Environmental Executive Leadership - The Green Pope

Newsweek has an article about the Pope and Vatican City, being Carbon Neutral. We can assume this means the Vatican's data center is carbon neutral.


The Green Pope

Benedict XVI has embraced environmentalism. How he's using church teachings to urge Roman Catholics to take care of the earth.

Vincenzo Pinto / AFP-Getty Images

The pope believes that eco-friendly lifestyles will help protect the world's poorest communities

It may be known for sending out iconic smoke signals when a new pope is elected, but the Vatican is actually the world's only sovereign state that can lay claim to being carbon-neutral. That means that all greenhouse gas emissions from the Holy See are offset through renewable energies and carbon credits. Last summer the city-state's ancient buildings were outfitted with solar panels intended to be a key source of electricity, and an eco-restoration firm donated enough trees in a Hungarian national park to nullify all carbon emitted from Vatican City, which takes up one-fifth of a square mile.

Both moves were embraced by Pope Benedict XVI, who not only oversees the global church, he serves as the chief administrator of the operation of the Vatican. And in both religious and secular circles Benedict has earned the title of "green pope." In addition to boosting efforts to make Vatican City more environmentally efficient, he also uses Roman Catholic doctrine to emphasize humanity's responsibility to care for the planet.

What is being the Pope going Green?  Here is the bottom line:

"When you have an issue getting so much attention, there are a lot of voices talking about it. Benedict knows that and he wanted a seat at the table," says Lucia Silecchia, a social law professor at Catholic University who published a paper last year titled "Discerning the Environmental Perspective of Pope Benedict XVI." "He saw this as a way to push the values of the church in a new context."

BusinessWeek has an old write up on the Vatican.  This matches what Cory Low told me as he was one of the volunteers at the Vatican web site.

MAY 8, 2006

O Click All Ye Faithful
The nun who launched the Vatican's Web site is at work on a MySpace for Catholics
Deep inside the Vatican, a white-haired nun dressed in a brown habit opens the door to a room full of computers. The whirring machines hold some of the mysteries of the Holy See, including photographs of the Vatican Secret Archives and of ancient illustrated manuscripts. No, this isn't a movie trailer for The Da Vinci Code. Our guide is Sister Judith Zoebelein, the editorial director of the Internet Office of the Holy See. She's showing off a small but potent Vatican data center, which bristles with servers and other high-tech gear.

It's no secret that the Vatican has a fantastic Web site. It brims with fine art and practical information about the Catholic Church. The site, www.vatican.va, which comes in six languages, was even nominated for a prestigious Webby Award a few years back. But little is known about the woman who is behind it. Sister Judith, a 57-year-old American, grew up in a middle-class household in the Hamptons on the eastern tip of Long Island. She and a handful of colleagues were Internet pioneers when, in 1995, they launched the Vatican Web site. Since then, she has greatly expanded the site, including images of art from the Vatican Museums, a powerful search engine, and videos of restoration projects.