Why should parishes go green?
Five reasons Catholic communities should care about cleaning up the environment.
1. You don't have to believe in climate change to believe in its solution. Energy conservation and alternative energy use mean healthier children, improved national security, and lower heating and cooling bills for families and parishes. It's a "no regrets" strategy.
2. The bishops' teaching: Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, says in part, "The dialogue and our response to the challenge of climate change must be rooted in the virtue of prudence. While some uncertainty remains, most experts agree that something significant is happening to the atmosphere."
3. Papal teaching: Pope Benedict XVI's World Day of Peace message for 2010 is titled "If You Want To Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation." The pope asks, "Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes, and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?"
4. Catholic social teaching. Even if there were no climate crisis, traditional Catholic teaching tells us that our faith calls us to live more simply, thoughtfully, and considerately.
5. Biblical teaching. The Word of God tells us that we are but sojourners here, with no permanent ownership of the land (Lev. 25:23). We're called to be good stewards of God's creation.
This article appeared in the April 2010 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 75, No. 4, pages 12-17).