Loretto Community Seeks Balance With Earth by Lowering Carbon Emissions
Climate change is amplifying all forms of injustice: hunger, racism, refugees, poverty, inequality, deadly viruses, war, etc. Reversing these injustices calls for radical systemic and personal changes. Loretto has long understood that our mission to work for justice and act for peace extends to Earth, and we are conscious of the necessity to recognize our human dependence upon the larger whole (“Loretto Land Ethic,” 2006) Pope Francis reminds us, “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. … Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate.” (From Pope Francis’s second encyclical, “Laudato si,’” #23).
Reducing carbon emissions is a critical piece of reversing climate injustice. Collectively, humans on planet Earth must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit). This will require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” around 2050. (IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], Special Report, Oct. 8, 2018)
The average carbon footprint of an individual in the United States is around 20 tons. To meet the IPCC’s 2050 goal, that average would need to be reduced to 2 tons per person, requiring radical systemic and individual shifts. Lifestyle shifts that can help you reach this goal include reducing dependence on fossil fuels by using alternative energy sources, living closer to work, ride sharing and living in smaller homes. Food choices also play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions; eating a local, plant-heavy diet can drastically reduce one’s carbon footprint.
Loretto is taking steps to transition to electric vehicles, explore renewable energies and fortify local food systems. We also have established a Carbon Offset Fund in which anyone can donate funds to offset those emissions that cannot be immediately reduced or eliminated. We hope you will join us in these efforts!