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Awareness about Environmental DestructionSection 1: AWARENESS What is Environmental Destruction?Environmental destruction is the disintegration of the earth. Environmental destruction occurs when Earth’s natural resources are reduced and the environment is brought into trouble in the form of pollution in the air, water and soil, rapid growth in population, as well as other important factors. Environmental destruction is one of the largest threats that are being looked at in the world today. (Causes and Effects of Environmental Degradation, 2016)What is Environmental Awareness?Environmental awareness is an extremely important issue that is taken too lightly in many parts throughout the world. More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under the age of 5 are attributable to unhealthy environments. Every year, environmental risks such as pollution, unsafe water, natural disasters such as floods and droughts and climate change take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years, reports the World Health Organization. Environmental awareness is about being aware of the environment and refers to all flora and fauna, and areas of life. Planet Earth faces an increasing number challenges that are listed and explained in the paragraphs below.Factors that cause Environmental DestructionClimate change or global warming for starters is the biggest contributor to environmental damage that surrounds us every day. Climate changes, in particular, is an apparent change in temperatures, largely due to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. “Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year… was the warmest on record for those respective months” (Climate Change Evidence, 2017)Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage. It already affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. (Water Scarcity, 2015)A drought is a period of below-average precipitation in a given region. This ends up creating problems resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or groundwater. Sometimes a drought will take decades to develop fully and they are very difficult to predict. On average, 52,498,452 people are affected yearly by a drought. (Drought Disaster Statistics, 2017) Deforestation is the permanent, destructive process of clearing a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. An estimated 18 million acres of forest, which is roughly the size of the country of Panama, are lost each year, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. (Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects, 2015)A flood is a massive overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. The European Union Floods Directive defines a flood as a covering by water land not normally covered by water. A frequent way a flood occurs is that each time the rain falls quicker than the drainage system can take, floods happen. Sometimes, if there is heavy rain for a very short period of time that can result in floods, other times it could be light rain for many days and weeks causing rivers or lakes to overflow. Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. From 2005 to 2014, the average flood claim was $42,000, and total flood insurance claims averaged more than $3.5 billion per year. (17 Statistics about Floods You Didn’t Know, 2016)Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that causes adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. The most common form of pollution is pesticide use. Top 5 Causes of Death in Children Under 5 years linked to the Environment:(The Cost of a Polluted Environment, 2018)570 000 children under 5 years die from respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution.361 000 children under 5 years die due to diarrhea, as a result of poor access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.270 000 children die during their first month of life from conditions, including prematurity, which could be prevented through access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in health facilities as well as reducing air pollution.200 000 deaths of children under 5 years from malaria could be prevented through environmental actions, such as reducing breeding sites of mosquitoes or covering drinking-water storage.200 000 children under 5 years die from unintentional injuries attributable to the environment, such as poisoning, falls, and drowningOther Statistics involving Environmental Related Deaths:The reporting company the WHO, found out that low to middle-income families that are around South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest environment-related disease burden in 2012, with a total of 7.3 million deaths. Further statistics listed in the report include: (12.6 Million Deaths Each Year Are Attributable to Unhealthy Environments, 2017)2.2 million deaths annually in African Region847 000 deaths annually in Region of the Americas854 000 deaths annually in Eastern Mediterranean Region1.4 million deaths annually in European Region3.8 million deaths annually in South-East Asia Region3.5 million deaths annually in Western Pacific Region Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsThe first unmet need in Maslow’s Hierarchy that is present would be the Physiological needs. These are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements that follow along with this need – such as clean water, proper food, and shelter – the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first. Some illness that could occur is pneumonia from exposure to excuse pollution caused by a lack of shelter. E. coli and others from unsafe drinking water, and every form of malnutrition caused by lack of food. Along with a handful of different types of food poisoning caused by digestion of improperly cooked food, and unsafe food. (eg. wild berries, poisonous fruits.)The second need unmet in Maslow’s Hierarchy would be the need of safety and security. This needs can be defined as the need to feel protected in ones home, community and surroundings. Once a person’s physiological needs are relatively satisfied, their safety needs take precedence. This need is deeply important because it puts not only their livelihood at stake but their health and well being too. In South Africa, at Lonmin’s platinum mine in the town of Marikana workers have a new wage package but the terrible living conditions in which they exist to carry on. “The living conditions are terrible. The mining companies don’t invest in the communities and the people in Marikana live in shacks with no water, no drainage systems,” a Rustenburg miner told The Daily Maverick. (The Foul Truth about Living Conditions at Marikana, 2012) The people live in very unfathomable conditions. Compared to this extravagant mining company that draws all the attention, this small town barely gets a second look. The daily hardships some of these people have to endure included air pollution; bilharzia found in streams close to squatter camps with no warning signs near. (Bilharzia is a chronic disease in parts of Africa and South America, caused by infestation with blood flukes (schistosomes). Blood flukes / Schistosomes are a parasitic flatworm that needs two hosts to complete its life cycle. The immature form infests freshwater snails, and the adult lives in the blood vessels of birds and mammals, causing bilharzia in humans.) (Blood Fluke – definition, 2016) Noise and destruction to property also occur because of mine blasting; and in particular the seepage of sewage from the Lonmin mine settlement into nearby streams. This, and much more, completely missed the mark when it came to safety and security which makes it a prime example of a place where we need to take action to fix the problems.SECTION 2: ANALYSISFour Factors that contribute to Environmental DestructionDeforestationForests cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but masses half the size of England are lost each year.Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover, they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor to the atmosphere. (Deforestation and Its Effect on the Planet, 2017)Nuclear testingA nuclear explosion has three stages of effect: heat wave, pressure wave, and radiation according to (What’s the Damage? 2006). The heat wave explosion causes injury due to massive fires. Injuries due to flying objects result from the blast of the pressure wave. The radiation leads to short-term and long-term injuries to current and future generations. The short-term effect of radiation is sickness. The long-term effects of radiation include a variety of cancers. The total number of casualties from a nuclear explosion depends on many factors such as the population density, weather conditions and whether the explosion happened in the atmosphere or on the ground.MiningThere are many ways to mine including strip mining, underground mining, coal mining and more. Any of these first three types of mining causes deforestation and releases a major amount of toxic minerals and heavy metals into the soil and air. The backlash effects that follow mining persist for years after production has been abandoned. In the years of 1930 – 2000, the US alone had coal mining altered about 2.4 million hectares 5.9 million acres of natural landscape, most of it originally forest according to (Effects Of Mining on the Environment and Human Health, 2015)Agricultural RunoffAgricultural runoff is a deadly source of pollutants which can degrade environments so much so that the EPA identifies agriculture as the primary source of water pollution. Water washes over the soil and carries the fertilizers and pesticides used on farms to lakes and streams. When it does this the water is introducing poisons into waterways. Fertilizers containing large amounts of phosphorus can cause explosions of algae in lakes. As the algae die, bacteria start to break down the organic material. It soon develops into a situation where bacteria are using up the available dissolved oxygen in the water. Plants, fish, and other organisms begin to die off. (Causes of Environmental Degradation, 2016)How Does Scripture Call Us to ActionSome of the most inspiring words in the entire Bible are found in the opening pages of Genesis. Here we are told that humans were created in God’s image and given a divine mandate to care for Creation (Gen. 1:26-31). Our vocation is to partner with God in preserving and sustaining the earth with all the creatures and species that God has made. Many Christians today seem to take an uncaring approach to many environmental issues they come across. This “so what?” attitude to environmental issues has become a ‘norm’ for some. The concept of “If God is in control why should we worry about the environment?” First, while God has certainly promised to help His people, this providential care will not protect us from the sinful outcomes that are man-made. God has saved us in Christ. He has made us a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But we still reside in a sin-altered, fallen world in which the consequences of our actions are felt every day: “Whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).When a specific natural resource or environmental issue or problem arises, individuals and groups often disagree on the appropriate course of action to resolve the issue or problem. At the core of these disagreements are different values and beliefs related to nature itself. With through reading of the Genesis, Proverbs, and Psalms, it’s clear that God commands us to keep tending to and care about the earth and its resources but God’s proclamation to have dominion over the earth doesn’t mean to have complete domination and exploitation of its resources. Sadly, we continue to reap the land, clear-cut the forests, strip-mine the hills, burn through the resources. This is the only place that we have and if we choose to abuse it, it will be a choice we and future generation to come will deeply regret.Catechism of Catholic Church calls us to ActionThe Catechism of the Catholic Church calls us to action for environmental destruction through the seventh commandment. ‘You shall not steal’. The seventh commandment forbids any person from the unjust taking and keeping of goods from one’s neighbor. This commandment commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods. It requires respect for the God’s creation and the world that provides for us. God had entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them.The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. The Catechism calls the entire human race to act on this destruction because with all these natural disasters occurring more and more often, and pollutions and diseases spreading more rapidly because of human interaction it’s no surprise everyone in our world is in danger. SECTION 3: ACTION Organizations St. Mary’s Should Partner With (Top 3 picked)Earth Island Institute (http://www.earthisland.org/)This organization works to find solutions to environmental problems by promoting citizen action and incubating a diverse network of projects. This Institution mainly uses the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) call to family, community, and participation. It’s believed that people have a duty to participate in society, seeking a way to find the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. The Earth Island Institute web page updates its users on the 3 I’s. Get informed, get inspired and get involved where users can find the best way they wish to participate and make a difference in their community, city, country, or globally. National Wildlife Federation (https://www.nwf.org/)The NWF is our nation’s largest member-supported conservation group. It’s uniting individuals, organizations, businesses, and government to protect wildlife, wild places, and the environment.  The CST that follows along the best with this federation is the option for the poor and vulnerable. In a society that’s deepening its divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first, in this case, the animals, and their habitats. A majority – if not all these species have lived here for a much longer time than we have, for us to clear-cut and pollute their homes and kill their families is an enormous act of injustice that is going against this CST. In a majority of people’s eyes, these animals are seen as a lesser compared to humans because we do not share the same capabilities. We need to protect wildlife at all costs, no conditions.Friends of Earth (https://www.foei.org/)Friends of the Earth is the world’s largest International grassroots environmental network. Uniting a total of 71 diverse national member groups and more than 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. They spread awareness and campaign on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues. They continue to promote solutions that will help to create a safe, sustainable and socially-just economy everyone can enjoy. “Our decentralized and democratic structure allows all member groups to participate in decision-making. We strive for gender equity in all of our campaigns and structures.” This organization practices the CST of solidarity. Through their neatly spaced website it is easy to follow new information and updated news that shows we, as brothers and sisters of God, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences, we are loving neighbors that share a global dilemma. The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.Develop an Action Plan for Engaged StudentsEngaged students of St. Mary’s High school could work in partnerships with these organizations by a handful of the following ways; a drive, a website fund, a petition, etc. These three ways alone can even make a great impact. A drive – Whether a food drive, medical drive, or any type of drive that supports people in other communities or countries that need our help. (Volunteer Fairfax Homepage)Step 1: Find a local group or location that needs your help. …Step 2: Decide what you need to collect, whether warm clothes for winter, food, etc.Step 3: Find an easily accessible drop-off locationStep 4: Recruit and manage volunteers Step 5: Get the word out! Posters around school, announcements on social mediaStep 6: Event day! Build a Non-Profit Fundraising Website. (Steps to Create a Donation Website)Step 1: Create a Donation page Make sure to list:Your organization’s mission – This lets potential donors know why you exist and why they should give to your organization.Your organization’s branding: branded donation pages appear more trustworthy.A story about someone your organization helped with an image of that personA breakdown of where a donation goes: This is the second most important detail donors want to know when deciding whether to donate! A personal message from your President or someone on the Board: a thank you message to your donors is a good way to get awareness and some more potential donors!Ask for a donation and make your goal attainableStep 2: Create a Donation Form to Collect Your Donor’s InformationStep 3: Setup Automated Tax Receipts and Thank You MessagesStep 4: Make Your Donation Page ShareableStep 5: Add a Donation Button to Your WebsiteStep 6: Drive Traffic to Your Donation Page. Lastly, create a petition to be passed through social media so everyone has access to it. (How to Write a Petition)Step 1: Develop your argument.Step 2: Verify the jurisdiction of the petition.Step 3: Find out how many signatures you need.Step 4: Develop a clear and specific statement of your goal.Step 5: Prepare references for your statements.Step 6: Make a call to action.Step 7: Let people know what else they can do to support the cause.Step 8: Create a signer’s form on a separate sheet for paper petitions.Step 9: Create an online presence for your petition.How Student Involvement Helps Students develop Beatitude BehavioursHow would student involvement help students develop 2 beatitude behaviorsStudent Involvement would help students develop beatitude behavior because they are living a life that fulfills Jesus’ teaching. The two most probable ones students would be most likely to develop would be “blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” and “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”.The Beatitude “blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” relates to justice and righteousness. A continuous desire for justice and moral perfection will lead one to a fulfillment of that desire. This is true for all the virtues – if you hunger and thirst for temperance, you will head towards the goal you have in mind.The Beatitude “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” is an important one to learn because Jesus gives us peace. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Peacemakers try to bring peace and friendship to others, their goal is to preserve peace between God and man. The Lord wants you first to be filled with the blessings of peace and then to pass it on to those who have need of it. By imitating God’s love of man, the peacemakers become children of God.

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