San Francisco, California
Motivated and emboldened by Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si” encyclical on care for our common home, St. Teresa of Avila Parish has reduced their overall carbon emissions and is a Certified Cool Congregation at the 10% level. They were inspired to seek certification because of their commitment to work together with others to respond to climate change. They hope to share the news of their certification to inspire others to reduce emissions as well. St. Teresa’s not only works to reduce their own emissions, but also conducts educational workshops to encourage collaborative efforts to respond to climate change.
Pope Francis recognized global climate change as “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” The impacts of global climate change are typically felt “first and worst” among the poor and those least able to adapt, increasing social injustice worldwide. St Teresa’s Parish has been working to reduce emissions through renewable energy and energy efficiency, and to report their results annually since 2015. Measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an important part of their mission to care for God’s Creation.
They installed solar on the priory in 2016 providing more electricity than needed by the priory, selling the rest to the grid. In 2018 they sourced electricity for the church building from a nonprofit, CleanPowerSF, that offers 100% renewable energy from wind generated in California. Now both church and priory get 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. The actions to care for Creation are part of the spiritual life at St. Teresa’s.
“Society is enriched by organizations that work to promote the common good and defend the environment…These community actions, when they express self-giving love, can also become intense spiritual experiences.” Pope Francis