VATICAN CITY – The Vatican proposes to reforest an area of 50 hectares in the Amazon as a symbolic gesture to compensate for CO2 emissions incurred during the organization of the Amazon Synod.
President of the General Secretary of the Synod, Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, said the Vatican expects the assembly to have “zero impact” on the environment and urged the assembly to approve the project.
The cardinal said that according to calculations the Church intended to compensate for the emissions of 572,809 kg of CO2 (438,373 kg for air travel and 134,435 kg for other activities) generated by the consumption of energy, water, preparation, transporting participants, waste production and the creation of promotional materials.
The Vatican proposes to purchase 50 hectares of forest in the Amazon basin for the reforestation.
Baldisseri listed other environmental initiatives as part of the Synod, which will pay special attention to the issue of the environment and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
These include ensuring that no plastic objects are used during the Synod in favor of biodegradable materials and natural fibers.
Pope Francis opened the Synod with a mass in St Peter’s Basilica and in his homily urged Bishops to “identify new pathways for the Church and for an integral ecology.”
The Argentine pontiff quoted Saint Paul in his letter to Timothy and said: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.”
The Synod concludes on 27 October and will bring together 185 so-called synod fathers of which 113 have come from the Panama-Amazon region which straddles nine nations (French Guyana, Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru).
Indigenous representatives will participate in the debates and the number of women participating is 35 although none of them have the right to vote.