News

For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


 

What’s the big deal about methane?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

In the spirit of the Season of Creation, I’d like to reflect on the complexity of the climate crisis today by looking at the story of Methane.  Methane is a naturally occurring gas that comes from everywhere –  us, cows, marshes, rice patties, rotting rubbish in landfills, and permafrost, as well as wells and pipelines.  It’s considered a greenhouse gas with a “high global warming potential.” It’s also the primary ingredient of natural gas.

As scientists learned about the environmental problems associated with carbon, like coal, they found that natural gas (composed primarily of methane) was a good alternative. Methane does burn cleaner than any other fossil fuel producing fewer greenhouse gases when burned than oil or coal.  That’s good and why it’s become so popular. It’s a large reason why the coal industry is declining.  In fact, the Department of Energy reported that for every 10,000 U.S. homes powered with natural gas instead of coal reduces annual emissions of 1900 tons NOx, 3,900 tons of SO2, and 5,200 tons of particulates which translates into reductions in problems like asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer, and heart disease. Great!

But there’s a problem.  When methane leaks into the environment its heat-trapping effects are very strong – 100 times more potent at trapping energy than carbon dioxide, the principal contributor to man-made climate change.  This is called the “global warming potential” and indicates the amount of global warming that is caused by that substance.

So where does all this leaking come from?  The gas infrastructure is the biggest culprit – leaky pipes, spillage at the well site, improper installation or maintenance of infrastructure. Methane is leaked during extraction, storing, and burning.  Unfortunately, a lot more is leaking than originally forecasted.  (As an aside, most natural gas today is gained from fracking and that process causes many more environmental problems.)

A study published in the journal Science in 2018 concluded that the amount of methane leaking from the nation’s oil and gas fields may be 60% higher than official estimates.  This means that 2.3% of all natural gas produced in the nation is leaking during production, processing, and transportation of oil and gas each year.  That’s a lot of heat holding gas.

To make matters worse, the administration has just proposed eliminating federal requirements (from the Clean Air Act) that oil and gas companies control these leaks. Any of the benefits from using natural gas to protect the environment from the effects of greenhouse gasses will now be destroyed. The EPA acknowledged that this proposal, if adopted, would result in the release of an additional 370,000 tons of methane annually, the equivalent of the emissions of 1.8 million additional cars per year.   In fact, scientists are worried because as the planet warms, even more methane will be released from soils or other places adding to the global warming problem.

If we are going to make a difference in this global climate crisis, state and federal regulation protecting us – all of us – must remain in place and be enforced.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Justice Updates – September 24, 2019

Need help with how to talk to people who have a different view than you do?  Watch/attend the Blessed are the Peacemakers workshop/webinar.  Here’s the flyer.

Call your Senator to support S. 1743 now.   During this Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4), the U.S. Catholic community is calling for national and international climate action. Failure to act on the climate crisis will mean increased flooding, droughts, heatwave, loss of biodiversity, and sea-level rise.  The most vulnerable – the poor, the elderly, children – will be the first and most impacted. Call your Senators and urge them to support S. 1743, the International Climate Accountability Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by 46 Senators.

The International Climate Accountability Act calls upon the U.S. to remain a leader in the global efforts to address climate change.  It asks the administration to develop and submit a plan that enables our nation to meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement, which our nation and 193 other nations signed.  The agreement’s central aim is to keep global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius and pursue efforts to limit to it to 1 1/2 degrees Celsius.  The agreement is a major step by the world’s nations to address the climate crisis and ensure a livable future for all peoples and our common home.  On June 1, 2017, the president withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.  Call your senators and ask them to support Senate Bill 1743.

Sometimes it feels like we are talking to the wind when we stress the importance of stopping the climate crisis. NCR’s article “Americans are waking up: Two-thirds say climate crisis must be addressed” shows that we are not alone.

Two years ago, the administration attempted to dismantle the DACA program. Today no additional DACA applications are allowed.  The Supreme Court will take up this issue on November 12th. Oral arguments for and against DACA will be made on that day. Please keep the DACA recipients in your prayers especially on that day.  For more information, click here.

The Census Data for 2018 was released on September 10.  Danilo Trisi from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains that many programs that the administration wants to cut actually “help improve children’s chances of growing up healthier, doing better in school, and having higher expected future earnings.” Read more here.

The Justice Blog talks about the impact of methane on the environment. For more information, read this article in the New York Times.  Curbs on Methane, Potent Greenhouse Gas, to Be Relaxed in U.S.

David Dark suggests in American Magazine that we stop reacting to Mr. Trump and start responding.  Given the fatigue associated with what’s happening every day, this is a tall order. Read his blog here.

Cutting aid will not stop immigration.  Stemming the tide of immigrants at the southern border requires work to eliminate or at least alleviate the root causes of the immigration – climate change, corruption, poverty.  The administration froze aid to the triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvatore, effectively eliminating help and increasing a motivation to come to the U.S. Geoff Thale, vice president for programs at the Washington Office on Latin America a think tank stated “Nobody thinks these programs are going to magically stabilize Central America or reduce migration figures overnight. But cutting them off just increases people’ vulnerability and can make a real difference in people’ calculations to leave.” This article from NPR describes what’s happening in Guatemala as a result of cutting funding.

 

 

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Martin de Porres Center hosts local judge to discuss “trauma-informed” justice

In 2008, Franklin County, Ohio, Municipal Court Judge Paul Herbert had a startling epiphany. After spending days watching females victims of domestic abuse in his courtroom, observing their injuries, their demeanor, and their fear, he observed that the women coming into his court on prostitution charges often looked very similar.  The same injuries, the same fearful attitude, the same threatening men staring at them from the gallery.

That was the beginning of C.A.T.C.H. (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court, a first-of-its-kind therapeutic justice program for women who appear in court as victims of human trafficking. More than 50 women have graduated from the program since its inception in 2009, going to further their educations, get jobs, have the opportunity to raise their children, and essentially, start their lives again.

Sr. Nadine Buchanan, OP, volunteers at C.A.T.C.H. Court as part of her personal ministry to trafficked women in Columbus 

Herbert and his Court Coordinator, Hannah Estabrook, were part of a lunch and learn focused on trauma-informed justice at the Martin de Porres Center. to view the program in its entirety, please click here.

 

Posted in News

EMBRACE THE POWER OF GRATITUDE

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I have experienced waves of gratitude during the past few weeks – much of it as the result of the prayers, thoughts, cards, love, and support offered to me and my family as we mourn the loss of one of my nephews.

I cannot find adequate words to thank my friends and family (including my Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates community) for their acts of kindness and presence during a very difficult time in my life.

I have been reminded that gratitude is more than an emotional response. It is an affirmation of goodness – we affirm that there are good things in the world that are freely given to us. Gratitude helps us recognize the sources of goodness that are outside of ourselves – we acknowledge positive things that come our way that we did not actively work toward or ask for.

It reminds us to never take our gifts and blessings for granted.

Gratitude is an attitude. It is about more than saying “thank you.”

Gratitude completely transforms our vision because it is about being able to notice and appreciate the gifts that are given to us – from the smallest things of beauty to the grandest of our blessings (including the gift of life itself).

While having an attitude of gratitude does not mean we will never experience negative emotions, I believe that shifting our focus to consciously notice the positive can help us avoid being overwhelmed by day-to-day stressors and negative emotions.

Even during the most challenging times, gratitude makes us available to opportunities to learn and grow and to extend ourselves with care and compassion to others. Showing deep appreciation for acts of kindness can uplift us and make a difference for us and others.

What if gratitude became a perpetual, daily experience — for not just the big things but for the smallest gifts we receive?

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Dominican Sister of Peace Helen McCarthy

Sr. Helen McCarthy

Dominican Sister of Peace Helen (Kevin Marie) McCarthy, (84), died on August 31, 2019, at the Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY.  The only girl of Helen McGarr and John’s six children, Sister Helen was born in 1935 in Woburn, MA. She worked in the business world for four years before she entered religious life in 1957.

She made First Profession in 1959 and celebrated her 60-year Jubilee in 2019. She often said that she didn’t know how she ever was called to religious life.  But, as she said, “God called me and I said take me wherever you want.”

Sr. Helen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies, Education and English from Siena College in 1970. She spent the early years of her ministry in education, passing her love of learning to children in Illinois, West Virginia and Kentucky for 20 years. She worked as an Administrative Assistant while she studied to earn her Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Spaulding College, and moved to a new ministry as a Pastoral Assistant.

She served at both Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Brigid Parish in Louisville before leaving pastoral work to serve her community as the Southern Regional Coordinator for Louisville and Memphis. Sr. Helen returned to St. Brigid Parish in 1996 and served as Parish minister for seven years before moving to Watertown, MA, as House Coordinator for Rosary Manor.

Sr. Helen’s final ministry of prayer and presence was at Sansbury Care Center in St. Catharine, KY. All who visited her in her final days were touched by the peace that she felt and shared with them.

In her preaching at the funeral. Sr. Joye Gros spoke of the great love that she held for her community, her friends, and her family. “Being the youngest and only girl, she admitted that she was spoiled.” Sr. Joye said. “Perhaps, all the love she experienced in her family spilled over in her various ministries and her community life.  We became the beneficiaries.”

Sister Helen is survived by her sister-in-law, Helen McCarthy, and several nieces and nephews.

A Vigil of remembrance was held at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel on September 5. The Mass of Christian Burial was held the following day, September 6, also at the Sansbury Care Center Chapel. Sister Helen was interred at St. Catharine Cemetery

Memorial gifts in Sr. Helen McCarthy’s name may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219, or you may give online at oppeace.org.

To download a printable copy of this memorial, please click here.

Posted in Obituaries