Citing a long tradition in church scripture for the dignity of life and concern for the poor and vulnerable, Pope Francis has begun a campaign toward global development of more sustainable energy sources. His support for green energy, in particular, could mark a turning point for the technology.
Advocating for Green Energy
Led by Pope Francis, the Vatican is pressing governments from around the world to encourage the development of cleaner energy sources such as wind energy, natural gas, and solar power. The Pope himself has reached out to various world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Peru Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who recently hosted talks in Lima during the United Nations’ G20 negotiations. Noting the urgency in which climate change is affecting the world, he told Vidal “the time to find global solutions is running out.”
However, while Pope Francis is considered by many to promote forward-thinking policies, it was actually socially conservative Pope Benedict who first began to move the Vatican toward clean energy. One of Benedict’s most noteworthy actions in this regard was the installation of over 1,000 solar panels atop the audience hall at the Vatican. It was also Pope Benedict’s idea to turn the Vatican into the only nation-state in the world that is carbon neutral, which was achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets from the funding of a forest in Hungary.
In a recent publication by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Vatican stated:
For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. “Widening inequalities of wealth and income, the world-wide disruption of the physical climate system and the loss of millions of species that sustain life are the grossest manifestations of unsustainability. The continued extraction of coal, oil and gas following the “business-as-usual mode” will soon create grave existential risks for the poorest three billion, and for generations yet unborn. Climate change resulting largely from unsustainable consumption by about 15% of the world’s population has become a dominant moral and ethical issue for society.
The Pope’s actions will bring significant attention to efforts to improve access to clean energy sources and low-carbon transportation. Organizations and companies that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy are poised to benefit from this increased awareness. The Pontiff may, in fact, benefit both the most vulnerable populations as well as the most responsible businesses throughout the world with his vision of a sustainable future.
As members of the world community, what can we do to help? What should our response be? With Americans making up 5% of the world’s population but consuming 24% of the world’s energy, we must be leaders in stewardship.
In response to Pope Francis’ message, for a limited time, Solar Alternatives will be offering free Energy Consultations for homes and businesses. We would like to help our community learn more about energy use, and how energy upgrades and solar energy can have on a family’s budget, energy security, and environment. Please call (504) 294-3650 for more information.