A couple of years ago, Pope Benedict VI discussed the importance of the environment and that blatant destruction of God’s creation is to be considered a sin. So how is the Vatican fairing on sustainability and stewards of the land? Currently, the Vatican is the only Sovereign state that can claim carbon neutrality and soon to be the first solar-powered nation in the world. Granted, this is easier to accomplish then say the United States, but then again what’s Monaco’s excuse?
There are several practices that the Vatican uses to ensure carbon neutrality. First, they use solar panels… a lot of solar panels. By 2014 the Vatican will have built the largest solar plant in Europe which will soon fuel all of its 40,000 homes in a village north of Rome. The project will cost 660 million dollars to complete. They also grew and preserved a Hungarian forest eco-restoration offset system that has completely balanced all the carbon emissions that the Vatican produces. The Vatican also has a permanent mission in the United Nations to help spread sustainable practices throughout the world. It should be interesting to see what other sustainable practices the Church will use, not only in the Vatican, but with all church property including church buildings, Holy sites, schools and hospitals throughout the world. Will we start seeing requirements for LEED churches and cathedrals? If so, I am sure the Angels would rejoice.