Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

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Calendar of Events

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CRS Assists Earthquake Victims in Turkey

Advocacy Efforts

Farm Bill and Agriculture Appropriations Update
               Action: Petition to Protect Family Farms in Farm Bill

Stewards of the Earth

Catholic Organizations Among Largest Group Ever Calling for Climate Policy
Catholic Students Reduce Lunch Waste
National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Salve Regina University

CRS Assists Earthquake Victims in Turkey

Catholic Relief Services is supporting emergency rescue efforts underway in Turkey, where a devastating earthquake killed more than 200 people, injured hundreds more and led to the collapse of hundreds of buildings. The 7.2 magnitude tremor struck Sunday afternoon in the eastern cities of Ercis and Van, located in a mountainous region near Turkey’s border with Iran. The death toll is expected to rise in the surrounding villages, where almost all of the mud-brick homes have been destroyed. n the initial response, CRS will support efforts to provide up to 2,000 families with various relief supplies, including hygiene kits, heaters and blankets. Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major geological fault lines. The weekend’s earthquake was the worst natural disaster since 1999, when two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 hit northwest Turkey, killing 18,000. Read more information here. Click here to donate.

Prayers of the Faithful
For the survivors of the recent earthquake in Turkey that they will find immediate shelter, food, care and solace. We pray to the Lord.  Lord, hear our prayer.

For those whose lives were lost in Turkey, that their souls may find rest in Your everlasting kingdom. We pray to the Lord.  Lord, hear our prayer.

For those who are providing emergency aid and comfort to the children, their parents, their friends and neighbors, that they have the stamina to keep working and the strength of heart to respond to the misery they witness. We pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For our community so we can be compassionate with those who are suffering in this disaster, that we will open our hearts and expand our prayers to embrace them all. We pray to the Lord.  Lord, hear our prayer.

For these, and for all the intentions for those who are most vulnerable in our world, We pray to the Lord.  Lord, hear our prayer.

Click on the Calendar for upcoming event information including

Caring for Creation Expo and Interfaith Prayer Service

Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Retreat

Catholics Confront Global Poverty and Youth

 

Stewards of the Earth

Salve Regina University 

The newest Catholic Climate Covenant Partner, Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, shares this story about how some faculty and students are working on hydroponic gardening in the basement of one of the school’s dormitories:  Hydroponic systems grow plants in water; they don’t need as much land, there aren’t any bugs, there’s no need for pesticides, and the fertilizers are going right into the water, so you’re not  spraying it on the land said Dr. Jameson Chace, assistant professor of biology and biomedical sciences. 

The story continues: Students have already harvested their initial crops of arugula, collard greens, basil, parsley, spinach, Swiss chard, and three kinds of lettuce. The greens are now being eaten and given away, but once the farm is certified, the produce it grows could be offered in the University’s dining hall.
Read more about this exciting research (See story of “Urban Jungle” on page 2).

 

National Catholic Rural Life Conference

In response to growing food insecurities (globally, 1 in 7 people are food insecure) and environmental degradation, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, a member of the Coalition, will publish six new essays on “Food Security & Economic Justice: Catholic Call for a New Food System”.  Five of these are currently available. 

NCRLC calls for a new agriculture ethic that includes food sovereignty where stakeholders strive to participate in policy decisions concerning their food and how it is managed…The bottom line is sustainability – for the environment, for local farmers, for the diverse cultures of eaters.  In light of Church teachings, NCRLC advocates for sustainable and diversified agriculture that directly fits local needs. This means focused attention on small-scale farmers – both women and men – in order to achieve food security and poverty reduction in the world.  Click here to learn more about NCRLC’s new essays.

 

Catholic Organizations Among Largest Group Ever Calling for Climate Policy 

Environment News Service (EEN) reports that Hundreds of the world’s largest investors, representing more than $20 trillion in assets, today [10/19/11] encouraged governments and international policy makers to take new legally-enforceable steps to combat climate change at the upcoming UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa [November 28- December 9, 2011].

The EEN article continues: The group of 285 investors issued a joint statement emphasizing the urgent need for policy action which stimulates private sector investment in climate change solutions, creates jobs, and ensures the long-term sustainability and stability of the world economic system. The list of investors includes eighteen Catholic groups of women religious, Catholic Healthcare West (a member of the Catholic Health Association of the United States), and many others in the faith community.  EEN notes: The statement represents the largest group, by both number of signatories and assets under management, ever to call for policy action on climate change.   Read the entire story here.   

 

Catholic Students Reduce Lunch Waste

Assumption Catholic School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, recently participated in the Waste Free Lunch Challenge in which students, faculty and staff made efforts to make lunches as ecologically sustainable as possible.  The local paper reports that All week, lunch eaters are encouraged to use reusables, with suggestions of cloth napkins and [bring your own] cutlery to cut down waste. Frowned on are bags, single-use containers and anything over-packaged. The effort can also encourage eating healthier, and helps reduce the expense of bags and wrap by encouraging reusable containers. 

Vicky Wright, a teacher at Assumption Catholic School, says, We’ve been getting down and dirty with our garbage.  We’ve been weighing it all together, separating it and weighing it.  The initiative has reduced the amount of waste generated by Assumption students and staff, and resulted in the generation of much less waste.  The Standard points out that The effort [was] spurred by statistics showing the average student’s lunch generates 30 kilograms of waste every school year. That’s equal to the weight of a typical Grade 2 student. Read more here.   

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change offers many resources to help schools integrate mission-based sustainability here.  Urge your parish school or local high school to apply for the St. Francis Care for Creation Award

 

Advocacy Efforts

Farm Bill and Agriculture Appropriations Update

With the 2012 Farm Bill just around the corner, we have reached the critical moment to go to work to win a farm bill that supports family farms, protects the land and water and invests in the future of rural America. Your influence as a constituent, paired with thousands of others across the nation, can set Farm Bill priorities straight so that rural communities and producers at the heart of the nation won’t be left discarded by political dealing.

The Agriculture Committee leadership in Congress is setting the policy for the 2012 farm bill even now as they make their budget cutting recommendations to the Super Committee on deficit reduction. Farm Bill negotiations are usually a year-long process, but this decision-making process is now collapsed into a matter of weeks.

To learn more about the situation — and to act to help reform our food and farming system and protect our natural resources — please see this update from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

 

Action: Petition to Protect Family Farms in Farm Bill

The Center for Rural Affairs provides an online action service to help you send a message to Congress. We encourage you to sign their petition asking Congress to:

— Cap subsidies for mega-farms

— Close loopholes in farm payment limitations

— Limit federal crop and revenue insurance subsidies

— Sustain rural development programs

— Protect investments in soil and water conservation