Pope Francis’ encyclical Climate Action Kit (free in English and Spanish) produced by Interfaith Power & Light, together with Catholic Climate Covenant.
Interfaith Power & Light will keep you informed on all things encyclical, the Pope’s September visit, and the Paris climate negotiations (COP21). Be sure to join our mailing list so you don’t miss a beat. Also, join your state IPL, as many events are being planned during the next six months at the local level.
- What is a papal encyclical?
- What are the key messages?
- Selected quotes from the encyclical
- When will the Pope come to the U.S.?
TAKE THE PARIS PLEDGE
- Catholic communities already slashing carbon pollution
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- Study Guides for Jewish Communities on papal encyclical:
— Laudato Si and the Sages: Reflections on Climate by Rabbi Daniel Swartz (PA IPL)
— Judaism, Climate Change, and Laudato Si by Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb (COEJL). Shorter version.
What is a papal encyclical?
Encyclicals are formal letters issued by a pope to the universal Catholic Church—its bishops and Catholics everywhere—concerning moral, doctrinal and disciplinary matters. The Pope is one of the most popular public figures in the world, both in and outside of the Church. Regardless of their religious beliefs, people around the world will admire Pope Francis, and his leadership can create an atmosphere where world leaders will act on climate change in Paris in December of 2015 at the UN climate negotiations.
What are the key messages?
The encyclical highlights climate change as a moral issue, pointing out that the poor suffer the most from consequences of improper care of the environment even though they have contributed the least to climate change. Pope Francis challenges the assumptions of “both the left and the right” with the document, said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. The Pope calls the approach to stewardship outlined in the encyclical, integral ecology. Read more
When will the Pope come to the U.S.?
This visit will be the first to the U.S. by a pope since 2008.
While details of the pope’s itinerary may not be available until later this summer, here are the dates and events that have been announced so far:
September 24: Address to Joint Session of United States Congress
New York, NY
September 25: United Nations General Assembly Address
What is the Paris Pledge?
Clearly the pope’s encyclical is timed to coincide with the 2015 UN Climate Talks in Paris later this year. As people of faith, Interfaith Power & Light communities from across the United States will bring to the table examples of what is possible by taking the Paris Pledge. Signers will strive for a 50% carbon emission reduction by 2030 and will set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Interfaith Power & Light would like to see global nations commit to these levels. Therefore as a community, we must practice what we preach. IPL’s Rev. Sally Bingham hopes to hand-deliver the list to UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon in Paris. He has called on government and civil society leaders to bring bold initiatives and proposals to drastically lower climate emissions, saying, “I challenge you to bring to the Summit bold pledges. Innovate, scale up, cooperate, and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap and put us on track for an ambitious legal agreement.” The Paris Pledge was announced by IPL’s Rev. Bingham in response to this challenge on Earth Day 2015. Take the Pledge today!
Catholic communities already slashing carbon pollution
Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross unveiled huge solar farm
Green Bay, WI
Sister’s solar farm:
• 112 kW solar photo-voltaic system
• 2 football fields long in three rows
• 400 panels, one of largest installations in WI
• CO2Savings = 100 tons of CO2/year
• Cost Savings = $500,000 over 20 years
• Will help power 50-bed convent
• Walking paths and educational programs
• The sisters were honored by WI IPL and are a Cool Congregation
Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Annual Savings: 45136 kW hours
Carbon Savings: 31 Metric Tons of CO2
The challenge was to replace the entire electrical infrastructure in the 82 year old Motherhouse Chapel; replacing wires, fixtures, outlets, electrical panels, and switches, while maintaining the historical art deco appearance and the daily worship service for the 200 sisters who live in the facility. They removed and retrofitted light fixtures with energy efficient sockets and components, and created new raceways through 18 inch plaster walls for up-to-date wires to be pulled through – replacing old brittle wires. They also built new catwalks in the ceiling of the Chapel to reach new areas for lighting to be installed. Finally, They provided numerous training sessions for the volunteer sisters – who learned how to program “scenes” for various worhip scenarios (Christmas Mass, Funerals, etc.) using the new light management system.
The Mercy Center
A Cool Congregation winner, the Catholic Mercy Center retreat facilities could no longer meet the Connecticut State Building Code. It could have meant the end of 40 years of retreat ministry, but the religious community chose to set a good example of sustainability to renovate and restore its aging buildings, as well as care for its 33-acre property on Long Island Sound. The project also included the renovation of Mercy Center’s main facility, the 1937 home of W.T. Grant designed by modernist architect Edward Durell Stone. Improvements included new EPA/DOE Energy Star-rated windows to save energy and heating/cooling expenses and new energy-efficient systems for heating and cooling the facility. Mercy Center has curbed energy use and reduced carbon dioxide emissions through energy abatement, energy audits and solar-powered hot water heaters that alone save 650 gallons of heating oil and 6.5 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year. Other improvements include programmable thermostats, attic and wall insulation, low-flow toilets, and lighting upgrades.
Holy Family Catholic Church, San Jose
In conjunction with the Catholic Green Initiative of Santa Clara County, Holy Family Catholic Church, San Jose encourages area Catholics to take part in a unified green vision for the diocese. Holy Family gets its members involved via a Faith in Action Team and a Green Team that facilitates parishioners’ writing letters to the editor and speaking out on important policy concerns. It has asked all its congregants to sign the St. Francis Pledge, which includes a commitment to pray, learn about, assess, act on and advocate for climate issues, especially as they affect the most vulnerable. Holy Family takes to heart the 7th principle of Catholic Social Teaching – Care for God’s Creation – and aims to practice what it preaches. The church is proud to be the original of five parishes within the Diocese to go solar. One hundred eighty five kilowatts of solar energy are now installed on two areas of the campus. In its first year, the solar system generated nearly two-thirds of the electricity used on the campus. As a result, Holy Family is modeling the clean energy solutions they want to see adopted across the wider society.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Hermosa Beach
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Hermosa Beach holds the distinction of being the first church in the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese to install solar panels on the roofs of both its church and school, resulting in a 65kW system. It has become a green building model for the whole of the Archdiocese. In addition to solar, other energy-efficient measures were undertaken, including a lighting retrofit; skylights; energy efficient windows and the use of natural ventilation; low-flow toilets and Energy Star appliances. There is also drought-resistant landscaping and permeable gravel to reduce run-off and storm water pollution to the ocean. Rev. Ray Mallett, the Franciscan pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, holds the ideal of Creation stewardship very dear. “To St. Francis” he says, “all of Creation was our brother or sister. This project uses the resources of brother sun to light up our church and school.”
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