Ecologists at the University of Australia in Sydney estimate that nearly 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been killed by the bush fires sweeping the state of New South Wales, according to The Huffington Post. Pictures appearing in the news and on social media are heartwrenching and terrifying — and that's nothing compared to the actual experience of the people and animals facing the smoke and fires for weeks on end.
Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on January 2, 2020
Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on September 5, 2019
Photo courtesy of pixundfertig at Pixabay.com
The Amazon's tropical rainforests — often described as "the Earth's lungs" because they generally draw in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen — have seen a record number of more than 74,000 fires in 2019. "We're all looking at what we can do about it," says Lynne Twist, who describes herself as "a proactivist, driven by a vision." She co-founded The Pachamama Alliance and founded The Soul of Money Institute, dedicated to alleviating poverty and hunger and to advocating for indigenous rights and the rights of nature.
Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on August 29, 2019
Photo Credit: Barbary Ape by Alexas_Fotos, courtesy of Pixabay
In The Week, August 30, 2019, we learn that according to the United Nations up to one million species face extinction. The Trump Administration has created new rules for enforcing the Endangered Species Act: These changes will "gut the landmark law which protects1,663 imperiled animal and plant species." Seven major environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, have sued the administration over these rules.
Posted by Mary Ann Brussat on June 10, 2019
Crop fires have become a weapon of war in Iraq and Syria. An article on Morning Ag Clips reports that farmers were looking forward to the best harvest since war began across the region, but now once golden fields of wheat and barley have been destroyed by fires presumed to have been deliberately set by fighters of the Islamic State and perhaps others. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of farmland in Hassakeh, Raqqa and all the way to Aleppo province to the west, have been burned.
Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 6, 2019
"One million species face extinction, U.N. report says. And humans will suffer as a result," observed The Washington Post on May 6, 2019. We surely have not yet run out of sit-up-and-take-notice warnings about human impact on the climate and therefore on all of life.
When I was in sixth grade, some teachers at Cayuga Heights Elementary School took it upon themselves to help us understand "one million." They printed one million x's on computer paper and posted the sheets along the ceiling of the long hallway that extended from the gym to the library. It took five minutes to walk that hallway, and gazing up at those tiny gray marks was a mind-boggling experience.
Posted by Aizaiah Yong on April 25, 2019
News from the Phillipines reports the destruction and deaths caused by two powerful earthquakes on April 22 – 23, 2019. Monday's magnitude 6.1 quake struck Pampanga province, north of Manila, as well as the capital itself; at least five people were killed when a supermarket collapsed. Another 11 people died elsewhere and others are still missing. Tuesday's 6.4 magnitude quake centered on the Eastern Samar province.
News from Mozambique on April 25 reports Tropical Cyclone Kenneth is making a catastrophic, unprecedented strike in northern Mozambique just weeks after Tropical Cyclone Idai's catastrophic storm surge and rainfall flooding swamped parts of central Mozambique.
Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on April 8, 2019
According to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), as of this writing in 2019 there are 68.5 million people displaced by war and violent conflict. Our human minds and hearts are not equipped to comprehend suffering on this scale. We can, however, hear human voices one at a time, and we can empathize with images that tap into our personal comprehension of suffering.
Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on March 15, 2019
On March 15, 2019, we awoke to news of 49 killed and dozens injured in shooting attacks at mosques in New Zealand, which had long been considered a haven from such violence. After shock and sorrow, our immediate desire was to bring light, love, and healing to these tragic circumstances. Here are some ways to help; you can also sign this Groundswell petition to send love and solidarity to the Muslim families of New Zealand.
At such times prayers bring consolation and guidance, too. We asked Habib Todd Boerger, a 2018-19 Fellow with the Practicing Democracy Project, if he would compose a dua — a Muslim petitionary prayer — for the victims. He sent the following heartfelt response, for which we are deeply grateful.
And so we pray this news ...
Beloved Lord, Beloved God,
Here we are Lord, before you, with our hearts hurting, as yet more senseless acts of violence have taken the lives of many, and the pain of their loss ripples through their families, loved ones, communities, and across the world.
Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on November 16, 2018
As of this writing on November 16, 2018, the death toll from California's Camp Fire has risen to 63 — making it the deadliest wildfire in California history — and the list of the missing contains 631 names. It is the worst of the fires currently ravaging California, but the Woolsey Fire in Malibu and nearby areas has burned nearly 100,000 acres and hundreds of houses; the Hill Fire in Ventura County, more than 4,500 acres.
Pictures of people and animals fleeing the fires are heartbreaking; the thought of those who couldn't get away is even more so. California Governor Jerry Brown observed that "we’re in a new abnormal, and things — things like this will be part of our future. And this won’t be the beginning. It’ll be things like this and worse."
Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on October 29, 2018
Upon hearing the heartwrenching and horrifying news of the shooting assault on the Tree of Life Jewish congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we asked Rabbi Ted Falcon of the Interfaith Amigos for a response. He immediately wrote back to share his reflections with us.
And so we pray this news ...
Blessing always calls us to the immediacy of the present moment; it is an invitation to mindfulness. In the case of hearing terrible news, we are invited to share blessing in this form:
“Blessed are You,
Eternal One our God,
the True Judge.”
Something bringing pain and suffering has occurred that is outside of our control, and we are asked to be fully present to that pain with energies of blessing.
About This Blog
The daily news summons us to prayer. The people, situations, and events of our times call out for our compassion and God's healing presence. In this blog we will pray in a variety of forms as we lift up the needs of the world. We hope that by praying the news in this way we will also expand both our spirituality and our practice. More