Bishops in India Promote Green Energy

BANGALORE, India (CNS) — The Catholic Church in Kerala state has adopted a new conservation policy to help fight a “looming environment crisis.”

At the end of its early June assembly, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council adopted “Toward Green Meadows,” which calls for eco-friendly measures such as the use of solar energy, rain harvesting, avoiding use of personal transport, and efforts to counter the impact of widespread deforestation in the state.

While the national population density in India is 382 people per square kilometer, it is 859 for Kerala, according to the 2011 census. Studies have shown that the state’s primary forests are losing an average of more than 12,300 acres per year because of exploitation.

The new policy calls for raising the consciousness of the faithful to confess “sins against nature.” It suggests that seminaries and catechism classes promote “ecospirituality, nature conservation and waste management.”

“We are focusing on the spiritual dimension of the environmental problem. Once the people are made aware of it, it will certainly have a big impact in their everyday lives,” said Syro-Malabar Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Trichur, president of the bishops’ council.

The new policy also recommends curbing “polluting fireworks and extravagant illuminations” that are an integral part of parish feast celebrations in the state.

“It is not easy to enforce it immediately. Gradually, the growing awareness will have its impact,” Archbishop Thazhath said.

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