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PostSubject: How Green Was the 'Green Pope'?   Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:43 am



Daniel Stone for National Geographic News


As the world's one billion Catholics wait for white smoke to rise above the Vatican, signaling the election of a new pontiff, it's how clear the air is elsewhere that will go a long way toward shaping the legacy of retiring Pope Benedict XVI. Among the many titles Benedict has been given over his eight-year reign, the "Green Pope" is certainly one of the most unexpected. But to Vatican observers, Green Pope is entirely appropriate, as the pontiff has made environmental awareness a key tenant of his tenure.

Benedict wasn't the first environmentally conscious pope. In 1990, Pope John Paul II went on record during a speech on the World Day of Peace urging Catholics to regard the natural world as one of God's creations worth protecting. By the time Benedict first put on his papal robes in 2005, caring for the environment had become an important part of the church's doctrine. Benedict gave the issue an even higher profile. He delivered homilies and speeches asking world leaders to take seriously the harm being inflicted on the planet. "If we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us," Benedict said on the 2010 World Day of Peace. Not long after, the influential Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a scientific arm of the Vatican, released a report on climate change recommending that world leaders cut carbon dioxide emissions, reduce existing pollution, and prepare for the inevitable impacts of a changing climate.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/02/130228-environmental-pope-green-efficiency-vatican-city/

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