Kerala Bishops Promote Environmental Protection

BANGALORE, India (CNS) — Environmental protection is “an expression of faith in God,” said the bishops of Kerala state.

“Our faith calls for protecting the creation of God and adopting our lifestyle accordingly,” the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council said in a statement after its Aug. 10 meeting attended by 36 bishops.

“In the context of the energy crisis and problems of waste management in Kerala, the church has the duty and responsibility to propagate use of solar energy and eco-friendly waste management,” the statement said.

Authorities are considering instituting rotating power outages in Kerala as much of the state has experienced significantly less rainfall than normal for months, leaving a network of hydroelectric power dams almost dry. Waste management also remains a major problem in the state where population density is more than twice the national average.

“It’s not enough that we preach on environmental protection. We are setting examples to others by using solar energy in the bishops houses and other institutions,” Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Trichur, KCBC president, told Catholic News service.

“These steps are in follow-up to implementing the green policy we have already adopted,” he said.

In June, the bishops council adopted the “Towards Green Meadows” policy in an effort to involve the church in wide-ranging conservation activities. The policy listed several measures for church-run institutions to follow including the promotion of eco-spirituality, nature resource conservation and waste management.

One step called for environmental education to be extended to seminaries and catechism classes.

Father Stephen Alathara, deputy secretary-general of the bishops’ council, said that engineering colleges within Catholic institutions have been asked to promote the use of solar energy and initiate a major in environmental engineering.

The statement comes on the heels of an Aug. 6 discussion on the utilization of solar energy in church properties between Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg– Stuttgart, Germany, the Kerala bishops and other church leaders. The German diocese has established a solar technology program in diocesan buildings and parishes.

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