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Latest UN climate talks seek to extend Kyoto Protocol

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The latest round of global climate talks began Monday in the Middle East, in one of the world’s richest –- in dollars and oil –- nations.

The capital city of Doha, in Qatar, will for two weeks play host to the United Nations annual conference, officially known as the 18th Conference of the Parties and the 8th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

Amid Sandy, symposium pairs papal teaching and climate change

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[Editor's NoteThis post has been updated to include quotes from Tobias Winright​]

The tides following storms such as Hurricane Sandy often bring with them debris from the destruction caused; lately, among tires and treasured items, the coastal waters have pulled two words back into the public sphere: climate change.

Liberation theologian's Call to Action speech focuses on feminism, interreligious work

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At 40, Aimee Upjohn Light is a liberation theologian and eco-feminist, had Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley as her doctoral dissertation adviser at Yale in 2003, is editor of The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and serves as an assistant professor of theology.

However, where she teaches theology might come as a surprise: Light serves on the faculty of conservative Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

A media roundup of climate change stories

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When Bishop Bernard Unabali of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, performs a baptism, confirmation or ordination, he asks churchgoers to plant 10 trees to promote new life. Unabali considers the link between respecting the environment and the sacramental life of the church as inseparable, writes Dennis Sadowski in a Nov. 9 Catholic News Service article.

‘Earth Sabbath’ helps activists tend spiritual side of environmentalism

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Rev. Steve Halsted lit a candle, led a breathing meditation on the four elements (earth, fire, water and air), and passed around a conch shell, inviting participants to listen for a message inside.

One woman said the sound of a rushing ocean encouraged her to “keep going on.”

Another lowered the shell from her ear and said she’d heard: “We’re not there yet.”

Gift of $20 million helps launch Georgetown Environment Initiative

A $20 million gift is expected to help boost Georgetown University's profile as a major center for environmental education and research.

The gift from an anonymous donor affiliated with the school launches the Georgetown Environment Initiative, which university officials said will advance the interdisciplinary study of the environment in relation to society and stewardship of natural resources.

"The plan is to lead through the example of scholarship," said Matthew B. Hamilton, associate professor of biology and faculty chairman of the initiative.

The costs of a cost-benefit analysis on fracking

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I have been writing about hydraulic fracking for more than a year now.

Several of my commentaries calling for a ban on fracking have been published and utilized in public advocacy efforts. Last year when I spoke at a faith-based meeting at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, all of my materials were taken by campus representatives of many faith-based colleges and universities. This was especially true of the interest level of evangelical Protestant colleges, who took many of my stickers calling for a ban on fracking. 

Climate change: the elephant in our living room

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Why does it take an enormous tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to drive home the reality of climate change? The late Fr. Thomas Berry, cultural historian and geologian, predicted this might be the case.

People would have to suffer before realizing that exploiting the earth brings terrible consequences. We would have to become hungry, wet, cold; our homes under water or on fire; and at last count, 110 of us dead in New York and New Jersey before connecting these miseries to our unsustainable "mysticism of progress" and our fixated preoccupation with fossil fuels.

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July 18-31, 2014

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