Our commitment to creation: to encourage responsible use of energy

Published under the project Responsibility for Creating in Ukraine: Interdisciplinary and Ecumenical Exchange of Sustainable Energy Experience with the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU, Munich, Germany) and with the financial support of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU, Germany, Osnabruck).

“Our Commitment to Creation: Promoting Responsible Energy Use” coincided with a broad public and political debate about nuclear energy and future energy supplies, which re-ignited as a result of the nuclear disaster in Japan and the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. The dramatic events in Fukushima shed new light on the need for sustainable energy use. They have made it clear to us that even events, however very unlikely, may involve bigger risks, and that the problems associated with the use of nuclear energy are still unresolved. The question of the safety of nuclear energy is raised again. But these current debates should not ignore other development trends that need to be taken into account in a comprehensive assessment of global climate change and the growing number of natural disasters, as well as deforestation or over-utilization of agricultural land concerning biodiversity. All these threatening environmental problems are persistently remindful of the urgent need to change the environmental and energy policy, to make some kind of “energy rival”. The published expert opinion “Climate change: the burning issue of global, environmental justice and generational equality”, submitted to the Commission on Public and Social Affairs, as well as other commissions of the Catholic Church of the German Bishops’ Conference, in 2006 called for contribution to this issue that climate change should be perceived as a matter of justice and the survival of humanity and all living things. At the same time, a special contribution to climate protection should, first of all, be made by a prudent energy policy. Numerous attempts are already being made to apply an environmentally neutral energy policy.

The successor of John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, also emphasized in his encyclical Caritas in veritate that the holistic development of man is closely connected with the responsibilities arising from man’s attitude to the environment and nature. Hence the responsibility for the protection of the environment and all mankind, including subsequent generations. In this regard, the Pope drew attention to the essential importance of energy issues (for cf. No. 48f). Energy, like climate change, is a key issue for global and environmental justice for us and future generations. Taking responsibility for people and the world around us requires such ways of life and actions based on feelings of action and solidarity. A serious revision of the economic style and way of life is needed. Every individual and society and the state as a whole cannot remain indifferent to the harm they cause. Therefore, new rules and forms of sustainable use of the world and energy are needed.

One of the main tasks is to develop an overall strategy for the sustainable use of resources. The future energy policy must be accompanied by a reduction in energy use, increased efficiency, and the expansion and search for alternative sustainable forms of energy.

The structure of the text of the manual follows three stages: “Recognize – evaluate – act.” First of all, the current situation of the current energy policy and energy supply is provided against the background of limited resources, the necessary security, and the reliability of energy supply threatening all mankind and climate change. Then the energy issue is analyzed in terms of Christian ethics of sustainability, as well as the peculiarity of energy supply as a public good and the issue of weighing the risks associated with various forms of energy. Then it is recommended to use energy continuously, on the principle of the triad, which consists of a sense of proportion, increase efficiency, and expand the use of renewable energy. A separate section is devoted to the ethical criteria for assessing nuclear energy. In conclusion, the spheres of activity in which the church’s joint responsibility is manifested are revealed.

“Our Commitment to Creation: Encouraging Responsible Energy Use” – Uzhgorod, 2011. – 52 p. Soft cover.

ISBN 978-966-8269-33-7

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