Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 17, No. 7, July 2021
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Material Degrowth for Integral Human Growth

"Political authority is an instrument of coordination and direction by means of which the many individuals and intermediate bodies must move towards an order in which relationships, institutions, and procedures are put at the service of integral human growth." Compendium #394







Protecting the Planet ~ Poem and Reflection
Shay Cullen

Confusion as a State of Grace: Climate and Kinship in 2021
Installment 3 ~ The Shame Sham - "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires"

Cara Judea Alhadeff

Our Planet, Our Future ~ An Urgent Call for Action
National Academies

Back To Normal? Is That What We Really Want?
Erik Assadourian

Human Population Activity: The Primary Factor that has Precipitated a Climate Emergency, Biodiversity Loss, and Environmental Pollution on Our Watch
Steven Earl Salmony

Culture Drives Human Evolution More Than Genetics
Marcus Wolf

The Planetary Wellbeing Initiative: Pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals in Higher Education
Josep M. Antó et al

Science for Sustainability: The Paradigm Shift our World Needs
Glenys Jones

The Idea of 'Green Growth' is Flawed ~ We Must Find Ways of Using and Wasting Less Energy
Michael Joy

Can/Must Capitalism Change?
Keith Zeff

Don't Expect the World Economy to Resume its Prior Growth Pattern after COVID-19
Gail Tverberg

The Long Term Perspectives of Nuclear Energy: Revisiting the Fermi Paradox
Ugo Bardi

Star Parasites: Carbon-Based Life and the Future of the Universe
Ugo Bardi

The Shape of Things to Come ~ Scenario Planning and the Energy Economy
Tim Morgan

Not Just Energy, But Everything
Chris Rhodes

Circular Economies & Regenerative Cultures
Daniel Christian Wahl

Portrayals of Degrowth in the Press: 'Free Market Magic' vs 'Radical Doomsayers'
Anna Pringle

U.N. Declares Decade of Ecosystem Restoration to 'Make Peace with Nature'
Liz Kimbrough

Resisting the Everyday Violence of Colonial Extractivism
Michael Wilson Becerril

How Energy Transition Models Go Wrong
Gail Tverberg

The Shining Lies Canadians Are Told about Lowering Emissions
Andrew Nikiforuk

Two Radical Ideas Whose Time Has Come
Philip Cafaro

Why Sustainability is Not Enough in International Education
Jenny J. Lee & Ola A. Lundemo

Do We Humans Have Too Much Power?
Richard Heinberg

Protecting the Planet ~ Poem and Reflection

Shay Cullen

This article was originally published by
PREDA Foundation, 11 June 2021


Have you ever seen the sun set upon the sea,
the migrating birds flying in formation proud?
Have you ever seen the mighty forest
and heard the birds sing clear and loud?
Have you seen the flowers in the meadows and the fields
that provide the nectar for the bee
that gives the honey in the hive hanging from the tree?
Have you seen the dolphins race across the ocean wave,
the mighty whales that swim the oceans strong and brave?
A breathless sight of beauty you will ever see
if we will just allow them to live and to be.

We inhabit a most amazing planet filled with life forms and hundreds of thousands of amazing creatures, animals, birds, insects, and fish. In the natural world, the living forests and plants and oceans make up a living, evolving integrated planet with us humans. We the creatures that have a developed brain, conscientious, knowing and with awareness of self and all that is around us in the environment. have the responsibility to preserve it.

We are the ones that can admire, appreciate, and wonder at the beauty of the environment and the universe. We are the thinking consciousness of the universe. We can know good and bad and we have unique free will to choose one or the other. That is what makes us human and different from other creatures we share life with on this climate-sensitive planet.

We humans are changing it dramatically by the lifestyles that we have chosen and the industrial machines and methods we have created to maintain that lifestyle. Our way of living together, travelling, warming and cooling ourselves, producing our food and disposing off the material we manufacture is affecting the environment and the planet itself.

We humans are industrious, inventive, creative, intelligent, kindly, loving creatures to each other and the ecology and environment but many of us are also something else. Many of our species have chosen to act on their lower, thoughtless basic instincts to possess, control, dominate and subjugate others to achieve and satisfy desires and appetites. They impact the human environment. They act with violence and other negative impulses born perhaps from childhood neglect, abuse, deprivation or the evil example of other influencers. They act in anger with violence against the human environment, the human community, inflicting hurt and pain on others.

Some become intoxicated with power and destructive tendencies over their communities. They persecute and kill those that refuse to be subjugated, dominated and abused. These are the tyrants and dictators, and not only do they kill and maim and destroy those who do not approve of them, they attack the environment. Their self-serving policies expand industrial exploitation of the environment and exploit the natural resources. Their goal is to increase their personal wealth and political power and so all creatures, the environment and the planet greatly suffer. They are the humans that allow big and small corporations to destroy the forests and the oceans and create a destructive industrial juggernaut that leaves disorganized citizens divided and powerless.

We must not be silenced or intimidated. We must stand for the earth, act to stop the destruction on a political scale, on a community level and in our personal capacity. When people unite and speak with one voice, they have power to change the world and corrupt politicians unless they are shot and massacred. The environmental destruction by industry that is causing climate change by high levels of CO2 emissions has to be challenged .They cause climate fluctuations that damage sustainable food production and the natural world. Politicians in conspiracy with the industrial leaders, driven by greed, these mighty money moguls, are foremost in destroying the planet.

Australia is an example of government policy supporting the coal extraction industry. It is the biggest exporter of coal in the world. The emissions of the coal they export is equal to 3.3 percent of global emissions. Added to domestically-produced emissions of CO2, then Australia contributes 4.8 percent of world emissions and is a major contributor to dangerous climate change. If we add the emissions for natural gas exports, it is even a bigger footprint and a bigger responsibility. The super cold snap in Australia of late is a direct result of climate change, it seems.

The Australian political industrial complex has to be held accountable and drastically change direction to protect the environment. That is a decision that only the Australian people can make by voting into power a green, environmental-friendly government. Australia is now the sixth biggest polluter of the environment after China, the United States, Russia, India and Indonesia. Australia and all the high CO2 emissions producing countries should choose to obey the principle, “Do no Harm.” However, since basic instincts of greed, money and power are dominating the ruling elites and political establishments of these countries, there is no place for principles of caring and compassion for the people and the planet.

There is good news however. The global awareness of the damage and negative effects of climate change has business and industry concerned and committed to change. A survey by Deloitte in recent months shows that 80 percent of business and corporate executives have expressed serious concern about the impact of climate change and are planning to take mitigating action to address it. But will they?

The Climate Check Report surveyed 750 executives last January and February 2021 and found that 30 percent of them said that climate change is affecting their businesses causing a scarcity of resources and supply chain problems. Self-interest may bring concern for the environment. Political awareness building and peaceful social activism is having a positive effect. School children in Australia have taken to the streets to protest against coal production. Greta Thunberg is leading a global movement to stop industry burning fossil fuels and to build renewable energy sources. Now 18 years old, she blasts the empty promises of world leaders who promise much but do nothing positive but allow the destruction of the Amazon rain forests.

If we want to continue to admire the forests, the dolphins, the birds and creatures of the planet, we have to preserve and protect it with all our strength.


Shay Cullen, a Catholic priest from Ireland, is a member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban who went to the Philippines in 1969. He is the Founder and President of the People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (PREDA) Foundation, a social development organization that was founded in 1974. His life’s work includes protecting women and children from abuse, sex slavery and trafficking, providing a new life for children at risk and promoting and advocating for human rights and peace in the Philippines since 1969.


"Growth for the sake of growth
is the ideology of the cancer cell."

— Edward Abbey (1927-1989)


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