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30
Nov

How do you ‘act local - think global’?

Posted By Institute Justice Network

The future of the Tarkine rainforest in Tasmania, Coal Seam Gas mining, the fast depletion of resources, including water, are of great concern to many people. The Institute’s Specific Issues Committee Eco-Justice says that ‘collaboration must replace competition’.

The Institute’s Specific Issues Committee Eco-Justice presents this end of year message:

Human beings are fast depleting the world’s accessible reserves of minerals and fossil fuels and fresh water.  We are now witnessing the reality of our consumptive mentality.  Collaboration must replace competition.  Now is the time of great change which calls us to reflect on the major issues of our time, connect with social networks for the environmentally aware where locus for action on the burning issues of our time are addressed.  Act local - think global.

Keep focused and informed on the very current and critical issue of Coal Seam Gas Mining


Stop Coal Seam Gas Now

This could be the most informative 15 minutes of your activity today. It will certainly raise many questions and lead you to consider what is happening in, and to, our universe.
Excerpts:

“Get educated about what is coming… If there’s an action called – be at the action, because it is bodies on the ground… that is going to make the difference… and show these people can’t just walk in here and wreck the water”

“I’m not an activist, I’m not a greenie, I’m a mother… four beautiful daughters… I haven’t invested all that love for this to happen… I want them to have a future and I want their children to have a future…”

View the video clips from:

 

ABC Lateline
ABC Four Corners
GasLand Australia
Lock the Gate Alliance

Save the Tarkine Rainforest, Tasmania

The beautiful and unique Tarkine rainforest is the second largest intact stretch of rainforest in the world, yet mining companies want to destroy it. Read more and send your message to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.

How do you ‘act local - think global’?
What is your response to these issues?



From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Marie Farrell and Mary White)
The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (0)

16
Nov

Developments at the Reef

Posted By Institute Justice Network

In recent months there have been concerns raised about the Great Barrier Reef and the impact to this magnificent site by dredging. What is happening and what are the plans for the future?

Concern about recent developments in the Great Barrier Reef have been highlighted by a number of organisations including ABC Four Corners, Capricorn Conservation Council  and GetUp! Action for Australia. 

Read current information on the developments and the related impact on the Great Barrier Reef. Consider signing the Get Up! Action for Australia:  Save the Reef Petition

ABC Four Corners, Great Barrier Grief, by Marian Wilkinson and Clay Hichens

An investigation that asks if the Great Barrier Reef is in danger from massive coastal development brought on by the resources boom in Queensland. Reporter Marian Wilkinson examines why the Federal Government did not tell the World Heritage Committee in advance about the planned port expansion, given the potential to impact on the World Heritage Area.

Capricorn Conservation Council, the principal not-for-profit environment organisation in Central Queensland

UNESCO, World Heritage: Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It the world's most extensive stretch of coral reef and is probably the richest area in terms of faunal diversity in the world.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Queensland Government, Department of Environment and Resource Management
Great Barrier Reef

Coal Seam Gas

The Australian Greens MPs: Stop the destruction of our Great Barrier Reef

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Marie Farrell and Mary White)
The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email:

Comments (0)

6
Oct

Alarming Impacts on the Universe

Posted By Institute Justice Network

A big concern with Coal Seam Gas is the potential impacts that this industry will have on our water security. What are the impacts on our land and the health of children and local communities? The effect of Climate Change is having a direct impact on our Pacific neighbours, especially the central Pacific nation of Kiribati. Sea level rise and increasing salinity are threatening the lives of  105,000. View The Hungry Tide on SBS.

Coal Seam Gas Mining

Coal Seam Gas and Coal mining represent the biggest threat to our precious underground water reserves in our history. Once the damage is done it can’t be repaired James Bishop, Farmer Mullaley NSW.

Lock the Gate Alliance has been campaigning around the rapid expansion of the coal and coal seam gas industry.  A big concern is the potential impacts that this industry will have on our water security, so as part of National Water Week, Lock the Gate Alliance will be participating in the celebrations on Sunday 16th October. This is not the fight of our lives, this is the fight for our lives, says a member of Lock the Gate Alliance.

Don’t Risk Coal Seam Gas, Video Clip

‘Contaminate the water and the land...’

‘Very important, if not key natural resources being put at threat because once the damage is done it can’t be repaired...’

‘Walk right over the top of me...’

‘Bleeding from the nose as well as the ears. We have eleven gas wells around us...’

‘The whole gas seam industry should be stopped until the science of it is known’

Listen to the experience and concerns of residents and farmers including Katie and Scott Lloyd, Farmers Chinchilla QLD

What are the insights from Dr Karl Vernes, Environmental and Rural Science University of New England?

Lock the Gate Alliance Inc

Coal seam gas mining and the fight FOR our lives

Climate Change and our Pacific Neighbours

 

The Hungry Tide

A condensed version of the documentary will be shown across Australia on SBS at 9.30pm on Sunday 9th October 2011.

The central Pacific nation of Kiribati is one of the countries in the world most vulnerable to climate change.  Sea level rise and increasing salinity are threatening the lives of  105,000.

Stormy weather has caused major damage Kiribati.  Part of a seawall protecting an entire community has been swept away.   The President, the urbane Anote Tong, is acutely aware of these problems, but his government doesn’t have the resources to fix them.  Relocation, he believes, is inevitable.  He doesn’t want his people to become climate change refugees, but people who  move ‘with dignity’. 

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Marie Farrell and Mary White) The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (0)

21
Sep

Mercy Environmental Initiatives Responses 24 September

Posted By Institute Justice Network

Thank you to those who have already identified Mercy Environmental Initiatives. Responses are needed by 24 September to enable Sisters Patricia Powell RSM and Mary Tinney RSM, to forward our local information to the Mercy International Association Cosmology/Sustainable Living Working Group. Can you identify persons and facilities which are making a contribution to environmental initiatives from the Mercy world?

Database of Mercy Environmental Initiatives

 

Sisters Patricia Powell RSM and Mary Tinney RSM, members of the Mercy International Association Cosmology/Sustainable Living Working Group, are seeking your assistance.
The Working Group believes that grassroots level is an important starting place for theological reflection leading to global action. So one of their current tasks is to develop a database of environmental initiatives from the Mercy world. A researcher will collate the information which will then form the basis of on-going work. This is a sizeable project which through Mercy M@tters, E-news, Mercy websites will enable greater insight into Mercy environmental initiatives.

Information Required

 

Please identify those persons and facilities which are making a contribution to environmental initiatives from the Mercy world and forward contact details in the form of mailing/email addresses, phone numbers, websites to Mary or Patricia.  It would be helpful to have a sentence indicating why you have named this contact.

Responses are needed by 24 September

Please send your information to either mary.tinney@mercy.org.au or patricia.powell@mercy.org.au by 24 September, 2011.  Many thanks for your help with this.

MIA Global Action

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Marie Farrell and Mary White)
The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (0)

7
Sep

Coal seam gas mining and the fight FOR our lives

Posted By Institute Justice Network

Sister Carmel Heagerty RSM writes, Earlier this year during a discussion, I felt out of touch as I had not heard of ‘Coal Seam Gas Mining’. Since then I’m frequently hearing about it and the serious concerns being named by people from many different walks of life. What do you know about coal seam gas mining and its impact on the water table, on people’s health and lives? Lock the Gate Alliance member says, This is not the fight of our lives, this is the fight FOR our lives. View the powerful video clips from the ABC and other organisations.

What awareness do you have of Coal seam gas mining and the related issues? Lock the Gate Alliance member says, This is not the fight of our lives, this is the fight for our lives. What is the information presented by the government, GetUp! and other concerned groups? View the video clips from ABC Lateline, ABC Four Corners, GasLand Australia and Lock the Gate Alliance.

Some of the major concerns about coal seam gas mining include:

  • mining being established on good cropping soil and its impact on Australia’s production of food
  • interruption to the use of farming land
  • use of and impact of chemicals upon the land and on the water table
  • degradation of and devaluation of farming properties
  • how to deal with the significant amount of waste materials (by-products) of the process
  • impact on Australia’s Food Production, valuable export industries of beef and wine, Tourism, Thriving Communities– all of which effect human health.  See Video clip Dr Helen Redmond - Doctors for the Environment


  • Video clips are highly recommended for providing a quick understanding of some of the issues. Very informative– powerful and challenging. How will we respond?
    Water scientists issue warning on coal seam gas,  Lateline, Margot O'Neill
    Points raised include:
    • In the next 10 or 20 years regional Queensland will see the number of wells rise from 4,000 to 30,000.
    • One key question is what to do with an estimated 30 million tonnes of salt, a by-product of extracting briny underground water to get at the gas hidden in the coal seams.
    • Governments and scientists are questioning the impact that tens of thousands of coal seam gas wells will have on the environment.
    • Three of Australia's top water scientists say more research is urgently needed.
    • There are also concerns about fragile underground water systems, or aquifers, used by farmers and towns.

    • Read the entire Lateline transcript: Water scientists issue warning on coal seam gas
    View the Lateline Video clip: Coal seam gas under renewed pressure

GetUp! Action for Australia states:   

    From Sydney’s water supply catchment to the rich agricultural lands of the Liverpool Plains and the Darling Downs, the coal seam gas industry is expanding at breakneck speed. People's health is under threat, our nation's farmland being eroded away and the country's precious aquifers permanently damaged.
    Coal seam gas mining is out of control and Australia’s laws do not take proper account of the industry.
    Calling on the Health, Environment, Water and Agriculture Ministers to urgently halt the unbridled expansion of the coal seam gas industry until we have fully understood the impacts the industry is having, and we have the proper regulations and safe-guards in place to protect our:
    • farmers and farmland;
    • homes and communities;
    • precious natural areas; and
    • drinking and groundwater.

    Lock the Gate Alliance

    A must watch Video clip by Ross Pepper depicting the issues around Coal Seam Gas industry, particularly in the Tweed Valley. Dayne Pratsky, Chinchilla Landowner and Lock the Gate Alliance member says, This is not the fight of our lives, this is the fight for our lives.

Department of Environment and Resource Management, Queensland

Comments (0)

24
Aug

Database of Mercy Environmental Initiatives

Posted By Institute Justice Network

Sisters Patricia Powell RSM and Mary Tinney RSM, members of the Mercy International Association Cosmology/Sustainable Living Working Group, are seeking assistance to identify persons and facilities which are making a contribution to environmental initiatives from the Mercy world.

Sisters Patricia Powell RSM and Mary Tinney RSM, members of the Mercy International Association Cosmology/Sustainable Living Working Group, are seeking your assistance.
The Working Group believes that grassroots level is an important starting place for theological reflection leading to global action. So one of their current tasks is to develop a database of environmental initiatives from the Mercy world. A researcher will collate the information which will then form the basis of on-going work. This is a sizeable project which through Mercy M@tters, E-news, Mercy websites will enable greater insight into Mercy environmental initiatives.

Information Required

 

Please identify those persons and facilities which are making a contribution to environmental initiatives from the Mercy world and forward contact details in the form of mailing/email addresses, phone numbers, websites to Mary or Patricia.  It would be helpful to have a sentence indicating why you have named this contact.

Please send your information to either mary.tinney@mercy.org.au   or patricia.powell@mercy.org.au by 24 September, 2011.  Many thanks for your help with this.

MIA Global Action

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Marie Farrell and Mary White)
The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (0)

10
Aug

Disappearing Forest Needs Your Help

Posted By Fraynework Multimedia

The International Year of Forests is a very timely reminder of the beauty of forests and our responsibility to care for the earth. Sister Mary White RSM, Institute Specific Issues Committee  Eco-Justice highlights the current concern for the Toolangi forest. Will you respond to the call for action? Have you signed the Ethical Paper pledge?

Many participants to Glenburn have walked through the Warrawilla Rainforest and experienced the 3D miracle of this forest region. The surrounding forest is mostly 60-70 year old Mountain Ash regrowth… home to the well hidden lyre bird and other small birds, and water causes through Sylvia Creek.  It is no wonder that our senses and imagination awaken to a resounding “inner” yes to place. Alas just around the corner, logging coupes have been identified and established and logging commenced.  We are stumped. The voice of the forest continues to be muffled out at a great cost to both present and future generations. I urge you to take action.  Become informed and involved.  When we act, it speaks volumes.

Read Sister Mary White’s backgrounder on the
Disappearing Forests in the Central Highlands of Victoria”. (PDF)

Save Sylvia – Protect Our Forests  View the video clip

Controversial Exports of Victorian Timber ABC, 7.30 Victoria View the video clip

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2
Jun

Earthcare and Ecological Conversion

Posted By Fraynework Multimedia

The Institute Specific Issues Committee Eco-Justice, Sisters Mary White RSM and Marie Farrell RSM, provide a timely reflection on ecological concerns.  World Environment Day 5 June and the Millennium Development Goal to Ensure Environmental Sustainability challenge us to consider the impact of local and global actions. Are you aware that 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods?

Download the reflection paper here

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20
Apr

‘Seeing with new eyes after a change of heart’

Posted By Fraynework Multimedia

Sister Mary White RSM, member of the Institute Specific Issues Committee Eco-Justice, reflects on recent local and global natural disasters and the significant challenge of climate change. Mary writes, “We continue to stand at the threshold of deep change in consciousness and immerse ourselves as Christians in our vocation to be active participants in change for the common good”.

In recent times earth is certainly speaking in a new way.  The recent natural disasters of Japan, New Zealand and Australia have lead to bombardment of technology splashing this reality into every crevasse of our homes, our lives.  We sit drowning in the plethora of diverse opinion regarding Climate Change and Carbon Tax.  How do we holistically respond to what ultimately matters?

Firstly we acknowledge the immense suffering.  The diversity of peoples and life forms experiencing such suffering is clearly evident.  Restoration projects are in full swing and we are seeing what I believe to be the closer reality of “re-creation” of the human spirit.

Climate Change is acknowledged as a significant global challenge for the 21st Century.  Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, at the 14th Symposium on Religion Science and the Environment in June 2002 said:
“We are all painfully aware of the fundamental obstacle that confronts us in our work for the environment.  It is precisely this:  how are we to move from theory to action, from words to deeds?  We do not lack technical scientific information about the nature of the present ecological crisis.  We know not simply what needs to be done, but also how to do it.  Yet despite all this information unfortunately little is actually done.  It is a long journey from the head to the heart and an even longer journey from the heart to the hands.” 

Bishop Christopher Toohey believes that “ecological conversion is about seeing with new eyes after a change of heart”.   There is a new culture emerging resulting in global ethical statements which emphasize the common values shared across different religions.

We continue to grasp the reality that Earth needs to be understood as one organic body, “an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever effects one directly, affects all.”    Similarly, Denis Edwards, a renowned ecological theologian notes, “we are part of the interconnected community of creation inter-related with all other creatures”.

Therefore, “Earth Care” is the key focus of the Eco Justice Committee this year and our reflections are based on the Earth Charter and the Catholic Earthcare document ‘On Holy Ground’. 

The Earth Charter, established in 2002 is an international declaration of values and principles considered useful by its supporters for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society.    It is a comprehensive document, containing the substance about the challenges we face living in these times and the call to responsible action and commitment.  The sixteen general ethical principles can help us discern right from wrong action.  Each Principle is the basis for a reflection in its own right, however the practical application is better covered in the recent Earth Charter Publication – Generating the Renewable Energy of Hope – An Earth Charter Guide to Religion and Climate Change published in 2009.  This is a guide for those seeking guidance on the key findings on climate change and offers practical suggestions of how to get involved”  The guidelines highlight the fundamental changes needed in our values and our ways of living.  Ironically, it notes from Human Development Report 2007/2008 that the battle is reaching changes at many levels, in consumption, in how we produce and price energy and in international cooperation.    Reversing degradation… will have to be substantial when compared to the actions currently taken.

We continue to stand at the threshold of deep change in consciousness and immerse ourselves as Christians in our vocation to be active participants in change for the common good. We are all encouraged to take responsibility for our actions and lifestyle choices.  Our understanding can only deepen when we embrace the metaphorical imagination of Holy Ground.  Treating ecology as a matter of heart gives us the opportunity to stretch our own perspectives while we learn about the perspective of other and thereby achieve a greater understanding and compassion in our way of living. 


Further Information

On Holy Ground Ecological vision for Catholic Education in South Australia (PDF)

Generating the Renewable Energy of Hope - An Earth Charter Guide to Religion and Climate Change

Earth Charter

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Marie Farrell and Mary White)
The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (1)

Looking at the human face of climate change

Posted By Fraynework Multimedia

Sister Daphne McKeough, a member of the Institute Justice Network, draws reader’s attention to the significant impact of climate change on Pacific communities. “The sea is getting higher so most of our people moving further in but our island is very small so where else do you go...”  What are the concerns and hopes raised by the Pacific Calling Partnership and the Edmund Rice Centre?  MORE

The Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) speaks to Claire Anterea, (Secretary, Kiribati Climate Action Network and Pacific Calling Partnership) and Phil Glendenning (Director of Edmund Rice Centre, Pacific Calling Partnership) about the harsh challenges facing the people of Kiribati, their efforts to adapt to climate change and the increasing threat to their community and culture. The interview includes the following points:
• Education with the communities: How to understand and adapt to climate change
• We witness that the drinking water (from the well) is getting salty
• In the last 12 months changes are stark and noticeable
• Villages have had to be relocated
• Experiencing drought... food crops very limited
• The sea is getting higher so most of our people moving further in but our island is very small so where else do you go...
View the Video Clip

Pacific Calling Partnership


Resource: Imagine Climate Change 
“WHAT CAN WE DO AS GOOD NEIGHBOURS?
Australia is a nation of great abundance—for good reason it is often called “the lucky country”. Our history and progress is intertwined with our Pacific neighbours and we benefit from their hospitality, from access to their ecological resources and from their need for commercial products.
Countries, such as the Pacific Islands, that are already suffering the effects of climate change, and are the most vulnerable to future impacts, are doing what they can to adapt to the changes taking place. However their ability to mitigate climate change by taking action to limit the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is minimal.
“WHAT WILL WE DO AS GOOD NEIGHBOURS?


MEDIA RELEASE Edmund Rice Centre: Praise for Carbon Tax, Sunday, 28th February 2011
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community reports that Heads of Pacific Islands’ fisheries agencies heard that climate change may halve Pacific Islands’ coastal fish catches.
Dr Morgan Pratchett stated “Higher sea temperatures, ocean acidification, and loss of important habitats like coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves are projected to have a drastic impact on the inshore resources that support many coastal communities.
Read the article  

Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

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9
Mar

Eco-Justice March 10

Posted By Fraynework Multimedia

A Flick of the Switch – a Symbol of Unity

The Institute’s Specific Issues Eco-Justice committee draws reader’s attention to Earth Hour, Saturday March 26. How will you respond to the challenge to ‘build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature’?

Earth Hour is a call to action to every individual, every business and every community. It starts with a flick of the switch at 8:30pm Saturday March 26, in a collective display of commitment to protect the one thing that unites us all - the planet.

ONE person has the power to make a change... The largest voluntary action ever witnessed... imagine... what can be achieved... What will you do this Earth Hour? earthhour.org.au

Earth Hour Official Video 2011

Footprint Calculator (WWF-Australia)

wwf.org.au

Measure your ecological footprint to see how the way you live is impacting the planet and what you can do to reduce it. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 humanity's demand on nature will be twice the biosphere's productive capacity

Example tips for reducing your footprint

earthhour.org.au/media/

  • Ditch the take away coffee cup – this will reduce landfill and the amount of resources used to produce your daily pick-me-up.
  • Try a meat-free day once a week – did you know that hundreds of litres of water are needed to produce one kilogram of beef?
  • Double the efficiency of your car by putting another person in it! – this is an easy way to reduce your mobility footprint.
  • Cut out one flight this year – air travel contributes significantly to your mobility footprint. Choosing to holiday closer to home, or avoiding business travel, can make a really big difference.
  • Make sure you recycle your electronic gadgets – old mobiles, iPods, TVs, computers and radios contain lots of material that can be recycled. None of this needs to end up as landfill.
  • Every night, make sure you’re not leaving things on stand-by power – by turning appliances like TVs off at the wall, you’re eliminating wasted energy and carbon.

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Marie Farrell and Mary White)
The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au

Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (0)

2
Dec

Doing your bit for the environment this Christmas

Posted By Institute Justice Network

Changing some of your habits can be a better result for our environment. In the preparation for Christmas and holidays the Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice, invites you to consider what actions you take that have a positive impact on our environment.

Taking a break...

Remember to put your house into energy hibernation. Switching off lights and turning off electrical appliances not only saves energy but reduces you electricity bill. Frost build up in the freezer increases the amount of energy that keeps the motor running so longer breaks are a great opportunity to defrost the freezer.

Greener and cheaper travel...

Public transport is a great option during holidays when the pressure of time is lessened. Also, walking is great for the environment and is good exercise.

Plant a tree and fly...

Sometimes flying is the only option however, you can fly carbon neutral and offset your flight emissions.

Greenfleet, a not-for-profit organisation, is one option for off-setting greenhouse gas emissions

Do you want that gift wrapped?

Have you ever wondered how many trees are used to provide wrapping paper, catalogues and party supplies? Recycled paper represents only 7 to 9 per cent of the paper market. Do you recycle old paper, use children’s artwork or tea towels and scarves for wrapping a gift?

Information source: Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin, True Green Life, 200 Ideas to Make Your Life Greener in Every Way, ABC Books, 2009.

Also, you might like to visit the Be True Green website.

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Claudette Cusack, Mary Dennett, Marie Farrell and Mary White). The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (2)

20
Aug

Living in ways that respect the earth

Posted By Institute Justice Network

The Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-justice, continues to explore how we can modify our decisions and behaviour, both individually and collectively, so that we live in ways that respect the earth.

Comments (0)

3
Jun

Many species, one planet, one future

Posted By Institute Justice Network

World Environment Day, June 5, stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. The UN World Environment Day theme for 2010 is “Many Species. One Planet. One Future”. This year’s theme highlights the urgent call to conserve the diversity of life on our planet. “A world without biodiversity is a very bleak prospect. Millions of people and millions of species all share the same planet, and only together can we enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.”

Find out more. How will you recognise the day?

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Claudette Cusack, Mary Dennett, Marie Farrell and Mary White). The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue. Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (0)

6
May

Living in ways that respect the earth

Posted By Institute Justice Network

The Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-justice, continues to explore how we can modify our decisions and behaviour, both individually and collectively, so that we live in ways that respect the earth. The committee highlights the Rahamim Ecological Learning Community, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, Bathurst.

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25
Mar

Climate change: responding to the challenges

Posted By Institute Justice Network

The Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-justice, calls on readers to respond to Tim Flannery’s questions: What does climate change mean? What factors threaten our future here and that of our Pacific neighbours? Are there practical ways for us to engage in action to reduce the impact of factors influencing the warming of the planet?

Comments (0)

11
Mar

Get involved in carbon fasting and Earth Hour

Posted By Institute Justice Network

The Institute Specific Issues Committee Eco-Justice calls on people to extend their awareness of climate change issues and get involved in ecological fasting during Lent and the global Earth Hour on March 27.

Although the ‘switch off their lights’ campaign commenced in Sydney, it is an event supported by millions of people across the globe. Will you take the challenge and join millions of people showing their commitment to the environment?

The CLRI(NSW) Social Justice Committee offers a calendar which focuses on daily actions that you can take to cut down on your carbon dioxide emissions, a form of ecological fasting. Download the Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar (PDF) and a letter from CLRI(NSW).

Earth Hour
At 8.30pm on Saturday, March 27 join hundreds of millions of people showing their commitment to the environment. “By turning the lights off for Earth Hour, cities are reflecting the aspirations of their citizens as a community that has resolved to take action on global warming,” says Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley.

Although Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 by 2009 the concept truly went global, with Earth Hour triggering people to “switch off” all over the world. Millions of people in over 4,000 towns and municipalities in 88 countries took part.

Earth Hour, Every Hour

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Sisters Claudette Cusack, Mary Dennett, Marie Farrell and Mary White). The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue.
Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
 
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

Comments (0)

25
Feb

Shedding some light on climate change

Posted By Institute Justice Network

At the November 2009 Mercy Justice Conference, Professor Tim Flannery suggested various actions to reduce climate change. Cathy Solano RSM (Melbourne), one of the 260-plus delegates who attended the conference, shares an idea for engaging students in reducing electricity usage and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Comments (0)

8
Nov

Climate Change Affecting the Pacific

Posted By Shirley Garland

There is a Resource Kit "Pacific Calling" at www.erc.org.au and follow the links. This is useful for awareness raising (Secondary Students up).

Comments (0)

Clusters Munitions

Posted By Shirley Garland

At the Mercy Justice Conference held at Queanbeyan on 6, 7, and 8 November we wish to share our concern around the funding for cluster munitions. Please write to your local ANZ Branch Manager. See the attached document which is a template for a letter. 

Denise Coghlan rsm and Sam Weir

 

End ANZ funding of Cluster Munitions - LETTER TEMPLATE
[Please include Date of Letter]
 
Dear Branch Manager (it might be helpful if you actually find out their name),
 
I am writing to draw your attention to the following issue that was raised at the Mercy Justice Conference, Queanbeyan (6th-8th November 2009), attended by over 260 delegates from all over Australia:
 
Australia, along with most countries, has signed the Convention on Cluster munitions, which seeks to ban the manufacture, trade and use of these terrible weapons.
 
Cluster munitions have created humanitarian problems in every conflict they have been used, and have killed and maimed thousands of civilians, mostly after the conflict has ended.
 
The ANZ Bank has a policy that it will not directly fund the production of cluster munitions or landmines.
 
A report released by IKV Pax Christi and Network Vlaanderen, Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions a shared responsibility, names the ANZ as the only major Australian bank that has provided finance to a company manufacturing cluster munitions.
 
Many institutions sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy have been financed through your Bank. I now find it disappointing to hear this news and I hope that you address it immediately. I also ask you to consider financially assisting the survivors of cluster bombs and landmines.
 
We call on the ANZ to stop financing companies manufacturing cluster munitions.
 
Would you please forward this letter to you your next line of management.
 
Yours faithfully,
 

Comments (0)

7
Nov

Tim Flannery at the Mercy Justice Conference

Posted By Shirley Garland

Last night we heard from Tim Flannery regarding the inevitability of Climate Change given our presence use/misuse of our environment. Howeve, he had many suggestions about how the rapid development of climate change can be addressed.

Hope was particularly a theme of Tim's address, but not if we do not all take the relevant steps to turn the situation around.

Perhaps those attending Tim's talk might like to share their highlights by commenting on this blog.

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7
Apr

Celebrating Earth Day: March or April?

Posted By Fraynework Multimedia

The annual celebration of Earth Day is an opportunity for us to be reminded that we can make a difference. When each one does a little, a great deal can be achieved. However, there are differing points of view regarding the ‘official’ date and history of Earth Day. Do you celebrate Earth Day in March or April? What is the relevance of such recognised days in our calendar?

“The vernal equinox calls on all mankind to recognise and respect Earth’s beautiful systems of balance, between the presence of animals on land, the fish in the sea, birds in the air, mankind, water, air, and land. Most importantly there must always be awareness of the actions by people that can disturb this precious balance.” - Margaret Mead

EARTH DAY MARCH 21 or APRIL 22?

EARTH DAY - MARCH 21
Earth Day is celebrated each year at the time of the March Equinox and was first celebrated on March 21, 1970. It was proposed and promoted by John McConnell as a “global holiday to celebrate the wonder of life on our planet”. He chose the day of the March Equinox to celebrate Earth Day because he recognised that all the Earth experienced equal share of daylight on that day.

"The symbolism of Earth Day - the equilibrium and balance of the equinox - encourages and inspires independence and co-operation. The simultaneous global event deepens our sense of unity. It fosters a sense of rights and responsibilities in the protection and care of Earth. From Earth Day has come a growing consensus that every individual and institution should act as Earth Trustees, seeking what can be done in ecology, economics and ethics to benefit people and planet. This will help us obtain a healthy, peaceful future and speed the day when bells will ring all over the world as we celebrate Earth Day, the Great Day of Earth." - John McConnell (Source: Earth Day)

Earth Day, March 21 is now associated with Earth Hour - a time when all over the world, people and organisations agree to turn off all unessential electrical appliances. The practice has grown from an event in one city to an opportunity for the population of all five continents to show their concern and to take action that can make a difference.

EARTH DAY - APRIL 22
In September 1969 at a conference in Seattle, Washington, US Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced that in spring 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. April 22, 1970, Earth Day marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Approximately 20 million Americans participated, with a goal of a healthy, sustainable environment. Mobilising 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues onto the world stage, Earth Day on April 22 in 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Whenever we decide to celebrate our Earth - March, April, any other month or every day - each of us is called to establish and maintain “mutually enhancing relations with all beings” and this is one simple but effective way to do so.

In 2009 there is a much greater awareness of the need for all people to “foster a sense of rights and responsibilities in the protection and care of Earth”. Creation is a primary revelation of God and this gives us a responsibility to ensure that our actions in our use of and dependence on the resources of creation are not harmful. It is time for us to consider how we can make out footprint on the Earth a beneficial one. Each of our actions has an effect on the Earth and with little effort we can all contribute to making our relationships with all beings mutually enhancing.

Many groups, individuals and organisations, particularly World Wildlife Fund, want the historic, global event Earth Hour to send a strong message to our global leaders that, together, our small actions will represent a global vote for action on climate change.

Earth Hour is an important step in the fight against climate change. Millions of people, have shown their concern about climate change. Each of us can continue our “mutually enhancing relationships with all beings” by our actions:

ACTIONS FOR THE PLANET

  1. Remember to use a carry bag when shopping instead of plastic bags.
  2. Switch off all electrical appliances such as TV stereo rechargers computers etc. at the power point at night or whenever you are not using them for long periods. (This can save up to $100 per household per year)
  3. Use the recycle service if the local council provides one in your area.

Remember that you are not alone and together we CAN make a difference.

KEEP INFORMED

MERCY JUSTICE CONFERENCE, November 6-8, Queanbeyan (near Canberra)

Readers are warmly encouraged to invite friends, family, workmates, parishioners and anyone who cares about matters of mercy and justice to participate in the Mercy Justice Conference.

Tim Flannery, a scientist, explorer, conservationist and one of Australia’s leading thinkers and writers, is a keynote speaker at the conference. His landmark works The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers have changed the way we think about the environmental challenges facing our world today.

Are you interested to hear the insights and challenges Tim will present at the Mercy Justice Conference? If so please register for the conference. Early Bird Registration closes soon. FIND OUT MORE.

REFLECTION

Creator Spirit within all being 
Spirit God beyond all dreaming
Spirit holding each earth turning
Stillness of the living earth
 
Shadow of dawning
Red Sheen of evening
God all encompassing
Wholeness of Earth
 
Rock us in your earthly rhythms
Stretch alert our timid senses
Rest our minds in wisest wisdom
Wise in Earth’s deep wonder.

(From At Home in the Earth, by Neil Darragh. Used with permission) 

From: Institute Specific Issues Committee, Eco-Justice (Claudette Cusack, Mary Dennett, Marie Farrell, Kate McGrath). The Committee warmly invites your response to the article or the issue. Email: eco.justice@mercy.org.au
Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email:
Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au

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