Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Few Religious Groups Fighting Climate Change; Pope Francis to Focus on Environmental Caring

Few religious communities have gone as far in fighting climate change as a church in Queensland, Australia, which has 24 solar panels bolted to the roof in the shape of a Christian cross, the Reuters website reports today (June 19, 2013).

"It's very effective. It's inspired some members of our congregation to install panels on their homes," Rev. David Lowry said of the "solar cross" mounted in 2009 on the Caloundra Uniting Church, which groups three Protestant denominations.

Many religions have been wary of moving to install renewable energy sources on their places of worship -- or of taking a strong stand on climate change in general -- despite teachings that people should be custodians of nature.

But that is slowly changing, thanks to current religious leaders including Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis's stress on environmental protection since he was elected Pope in March and his choice of the name of a 13th century nature lover -- Saint Francis of Assisi -- is expected to make a difference for all religions trying to work out how to safeguard the planet from threats, including climate change.

Also, Patriarch Bartholomew -- spiritual head of the world's Greek Orthodox Christians -- has been so concerned about maintaining a clean environment that he was nicknamed "the Green Patriarch" by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

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