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Vatican Verde


photograph from the Telegraph.co.uk

Verde is green in Spanish. The only reason why I remember this is because when you go to a Spanish restaurant, green salsa is salsa verde.


Pope Francis has often been dubbed the Youth's Pope and the Green Pope. Mostly because he wrote Laudato Si in 2015. But Pope Benedict also planned to go green long before this time.


In 2007, he declared that the Vatican would offset all of its emission by planting trees in Hungary. By 2008, there was a massive array of Solar Panels installed on the roofs of the Vatican buildings. In 2008-2010, information came out that the company employed to plant the trees didn't deliver on their promise. As far as I can tell, there were no further attempts to try and make this happen. By 2013 Pope Francis was elected.


In 2017 I visited the Vatican, and despite there being solar panels added to the roofs years earlier, there were still many non-green practices happening there.


It isn't a zero-waste area, between tickets, disposable headphones for the guided tours (although this really is a tour guide issue). It cannot be confirmed where or how their merchandise is produced, and therefore cannot be assumed to be fair trade (although it is likely that most of the products are made by nuns).


I could go on.


Back in 2007, Benedict the 16th promised to go net-zero by 2070. Some people would argue that they have achieved this. But what about the other ways in which pollution is generated? What about the long-haul flights of the Pope and other delegates? Can we consider them responsible?


I don't think we can ever fully become net-zero in any situation. Even buying trees doesn't really make us net-zero. We can only strive to be near-zero.





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