Vatican Releases New Environmental Sustainability Document

Five years after issuing the papal encyclical “Laudato Si’,” drawing attention to the issues of climate change, the Vatican released a new document “Journey for the Care of the Common Home.”  During the news conference for the announcement, Archbishop Paul Gallagher said, “The COVID-19 pandemic leads us to further experience the socioeconomic, ecological and ethical crisis that we are living as the right moment to stimulate conversation and make concrete and urgent decisions.”

The new document promotes environmental studies in colleges and universities, encourages the development of strategies to “identify and combat” food insecurities, deforestation, and pollution.  Additionally, the Vatican shared steps it has taken to reduce its carbon footprint, minimize waste, and promote sustainability. The Vatican gardens have eliminated pesticides, and new neon lighting now illuminates St. Peter’s Square and Basilica.

As the Vatican increases its efforts to promote environmental sustainability, they intend to participate in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Accord. Despite President Donald Trump’s removal of the United States from the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, Archbishop Gallagher commented the Kigali Amendment  “is of vital importance for the future of the environment.” 

Commenting on the United States’ departure from the Paris Agreement, a Vatican official noted, “I think that humanity will not be blown off course by any decisions by anybody,” he said. “But obviously we welcome anyone coming back to the table.”Through the new document “Journey for the Care of the Common Home” and “Laudato Si’,” the Vatican is hoping to encourage a generation of climate activist that will look to the Catholic Church and Pope Francis for encouragement and spiritual direction.

Source: Religious News Service