WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 23 — “Humanity has the ability to work together in building our common home,” Pope Francis said during his first visit to the United States, addressing a crowd of thousands on the South Lawn of the White House. “As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home.”
Earlier this month, Plastic Pollution Coalition sent Pope Francis a letter welcoming him to the U.S. and thanking him for his acknowledgment that climate change is real, and for teaching that humanity must be dutiful in its stewardship of the natural world. As we address climate change by taking measures to reduce our carbon footprint, let's also look for ways to reduce our plastic footprint.
The letter was accompanied by a care package (below), containing reusable items to help the Holy See accomplish this with tools to travel plastic-free. Festival Management Services, the pope's high security detail, adapted the stainless steel cups and other items (above photo, right) into their touring protocol. "We reduce the amount of plastic bottles by using these reusable steel cups," said John Langenstein, director of event security for the Philadelphia papal visit, who said they also added green recycling bins at their operation center.
"Not only did we do our part to help the planet as the Holy Father has asked us all to," said Dee Woytovich, lead dispatcher for the pope's Incident Command Center, "but the steel cups were a great idea; they also kept our drinks cooler.”
The pope's impassioned pleas to protect an environment “devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature” has appealed for alternative energy solutions that would lead us away from fossil fuels, from which plastics are primarily derived. In a world dominated by the petrochemical industry, his allegiance to those working to protect the environment is an actual miracle.
Photos: Top left, Ian Leonard; top right: John Langenstein; above: Dianna Cohen.