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“Between now and 2050, we need to double the food supply,” said Dr. Robert Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto, during an interview with National Public Radio’s Takeaway host John Hockenberry. But according to ActionAid’s report, “Rising to the Challenge: Changing Course to Feed the World in 2050,” the solutions lie not in increasing industrial food production.
     The hungry are not hungry because the world lacks food. We grow enough food right now to feed about 10 billion people, yet according to the UN nearly one billion of today’s seven billion people are chronically undernourished and well over that number suffer from significant malnutrition in a world of plenty. They are hungry because they are poor, and they are poor because they are either small-scale farmers without enough land, credit, extension services, or investment, or they are underemployed workers with incomes too low to support their families.
      We can feed the world in 2050 if we stop focusing only on producing more agricultural commodities. Instead, let’s increase the availability of land and food by reducing biofuel production, get more of the food we grow to the dinner table by reducing food waste, and invest in the most important food producers in the world: small-scale and family farmers.

Excerpted from The Christian Science Monitor
10/30/2014

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water, she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Safe water is a fundamental human right. Yet, around the planet, people of all ages fall ill and die because of contaminated water. The World Health Organization attributes two million deaths annually to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. Two million people. That’s roughly the population of Houston, Texas.

Our solution to the water crisis is simple: Using technology, the Sawyer PointONE filter system (available for $60 each) functions much like kidney dialysis does to filter out impurities in the water, leaving clean, drinkable water. The amazingly effective filter can be set up in five minutes. It requires only a 5-gallon container and the filtration kit. No electricity, no complicated maintenance … guaranteed for a million gallons of clean, safe water! We have learned that mothers are ideal partners in our quest to change the reality of dirty water in marginal communities. Mothers attend a training and sign a pledge that they will use their filters to serve others.
 
Locally, IJPC volunteer Sr. Andrea Koverman, SC, traveled to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the most densely populated countries in the world. If you are interested in making a donation to fund the purchase of filters please contact Debbie Weber at debbie.weber@srcharitycinti.org. If you are interested in working with WaterWithBlessings directly, you can contact them at info@waterwithblessings.org

Adapted from “Addressing the Basic Human Right to Clean Water,” IJPC Winter 2015

During the recent Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, an annual event put on by the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development by the U.S. Bishops’ Conference,  Fr. Daniel Groody gave a 100-person-village “snapshot” of the world of almost 7 billion people who live on planet Earth: Sixty-one (61) in our global village are from Asia; 10 are from Europe; 15 are from Africa; 14 are from the Americas; and less than one percent are from the continent of Australia …

Right now … 15 would be under nourished, one (1) would be dying of starvation, four (4) would die from not having access to adequate sanitation, and eleven (11) would not have access to adequate drinking water. Twenty-three (23) would live in sub-standard housing, and seventeen (17) would not have access to electricity. Sixteen (16) would be unable to read, only seven (7) out of 100 would have a college education, and eleven (11) would have an automobile. Forty (40) would have access to the internet, and twenty-two (22) would own or share a computer.

Paraphrasing Gaudium et Spes, in order to take out the sexist language, Groody continued:
“The imbalances under which the modern world labors are lined with that more basic imbalance which is rooted in the heart of human beings, … we often do what we would not, and fail to do what we should. Hence we suffer from internal divisions, and from these flow so many and such great discords in society.”

NCR Today, Feb. 8, 2015

IJPC has been collaborating with Su Casa Hispanic Center, part of Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, to address the needs of unaccompanied minors in the Cincinnati area. Many of the young people are reaching out for help as their immigration hearing date approaches. Most first time hearings take place at the Federal Immigration Court in Cleveland and youth risk deportation if they fail to appear.

There is a great need for volunteer drivers who are available on short notice to do the one day, eight-hour drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland and back. The urgency and significance of the situation has been met with support from many religious communities in the area. If you are willing to help, please call Allison at IJPC (513-579-8547) for details on how to sign up.

People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change and experience great inequalities in socioeconomic status and income, the result of discrimination based on gender, class, ethnicity, age and disability.  That conclusion came not from Pope Francis or an environmentally focused religious community, but from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  A 4-degree increase in average temperature risks substantial species extinction, global and regional food insecurity, consequential constraints on common human activities, and limited potential for adaptation in some cases. Along with it increased poverty and displacement of people, coastal flooding, exacerbated health problems and an indirect amplification of violent conflicts may result. While these impacts will disproportionately affect the welfare of the poor in rural areas, such as female-headed households and those with limited access to land, modern agricultural inputs, infrastructure, and education, they are also projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing poverty traps and create new ones, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger.

Summarized from UN report: “As climate warms, poverty will grow” by Brian Roewe
Nov 4, 2014 Eco Catholic   NCR online.org

Catholic teaching has long recognized that the most profound harms of economic inequality lie not merely in the material realm but in the social, psychological and political effects that flow from great economic inequalities. Those who are marginalized economically are also marginalized educationally, residentially, and in their opportunities for meaningful work. Pope Francis diagnoses three cultural assumptions that are the basis of the scandal of economic inequality: that current levels of domestic and international economic inequality are a natural part of healthy economic life; that freedom of markets is a categorical imperative rather than an instrumental freedom; and that there is a fundamental divide in American society between those who contribute to society economically and those who do not.
     Pope Francis has repeatedly said: “We cannot resign ourselves to losing a whole generation of young people who don’t have the strong dignity of work…. Not having work does not just mean not having what one needs to live … the problem is not being able to bring bread to the table and this takes away one’s dignity.” Pope Francis has given us the challenge and vision to create an inclusive society, both as followers of Jesus Christ and as citizens who love our country.

Summarized from “Market Assumptions Pope Francis’ challenge to income inequality”
by Robert W. McElroy, pp. 14-18
America, The National Catholic Review   November 3, 2014

For more than 30 years and two papacies, Catholics have been conditioned to accept that discussion of certain topics, certain pastoral approaches, certain questions related to contemporary life … would surely never occur among church leaders. And then along came Pope Francis. He said those rules and presumptions no longer apply, that discussion was not to be censored, that no topics or questions were to be off the table. We wait with hope to hear from the US bishops how they plan to continue the conversation of the synod, and how widely they intend to consult and incorporate lay thinking on matters of marriage and family before the 2015 session.
     Perhaps by the end of this synod’s process, Catholics will recognize how much the church and its teachings have changed over centuries. One of the parallel realities to change in the church is that no mechanism exists for implementing it. The French geologist Xavier Le Pichon writes that systems that become too rigid evolve through “a commotion”; the earth’s plates collide and shatter and new formations occur. So it is with human systems, he writes. Using the analogy of earthquakes in trying to explain what is happening in this synod and, by extension, in the papacy of Francis, the messy commotion now occurring is a small price to pay to realize a church with a strong connection with the faithful.

Excerpted from “The Church needs this commotion,” p. 32
NCR Editorial   November 7-20, 2014

Russia’s recent international behavior has reached new heights of aggressiveness, prompting talk of the return of the Cold War. How to match the Russian threat is the big question. Managing relationships with Russia during this period will be complex. The challenge for the West is to behave in a manner that is consistent with its liberal principles and those of international law (avoiding intervention and power grabs) while holding off challenges and watching patiently as Russia’s transformation unfolds from the demands of internal sources.

Excerpted from “Don’t Feed the Bear Crafting an effective response to a newly assertive Russia”
by Lisa A. Baglione pp. 23-26
America, The National Catholic Review   Nov. 17, 2014

SJB Friars Commit to Eco-Friendly Practices: At their Chapter in May 2014, the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province passed the following proposal:

“We commit to increasing our personal and communal efforts regarding environmentally-friendly practices so as to promote, in concrete ways, more sustainable lifestyles. Each friary will choose and commit to at least two practices, either from the provided list or another source, and share these with the JPIC Office by October 2014. The JPIC Office will monitor this initiative and annually report its findings to the Province at large.”

SJB Friars Commit to Refugees, Migrants and Victims of Human Trafficking: The Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province based in Cincinnati, Ohio, held their 2008 Chapter at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana May 19-23. Of the many proposals passed, the Chapter delegates affirmed a resolution to learn more about the issues of migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking in order to better be able to respond to their needs. The resolution says:
 “We, the Franciscans of St. John the Baptist Province, commit ourselves to increase our awareness of issues surrounding refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking in order to develop more proactive Franciscan responses on the provincial, friary and personal level.”
SJB Friars Commit to Non-violence: The Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province based in Cincinnati, Ohio, held their 2005 Chapter at the University of Dayton, May 23-27. Among the many proposals that were passed, the Chapter delegates affirmed a resolution introduced by their JPIC Office in which they committed themselves to “continued conversion to a life of Franciscan non-violence in support of a consistent ethic of life.” The complete resolution follows.
“As Franciscans, we affirm the sacredness of all human life and the inherent value of all creation. In a world where violence is rampant, we wish to be a sign of hope, actively promoting the preservation of life, peace among people and nations, justice for all and reconciliation. We commit ourselves to continued conversion to a life of Franciscan non-violence in support of a consistent ethic of life.”