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World hunger and the Obama administration's priorities

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I recently attended in Rome the annual two-week meetings of the Committee on World Food Security (Oct. 8-22) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The Committee on World Food Security was set up in 1974 as an intergovernmental body to serve as a forum for review of food security policies, and in 2009, underwent a reform process to ensure that the voices of other stakeholders were heard in the global debate on food security and nutrition.

Pope says farm co-ops can protect values while feeding people

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Farm co-ops can provide the world with an "alternative vision" to government or international agriculture policies that place too much emphasis on profits, protecting certain markets or employing new technology that could prove dangerous, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The pope made his comments in a message marking Tuesday's celebration of World Food Day, a commemoration sponsored by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to highlight the global fight against hunger and the need to help farmers and farm workers.

Church's new doctor inspires woman's voice

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Devi Mathieu was traveling in Minnesota on Sunday, the day Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Hildegard of Bingen as a doctor of the church.

Had she been at home in Sebastopol, Calif., Mathieu would have mixed up a batch of cinnamon-nutmeg cookies based on one of Hildegard's own recipes. Then she would have organized a special gathering of friends to celebrate the music of her favorite saint, an earth mystic, Benedictine abbess, wisdom teacher, "Sybil of the Rhine," author, healer and spiritual conscience for the patriarchy of her time.

St. Francis feast film screenings bring climate refugees to light

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Across the country, churches, schools and communities celebrated Oct. 4 the feast of the patron saint of animals and the environment – Francis of Assisi – in a multitude of ways.

Many attended the traditional blessing of animals and pets; some made an effort to get outside to enjoy and experience nature as Francis did; still others honored his vow of poverty by serving the homeless.

Not surprisingly, each of these celebrations of the spirit of St. Francis was held in the days surrounding the feast day at the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill.

Xavier University's focus on sustainability impacts students, environment

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Author's note: This is the second story highlighting two Midwestern Catholic schools and their ongoing immersion in sustainability. On Sept. 18, Eco Catholic featured Lewis University, a De La Salle Christian Brothers school near Chicago. Today's column focuses on Xavier in Cincinnati, the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the country.

Earth group: silence on climate change a form of partisanship

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The following is commentary from the Earth Healing Team, an organization that provides "a Daily Reflection on pertinent subjects." You can learn more about the Earth Healing Team at www.earthhealing.info.

Silence is a form of partisanship

In this watershed year, 2012, many of us citizens who strive to be nonpartisan are forced into a dilemma: To remain silent is to remain partisan.

We confide to our European counterparts that this year resembles Germany at the rise of Nazism in 1933. Today, with the rise of militant materialism deliberately following the selfish and atheistic principles of Ayn Rand, one political party had been taken over by Big Energy merchants of doubt and confusion.

This group, with arrogance stemming from millions and billions of dollars of under-taxed bank accounts here and abroad, seeks to buy this national election, just as it has bought the recent primary.

These arrogant powerbrokers have partisanized a national unified environmental stance that since the First Earth Day has, for the greater part, stood beyond politics.

Sustainability in season at Illinois college

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Agonizing over those irritatingly powerful politicians and their ongoing love affairs with the fossil fuel/nuclear energy industries is like taking up permanent residence inside a speedy down-only elevator. It will plummet you into despair, sadness and paralysis.

So change direction. Take the one named Sustainability instead. Its journey will lift your spirits and warm your heart.

"Creation care" is alive and thriving. Lewis University's main campus in Romeoville, Ill., and Xavier University in Cincinnati are recent examples. Sustainability practices are incorporated into campus buildings, grounds keeping, science majors, daily campus living, extracurricular activities, spirituality and theology. As a nod to the good news, Eco Catholic is featuring these Catholic schools in this and a subsequent blog.

Perhaps in the next 10 or 15 years, enough of Lewis' and Xavier's graduates will have successfully brought their fresh passion and leadership into the worlds of work and politics so earth will be a partner instead of an object for exploitation.

Agricultural expert favors ethanol waiver to avert global crisis

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A prominent Ohio State University soil scientist is calling for a waiver of ethanol production requirements for farmers to lower corn prices for farmers and consumers this year because he believes it will help avert a global food crisis. Professor Rattan Lal, a native of Punjab region of India who frequently testifies before Congress about climate change, is featured in an Aug. 30 Columbus Dispatch interview.

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April 11-24, 2014

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