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Monday, April 25, 2011

Climate Change Continues to be of Interest in both Academic and Religious Circles

For those looking for a little deeper exploration of phenology, especially in light of future climatic changes, check out Dr. Rebecca Montgomery’s webinar entitled: Phenology & Climate Change: How Timing of Biological Activity Affects Forests Now and in the Future. Prof. Montgomery presents scientific information in a very non-technical way providing a nice introduction to phenology, it’s historical context, and why it really matters. The hour long presentation is offered in a very down to earth style that is easy to follow and understand. No need for a science background whatsoever. And, if you missed something or want to review it again, you can pause the webinar and scroll back the audio/video. One of things that I found very interesting was a slide on the annual bloom records for the Cherry tree in 
Japan (from 850 AD to the present!). Astonishingly... within the last 30 years, the flowering is occurring much earlier than has been recorded in the last 1200 years. A good demonstration case that seasonal responses of plants are definitely changing. Rebecca provides  other phenological changes occurring locally as well.  

She sums up the webinar with three basic take home messages and provides some implications for forest management in Minnesota:

• Phenology influences forest health and forest productivity.
• Phenology of plants and animals is changing.
• Minnesota’s climate is changing and tree phenology will likely change too.

Resources:Phenology & Climate Change: How Timing of Biological Activity Affects Forests Now and in the Future. Presented by Dr. Rebecca Montgomery, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.

Harvard Arboretum:
Climate Change & Cherry Tree Blossom Festivals in Japan.

USA National Phenology Network

Minnesota Phenology Network (Facebook):

MN Climate Change Research Study: B4Warmed- Boreal Forest Warming at an Ecotone in Danger.

                                          B4Warmed Research Plots
                                         Visit here to see more images

As a natural resource professional and a Catholic, I am intrigued over the renewed interest in linking science and religion more closely together when addressing fundamental issues affecting our planet. One of the best examples of that is the current thinking and understanding of global climate change and its impact on creation. In recent years religious leaders have ramped up this environmental and moral discussion to the point that many Catholics are beginning to re-examine their views on the topic. One of the leading advocates in this discussion is the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change – a recent collaboration between the US Catholic Bishops and the greater Catholic community. Earlier this month they teamed up with Ave Maria Press to provide an informative and inspiring webinar entitled: Up in the Sky & Down to Earth: A Catholic Conversation on Climate Change and Creation Care.

Ave Maria Press provides the introduction: “Dan Misleh, the executive director of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, teams up with author and farmer Kyle Kramer for this thought-provoking webinar. Dan will discuss Catholic teaching as it relates to environmental stewardship and concern for the common good and the poor, especially in regard to the pressing problem of global climate change. Kyle will share reflections from over a decade of trying to put the principles of good stewardship and simplicity into practice on a small-scale organic farm, surrounded by family members, rural neighbors, and the nearby community of Benedictine monks.
I am sure grateful for Kyle's thoughtful presentation! He brings it all together while providing insight on how to transform our life through the virtues of hospitality and humility, and by honestly re-claming responsibility for our needs. Kyle provides some really simple ways for continuing our efforts to reduce our impact on the climate. It's time well spent listening to this gifted individual. Be inspired!


Up in the Sky and Down to Earth: A Catholic Conversation about Climate and Creation Care from Ave Maria Press on Vimeo.



Gabrielle said...

Paul, I'm happy to know that this subject is gaining more credability in Catholic circles, and I'm grateful that these people are using their gifts and knowledge to help educate us all, particularly in the areas of stewardship and simplicity. These webinars are a fantastic use of the Internet to help get the message out.

Harbor Star said...

There are so many to thank for this growing interest in connecting our faith with creation. A great deal of it goes to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Spirit guides us through their teaching and witness.

Thanks Gabrielle!

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday and JP II Beatification.