How often do you think about the air you breathe? If you have a child with Asthma probably a lot. This week almost 8,300 pro-life evangelicals joined the drive to make our air that much cleaner for our children.Given the increase in Asthma rates and birth defects with at least some linked to environmental toxins, it just makes sense to clean up our air and to do everything we can to protect our kids.
This week we delivered those 8,300 comments in person to Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe and urged him to act on cleaner fuel standards (Tier 3).
Thanks to a number of environmental standards and protections we have here in the United States, we are far less worried about illnesses caused by pollution we breathe in than other parts of the world. That doesn't mean more can't be done.
Currently the U.S. ranks 47th in the world for reducing sulfur emissions, which impacts the health of thousands of Americans, especially children and the elderly. The EPA has the power to protect our citizens' health by implementing "Tier 3 standards" that would reduce the amount of sulfur in our gasoline.
Cleaner gas in, less pollution out. It's that simple. And all without really changing what you pay at the pump. That's why pro-life Christians are urging the EPA to implement these standards.
Relevant Magazine has a new section on creation care via their reject apathy social focus. Take a look at the creation care section.
Blessed Earth is an educational nonprofit that inspires and equips Christians to become better stewards of the earth. Through church, campus, and media outreach, we build bridges that promote measurable environmental change and meaningful spiritual growth.
Position: The Director of the Seminary Stewardship Alliance is responsible for implementation of the program as determined by the Executive Director and senior team of Blessed Earth. This person is responsible for leading the development of the specific tactical plans needed to meet the strategic vision.
On March 27, 2012 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first ever national power plant carbon pollution standards for electric generating stations. "This is an historic step in the right direction to overcome global warming. It starts returning American leadership to our moral responsibility for the poor around the world, those most threatened by climate change's impacts. However, comprehensive legislation is still needed, and we hope the President will state clearly that passing such legislation will be a top priority," stated the Rev. Mitch Hescox, President & CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network.
The carbon pollution standard will do the following:
The New Source Carbon Pollution Standard is an important step in reducing carbon. We urge the Administration, Congress, industry, and the American people to work toward a market based policy solution to reduce current carbon pollution and insure a safer and healthier world for all God's children.
Today during an Energy & Commerce hearing that covered the health impacts of mercury on the unborn Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill) challenged Rev. Mitch Hescox, President & CEO, of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) on his pro-life views.
"The life in pro-life denotes not quality of life but life itself," said Rep. Shimkus.
EEN believes that being pro-life means protecting the unborn. This includes protecting them from abortion, but also pollution that will harm their quality of life. "EEN strongly disagrees with Rep. Shimkus that being pro-life does not include one's quality of life," said Rev. Hescox.
EEN has worked with the National Association of Evangelicals, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and over 100 senior evangelical leaders to lift up the impacts of mercury on the unborn. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States are born with threatening levels of mercury.
In his testimony Rev. Hescox quoted Bishop Blair of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops:
The U.S. Catholic bishops welcome this important move by the Administration to adopt long-awaited standards to reduce mercury and toxic air pollution from power plants and to protect children's health. In the end it just makes good sense to want to have clean air for our children and families to breathe and for future generations.
Many Evangelical Christians, Roman Catholics, and others believe that being pro-life means standing together and battling against abortion, euthanasia, slavery and sex-trafficking, lack of religious freedom, racism, environmental degradation, threats to public health, and a host of other ills.
Some say that the meaning of being "pro-life" is being "obscured."
Just the opposite is true.
Biblically, being "pro-life" is far more than being "anti-abortion." Jesus said that he came to bring life and life in abundance (John 10:10). We believe that includes spreading the gospel, standing up against abortion, reaching the lost, helping the least of these, and being good stewards of God's creation. In essence, to be "pro-life" is to be "pro-whole gospel."
The Agabus Project is a new Eden Vigil initiative! Hosted by Lowell Bliss the project is the creation care and environmental missions teaching ministry of Eden Vigil. The website features a regular podcast and blog. Be sure not to miss the first episode where Lowell talks to Peter Harris, founder of A Rocha International, about the creation care legacy of his dear friend, Anglican theologian John Stott.
Why Agabus? Agabus is the New Testament prophet mentioned in Acts 11 who predicted a famine in Judea and mobilized the Church to care for the victims. He might thus be called the world's first environmental missionary.
EEN issued a public statement this afternoon:
The Evangelical Environmental Network will be marching again at the Annual March for Life on Monday to stand up for the conviction that the unborn need to be protected from abortion, mercury and other toxins.
"EEN is a pro-life organization dedicated to the opposition of abortion in all its forms, and to the degradation of human life. We believe standing up for the unborn and protecting our children from toxins like mercury is biblically pro-life and whole gospel," says the Rev. Mitch Hescox, President of the Evangelical Environmental Network.
Medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics have said mercury is a harmful toxin. The unborn and children face severe harms from toxins, therefore we at EEN must biblically stand in the gap to protect them.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) has long been critical of the work of the Evangelical Environmental Network, and recently criticized EEN by saying that our work on mercury and the unborn was morally ambiguous and diluted the pro-life message. We welcome a discussion on what it means to truly be engaged with matters of Life. We believe this conversation can be accomplished in Christian love and not divisiveness. We believe our ministry represents a biblically unifying whole life message.
Jesus embodied and demonstrated integrity, mercy, unconditional love and blessing, truth and justice, healing virtue and good humor. He pointed to and celebrated the fullness of Life. He went forth and visited. He ate and socialized, encouraged and comforted. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and taught through nature stories and parables. But He also pointedly proclaimed, testified, and pressed the claims of His Father. Nearly 40 times in his gospel account, John notes Jesus declaring that the Father had sent Him. Jesus said he had come to bring "abundant life."
Jesus puzzled the rich and successful. He provoked the proud, the pretenders, and the self-righteously religious. The authentic, non-gutted biblical gospel is all about all of Life. It is an Evangel, a whole gospel for the whole person. It is an integrated redeeming "glad tiding" for the whole world and the whole of creation. By carrying Christ and His Evangel forth in our daily lives, we are living witnesses, carrying forth hope, redemption and healing for the human family and for an abused and degraded planet.
EEN believes fighting poverty, preaching the gospel to the lost, standing up for the least of these, protecting the unborn all fall under a complete ethic and regard for life. This is the high view of life that the scriptures and Jesus himself call us to. In essence, to be "pro-life" is to be "pro-whole gospel."
You can view our release by clicking here.
Gillian Gotora of the Associated Press had this important piece on climate change and africa up from this weekend. The take away qoute.
"Long ago, I could set my calendar with the date the rains started," the 72-year-old said. Nowadays, "we have to gamble with the rains. If you plant early you might lose and if you plant late you might win. We are at a loss of what to do."
Read the rest of the AP story by clicking here.
To understand the health of corals and their relation to changes in ocean chemistry and climate, scientists use the Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef Quality (SHARQ ). SHARQ is a new tool that scientists are using to study the ocean floor. Check out some of their resources and videos by clicking here.
by Manda Aufochs Gillespie
The New York Times warns that your child's playground might be boring them to death (or at least into a phobia).
It's summer time and parents everywhere are crowding onto playgrounds with their children. Me included. And I am shocked at just how boring they have gotten. Gone are the days when playgrounds were thrilling places: climbing to the top of a huge jungle gym, teetering 5 feet off the ground and screaming at my little brother not to drop me, or hurdling around on a tire swing until getting sick.
Today, in fact, I was at what now passes as a playground. A sad, ill designed place with a tiny little plastic play structure with two tiny little slides on hotter-than-Hades black rubber and only two swings, both adult style. Even the see-saw has been dumbed-down to a"what are these things called?"a gentle jumper. Yuck. No one but babies was playing there and everything was so hot that even the babies didn't want to be there.
In Vancouver, one after another the best playgrounds are being replaced. Big slides, high monkey bars, wood chips are all disappearing and being replaced by little slides and things that spin (but not too fast) or that bounce (but not too high). Sure, the new ones are cool (at best) but the old ones were dangerous.
This amazing slide now only exists on the green mama site
According to The New York Times recent article: Can a Playground Be Too Safe? the answer is: "Yes it can."
In fact, they point to researchthat shows that "A child who's hurt in a fall before the age of 9 is less likely as a teenager to have a fear of heights."
The article also references Dr. Ellen Sandseter, a professor of psychology at Queen Maud University in Norway who says: "Children need to encounter risks and overcome fears on the playground."
She isn't alone in her theory.
"Paradoxically, we posit that our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology" she writes in a co-authored article in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.
Boring playgrounds aren't proven safer
"There is no clear evidence that playground safety measures have lowered the average risk on playgrounds," said David Ball, a professor of risk management at Middlesex University in London. In the NYTimes article he postulates why this might be true: certain types of injuries are made worse by the softer surfaces, parents and children think the surfaces are safer than they truly are, or simply the playgrounds get so boring that older children stop playing in them and find real thrills (and real risks) elsewhere.
Why have playgrounds gotten so boring?
A fear of lawsuits. North America, of course, is the king of boring playgrounds because we love to sue. It is this fear that led many cities to get rid of merry-go-rounds, ropes, tire swings, and real see-saws.
What's next? Will they rubberize all the trees?
re-posted with permission
by Gary Bergel
Click here to view a short NOAA Visualization on YouTube
A time to earnestly pray for mercy and to check in on elderly neighbors.
An unusual "heat dome" is bearing down on more than half the U.S. population, 150 million Americans in the Midwestern and mid-Atlantic United States. The heat wave, which some meteorologists predict could continue into August, is also straining the nation's power grid. Fortunately, engineers say the grid is holding as they have projected for such extreme usage.
The U.S. Weather Service reported Thursday that 32 states and the District of Columbia were under a "heat dome" formed by a massive high-pressure area that has trapped and compressed hot, moist air beneath it.
As of Thursday afternoon at least 22 people had died from heat-related illnesses. Officials continue to warn about dehydration and heat stroke carrying symptoms of nausea, low blood pressure and fainting, elevated body temperatures, unusual agitation and confusion. Heat stroke needs to be seen as a true medical emergency. Patients need to be rapidly cooled or they can suffer irreparable damage or die. People living near the elderly and others struggling with respiratory conditions are encouraged to "check in" on their neighbors.
National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro told NPR: "This is going to be one of the more significant heat waves in the last five years." "So far this month we've seen more than 1,000 record highs set across the country," Vaccaro stated. On Wednesday, Oklahoma saw its 30th day of triple-digit temperatures this year, compounding a drought in western Oklahoma that has dried up lake beds and creeks.
Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and adjacent states are not only enduring the extreme heat, but have also been languishing under long-term drought conditions. Lubbock, TX has only received 1.2 inches of rain since November, instead of the average of 11 inches or more. Almost 60% of Texas' cotton crop is now threatened. The surface temperatures in western Texas have been 7 to 8 degrees above normal for about a month and a half. There have been three and a half weeks of temperatures over 100 degrees. Temperatures near 100 degrees combined with the high surface temperatures make drought conditions more severe. Many crops have been lost or are endangered.
People aren't the only ones enduring and suffering in the extreme heat; cattle are dropping dead.
South Dakota State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said at least 1,500 head of fat cattle have died across his state. "Unfortunately, there are probably more than those that have been reported," Oedekoven said. According to a Mitchell Livestock Auction Co. employee, "fat cattle" " defined as livestock that have been in a feedlot for 100 days or more " sold last week for more than $1,500 for a steer and up to $2,000 for a heifer. That means the loss statewide may well top $2 million.
Our agricultural neighbor to the North, Canada, is suffering too. Ontario farmers have "pretty much given up hope that they will achieve even average yields this year. The wheat crop was greatly diminished and rain in sufficient amounts is critically needed in next week for corn and soybean to achieve anything near an average yield. Abnormally heavy rains in May forced farmers to plant late and prolonged drought hit before roots systems were fully established. Ontario's July would be more suitable for a cactus crop, one Canadian farmer commented.
A great piece by Matthew Dickerson on eschatology, how we treat the physical world, and more at Christianity Today. Click here to read it.
From Today's Kansas City Star.
"There are 84 hazardous air pollutants from power plants, including acid gases, dioxins, lead and other metals, and mercury. Many are carcinogens. Many also are linked to childhood developmental problems. The best-known is mercury.
Mercury settles in water and accumulates in fish. Ingesting it can cause developmental birth defects and damage a child's memory and ability to learn. Mercury also damages the kidneys and liver.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to Jackson urging her to stand firm on the toxics rule. The National Association of Evangelicals also urged its members to write to Washington in support of it.
"We've had two decades of bipartisan foot-dragging, with the courts finally ordering the federal government to enforce the law and protect the unborn," the Evangelical Environmental Network said on its website".