Tuesday, 20 November 2012

So Many Dead Babies



There have been some very disturbing  photos of children who have become collateral damage in the conflict between Israel and Palestine; very, very confronting photos of babies who could be anybody's children, anywhere in the world but they happen, by some mischance of fate, to have lived in a place where adults could not work things out and so they dropped bombs on each other. How does this solve anything?


When did some bright spark suddenly say...'We can't work it out so let's kill each other instead and if babies get in the way, then we'll kill them too. What a grand idea!'.

How completely rediculous is this? In 2012, when the people of the earth should be uniting to deal with human induced climate change, the greatest threat ever to their existence, there are still countries who cannot share and get along. Instead, they bomb each others babies!

No country should support any side that declares war on any other country because war always kills people, including children. Human death in war is just as much murder as someone shooting people on any busy street anywhere in the world. It is not geographic. It does not cease to be murder simply because it has been perpetrated by a soldier in Palestine or Israel or Syria or Iraq or the Sudan.

However, Palestine must have it's own State and Gaza must be renegotiated and supported by the United Nations...NOW! SO STOP KILLING BABIES PEOPLE! Go to the naughty corner right now and do not come back until you agree to stop fighting! 

HAVE A LOOK AT THIS MAP OF ISRAEL AND TELL ME HOW IT MAKES ANY SENSE AT ALL. THE PALESTINIANS NEED A STATE OF THEIR OWN AND ISRAEL IS ACCRUING MORE AND MORE LAND. THERE WILL NEVER BE PEACE UNTIL THIS IS RESOLVED.

http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/lgcolor/palestinianlinks.htm

Coalition 'Fear Through Misinformation' workshops!

I hope you can read these published letters to the editor as they will explain the letter at the end of this post.




And this is my response followed by our Liberal Member Dan Tehan's response!




And there it is! I'm sure the Coalition runs  ' Fear Through Misinformation' workshops for all its MPs. With brain deadening regularity we have heard the same old routine about the evils of the so called carbon 'tax'.

Again, I urge small businesses not to listen to them.

Firstly, Mr.Tehan omits to say that the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee was not unanimous in supporting the application of the carbon price to heavy on-road vehicles. It is yet to be passed in parliament and may not be passed at all.

Even if it is passed, the plan is that carbon pricing for transport fuels will not have an effect at the petrol pump or at service stations. Any extra cost will be handled either through the existing fuel tax system or the new carbon pricing mechanism and after July 1st 2014, small businesses earning under $2 million per year can apply for tax exemptions. Also, there will be a number of grants available to help small businesses become more sustainable.

 Look it up  http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/transport-fuels/  or talk to someone on the Small Business Support Line 1800777275

 Secondly, it's not a 'tax'  but a system of  permits and in 2015 Australian companies will be able to buy and sell permits from the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. That's why it's called a ''price' and not a 'tax'. You cannot sell a 'tax'. The Coalition uses the word 'tax' for its  negative impact. It's not a tax.

Giving pollution a value, initially $23 a tonne and now linked with the fluctuating Euro price, motivates the change to  solar, wind and geothermal. Australia's emissions have reduced considerably since its introduction.

Thirdly, the Greens are most emphatically not a part of the Labor Party. Labor is in a minority government and sometimes, if a vote is close, Greens or Independent MPs will caste the determining vote. It's called 'the balance of power'. All parties were invited to join the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee but the Coalition declined.

Attention all Coalition MPs! Stop acting like petulant children, accept defeat and admit that the price on greenhouse gases is essential to the fight against climate change.

Four-Degrees Briefing for the World Bank: The Risks of a Future Without Climate Policy

ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2012) — Humankind's emissions of greenhouse gases are breaking new records every year. Hence we're on a path towards 4-degree global warming probably as soon as by the end of this century. This would mean a world of risks beyond the experience of our civilization -- including heat waves, especially in the tropics, a sea-level rise affecting hundreds of millions of people, and regional yield failures impacting global food security. These are some of the results of a report for the World Bank, conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics in Berlin. The poorest in the world are those that will be hit hardest, making development without climate policy almost impossible, the researchers conclude.

"The planetary machinery tends to be jumpy, this is to respond disproportionately to disruptions that come with the manmade greenhouse effect," PIK's director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber points out. "If we venture far beyond the 2-degree guardrail, towards 4 degrees, we risk crossing tipping points in the Earth system." This could be the case with coral reefs which face collapse under unabated global warming, or with the Greenland ice sheet. To melt the ice sheet would take thousands of years, yet this might be an irreversible process that could start soon. "The only way to avoid this is to break with the fossil-fuel-age patterns of production and consumption," says Schellnhuber.
Climate impacts: Heat waves, sea-level rise, yield failures
Already today impacts of climate change are observed. The Russian heat wave in 2010, according to preliminary estimates, produced a death toll of several thousand, annual crop failure of about 25%, and economic losses of about US$15 billion. Extreme events like this at 4 degrees global warming would become "the new normal" in some parts of the world, according to the report. In the tropics, the coolest months at the end of the century are likely to be substantially warmer than the warmest months today.
Sea level, under this scenario, would rise by 50 to 100 centimeters within this century, and more so in coming centuries. The rate of rise varies from one region to the other, depending on sea currents and other factors. Projections suggest that sea-level rise will be strongest in countries like the Philippines, Mexico, and India.
Within economic sectors, too, tipping effects with rapidly increasing damages can occur, for instance in agriculture. Already, observations showed that important cereals are sensitive to temperature increases passing certain thresholds, resulting in large-scale yield failure. Changes in the water cycle can aggravate this, when droughts occur or flooding affects farmed land.
World Bank President Kim: "A 4-degree warmer world can, and must be, avoided"
"The report draws from the current state of science and delivers new analysis of heat waves and regional sea-level rise, so of course there remain some uncertainties," says William Hare, co-founder of Climate Analytics in Berlin and guest scientist at PIK. "We work with that by defining risk as potential damage multiplied with the probability -- a rather improbable event can be a great risk if its impacts are huge."
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim who was nominated early this year by US President Barack Obama and assumed his new position in July, has personally been briefed on the 4-degrees report by Schellnhuber some weeks ago in Washington D.C.. "A 4-degree warmer world can, and must be, avoided -- we need to hold warming below 2 degrees," President Kim now said in a statement. "Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the biggest single challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest."

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Wild Weather on Green Action Day: July 2011



Some good news for a change!

On July 10th 2011, a huge swell rolled in from the Antarctic. Waves were washing over London Bridge  and the gale threatened to blow onlookers off their ledges. As I struggled against the wind, pulling cords and doing up zips with numb, icy fingers, I thought of those who had been shipwrecked in such weather along our coast.

On that day, when I felt vulnerable and powerless in the face of wild weather and a ferocious sea, our country finally took its first steps to reduce its impact on climate change through the introduction of a price on greenhouse gases or as it has come to be incorrectly called, the ‘carbon tax’.

Since then, according to the NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centre, September 2012 has been the warmest month in recorded history and the Earth has experienced 330 consecutive months of above average temperatures. Polar ice is shrinking, forests fires are increasing, species are disappearing and the ocean is heating up and acidifying.

But the news isn’t all bad. Today the Australian Energy Market Operator announced that the price on carbon is working. Since its introduction, there has been a decline in emissions with the greatest reduction in South Australia (which has a strong solar/wind energy sector) of 16.1% and in Vic it was reduced by 8.7%.
As coal and gas fired power continues to decline and renewable energy increases, our future will look ever brighter and July 10th 2011 will go down in the history of Australia as a great day indeed.


Wild weather & a 'Great Green Action Day'

by Lisa Owen on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 10:22pm


David, Skye and I drove down the coast yesterday to see the huge swell which rolled in from the Antarctic. Waves were gushing over London Bridge and  the Bay of Matyrs and the gale nearly blew us off the ledge. As I stood in the gale and struggled against the wind to weather proof my raincoat by pulling cords and doing up zips with numb, icy fingers, I thought of the plight of those who were shipwrecked in such weather along our coast, in a time when sailing ships and horses were the only forms of transport in this huge country.
The weather was awesome in the truest sense of that word and I experienced first hand its beautiful and frightening power.
And so, this is how I will remember the day when Australia's price on carbon was announced. On the day I felt vulnerable and powerless in the face of wild weather and a ferocious sea, our country finally took the steps to do something about climate change. Hopefully most Australians have accepted that humans have become a shaping force on this planet's climate and they have also accepted that it is our responsibility to do what we can to make it right again.
Thank you to our Green parliamentarians for making these measures possible. I extend my love and gratitude to them all. The Greens are absolutely a force for good in Australian politics.
Now we have to make sure that the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott do not become Govt at the next election. To prevent such a catastrophe you, the grass roots people, must spread the word and talk to everyone you know about the price on carbon.
Tell them how positive it will be for you, your children and your grandchildren. Tell them that it will foster the development of clean renewable energy, create new business opportunities and over a million new jobs and finally it will encourage the closure of dirty coal fired power stations with assistance to coal workers to gain other forms of employment. Governments at all levels will work together to make this possible.
Talk to everyone you know and spread the word. You are more powerful and influential than you realise. If you dare to raise the topic with fellow workers, neighbours, friends, extended family and community group members, you will have a big impact. Your efforts will help save us from catastrophic climate change.
Happy Green Action Day

Friday, 17 August 2012

Irene Sendler was a 'people smuggler' in Poland.


Meet Irene Sendler 'people smuggler'.  She was born in Poland in 1910 and was a Catholic Social worker who worked in the Polish underground, the 'Zegota Resistence' organisation, in Warsaw during World War 2. She helped to smuggle 2,500 Jewish children out of Poland during this time.

Not all people smugglers are bad. Many of those who actually run the boats are poor, simple fishermen, often teenagers, whose fisheries have been fished out by foreign owned supertrawlers such as the Dutch supertrawler waiting to overfish Bass Strait at this very moment!

In many countries, ocean fisheries are being destroyed in an attempt to feed huge populations of people all around the world who demand seafood at the ready. They are also being destroyed by pollution, plastic, oil and gas drilling and climate change. The Fukishima nuclear reactor melt down in Japan has successfully wiped out whole fishing industries for many years to come...possibly forever.

Fisherman in small fishing villages throughout our region have lost their traditional food source and income, so now they must look elsehwere to use their 'leaky' boats. The real criminals are the 'mafia' style opportunists who pay the fishermen a pittance for their leaky boats and for their services.





But my point is this: without such people smugglers and leaky boats the probability is that many more people would have died because they would not have been able to escape death or incarceration in their country of origin.

Why is this so clear to some and not to others?

About death and other life experiences.

Tragic day for Australians. Tragic day for asylum seekers.


Today is a sad day in the history of Australia! Despite the fact that theGreens were prepared to work with the Government on a new regional approach, Labor and Liberal, or rather 'Laberal', voted together to reinstate a harsher version of John Howard’s Pacific Solution.

The Greens want to save the lives of refugees right now, not by punishing them but rather by providing safe alternatives to boarding leaky boats. Condemning refugees to indefinite detention on the island prisons and mental illness factories of Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island is inhumane, immoral and illegal.

This regression back to the draconian policies used by Howard is against theadvice of experts such as former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Julian BurnsideQC, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Australian of the year Patrick McGorry, refugee law academicsand the Refugee Council of Australia, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre,Amnesty International, Get Up!, Christian and human rights groups and others.

‘Laberal’s’ assumption that Howard’s off shore processing worked, is very wrong! The only thing that altered the number of people seeking asylum in Australia was a change in the situation affecting the country from which they were escaping.
Caring for refugees requires a regional humanitarian response based on legal protections for refugees, not a quick political fix.

The ALP should work with the Greens toward taking the pressure off refugees to board boats in the first place, rather than punishing them once they have. Refugee advocates approve the Green’s New Regional Plan of Action to provide safer pathways for people seeking asylum in Australia and if the government had any sense on this matter, it would too.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Dutch super fishing trawler is threatening fish stock in Australian seas!


Congratulations to Warrnambool Councillors Peter Hulin and John Harris on their stand against the Dutch super fishing trawler.

This, the second largest commercial fishing vessel in the world and the largest trawler ever to fish in Australian waters, has been given permission to trawl for 17,500 tonnes of baitfish per year, which is the favourite food of bluefin tuna, albatross and many other sea creatures.  Bluefin tuna is an endangered species and is at present hunted by both commercial and recreational fishers. The invasion of this Dutch monster will push tuna even closer to extinction.

According to Greenpeace the industrial super trawler is part of the European Association of pelagic freezer trawlers (PFA) responsible for the greatest depletion of fish resources on the planet. In waters off the Chilean coast they have driven jack mackerel numbers down by 90%. That huge drop in numbers brings to mind the famous study by Dr. Boris Worm, who announced in 2006 that if overfishing and sea pollution continues unchecked, by 2048 the only creatures left in the ocean will be jellyfish.

Why has the government allowed such unsustainable fishing in the waters of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean?

Now is the time to voice our protest because once the fish have gone they will never return.  The Warrnambool Environmental Action Group supports the councillors and all environment groups in their protests against this menace and encourages every Australian to do the same.   

Saturday, 28 July 2012

About a dead humpback, spin and vandals.

Howdy friends.

About a week ago I had 2 seconds of fame. I was at my desk finishing some notes for our enviro group when I received a call from the roving reporter from Channel Nine National News. That's CNNN not CNNNN.

She said 'I am in a helicopter hovering over the dead whale at Thunderpoint. Would you like to comment?' I said, ' Helicopter? Dead whale? Me?'


She explained that they were looking for a local environmentalist's perspective on the death of the whale and on the vandals who had stood on its carcass pretending to surf it and posted photos of the event on you tube.

I was taken by surprise but thought it might be a good opportunity to raise awareness about the effects that seismic testing and drilling for gas off our coast was having on whales and other sea animals who rely on sonar for migration.

When we met in Liebig St. I was faced with a camera and mic and she interviewed me for twenty minutes on the death of the whale. I didn't say that I knew exactly how the whale had died but rather, that the whale could easily have died because of seismic testing all along our coast and further out to sea.

Then she asked me what I thought of the vandals. 'Vandals?' I asked. She explained that the vandals on You Tube had caused an uproar and what did I think of the way they had desecrated the whale. I said I had no opinion on the vandals and that I was sure the authorities would deal with them appropriately.

She then asked me about the importance of whales to the local tourism industry. Each year we are visited by Southern Right whales who either give birth or nurse their young here in the ocean of the coast of Warrnambool. Many thousands of tourists come to us annually to watch the whales and their calves in the Lady Bay.

There was a silence and then I said 'Well, tourism is huge here in Warrnambool and we must be looking after and respecting our sea creatures because we depend on them for local revenue.'

And so, after a twenty minute interview, which two seconds was broadcasted around Australia? You guessed it. The two seconds about the vandals in which I was not actually talking about the vandals. Channel Nine wanted vandals so Channel Nine got vandals.

So next time you see any of our wonderful Green politicians on TV and they have two seconds to respond to a question, know that there is probably a twenty minute interview not being shown and their words are more than likely being taken out of context to fit the spin of the story.

The best two second bite I have heard was from Marcus Ward, our lead upper house candidate in the passed few Victorian elections. He was asked 'What's your response to those who say that Green policies are too extreme?' Marcus's face lit up and he said ' I say yes. They are EXTREMELY GOOD!'

What is spin anyway? I believe, it is when what you would like to say isn't necessarily what you can say or it is taking someone elses words and using them out of context to support your story.

So,  how does one use the media to best advantage?  You must be extremely adept at thinking on your feet and try to spin it right back at them. If, like me, you're not born with such skills, it takes very much practice to develop them. Bob Brown has become the king of frisbee spin. Now he's retired and using his hard earned skills as an activist.  Richard Di Natale seems to be a natural and Christine Milne practices it with steely determination.

I love the Greens.
Here is my very brief moment of fame.
http://video.au.msn.com/watch/video/youths-photographed-surfing-dead-whale/xpsqxsp?src=CPPlayer%3ashare%3afacebook%3atag_recent&from=shareembed-facebook&ogvars=Y29uZmlnQ3NpZD1NU05WaWRlbyZmcj1zaGFyZWVtYmVkLWZhY2Vib29rJmNvbmZpZ05hbWU9c3luZGljYXRpb25wbGF5ZXImbWt0PWVuLWF1JmFwPXRydWUmc3luZGljYXRpb249dGFn

Why Greens are Christians too. Why Greens are Catholics too. Why Greens are Muslims, Hindus, Bhuddists as well as athiests, pagans and scientists too.

I feel sad, frustrated and disturbed by the attitude of the conservative section of the Catholic Church toward the Greens


The Catholic heirarchy  of Australia have joined forces with ultra right wing political and ultra right evangelical lobbyists to fight the Greens.  ( For those who are unaware of this, the Catholic Education Department has sent letters to all schools advising parents not to vote Green. In the recent Melbourne by-election parish priests have told their congregations to vote Labor rather than Green. The result was that Cathy Oke Green candidate gained the largest primary vote but Labor, who courted the preferences of the SEX party, Family First and the LIBERALS who are their opposition, won on preferences. Unbelievable. )

Catholic hierarchy see the Greens as a threat to Catholicism but this is far from the truth. Greens policies are founded on the very core principles of Catholic teaching. See for yourselves!
Greens core beliefs:


Ecological sustainability
 Good economic management means taking care of our earth - not treating our most precious resources like a giant business in liquidation: ‘everything must go!’.  The levels of pollution in our atmosphere mean that business-as-usual will no longer work if we want to avoid dangerous climate change. The future for Australia can still be a prosperous one if we build our economy on green principles rather than short-term self-interest.

Grassroots participatory democracy
 Real progress comes when enough people believe it is possible to make a difference and decide to do something about it. All Greens members and supporters are driven by the desire to work towards a better Australia. In contrast to the two major parties, which are run by executives in head office, the Greens involve members in key decisions and our campaigns are powered by thousands of ordinary people volunteering their time, skills and support.

Social justice
 Many of the social problems we have today – crime, discrimination, disease, poverty – could be dramatically improved if we focus on eliminating extreme inequality in Australia and across the world. The Greens believe that it should be the priority of all governments to alleviate poverty and to extend opportunity to all members of society.

Peace and non-violence
 Australia’s foreign policy should be based on dialogue, diplomacy and cooperation, not aggression. Trying to prevent or counter violence with violence itself will not work. The Greens are committed to peaceful and non-violent solutions locally, nationally and internationally.

This is what the Catholic Peace and Social Justice Ministry, Catholic Diocese of Joliet Illinois says are the core principles of Catholicism. Sound familiar?
   Seven Core Values of Catholic Social Teaching
social justice education

Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
Our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society – in economics and politics, in law and policy – directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The family is the central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. The role of government and other institutions is to protect and promote the common good.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities – to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Catholic teaching proclaims that a basic moral test is how our must vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
We believe that the economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected – the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
Solidarity
Our culture is tempted to turn inward, becoming indifferent and sometimes isolationist in the face of international responsibilities. Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live. Learning to practice the virtue of solidarity means learning that “loving our neighbor” has global dimensions in an interdependent world.
Care for God’s Creation
The Catholic tradition insists that we show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.

Redacted from Sharing Catholic Social Teaching - Challenges and Directions, Reflections of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. 1998
email us: JUSTeach@paxjoliet.org

My Catholic faith inspired me to become a Green because I was drawn to these four philosophical pillars, especially the fundamental aspects of human rights which are pertinent to our treatment of asylum seekers, indigenous Australians, people with disabilities and same sex attracted people.

If the Church had not been hijacked by an ultra conservative element and had not consequently reneged on the agreements of its own bishops at the Second Vatican Council and proceeded to squeeze out nearly all of its inellectuals and progressive thinkers including people such as Fr. Paul Kelly and some Jesuits and bishops until those who remain are either ultra right wing, conservative reactionaries themselves or worse, too afraid to speak out; the Church and the Greens would find that they are almost entirely of one mind.

The issues that conservatives indicate as sticking points are abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia and funding to Catholic schools.

The Greens are not pro-abortion however, we are against the criminalisation of abortion. When abortion was illegal it caused many extreme health and social problems. Even Tony Abbott says that he would not want to criminalise abortion again. He agrees that it needs to be in the hands of the medical and educational professionals. Criminalising abortion does not make it go away. We do however agree that we do need to find an alternative to the large number of abortions in Australia per annum.

The Greens are not pro-euthanasia. Colleen Hartland introduced a 'Dying With Dignity Bill' which acknowledged the fact that, everyday, doctors and nurses help people to die with dignity by overdosing them on morphine. Their aim is to reduce pain but their actions are in fact illegal. The Dying With Dignity Bill aims to reduce the risk of doctors being sued for this common compassionate act, while at the same time giving patients a greater say in their medical treatment/palliative care.

The Greens policy does not intend to take all funding away from Catholic schools but rather to stop funding those profit making institutions which have plenty of resources and equipment such as Xavier, Genazzano, Scotch College and Trinity College. Low income, not for profit schools would be exempt.

And that leaves same sex marriage. The Church is happy enough to support a civil union for same sex couples but argues that it shouldn't be called marriage. Does that mean that civil unions are not considered marriage? Tell that to the many millions of men and women who have been married in registery offices around the world. A civil union is marriage. Even in the eyes of the church, a civil union is a marriage. I was taught that the sacrament of marriage takes place between a couple and God. The priest simply blesses the union. Why not bless a same sex couple who want to love, honour and cherish each other for the rest of their lives? Well? Who are they hurting? How does that hurt marriage?

And what of the children? There was a recent study done on child abuse in lesbian households. The study found that there was no child abuse amongst lesbians. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/10/lesbians-child-abuse-0-percent_n_781624.html

'Nuff said.
Lisa Owen
 

This is the community welcome on the church bulletin of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church Daytona Beach Florida. Go OLLC!

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!


AND THIS IS THE DIOCESE OF BALLARAT'S VISION STATEMENT ON THE ENVIRONMENT

The Ballarat Diocesan Ecological Sustainability Group



Vision Statement

Introduction

As part of God’s creation, humans are celebrated as a part of all creatures, the natural environment and the universe itself.  Genesis demands of humans that we look after and care for the Earth as ‘responsible stewards’.

In January 2001 Pope John Paul 11, in commenting on the environmental health of Earth stated that, “we immediately see that humanity has disappointed God’s expectations degrading that “flowerbed” which is the Earth, our dwelling place”. He called all humanity to avoid ecological “catastrophe” and called Catholics especially to an ‘ecological conversion”.

In an address in Berlin in 2011 Pope Benedict XVI said, “Young people had come to realize that something is wrong in our relationship with nature, that matter is not just raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of its own and that we must follow its directives. If something is wrong in our relationship with reality, then we must all reflect seriously on the whole situation and we are all prompted to question the very foundations of our culture. The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly.”

Our Vision

To foster and encourage communities to understand and embrace the ecological conversion at a local, national and world level

We aspire to achieve these objectives by promoting:

1)                 an environmental spirituality that is essential to the spiritual life of Church communities

2)                 the linkage between the sustainability of the environment and social, spiritual and physical health.

3)                 the attitude that a safe ecological environment is a universal right for all species including humans

4)                 the view that a sustainable ecology is required for present and future generations

5)                 that humankind has a duty to strive for a sustainable environment to overcome poverty and injustice.

Conclusion

We desire to sustain the ecological conversion called for by Pope John Paul 11 and achieve ecological sustainability, reduce the human ecological footprint and avoid the loss of ecosystems and species.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Welcome stranger

PEACE BE UNTO THEE, STRANGER by Ernest S Holmes 'The Science of Mind'

Peace be unto thee, stranger, enter and be not afraid.
I have left the gate open and thou art welcome to my home.
There is room in my house for all.
I have swept the hearth and lighted the fire.
The room is warm and cheerful and you will find comfort and rest within.
The table is laid and the fruits of Life are spread before thee.
The wine is here also, it sparkles in the light.
I have set a chair for you where the sunbeams dance through the shade.
Sit and rest and refresh your soul.
Eat of the fruit and drink the wine.
All, all is yours, and you are welcome.

Peter's Project will fix it!

 



Just as well I don't believe the letters to the editor in our local newspaper are truly representative, because if I did I'd think that the majority of the people in South West Victoria are climate change denying, refugee hating bigots, who are only interested in gambling, horse racing and jumping, football, sport, bringing back the death penalty, hunting, fishing, shooting (did I mention 'sport'?) and of course the issue embraced by everyone as virtuous and 'safe' by all sides of politics, Peter's Project.

Peter's Project is the campaign to build a cancer clinic and treatment centre in Warrnambool and its popularity is demonstrated by the number of photos in the paper of  the project's leader Vicky Jellie and also the many heart wrenching, feel good pictures supporting the campaign.  

I'm all for the cancer clinic. It has raised a lot of money and much awareness even though after 5 years, it hasn't yet reached its goal. The success of this campaign, at least as a media worthy topic, is of course due to the fact that cancer directly effects so many local people. No matter your colour, creed or political persuasion, everyone  is effected by this disease either personally or by association.

It is therefore a socially acceptable cause and consequently free of controversy. (I have met the odd naysayer but they are generally those who nay say about everything.) All politicians are quick to jump on board the 'Peter's Project' bandwagon (...despite the fact that neither side of politics have actually managed  to to make it happen. Get of yer soap box and actually do something I say!) with the most enthusiastic wagon jumper being the local newspaper.

The bottom line is, the non-threatening issue of Peter's Project... buys votes and sells newspapers. I know, I know...it's the way of the world but I do so wish we could extend the same awarenesses to the many other important issues, that are actually causing cancer and  threatening our existence and the existence of life on Earth itself.

People are not as immediately aware of the effect that the environment is having on their lives and their health. They are not aware of the staggering increase in the rate of cancer over the passed 50 years from 1 in 50 to 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men, nor the link between the increased usage of insecticides, herbicides and all chemicals and the increased incidence of cancer in this agricultural region.

I digress. Back to the letters in the paper. If I believed that these letters truly represented the people of Warrnambool and environs, I would think the people of this region were actually contributing to, rather than helping to fix all the problems we face with the pollution of the Earth and resulting injustices to humanity. The letters reflect a degree of prejudice and selfishness that is shocking in the extreme. They actually demonstrate an attitude that I believe is...well...evil.

Last year, Matt Neal, a Standard journalist, posted a sensible opinion piece on the scientifically accepted issue of human induced climate change and said that for our common survival, we should have taken strong action on climate change years ago but have been stopped by corporate greed and its promotion of climate change denial, influencing many who really should know better. This article spawned a number of climate denial letters, some saying that human activity has had no effect on the climate whatsoever and that we should continue to pollute and exploit the earth; business as usual.

Sadly, many are beginning to believe the deniers. I think that this is partly due to laziness and the fact that if we could get away with it, we'd rather do nothing and carry on regardless. Hell, if I could, I'd rather do nothing and carry on regardless!

But, because of what I know and because I believe in risk management and because of the obvious increases in extreme weather events including bush fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes, fish kills and species extinction... I cannot ignore it.

I have life insurance and private health insurance not because I am sick but because I know that the likelihood is at some stage in my life, I will get sick and will need some financial help. I wear a seat belt because I know it will help me if I have an accident and I expect everyone else to do the same. That's why we legislated to make seat belts compulsory and I believe that's exactly what we need to do to deal with pollution and human induced climate change. If seat belts weren't compulsory with consequent fines, would people still use seat belts at all? The answer is, seat belts would probably only be used by the careful people among us and this is true too of climate change. Only the careful among us are actually trying to do something about it and most of them are also trying to have our legislation changed so that we can all try to do something about it.

The brutal fact is that if we don't go through the difficult process of changing our lives and legislation in order to fix climate change and stop polluting our world, our only home, it will kill us, our children and much of life on earth.
The more people who believe the deniers, the less action is taken to try to prevent the greatest threat to life on Earth: human induced climate change.

Where is the logic in taking no action when 98% of scientists tell us that if we don't, it will be very difficult for us to survive? Well? Anyone?

Why continue to pollute the Earth until the rate of cancer in humans is 100%? Anyone? No no...I understand. We must have horse jumping and better roads and no wind farms because wind farms are evil and we must be able to shoot every duck and kill every fish. Our fun is far more important than the survival of life on Earth. Absolutely...not!

Anyway, if the issue doesn't sell newspapers or win votes, especially in this country, then forget about it!