People of faith in Iowa move to renewable energy


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Pope Francis at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 where the Global Goals of Sustainable Development were officially accepted. (Department for International Development/flickr)
Jenna Ladd| September 6, 2017

In his environmental encyclical titled Laudato Si or “Our Common Home,” Pope Francis, called for the citizens of the world to reduce carbon emissions and become better stewards of the Earth. Now, about two years later, people of faith in Iowa are answering the call.

St. John the Apostle Catholic Church of Norwalk, Iowa has become the first church in the Diocese of Des Moines to transition to a solar energy system. The church boasts 206 energy panels, which were funded through a for-profit company. The company sells energy back to the church at a lower rates than before.

During the encyclical public address, Pope Francis said, “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years.” Last May when President Trump visited Vatican City, the Pope gave him a copy of the 192 page document on climate change.

It’s not just Catholics moving to mitigate some of the effects of global warming. The Des Moines Register reports that a Soto Zen Buddist temple in Dorchester, Iowa now gets half of its energy from solar. Mennonites in Kalona have established a solar energy system, too.

Rev. Susan Hendershot Guy is executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, a group working to mobilize people of faith to combat climate change. She said to the Des Moines Register, “It’s exciting to me because I feel like they’re sort of walking the walk. I think it is getting out to all types of denominations, congregations, faith traditions really across the conservative-liberal spectrum.” She continued, “It’s a really practical way to live out that message of how we care for the world.”

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