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China contributes to Vatican consultation on environment

VATICAN (SE): “The long term task of building a harmonious society and the understanding that to be truly and enduringly harmonious, the harmony must not only extend beyond the borders of China and include all peoples of the world, but above all, it must include harmony between humans and nature,” Hu Deping, the head of a delegation from China to a consultation prior to the Conference of Parties 22 on the environment held at the Casina Pio IV at the Vatican, said.

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Father Mendel the father of genetics

One-hundred-and-fifty years ago in 1866, Father Gregory Mendel published an article entitled, Experiments with Plant Hybrids, in a scientific journal in the city of Brno (Brünn in German), which today is in the Czech Republic.

He sent copies of his research to a number of prominent naturalist scholars across Europe, including Charles Darwin. Darwin did not read Mendel’s paper; if he had it would have helped him understand how his own theory of evolution worked.

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A chilling reminder things are hotting up

The El Niño is causing damage to the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northern east coast in a manner that was predicted by Pope Francis in his encyclical, Praise Be: On care for our common home (Laudato Si’).

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The revelations of Kew Gardens

I vividly remember my first visit to Kew Gardens in London in the early 1980s. I was on my way to Ireland for a holiday after my first term as a missionary among the T’boli people in the highlands of south-eastern Mindanao in The Philippines.

I had enjoyed my time there learning their language, listening to their music, watching their intricate dances, observing their rituals and celebrations, especially around marriage.

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About a lot more than climate change

Since Praise Be: On care for our common home (Laudato Si) was published on 18 June 2015, many people have been claiming that it was the climate change encyclical.

But even a cursory reading of the document makes it clear that it also deals with poverty, the destruction of biodiversity, the pollution of fresh water and the oceans, extractive industries and waste.

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Keeping the oceans full of life


Extinction of species is currently taking place across the globe and conservationists are making a tremendous effort to bring them back from the brink.

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Meat eating tigers and people

In his encyclical, Praise Be: On care for our common home (Laudato Si’) Pope Francis reminds us, “Our sister (planet earth) now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will” (No.2).

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Endangered species can get a second chance

One of the great strengths of the encyclical, Praise Be: On care of our common home (Laudato Si), is its extensive treatment of the importance of biodiversity. Before the publication of the encyclical there had been little writing on biodiversity in Catholic social teaching.

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The oceans may produce more than a high tide

In recent years, we have become more and more aware of how vulnerable our oceans are to climate change. The Arctic Ocean is capped by frozen seawater, called sea ice. This melts during the Northern Hemisphere spring and summer months.

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Intra-generational solidarity



Action on climate change is underpinned by an ethical principle called inter-generational justice.

Traditional ethical concerns normally dealt with the impact of our behaviour on individuals or communities in the here-and-now or in the immediate future, but this is no longer an adequate framework.