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Eco Catholic

California diocese takes on ecological issues

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The Catholic Green Initiative, a project launched in January 2009 by San Jose (Calif.) Diocesan Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, has been opening parishioners’ eyes to the seriousness of ecological issues in California as well as across the world.

For a progress report from its water committee, go to The Valley Catholic newspaper website’s Dec. 13, 2011 edition.

Obama administration rejects Keystone pipeline

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Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson of the Washington Post are reporting:

Obama administration rejects Keystone pipeline

President Obama, declaring that he would not bow to congressional pressure, announced Wednesday that he was rejecting a Canadian firm’s application for a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline, a massive project that would have stretched from Canada’s oil sands to refineries in Texas.

Obama said that a Feb. 21 deadline set by Congress as part of the two-month payroll tax cut extension had made it impossible to do an adequate review of the pipeline project proposed by TransCanada.

?The controversial Keystone XL pipeline has been under review for more than three years. Environmental groups have argued that the extraction of oil sands contributed to climate changes and the pipeline itself posed leak risks.

Indigenous Mexicans battle hunger amid historic drought

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Jesuits: Drought causing widespread hunger among Mexico's Tarahumara

By Catholic News Service

MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- Jesuits working in Mexico's remote Copper Canyon in Chihuahua state have warned of widespread hunger among the indigenous Tarahumara, who have been negatively impacted by drought conditions considered to be the worst in more than 70 years.

The St. Ignatius of Loyola Foundation began a campaign Jan. 16 to raise money to buy corn, a staple in regional diets and a crop unable to be grown in an area that has received only 25 percent of its normal precipitation in 2011. The foundation estimated that 60,000 Tarahumara were impacted and 90 percent of the local bean crop had failed.

Mexico is experiencing drought in seven northern states, where the federal government says a lack of rain has caused the driest conditions in 71 years and negatively impacted 2.5 million residents.

Pope reiterates environmental protection

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In his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI restated his stance on the need for greater protection of the environment, Catholic News Services reported today.

"Environmental protection and the connection between fighting poverty and fighting climate change are important areas for the promotion of integral human development," he said.

Haitians finding home two years after quake

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Haitian quake survivors leaving camps for a place they can call home

By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It took almost two years, but Haitian earthquake survivor Sonya Mallebranche has a place she can call home again.

It's only three rooms, making it less than perfect, Mallebranche admits, especially for four adults and three toddler grandchildren. But Mallebranche, 51, finds it far better than living in a tattered tent in the fetid, dusty camp known as Petite Place Cazeau alongside hundreds of others displaced by the powerful Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that leveled much of the region around Port-au-Prince.

"I'm so much more comfortable. Now I can sleep peacefully. Now I have my family with me," Mallebranche told Catholic News Service Jan. 5 via cell phone from her new home.

U.S. scientists look to expand study of climate change

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Scientists with the U.S. Global Change Research Program want to broaden their research to include "climate-related global changes" in addition to climate change, according to a draft for a 10-year strategic plan.

A committee from the National Research Council, which reviewed the draft, labeled the proposed broadening as "an important step in the right direction," adding that further expansion could include global changes unrelated to climate.

"It is envisioned that with such an evolution, the Program can both continue to advance basic scientific understanding of global change and can actively support society's efforts to mitigate, adapt and otherwise respond to those changes," the committee stated through a press release.

Couple who turned farm to wetland faces huge tax bill

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Three years ago, John and Marilyn Saveson decided to turn 33 acres of their New Albany, Ohio, farm into a federally protected wetland to provide a permanent refuge for wildlife. The couple lives in a fast-developing area around the outskirts of Columbus and didn't want to see more suburbs and concrete smothering the land. But now, because of their ecological sensitivity, the elderly couple is facing a possible property tax bill totaling $56,119.

Spencer Hunt, a Columbus Dispatch writer, reported Dec. 26 that the Franklin County auditor's office says the land no longer qualifies for a farmland property-tax break as it once did. Since 1995, the state tax department has allowed land enrolled in the wetlands program to remain agricultural for tax purposes. In 2010, though, it began questioning whether farmland converted to wetlands should be taxed as agricultural because crops no longer are grown there, said an agency spokesman.

Indian state fears development will destroy identity, environment

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Development projects in Goa, India have many of its citizens concerned their state will lose its unique identity at the expense of growth.

Bosco de Sousa Eremita writes at CathNewsIndia.com, a division of Catholic News Asia, that a plan for the region’s land use over the next decade will violate environment regulations, while stripping the village-feel culture of an area once known for its beauty and serenity.

Pollution, people of color and the poor

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There are many arguments for why it is imperative we transition toward a sustainable future: energy efficiency, a relocalization of the economy and renewables. Often overlooked in the discussion are the deleterious impacts of pollution -- climate change, habitat destruction and resource depletion -- and the impacts here and now on the health and quality of life upon people of color and upon the poor.

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In This Issue

July 17-30, 2015

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