“It is so much more than about raising money. It is about doing the right thing by our faith. Embracing renewable energy demonstrates a love of God and of creation. It also reminds us that our energy choices impact the poor and vulnerable not only in the San Joaquin Valley but around the world.” – Bishop Blaire
One of Blessed Tomorrow’s partners, the Catholic Climate Covenant, has launched an innovative new solar project that will help increase financial support for climate efforts while enabling people to easily participate in solutions. The new project is a collaboration between the Catholic Climate Covenant, Catholic Charities, Sungevity, and the Stockton diocese in California. Through the project, members of three different Catholic parishes in the Stockton diocese can install solar on their homes with a $750 referral fee. Half of the fee goes to the participating parish, while the other half is divided equally between Catholic Charities and the Catholic Climate Covenant.
The Stockton diocese is the perfect place to implement the program. In addition to California’s ample sun and ambitious climate policies, Bishop Stephen Blaire of the Stockton diocese has been an ardent supporter of the Church’s environmental efforts and chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Catholic Church has a long history of leading on climate change. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of protecting Creation and the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable. Closer to home, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have produced a number of powerful statements on climate leadership, including their 2001 “Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.”
Pope Francis, who has brought renewed national interest to the Catholic Church, has continued and expanded on the Church’s environmental legacy. In May, he stated “Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few. Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.”
Statements like these mark just the beginning. Early next year, Pope Francis is expected to deliver an encyclical, a major letter to all Catholic bishops, addressing creation and the environment. The encyclical is expected to serve as a rallying cry for the estimated 78 million Catholic Americans to provide renewed leadership on climate change. Strong institutional leadership like that of Pope Francis and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, combined with initiatives like the Catholic Climate Covenant and Blessed Tomorrow, allow Catholics to put their faith into action. This is just what is needed to rally the estimated 78 million Catholic Americans to provide inspired leadership on climate change.
For more information on the Catholic Climate Covenant solar project, click here.