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High Gas Prices: Supply and Demand: Efficiency and better cars will fuel America faster than drilling

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The following article from the Natural Resources Defense Council outlines a better strategy for fueling our transportation than increased offshore drilling -- and a way out of high gas prices.

The United States consumes 19 million barrels of oil a day, 25 percent of the global supply, but we have less than 2 percent of the world’s proved oil reserves. That means no amount of domestic drilling will reduce gas prices or provide enough to meet America’s daily demand for oil. The only solution: develop better cars and cleaner, safer sources of fuel. By 2025, we can reduce our reliance on oil through increased efficiency, transit, and alternative fuels, saving more oil than we can drill.

The United States will never control world oil supplies or gas prices…we don’t have the oil.

The United States has been drilling aggressively for the past century, with more active wells than the rest of the world combined. But even if we were to drill a hole everywhere in the country we know to have oil, and drain out every drop of proved reserves, we'd have enough to last us 1,094 days – just three years.

Adverse health effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

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The Web site of the Lousiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) features an interview with Clayton Matherne, who has been suffering serious health problems as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which happened a year ago this month.

The videos are the personal testimony of Mr. Clayton Matherne. Mr. Matherne has asked LEAN to publish his story "in hopes that it will help others who are suffering know that they are not alone and for those who are not aware of their plight that assistance is greatly needed."

Also on the LEAN page is an address by Dr. Michael Robicheaux who spoke last week at the Baton Rouge Press Club. He spoke in-depth about the large number of sick people that he has been treating since the BP oil disaster occurred. The sick include workers who worked on the response to the disaster as well as divers, fishermen and coastal residents.

10 compelling reasons for frequenting farmers' markets

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Sipping coffee and leisurely reading the paper are nice, but what’s a Saturday morning without a visit to the local farmers’ market? It is THE place to be these days. If you aren’t in the habit of regular shopping at a farmers’ market, here’s a reminder of why, as an ecology-minded Catholic, you might want to do so.

1) The locally-grown food has come to your table from probably less than a 50-mile radius. This saves a lot of precious energy normally used to ship grocery-store produce halfway across the country.

2) You are supporting local farmers rather than corporate food conglomerateswho care little for the welfare of the land and greatly for profit at any price. You can feel good knowing you are helping some industrious family stay on their farm and earn a decent living.

3) The food is much healthier, retaining its nutrients since it was picked fresh, so you are nourishing your body as a temple of the Spirit, which enables you to have more energy to work for justice and sustainability.

Would Jesus be an environmentalist?

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The bracelet slogan, WWJD, popularized the notion of asking what Jesus would do in various situations. I think it’s worth pondering what his response might be to the critical issue of Earth care were he in the flesh today.
Because environmental degradation wasn’t a problem in his day, Jesus said very little about the human relationship to the natural world. But we can certainly make some assumptions based on his values, teachings, and actions. And since the church seeks to act in his name under the guidance of his Spirit, I would like to think we are listening to Christ as our church leaders make pronouncements about the urgency of caring for the Earth.

Unfortunately, many Christians see little connection between the health of the Earth and the mission of Christ. Historically, much theological and spiritual emphasis was given to fleeing the world and putting one’s sole hope in life after death. Thus the world had little value in itself. It was merely the backdrop for the great drama of personal salvation, a purely spiritual endeavor.

Arctic exploration for climate science

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In recent years, there have been many indications that the Arctic is suffering the effects of climate change more rapidly and seriously than almost any other region of the world. In particular, temperatures at the top of the planet have been rising much faster than the global average, and all that additional heat has melted vast quantities of Arctic sea ice.

Scientists have spotted these trends thanks to satellite data and other techniques, but there is still an awful lot that researchers don’t know about how the Arctic is responding to global warming. Data gathered in the actual locations is needed for solid evidence.

The quest for such data underpins a unique collaboration between scientists and explorers, known as the Catlin Arctic Survey, which just kicked off its third year. The survey is sponsored by Catlin Group Limited, an international insurance company.

Read more on the Natural Resources Defense Council's On Earth blog.

2,000 year old coral found living near Gulf oil spill site

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Scientists say they have dated coral living near the site of the busted BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico at 2,000 years old.

The U.S. Geological Survey said on March 29 it had determined the age of a kind of black coral in the Gulf for the first time. Scientists had been studying the ancient slow-growing corals before BP's well blew out on April 20, 2010. The corals were found about 21 miles northeast of the BP well living 1,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf.

Cain Burdeau writes about the discovery on the Huffington Post Green blog.

Driving as if people mattered

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I remarked to a colleague this winter after a snowstorm that this city where we live is a fantastic one to live in -- if you're an auto. The parking lots were all meticulously cleared of snow just a few hours after the last flake descended while the sidewalks were still obliterated. Someone remarked that aliens from outer space, observing the planet from a distance, would conclude the dominant life form is metal with round rubber rolling devices for locomotion.

Oil industry says it's the victim of the Gulf spill and keeps asking for more handouts

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This week, a handful of GOP lawmakers will introduce bills to accelerate the pace of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and open more American waters to development. These representatives claim that the Obama administration has unfairly locked up the Gulf of Mexico and that we need more drilling to drive down gas prices.

Peter Lehner writes on his blog at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Switchboard page about the oil industry's push to receive even more favorable treatment in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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