Breathtaking Figures: New Studies on Status and Economics of Earth’s Biodiversity

The general trends of the worldwide ecosystem degradation are commonly well-known for long. Among the most recent studies however, two documentations released on the occasion of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity 2010 deliver new and mostly alarming figures on the real extent of the world’s biodiversity losses. And for the first time ever, the economic and monetary values of Earth’s biological infrastructure and the manifold services it delivers for human welfare are taken into account within a comprehensive approach.

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Higher Education Institutions in Spain and Sustainability

On October 15th a meeting was held at the Pontifical University of Comillas-Madrid by several members of UNIJES (Spanish Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education) under the theme of “Natural Resources and Sustainability”. This was a preliminary meeting in order to assess the possibilities to establish a permanent working group in the framework of UNIJES. After a certain time of informal conversations finally we moved forward in order to gather representatives from UNIJES institutions that are dealing with “sustainability” at different levels.

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Environment Refugees’ Unclear Legal Status: New Approaches Urgently Needed, Study Says

The phenomenon is well known since long, but concrete numbers are rare: more and more people are forced to relocate permanently from their homes, due to environmental degradation and ecosystem losses.

Projections for 2050, released by the International Organization of Migration in 2008, range from 25 million to one billion people displaced by the consequences only of climate change. Their livelihoods are threatened in many ways: farmers lose arable land due to droughts and other extreme weather events whereas islands and coastal areas are affected by devastating storm tides. As a result, people migrate from environments which no longer guarantee food stability and which no longer are hospitable for human civilization.

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European Bishops Ecology Pilgrimage

Around fifty delegates from more than fifteen countries of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe set out on 1st September 2010 from the Basilica of Esztergom, Hungary on a pilgrimage of hope for all creation to the Shrine of Mariazell in Austria, passing through Slovakia where we were welcomed by the Archbishop of Bratislava, Stanislav Zvolenský. The initiative was inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for the World Day of Peace in 2010 entitled If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.

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‘Green’ Bishop Receives Alternative Nobel Prize

A leading figure in Brazil’s environment movement, Erwin Kräutler, is one of the four winners of the Right Livelihood Award 2010, known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’. The 71-year-old Catholic Bishop of Xingu in the Amazon region is honoured for “a lifetime of work for the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples and for his tireless efforts to save the Amazon forest from destruction”, the prize committee in Stockholm said.

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Corporate Social Responsibility in the Congolese mining companies

Two events have prompted a field mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the project “Relational Peace Advocacy Network” (RPAN) of OCIPE in June 2010.

First, the CEPAS, our partner in the Congo in the triangulation Brussels – Kinshasa and Washington, organized two workshops on social responsibility of extracting companies; and second, a team of three researchers collected the information necessary for academic research on practices of mining companies in Katanga.

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