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Environment


CURRENT CONCERN

“Mni Wiconi” – if “water is life,” why is Wisconsin treating it so badly?
“…access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.” – Pope Francis in Laudato Sí

Without water, the planet is dead. Why do we search so hard for water anywhere else in the solar system? Because only where there is water might there also be life.

In recent years, Wisconsin has been treating its waters very badly, and this is an urgent concern for all of us. Two issues in particular require our attention and action right now. One is about the stress on our waters from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and the other is about a petition from a frac-sand mining company to fill in wetlands for a sand processing facility.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article on April 22 about the concerns rising from the huge increase in CAFOs in parts of our state. Among longstanding issues are the demands for water from these operations. High-capacity wells have been draining groundwater and lakes, especially in the Central Sands region. In addition, there are the mounting threats of pollution from manure spreading. Kewaunee County has become the “poster child” of these dangers, its three major rivers and groundwater already polluted from manure runoff. [See more here: Massive dairy farms…Can manure from so many cattle be safely spread on the land?]

The state legislature and the governor have been generous in supporting the expansion of CAFOs, despite these heavy costs to the environment (not to mention the role of CAFOs in creating a milk supply glut that now threatens the survival of family-run, non-industrial dairy farms in our state). Numerous groups have come together around demands to limit CAFOs and to insist that the industry be constrained by strong enforceable environmental regulations. [See: “Factory Farming Impacts” from the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin] The faith community has a crucial role to play in bringing communities together in defense of clean water
Action: contact legislators and demand the full implementation of the 1972 Clean Water Act’s goal of zero discharge of animal wastes and excess nutrients to ground and surface waters from livestock facilities.

On the frac-sand mining issue, this from the Midwest Environmental Advocates: “Meteor Timber, LLC seeks approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to destroy an unprecedented amount—16.25 acres—of pristine forested wetlands for a proposed industrial sand facility. Meteor Timber asserts that it must fill these wetlands to construct a load out facility in Monroe County in the Town of Gant, which will supply sand to a planned processing facility in Jackson County. The project, if approved, would destroy high quality wetlands that provide critical ecosystem services to the county as well as a rare habitat for a number of threatened and endangered species, including the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake.”

Communities are urged to add their voices in opposition to this plan. Not only are the potential impacts of this project considerable, but the precedent that would be set by permitting this to go forward could be devastating throughout the frac-sand mining region, and for other wetland areas threatened by future industrial projects.

Action: Our state government is not proving to be a good steward of our waters and is therefore in violation of “a basic and universal human right [that] is essential to human survival. They need to hear from voters about this issue. And I think the Pope would be happy to be quoted in your messages to legislators. Stay tuned to MEA for further actions.

Finally, to get a sense of the profound threat posed by the current state government to our Wisconsin waters, I urge you to read this article from Urban Milwaukee, State Gives Green Light to Billion-Gallon Groundwater Giveaway.

~ Margaret Swedish, Center for New Creation



Investing in Clean Energy / Divesting from Non-Renewables
The international conference “Laudato Si' & Catholic Investing: Clean Energy for Our Common​ Home”, which took place in late January at Pontifical Lateran University, featured many expert speakers and Catholic case studies who demonstrated that fossil fuel divestment and clean energy investment are both possible and necessary. Catholic institutions are called to use their financial investments to “put an end to the fossil fuel era and provide renewable energy access for all,” as the Catholic Bishops of all continents have called.  Learn more about this important method of creating dynamic shift in demand for cleaner energy and how both individuals and Catholic institutions can take concrete steps to care for our common home through their investments.

Watch the Video Here

INFORMATION


Archdiocesan Creation Care Collaboration

On November 21,2016 representatives from parishes, the Archdiocese, Marquette University, Marquette HS/Laudato Si' Project, City of Milwaukee, and Catholics for Peace and Justice/Waukesha County Green Team met to begin discussing how we can bring the content of Laudato Si’ more fully alive and prominent in our parishes and our community. Lots of good information was shared and connections made. The next meeting is Jan 13 at 12 noon. Contact Rob Shelledy at the Archdiocese to get on the information/invitation list. If you are interested in building a Creation Care ministry in your parish, connect with this group.

Environmental Racism Now on the Front Burner – Milwaukee County Statistics  Read Here


What is COP21?

More than two decades ago, members of the United Nations met in Rio de Janeiro for the “Earth Summit.” At this extraordinary gathering, attendees agreed on some basics about climate change and how to tackle its human causes. 

This agreement is called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or “UNFCCC.” In it, 196 nations agreed to meet every year to fashion a treaty on how to keep the planet from warming to dangerous levels, and how in the meantime to help affected people. These nations are “parties” to the UNFCCC agreement. 
Together we call this gathering of 196 nations the Conference of Parties, or COP for short. 

The COP has been meeting every year since 1994. This November 30, they will convene for the 21st time. And that’s where we get the term COP21

Why is COP21 Important?  



PARISH RESOURCES

Laudato Si' Praise Be! Encyclical on Care for Creation from Pope Francis




Join the Force for Creation - Become a Laudato Si’ “Animator”. Animators promote the Laudato Si message to help turn it into action in their local communities, whether that be a parish, school, religious congregation, lay group, youth organization, retreat center, Boy Scout troop, or more. Learn More Here

PARISH RESOURCES

Season of Creation Sept 1 - Oct 4


Eco-Parish Guide for Catholic Parishes.

Join the Eco-Parish Global Network

10 Things a Catholic Diocese Can Do To Promote Care for Our Common Home 

USCCB Laudato Si' Discussion Guide 

Catholic Climate Covenant Feast of St. Francis Program

USCCB Resource for Liturgy, Preaching and Taking Action

USCCB Care for Creation Scripture 

Scripture Bulletin Insert

Acts of Mercy for Our Common Home


VIDEOS

Why Climate Change Is a Moral Issue

Laudato Si’ Vatican Video

CRS Care for Creation Video 



ORGANIZATIONS

Catholic Climate Covenant 

Global Catholic Climate Movement

Interfaith Earth Network Milwaukee


CREATING CHANGE

Divest-Reinvest Catholic Toolkit

Twelve Priority Measures to Save Energy at Your Church

Looking for Water