National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Eco Catholic

Belize: Consumerism in Central America


When Mercy Sr. Mary Pendergast recently traveled to Belize to present an environmental awareness symposium, she hoped the people there hadn’t yet succumbed to “the treacherous path of mindless U.S. consumerism.”

Unfortunately, they have,she discovered. “'Things' are expected to fill the hunger in the human heart, and it doesn’t work any better in Central America than it does here,” said Sr. Mary, in a June 23 article published on the “Awakening the Dreamer” website.

The nun and two of her Mercy colleagues -- Srs. Nancy Audette and Kathleen Erickson, all from the U.S. Northeast region of their community – spent several days presenting “Dreamer” symposiums to nearly 100 participants – including students of St. Catherine Academy, to Mercy nuns and associates. students and faculty from Muffles College, the Ministry of Education, to local leaders, and to members of the UN Development Program.

Carl Pope: America's nuclear power plants far from safe


The Missouri River floods have threatened Nebraska's Ft. Calhoun and Cooper nuclear power plants putting tremendous stress on both the systems and their operators, but the immediate risk of a meltdown like those that occurred in Japan at Fukushima is small.

Carl Pope, former director of the Sierra Club writing on The Huffington Post Green Blog says it's also clear "that if these same floods had occurred a year ago, before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission forced plant operators to upgrade safety standards, Ft. Calhoun, at least, would have been at serious meltdown risk. If the floods recede with no further damage to these plants, President Obama could, quite legitimately, claim that he saved Omaha. He probably won't, though, because the politics of doing so would reveal a deeper and more disturbing truth: while the Obama Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), led by Gregory Jaczko, has begun to take seriously the problems it inherited, America's fleet of 104 operating nuclear power plants is anything but safe."

Saving our antibiotics


By overusing antibiotics on farms and feeding them to healthy animals we’re making the drugs doctors rely on to treat illnesses like pneumonia, strep throat, and childhood ear infections less effective.

Antibiotics are not necessary for livestock production but they are essential to modern medicine. Find out why they are used on farms, the problems they pose and what you can do to keep you and your family healthy.

"Saving Antibiotics" is a good resource on this subject, found on the Smarter Living Blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council. It has links to further information on the use of antibiotics in meat production.

N. J. Catholic parish first in nation to be certified Green


“We are called to care for Creation.” said Fr. Bob Stagg of The Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, NJ. Presentation is the first Catholic parish nationwide to be accepted into the GreenFaith Certification Program, the country’s only interfaith environmental certification program for houses of worship.

The Program is designed to help churches, synagogues, mosques and temples earn recognition as environmental leaders by carrying out more than two dozen environmental activities over two years. “We are very enthusiastic about joining the GreenFaith Certification Program because it gives us the tools to become strong environmental leaders,” said Fr. Stagg. “We want to live out these ‘green values’ in everything we do – from our preaching and education to the operation of our building,” he added.

Boycott Barbie: Greenpeace says Mattel harms rain forests with its packaging materials


Mattel, the world’s largest toy manufacturer is in the ecological and public relations hot seat. A protest staged by Greenpeace International earlier this month put them there. On June 7, several Greenpeace staffers unfurled a pink and blue banner from the top of the 15-story company headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. A frowning Ken, devoted boyfriend of the world’s most famous doll, Barbie, is pictured on the banner with the proclamation, “Barbie, It’s over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation.”

Barbie’s dark preoccupation has to do with the kind of paper and cardboard packaging she is wrapped in. It comes from rainforest materials manufactured by an Asian paper company and supplied to Mattel.

As onlookers took photos of the event, another Greenpeacer pretending to be Barbie and outfitted in pink and blue spandex, arrived at the protest site driving a pink skip loader. After police ticketed her for being in an illegal parking zone, Barbie sat down on the curb and proclaimed in bored tones that caring about cute little furry animals “is so last year.”

Hal Borland: 'Now it's summer'


This was written by Hal Borland, long-time nature columnist for The New York Times.

Now it is summer by the almanac. Summer came with the solstice yesterday, when, to give "solstice" its literal meaning, the sun stood still. It was turning the corner of the seasons, and now it begins to move south again, as we say, toward fall and winter.

We are at the time of the longest daylight, earliest sunrise and latest sunset, which will continue with only a few seconds of change for another week. Time, if we would only pause and let it flow over us, for a little while partakes of the deliberation that is the mark of summer in almost everyhing except human affairs.

Excerpt from 'Relational Reality' by Charlene Spretnak


Of all the areas being revitalized by the Relational Shift, the education of our children may well be the most poignant. While the relational perspective is, as yet, more influential in the academic disciplines at universities than it is in elementary and secondary schools, this is a moment of tremendous potential for reshaping the educational experience of young children starting out on their journey from kindergarten to high school graduation – and beyond. For the first time in the modern era, they are increasingly likely to be taught not the misleading mechanistic worldview but, rather, a coherent presentation of the relational nature of reality, a study of the fundamental relationships of the physical world and the cultures of the human family.

An organic progression would begin for very young children with a focus on the internal relationships that allow their own bodies to work so well (that is, a version for 5- and 6-year olds of the recent discoveries in relational physiology that reveal how creative and smart our internal bodymind relationships are).

'Shocking\" state of seas threatens mass extinctions, experts say


Fish, sharks, whales and other marine species are in imminent danger of an "unprecedented" and catastrophic extinction event at the hands of humankind, and are disappearing at a far faster rate than anyone had predicted, a study of the world's oceans has found.

Mass extinction of species will be "inevitable" if current trends continue, researchers said.

Overfishing, pollution, run-off of fertilizers from farming and the acidification of the seas caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions are combining to put marine creatures in extreme danger, according to the report from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), prepared at the first international workshop to consider all of the cumulative stresses affecting the oceans at Oxford University.

Fiona Harvey writes on the Natural Resources Defense Council's OnEarth blog about this report.


Subscribe to Eco Catholic


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

January 29-February 11, 2016


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.