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Participants of the ecological conference in India after the declaration of St Joseph’s Parish as a net zero parish. (Crux)

As Pope Francis prepares to take part in the COP-28 climate change summit in Dubai, a national ecological conference in India suggests the Pontiff’s agenda of environmental concern is taking root at the Church’s local level. Source: Crux.

The November 21-23 summit is being held at the Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, a pontifical atheneum in Karnataka state in southeastern India, and is jointly sponsored by both the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (which includes the country’s eastern churches) and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (which brings together bishops of the Latin rite church).

The theme is, “Care for our common home, towards an integral ecology in India”.

Underlining the high-level ecclesiastical backing for the initiative, Indian Cardinals Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, Anthony Poola of Hyderabad and George Alencherry of the Syro-Malabar Church all attended the opening session, while Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny, head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, delivered an on-line address.

One fruit of the Church’s ecological push came on Wednesday, when St Joseph’s Parish in Ponkandam, located in the southern Indian state of Kerala, was officially declared a “net zero” parish, having been certified as achieving zero net emissions of greenhouse gases.

Father Saji Joseph Vattukalathil of St Joseph’s Parish said the parish’s environmental journey began with education programs for members of the congregation, including the idea of a “carbon calculator”.

The parish’s family homes were subjected to a “green audit” and the project then focused on carbon sequestration possibilities for each home. The effort was assisted, Fr Vattukalathil said, by the fact that the surrounding village is an agricultural area with mixed crops, capable of substantial carbon offsets.


Net zero’ parish a concrete result of Indian Church’s eco-push (By Nirmala Carvalho, Crux)