Friday, November 7, 2008

Pope Goes Green - And So Goes Italy

Early morning, warm November, hmmm.

I couldn't believe my eyes. What a statement this makes. Here we are at St. Mark's Square, Venice, perhaps one of the the largest plazas in the world, home to ancient religious customs and amazing human works of art and low and behold, a sign of modern environmental concern. The not-so-attractive tubular CFL (compact fluorescent lightbulb) ready to go in a gracious pink glass lantern.

I had already noticed during my trip the more-than-I-was-used-to green living behaviors such as rain barrels, recycling, outdoor laundry hanging, and CFL's. In fact, I did not see one old fashion incandescent at all. So what gives?

Are we that behind the eight ball that a quick trip to Italy smacks me to realizing that we have a lot more work to do? Is our country still in denial about climate change or is getting Americans to do something en mass sort of like herding cats? Or is it that the highest religious, most notable position on earth is demanding that the citizens of this planet take notice and action?

I had heard that the Pope had gone green. In fact he talks about our responsibility to the planet a lot. He calls it a "moral issue" and "a grave responsibility to preserve [the earth's] order for the well-being of future generations". I like that idea. You go Pope Benedict XVI.

The Vatican is actually the world's only sovereign state that can claim to be carbon-neutral. That is so cool. The city, country, or what ever it is, just installed solar panels, lots of them. Talk about setting an example to the world!

So my theory is that this is an example of trickle down Popeness. Whatever you want to call it, and what ever it takes, Italians have made a big dent in their carbon footprint. The birthrate in Italy is one of the lowest on earth, down to 1.2 per woman. I don't think the birth rate is a function of the current green Pope, but it is an interesting coincidence.

I applaud the Italians and the Pope for doing such a good real green job. Maybe we can actually learn from others, so ... change your light bulbs, please.

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