Religion & The Environment

  • Poinsettia Featured Article Poinsettia Poinsettia

    Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a flowering plant endemic to Mexico (where it is known as Flor de Noche Buena, or the Christmas Eve flower), and which today is cultivated... More »

  • Astronomy of Christmas Featured Article Astronomy of Christmas Astronomy of Christmas

    The astronomy of Christmas is chiefly centered around verifiable celestial events that occurred at or near the time of birth of Jesus. Astromers have expended considerable... More »

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Poinsettia Last Updated on 2014-01-16 09:17:04 Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a flowering plant endemic to Mexico (where it is known as Flor de Noche Buena, or the Christmas Eve flower), and which today is cultivated worldwide on a massive scale as an ornamental potted plant. The branches of poinsettia can be long and thin, making wild varieties appear very different from the popular potted plants. Hawaii, Enchanting Floral Gardens Kula, Maui. Photographer: Forest & Kim Starr. Supplier: BioLib.cz Scientific Classification Kingdom: Plantae Phylum:---   Magnoliophyta (Flowering plants) Class:------  Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons) Order:--------  Malpighiales Family:--------  Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) Genus:---------  Euphorbia Species:--------  Euphorbia pulcherrima The Poinsettia is most notable for its bright red... More »
Astronomy of Christmas Last Updated on 2014-01-02 16:06:37 The astronomy of Christmas is chiefly centered around verifiable celestial events that occurred at or near the time of birth of Jesus. Astromers have expended considerable research on reconstructing movements of planets, stars and comets that could best explain Biblical accounts of the era. The Christian New Testament Gospel of Matthew, includes description of three "Maji" from the east who follow the Star of Bethlehem to the location where they find Jesus shortly after his birth. For example, the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2, verse 1 of the New International Version of the Bible gives: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." Movements of celestial bodies in this era... More »
Ancient history of Hanukkah Last Updated on 2013-12-06 09:44:53 The ancient history of Hanukkah is set in the period of Greek domination over the Holy Land. Following severe oppression by the Greek ruler Antiochus, the Jewish people rose up and restored the Temple to its previous glory. Hanukkah, however, is not simply a celebration of this restoration of the self determination of the Jewish people, but really celebrates the accompanying miracle of the ceremonial olive oil flame that outlasted any expectation of extinction. Furthermore, Hanukkah, alternatively Chanukkah, is the Jewish holiday carried forward by oral history, not within the Torah, and thus is the Jewish holiday most uniquely of the Jewish people, as opposed to other Jewish holidays documented in the Torah and nurtured by the rabbinical culture. Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BCE) conquered extensive lands in the Middle East including the historic homeland of the Jews,... More »
Thanksgiving Last Updated on 2011-11-19 00:00:00 Thanksgiving is a major holiday celebrated in the USA and Canada, with origins dating back centuries to Colonial times. The notion of celebrating a harvest of plenty was dramatic event in early Colonial America, since food supplies were far from dependable. Years of massive starvation were as common as times of plenty. Although Native Americans were known to have harvest celebrations for centuries, if not millennia, before arrival of Europeans, the quintessence of Thanksgiving in all regions was a joint celebration of colonists and indigenous peoples, sharing the bounty of autumn and their common survival. Complicating the history of Thanksgiving are the contrary ciaims of a number of distinct North American locations regarding where the first Thanksgiving was celebrated. It is likely that Thanksgiving celebrations arose independently in several distinct locations along the... More »
Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Volume 1: Current State and Trends: Cultural and Amenity Services Last Updated on 2011-08-28 00:00:00  This is Chapter 17 of the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment report Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Volume 1: Current State and Trends Coordinating Lead Authors: Rudolf de Groot, P.S. Ramakrishnan. Lead Authors: Agnes van de Berg, Thaya Kulenthran, Scott Muller, David Pitt, Dirk Wascher, Gamini Wijesuriya. Contributing Authors: Bas Amelung, Nesa Eliezer, Aspara Ram Gopal, Mechtild Rossler. Review Editors: Xu Jianchu, Hebe Vessuri Main Messages Human culture is strongly influenced by ecosystems, and ecosystem change can have a significant impact on cultural identity and social stability. Human cultures, knowledge systems, religions, heritage values, social interactions, and the linked amenity services (such as aesthetic enjoyment, recreation, artistic and spiritual fulfillment, and intellectual development) have always been influenced and shaped by the nature of the... More »