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Permaculture: a good idea

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We hear a lot about “tipping points,” those places at which momentum becomes irreversible, in connection with looming environmental challenges such as climate change. The Earth now spins toward many points of no return, reputable scientists say. Opinions vary as to how long it will take or whether indeed we have already passed through them.

“The tipping points are falling like dominoes,” said Albert Bates, founder of the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology. “We are losing. We need to sprint.”

Needed for that sprint are eco-tipping points, levers that dramatically reverse environmental decline and set in motion restoration and sustainability.

There are indeed many pioneering projects and efforts around the world that are not technological fixes so much as returns to ways humans have employed for hundreds of thousands of years or to ways and means that nature herself uses.Here’s one involving the new/old science of permaculture.

Prayer from Catholic Relief Services

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God of all creation, as we weep with our family in Haiti, console us.
In this time of crisis, open our eyes to look beyond the disaster
to see Christ in our brothers and sisters in Haiti, as Christ sees us.
Be with us as we stand in solidarity with those living and working in Haiti.
Be with us in our mourning and guide our efforts to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, comfort the grieving and stand for justice.
With your mercy, sustain us at this time as we continue to work for peace and justice.
Amen.

For our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti Affected by the Earthquake
Lord, hear our prayer.
For the Haitian people, that help comes to them quickly and comfort comes to those who hurt.
Lord, hear our prayer.
For the lost or buried, that they are found and reunited with their loved ones.
Lord, hear our prayers.
For the relief workers, that they have the tools they need, the courage and the strength to respond fully.
Lord, hear our prayers.
For the families in Haiti and in the United States who are waiting to hear from loved one, that good news comes to them.
Lord, hear our prayers.

Late night television and the comedy crisis

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When the hour-long primetime "The Jay Leno Show" (NBC weeknights 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific) premiered last Fall, I watched the first five programs and a few here and there afterward. I was so unimpressed that I called the show "dull and disappointing" in my brief review in the January 2010 issue of St. Anthony Messenger.

If it was evident to me in those first five shows, why wasn't anyone at NBC paying attention? Because Jay Leno is a golden goose, and they thought he would keep laying golden eggs no matter what. Alas.

Catholic Relief Services update on Haiti

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Following is a news release from Catholic Relief Services updating its Haiti efforts:

Baltimore, MD, January 13– Catholic Relief Services is readying food and other aid to help families affected by a powerful earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. CRS has committed an initial $5 million (US) to help survivors of the devastating quake.

“This is a massive disaster,” says CRS’ Country Representative in Haiti, Karel Zelenka. “We should be prepared for thousands and thousands of dead and injured.” In a brief call on Tuesday night before phones went down, Zelenka described clouds of smoke surrounding Port-au-Prince and said, “I’ve experienced earthquakes before, but I never felt anything like this. This is a major hit. And it was direct.”

While the CRS office in Port-au-Prince is undamaged, a building directly across from it collapsed. CRS has approximately 340 staffers in Haiti, of which 120 are in Port-au-Prince. Many staffers slept outside on Tuesday night to avoid building collapses from aftershocks.

CRS commits extra $5 million to Haiti relief

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In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, Catholic Relief Services made an initial commitment of $5 million for immediate relief, an amount that will probably rise significantly, according to John Rivera, director of communications for CRS in Baltimore.

Rivera said the agency has “pre-positioned” emergency supplies in Haiti for about 5,000 people. The supplies, which include kitchen kits of pots and pans, food, hygiene kits and temporary shelter, is already in place because Haiti “is so disaster prone.”

Supplies for another 2,500 people will be trucked in from neighboring Dominican Republic, he said.

CRS international staff in Haiti, said Rivera, stayed at the agencies office in Port au Prince the night after the quake, but slept outside on the ground because of the aftershocks. A building across the street from the office had collapsed.

The day after the quake, he said, it was difficult to begin to assess the dimensions of the disaster because of the lack of communications and because the basic infrastructure in Port au Prince was poor to nonexistent even before the shock.

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October 10-23, 2014

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