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Give yourself a break -- observe the Sabbath

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Growing up in my rural Catholic family, we always went to church on Sunday and refrained from work. My dad never even harvested wheat, our main source of income, on Sunday when many of the neighbors did. Talk about a witness of faith! I grew up knowing in my bones that Sunday was “different,” a day of rest dedicated to God, family, and leisure.

Once in talking with a group of friends, we got on this topic, and almost everyone said Sunday was like any other day. I was stunned. I just assumed everyone else observed the Lord’s Day like I did. My feeling was, “Oh, what a loss. You don’t know what you are missing.”

I wouldn’t even think of discarding the practice of observing the Sabbath, asI find it so valuable and critical to rest from labor on Sundays. I can lay aside my “to-do” list with nary a twinge of conscience, and enjoy my favorite renewing activities. Besides church and meditation, that usually means taking a nap, reading, exercise, time in nature, visiting with family or friends, and perhaps watching a movie. It would never enter my mind to cut the grass, do laundry, pay bills, go shopping, or do other chores, no matter how busy I am.

The most important microbe you've never heard of

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Meet Prochlorococcus -- it might be the most important microbe you've never heard of

Tiny creatures that inhabit the oceans’ well-lit upper waters emit gas or gaseous compounds. One algae Emiliana huxleyi emits dimethyl sulfide, which contributes to what we call the smell of the sea.

An unseen "forest" of these microscopic beings fills the upper 200 meters of ocean, exerting an influence on this planet every bit as profound as the forests on land. The diverse phytoplankton species inhabiting the ocean's surface waters -- which mainly consist of single-celled cyanobacteria, diatoms and other kinds of algae -- form the base of the marine food web. They account for roughly half the photosynthesis on the earth, remove nearly as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as all land plants, and supply about half to three-quarters of the oxygen we breathe. Without the activities of these free-floating plantlike organisms, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would triple.

Br. David Andrews: Continuing GMO advocacy by 'experts' linked to Vatican Pontifical Academy of Science

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Holy Cross Br. David Andrews is senior representative at Food & Water Watch, a Washington-based consumer group. He is former executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

There is a new book published in English on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). It is called The Plain Facts About GMOs. It is a Hungarian White Paper on the benefits of GMOs. It is a strong appeal for Europe to take up GMOs claiming that the opposition to them is ideological and not sound science.

Sea level rise brings added threat to coastal nuclear plants

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In many parts of the world, including the United States, nuclear reactors are often located near the ocean, due to their requirement for abundant supplies of water for cooling purposes. And while tsunamis aren’t a threat everywhere, the sea can pose other challenges. Hurricanes, for example, can push walls of water ahead of them, like the storm surge that did most of the damage to New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina swept through in 2005.

Alyson Kenward writes about the threat from rising sea levels on the Natural Resources Defense Council On Earth blog.

Earth Hour: Switch off your lights for an hour to take a stand against global climate change

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At 8:30 PM on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries/territories participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbor Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

With Earth Hour almost upon us, our thoughts are with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.

Review launched of all U.S. nuclear plants

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has launched a two-step review of U.S. nuclear power plants in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, according to an article on the HuffingtonPost green blog.

The commission voted Wednesday to set up a task force, made up of senior staff and former NRC experts, that will conduct short-term and long-term analyses of lessons learned from Japan. The reports also will address how lessons can be applied to the 104 U.S. nuclear reactors.

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July 18-31, 2014

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