Synod seeks to offset carbon footprint of upcoming General Assembly

The General Secretariat of the Synod commits to working towards a sustainable General Assembly in the month of October, as Pope Francis prepares to release part two of his encyclical "Laudato si'".

Sep 19, 2023

Climate activists juggle a giant inflatable blue planet (REUTERS)

By Francesca Merlo
In a press release published on Tuesday, 19 September, the General Secretariat of the Synod unveiled its new commitment to the conservation of Creation.

The initiatives, announced in the lead up to the publication of Pope Francis' "new" Laudato si’, consist in choices aimed at offsetting the residual CO2 emissions produced by the forthcoming 16th General Assembly of the Synod.

The press release states that this reality is made possible through a collaboration with the SOS Planet Foundation and the technical expertise of LifeGate, building upon the success of their joint efforts during the 2019 Synod Assembly.

Dedication to environmental stewardship
The Synod's dedication to environmental stewardship is not just a policy but a reflection of the teachings of Pope Francis, as expressed in his encyclical Laudato si', on care for our common home.

As the Holy Father writes, "Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet, we are called to be instruments of God our Father so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with His plan for peace, beauty, and fullness."

The selected project for offsetting carbon emissions will be implemented in Nigeria and Kenya, blending ecological conservation, community involvement, and tangible support for the lives of the individuals in these regions.

The primary goal is to introduce efficient cooking stoves and cutting-edge water purification technologies to households, communities, and institutions.

For marginalised communities
The Synod says that at the heart of this initiative lies the intention to significantly reduce the consumption of non-renewable biomass and fossil fuels for cooking and water purification.

This transition is anticipated to yield a substantial reduction in air pollution levels, which will directly impact respiratory health and mortality rates, particularly among marginalised populations like women and children.

This holistic approach not only addresses environmental issues but also enhances the overall well-being of the communities involved.

Sustainable finances
The Synod also notes that the innovative financing model of this project, too, is a testament to its sustainability. The proceeds generated from the sale of carbon credits will be reinvested in supporting local partners actively engaged in the production, distribution, and maintenance of the aforementioned technologies.

In conclusion the Synod Secretariat calls the initiative "an embodiment of the Synod's resolve to safeguard creation, blending spirituality with practical action”, which exemplifies Pope Francis's call to make our planet correspond with God's plan for "peace, beauty, and fullness."--Vatican News

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