Saturday, February 24, 2007

It's getting easier to be green

Karl Cardinal Lehmann, bishop of Mainz, Germany told the German magazine Bild the day after Ash Wednesday that Lent requires Christians "to rethink our lifestyle". Getting more specific about ways that Christians today need "rethink our lifestyle", Cardinal Lehmann said, "Far too often, we do things that are harmful to our fellow citizens and the environment". He goes on to call on Christians to "use Lent to make a personal contribution to improving our climate". Specifically, Cardinal Lehmann calls on us to to rethink our transportation habits, especially the purchase and use of vehicles, which are among the leading emitters of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Here along the Wasatch Front, I was happy to learn yesterday that the Salt Lake City to Pleasant View portion of the Wasatch Front commuter rail is 65% complete. When complete, the rail line will run from Pleasant View in the North to Provo in the South. Once the northern portion is complete and begins operation in the Spring of 2008, work will begin on the southern half of the line. Yesterday saw the first Frontrunner locomotive, one of the engines that will pull the commuter trains, arrive in SLC. Commuter rail gives us more transportation options and reduces the amount of time we spend stuck in traffic. It is estimated that initially there will be 5,900 riders per and day within 10-15 years that number will go up to 12,000 per day. If enough people use it air quality along will surely improve. What is also nice is that commuter rail, due to the foresight of the UTA in purchasing rail rights of way, will have its own tracks and not share commercial tracks. This makes our commuter rail both safer and faster.

As the good cardinal, who is also head of the German Conference of Bishops said, building on the Holy Father's remarks to the Swiss bishops last fall during their ad limina visit, in which he said stewardship of the environment is an authentic part of the Church's proclamation, "Preserving creation is a duty which falls to all of us". I also take this opportunity to direct readers to an earlier post regarding suggestions on environmental stewardship.

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