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


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


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.

Urban garden sites tainted with harmful chemicals


With remnants of once-legal lead paint, leaded gasoline and other pollutants from the nation's industrial past tainting land in U.S. cities, soil researchers warn that the growing number of urban farmers and community gardeners need to test their dirt and take steps to make sure it's safe.

An article on The Huffington Post blog details the threat to urban gardeners across the country.

'Crazy for energy? Obama, nuclear power, and giant dams in the Ring of Fire'


As President Obama visits Chile, the nation looks toward even riskier solutions for its energy needs -- environment and public safety be damned. Sound familiar?

Columnist George Black blogs on the Natural Resources Defense Council's OnEarth blog about the future energy plans of the South American nation.

Living on a rotating rock eight light minutes from the nearest star


We haven’t even caught up with Galileo. How pitiful is that? It’s been 400 years since scientists learned that the earth rotates around the sun, and yet we talk and act like we don’t know this fact. Our language—the sun “set” and “rose” -- still keeps reflecting the outdated and illusory view that the sun is moving around the earth. Thus our consciousness is stuck there, depriving us of a real and exciting engagement with the planet as it really is.

How I came to make Earth my life's work


To give you a better understanding of what has shaped my views expressed here, I would like to tell you more about myself and my passion for the Earth.

My childhood was lived on a farm close to nature and to the Catholic church. At age 20, I joined the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in Wichita, finished my education degree and began elementary teaching. After four years, I became a DRE and eventually a Pastoral Associate. I completed an MA in Theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Feeling called to other ministry, I left the community after 15 years, got married, adopted 3 children all at once (ages 3,4 and 6), worked for National Catholic Reporter Publishing Co., started a women’s center for personal and spiritual growth, was Director of Christian Formation for an Episcopal church, and was self-employed for the past 13 years doing education, spiritual direction, and massage.

The modern dilemma -- paper or plastic?


I’m wondering what our forebears did long before plastic and paper bags were created. My educated guess is that they only bought a tenth as many things. And when they did, baskets, buckets, grain sacks, and aprons all made good totes with minimal environmental impact. Creative use of what was at hand seemed to be the order of the day. I have a feeling that determined shoppers have always found a way to get their purchases home!

So what are we moderns who care about the health of the Earth supposed to do? Here are my solutions in order of preference: 1) Take neither paper nor plastic bag if possible and put your hands and arms to good use 2) Use a durable cloth bag 3) Drop those purchases into a second-hand paper or plastic bag and 4) Ask for plastic. Let me comment on each choice.

Most people have never considered that they don’t need a bag for most purchases. Store clerks routinely chuck even the smallest or largest of items into an unnecessary plastic bag, but you can simply tell them you don’t need one. I’ve been doing this for several years and so far no one has forced a bag on me, nor has any over-zealous guard tackled me on suspicion of shop-lifting.

Hal Borland: March dusk


"The March full moon has emphasized the lengthening daylight most of the past week, but it is the day-end glow not the moonlight that now tells the true time of year. Dusk has begun to linger and the long nights are slowly retreating. We have a softening light at sunset, no longer the cold winter light that winked out abruptly and left the world to brittle stars. Winter dusk has a sharp and icy edge, but the dusk of March begins to soften the rim of darkness.

"No season ends overnight. Change comes slowly. Winter must be melted and blown and washed away, just as spign must be leafed and blossomed and grudally grown into summer. But the hard blue shadows and the ice-green sky of January and February have now relaxed into an afterglow that gentles the hilltops and eases the valleys with tones of pink and rose. Even the blustery winds of March tend to fall away at sunset. The winter night's dark fang is somewhat dulled.

Stewardship versus deep ecology


In 1987 church environmental activists convened a nationwide ecumenical gathering in Indiana, the first Conference on Christianity and Ecology. Their aim was to bring together people from Christian churches around the country to discuss what could be done to bring a more active environmental awareness to the forefront in both preaching and praxis.

The conference was held on the shores of Lake Webster. Hundreds came from every corner of the United States.


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July 17-30, 2015


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