Environment

Panama: Catholic sister considers dam a violation of indigenous people's right to religion

A set of mysterious petroglyphs lie at the heart of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé religion and written language — and those petroglyphs now lie at the bottom of a stagnant, foul-smelling reservoir. The flooding caused by the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project nearly three years ago constitutes an ongoing violation of their religious and cultural rights, say Ngäbe-Buglé leaders, in addition to causing widespread damage to orchards, farmland and fishing that the communities depended on for food and livelihood. Sr. Edia "Tita" López of the Sisters of Mercy agrees.

Meeting people's need for clean water changes sisters' lives, too

The Sister Water Project is just one of dozens of sister-led efforts to bring clean drinking water to those without. But project committee member Sr. Judy Sinnwell said the venture has been as much about changing those involved as it is about changing the lives of those given fresh water. "When we set out to do this, we were thinking of what would happen out there as we met a need," Sinnwell said. "But what happened in the congregation was it impacted all of us."

Catholic nuns raise hope among Kerala's flood victims, farmers

More than 1 million people who took refuge in relief camps as unprecedented floods battered 12 of Kerala's 14 districts during July and August. At least 474 people died in the floods, most of them when the deluge was severest Aug. 15-20, says Fr. George Vettikattil, who heads the relief operations under the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council, in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. The floods affected more than 5.41 million people, he estimates, based on data from various jurisdictions.

Congregations seek sustainability through goals to reduce waste, go organic

Three congregations, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Kentucky, Adrian Dominican Sisters and Sisters of the Humility of Mary, are charting toward a sustainable tomorrow by establishing goals that reduce greenhouse emissions and focus on sustainable energy. The sisters are applying principles such as permaculture to all aspects of community life.

In global climate, see the forest and trees

We all need to be part of the solutions addressing climate change, the greatest issue of our time. But every part of us needs to be part of the solutions. The answers do not lie only in technology or renewable energy or efficient cars — only part of the solution. The foundation to the solutions lies within a spiritual conversion that shifts and expands worldview, while deepening the roots of our soul view.