hello

Greetings to each and everyone of you.


This section for English-speaking viewers –
and all those enjoying the culture –

has developed over the months and is now offering materials of all kinds:

texts, images, poems, videos, etc.

It will continue to provide you with rich contents week after week.

 

International Biodiversity Day – 22 May 2024

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity describes the wide range of life forms on Earth, spanning from genes to entire ecosystems. It encompasses the processes that maintain life, including evolution, ecology, and cultural practices. Biodiversity encompasses not only rare, threatened, or endangered species but all living beings, from well-known organisms like humans to lesser-known ones such as microbes, fungi, and invertebrates. 

Why is Biodiversity Important? 

Biodiversity plays a vital role in multiple aspects of our lives. Its importance lies in the numerous benefits humans derive from it, including essential needs like food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. Additionally, ecosystems offer critical services like pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water purification, nutrient cycling, and pest control. Moreover, biodiversity holds value beyond known benefits, potentially offering new medicines and other services yet to be discovered. 

We are all #PartofThePlan.

IDB 2024 is expected to increase the visibility momentum in the lead-up to the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 16), to be held in Colombia from 21 October to 1 November 2024.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.undp.org/biodiversity-day-2024

World Metrology Day – 20 May

A bit of history: the metric system which is now the universal standard for measurements was created over 200 years ago. World Metrology Day commemorates the signing, on 20 May 1875, of the Metre Convention, an international treaty designed to ensure that everyone around the world used the same metric system to measure weight and length, in order to ensure fair trade. The Metre Convention has since been ratified by over 100 countries and economies. 

Celebrated on 20 May each year, World Metrology Day helps the public to understand what is meant by the science of measurement and why we are so dependent upon it. This little-known science underpins countless aspects of our daily lives. Every time we buy a kilogram of oranges, use the GPS in our car to navigate, swallow a pill, cross a bridge or enter a building, we should spare a thought for the metrologists who made this possible. Thanks to the metric system, an architect trained in Sudan will be able to design an office building in Mexico, as the standard measurements will be the same in both countries.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.unesco.org/en/days/metrology

Pentecost Sunday, Year B – 2024

How can we speak of the immaterial, yet very personal?
How can we approach the invisible, yet very close to us?
How can we relate to the divine, creative Spirit?

Human words and usual expressions are weak and poor to establish… a relation!
But symbols may come to our help facilitating the comprehension.
They can possibly assist us as we celebrate today’s Feast of Pentecost.
As we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit on human beings like us, we can look at the symbols used to describe God’s Spirit.

The 1st reading describes the appearance of the Spirit in “what seemed to be tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-11).
The fire – warmth, light, purifying – exemplifies God’s action for us, in us.

As he started his work as God’s special messenger, Jesus went to be baptized by John the Baptist.
We are told that:
“He (John) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Jesus” (Matthew 3:16).

The dove – visible to the people present – stands for the invisible but real presence of God’s Spirit.

Already at the very beginning of the Bible, the narrative of the creation tells us:
“God’s spirit hovered over the water” (Genesis 1:2).
The text does not mention precisely the dove, but some spiritual writers have interpreted the scene as such.

The wind is also seen as a manifestation of God’s Spirit.
Before speaking of the tongues of fire, (referred to above) the text of Acts mentions:
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven”.

Jesus himself had spoken in this way to Nicodemus who had come to see him.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

A presence surrounding us, inspiring us, guiding us…
Invisible but so very near and gentle…
Always and ever remaining with us, we who are “born of the Spirit”…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-pentecote-annee-b-2024/

 

Source: Images: Aleteia

World Telecommunications Day – 17 May 2024

Digital innovation can help tackle the world’s most pressing challenges

From fighting climate change to eliminating hunger and poverty, digital technologies can help achieve 70% of targets under the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Now more than ever, building a sustainable future demands innovative thinking and action in the digital world.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2024 offers the chance to explore how digital innovation can help connect everyone and unlock sustainable prosperity for all.

With 2.6 billion people still unconnected, glaring digital gaps hinder innovation across much of the world. Many countries – lacking key policies, investments, and digital skills – are struggling to keep up in today’s fast-changing digital landscape.

WTISD 2024 reminds the world of the progress yet to be made to ensure that everyone can benefit from digital technologies.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.un.org/en/observances/telecommunication-day

World Hypertension Day – 17 May

16 May 2024 – Hypertension is a silent yet deadly public health problem. Today, on World Hypertension Day 2024, we remind all adults to get your blood pressure measured accurately and control it to live longer. Early detection and careful management of hypertension are vital.

Hypertension is a leading risk factor for premature death and disability – in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region especially. Untreated hypertension can lead to serious medical complications such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage, and other debilitating health issues.

In 2019, hypertension was estimated to affect 38% of adults aged 30–79 years in the Region – more than 104 million people. Shockingly, more than half of them (51%) are unaware of their status, and over 60% of the total are not receiving treatment. Just 16% of the total number have their condition under control.

Established risk factors include unhealthy diet (high salt and low fruit and vegetable intake), physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, and obesity. Emerging risk factors include pollution (air, water, noise, light), urbanization and loss of green space.

In humanitarian settings in the Region, such as conflict-affected contexts or areas affected by man-made and natural disasters including climate-related disasters, the burden of hypertension is even worse. This is the result of limited resources, heightened stress levels and inadequate access to health care in such settings.

Urgent action is needed to improve diagnosis, treatment, and control rates to combat the burden of hypertension in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. It’s vital to empower people to accurately measure their blood pressure (or have it measured for them), take control of their health, and embrace lifestyle changes.

Currently, the significant gaps in hypertension management and control efforts in the Region hinder progress towards Sustainable Development Goal target 3.4 – to reduce premature mortality due to noncommunicable diseases.

Hypertension, and its complications, worsens inequalities and imposes economic hardships on patients and their families, as well as on health systems and national economic and development agendas.

 

Source: Text: https://www.emro.who.int/media/news/world-hypertension-day-on-17-may-2024   Image: https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/resources/awareness/world-hypertension-day.

International Day of Families – 15 May 2024

2024 Theme: Families and Climate Change

Climate change negatively impacts the health and well-being of families through increased pollution, while extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change, such as hurricanes, droughts and floods, often lead to forced displacement and loss of livelihoods for families and individuals. Such events impact agricultural productivity and access to water, intensifying hunger and vulnerability. They cause economic disruption in industries sensitive to climate impacts such as agriculture and fisheries.

Without drastic action, adaptation to and mitigation of the impacts of climate change will become increasingly difficult and costly.

Empowering families through education, changing consumption habits, and advocacy is critical for meaningful and effective climate action. Families pass values across generations, so instilling sustainable habits and climate awareness in families from an early age is important. Integrating circular economy principles into early childhood education can help build a sustainable economic model based on minimizing waste and regenerating natural resources. Families as consumers and advocates can drive the transition to a circular economy.

The 2024 International Day of Families aims to raise awareness of how climate change impacts families and the role families can play in climate action. Through family and community initiatives, we can foster climate action with education, access to information, training and community participation.

 

Source: Text & Image (Fan Xiao): https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-of-families

Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Year B – 2024

The texts of our liturgical celebrations are numerous.
Each occasion gives us plenty of material to focus on and reflect on the message offered.
This generous offering may lead us to miss one line, or the concluding verse of a reading, which could have provided some rich insight.

The last verse of today’s gospel reading could be one such text.
On this Feast of the Ascension, we meet the apostles who see the Lord taken from their sight and disappearing in the clouds.
At the last moment, he has told them:

“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation” (Mark 16:16).

It is said that:
“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere,
and the Lord worked with them…” (Mark 16:20).

The expression is interesting and a little surprising…
We would expect to read that the apostles… worked with the Lord!
But we are told that the Lord himself worked with them and he “confirmed” what they did
“by the signs that accompanied” their work.

Would the Lord not do the same with us, and for us, now?
Would he not accompany us as we try to share his message to people around us?
Would he not sustain our efforts and make them fruitful?

Unseen, invisible, the Lord is not indifferent, or detached – this is not our God.
He made himself – and forever – “God-with-us” (Isaiah 7:14).

The Ascension of the Lord is the occasion of learning anew how to see…
To see beyond the immediate…
To see deeper than the obvious…
To perceive the reality of his unfailing presence in all that makes up our human existence…

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-lascension-du-seigneur-annee-b-2024/

 

Source: Image: Scripture Images

Days of Remembrance and Reconciliation for those who lost their lives during WWII – 8-9 May

  PURPOSE

The day was designated to Pay Tribute to the 40 million civilians, to the 20 million soldiers dead and to promote reconciliation. The Second World War Tribute program honors the sacrifices of those who served.

The date of 8 May was chosen because it is the day the Nazi forces in Germany surrendered in 1945 but, recognizing that United Nations member states may have their own memorable days associated with the victory over fascism, the General Assembly invited all countries, the United Nations organizations, non-governmental organizations and individuals to celebrate either 8 May and 9 May, or both of these days annually as a tribute to all victims of the Second World War.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.internationaldays.org/may/

6th Sunday of Easter, Year B – 2024

Trying to make a list of God’s attributes could be quite a challenge.
All the qualities we can ascribe to him can be declined over time, but we always risk missing some!

Today’s 1st reading in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48) mentions one aspect of God’s being that could be easily forgotten, yet…
Yet, it is very important for us to recognize it.
The text says:

“God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34).
Or, as stated in another translation: “God is no respecter of persons”.

At first sight, this may be surprising and a little puzzling.
But in simple words, it means that God is not impressed with titles and qualifications whatever they may be.
Social ranks, nominations, honorific mentions, do not come high on God’s list of priorities.

It would be safe to assume that what is important to God is a person’s heart of hearts!
Long ago, we have been told that:

“God does not see as human beings do” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Bias, nepotism, favoritism, cronyism – these are all too present nowadays when it comes to the choice of candidates for different positions of power.
God’s choice follows another direction altogether.
The 1st reading tells us clearly:

“God accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:35).
“Fears him” can be read as: “trusts him, relies on him”.
God accepts, welcomes, delights in, every such person – no matter his/her origin, social class, education, or even religious group.

This is truly comforting and leaves no one of us out… unless we choose to exclude ourselves from God’s chosen ones!

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/6e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-b-2024/

 

Source: Image: Scripture Images

World Press Freedom Day – 3 May 2024

A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the environmental crisis

In 2024, World Press Freedom Day is dedicated to the importance of journalism and freedom of expression in the context of the current global environmental crisis.

Awareness of all aspects of the global environmental crisis and its consequences is essential to build democratic societies. Journalistic work is indispensable for this purpose.

Journalists encounter significant challenges in seeking and disseminating information on contemporary issues, such as supply-chains problems, climate migration, extractive industries, illegal mining, pollution, poaching, animal trafficking, deforestation, or climate change. Ensuring the visibility of these issues is crucial for promoting peace and democratic values worldwide.

In the context of the world’s triple planetary crisis —climate change, biodiversity loss, and air pollution— dis-/misinformation campaigns challenge knowledge and scientific research methods. Attacks on the validity of science pose a serious threat to pluralistic and informed public debate. Indeed, misleading and false information about climate change can, in some cases, undermine international efforts to address them.

Dis-/misinformation about environmental issues can lead to a lack of public and political support for climate action, effective policies, and the protection of vulnerable communities affected by climate change, as well as of women and girls, as climate change tends to exacerbate existing inequalities.

To achieve sustainable development, it is necessary for journalists to report accurately, timely, and comprehensively on environmental issues and their consequences, as well as on possible solutions.

This requires a comprehensive strategy that includes:

  • Preventing and protecting against crimes committed against journalists.   
  • Ensuring the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of scientific research, and access to key sources of information, in addition to combating dis-/misinformation through journalism.   
  • Promoting the plurality, diversity, and viability of media, especially regional, local, indigenous, and/or community-based media.   
  • Ensuring that the governance of digital platforms foster the transparency of technology companies, their accountability, due diligence, user empowerment, and content moderation and curation based on international human rights’ standards, as indicated in UNESCO’s Guidelines for the Governance of Digital Platforms.
  • Promoting Media and Information Literacy programs to empower users with skills to engage and think critically in the digital environment.
Source: Text: https://www.un.org/en/observances/press-freedom-    Image: UNESCO