city of Latakia collapsed in 2013 amid civil war.

Now, she, her husband and their four children have joined nearly 2,000 other Syrians trying to make a new life in Brazil, which has accepted more Syrians fleeing the violence at home than any other nation in the Americas with the exception of Canada. In comparison, the United States has taken in about 650 Syrian refugees, according to the International Rescue Committee.

Derweech recently reminisced about her life while selling homemade Syrian food outside the mosque of Sao Paulo’s Beneficent Muslim Society.

“We lived very well in Latakia,” she said. “We owned a four-bedroom house and my husband earned well working as a marine mechanical engineer and I worked as a schoolteacher. But the war, the killings and the horrible violence destroyed all that.”  More…

Film: We Are Many

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS (ICN)

By Jo Siedlecka

From the opening moments, Amir Amirani’s WE are Many is a powerful documentary, revisiting the demonstrations against the war on Iraq, that took place in 789 cities – one after another around the globe – across 72 countries, plus Antarctica, on 15 February 2003.

Besides the rousing crowd scenes, there is vintage footage of Blair and Bush together and apart, repeating the story of those weapons of mass destruction.

Then there’s testimony and reminiscing from Jerry Corbyn, Noam Chomsky, Tony Benn, Jesse Jackson, Clare Short, Ken Loach and Tariq Ali, Sir Richard Branson, Susan Sarandon, UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and many more.

It was good to hear again what I think is of the finest moments in Parliamentary history – Robin Cook’s resignation speech.

Tony Blair, who can no longer walk down a British street without a bodyguard, turned down an invitation to take part in the film. An aide said he was too busy running his three charities and working for peace in the Middle East. David Blunkett and Lord Falconer wheel out the weary old ‘now we know so much more’ defence. More…

The TPP Is a Grave Threat to Climate Action

COMMON DREAMS

By Naomi Klein

This changes Everything

MoveOn.org sent out the following message and accompanying petition its members on May 21.

Existing trade deals and World Trade Organization rules are already being used to block subsidies for renewable energy and other supports for the clean energy sector. And the expansion of such agreements has gone hand in hand with the accelerating rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
Existing trade deals and World Trade Organization rules are already being used to block subsidies for renewable energy and other supports for the clean energy sector. And the expansion of such agreements has gone hand in hand with the accelerating rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Dear MoveOn member,

I’m writing because President Obama and the U.S. Congress need to hear from you before they rush toward approving a massive new trade agreement that would benefit corporations and undercut serious efforts to fight climate change.

This deal—the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP—has been called “NAFTA on steroids.” It’s the latest and largest in a series of international agreements that have attacked working women and men, fueled mindless and carbon-intensive consumption, and prevented governments from enforcing their own laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

NAFTA-esque deals around the world have been a disaster for democracy, good jobs, and environmental justice, which is why I hope you’ll click here and sign the petition to stop the TPP from being rushed through Congress. More…

Pope Francis & Climate Change: Making Huge Bets

IGNATION SOLIDARITY NETWORK
By Christopher Kerr

Google Images/NBC Nightly News
Google Images/NBC Nightly News

There is an old adage that “any press is good press.”

Watching some of the recent media coverage on Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change made me wonder if this is really true. In just two minutes during a recent segment on Fox News, analysts used phrases like “creating controversy” and “aligning himself with enemies” as well as accusing Pope Francis of jumping on the “climate change bandwagon.”

It’s one thing to be critical, but it’s another thing when news media seek to create controversy where it doesn’t exist or misrepresent the goodwill of an individual.

Watch this special report

But remember, “any press is good press.” So let me offer my own perspective as a Catholic who is tremendously excited for the prophetic voice Pope Francis will offer the Church and the world on the issue of climate change. More…