By Jessica Easthope
On a rooftop in Brooklyn, faith and sustainability are meeting. Blocks of solar panels are a pilot for the Laudato si Corporation – Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens’ latest initiative inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical.
“Our relationship with the Earth should be comparable with our relationship with God,” said Timothy McManus, the senior vice president of the Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens’ Progress of Peoples Development Corporation. “We should be good stewards and we should protect what the Earth naturally provides us.”
This summer, Catholic Charities is putting solar panels on the roofs of four of its affordable housing buildings. The initiative will add low-income families as part of the climate change solution.
“This is an issue for the whole world, especially for the poor people who seem to get the brunt of every ecological disaster and it is the people who are the poorest who suffer the most,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
Not only are the solar panels ecological, they’re economical. The panels pump more than 250 kilowatts of energy back into the grid that conEdison pays for.
“We will be using the revenue generated through this to reinvest in those other buildings,” McManus said.
Catholic Charities is hoping sustainability in the Diocese of Brooklyn will reach new heights and create waves of change.
“Creation has been entrusted to humanity,” said Father Patrick Keating, the deputy CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. “So we’re supposed to care for it and that’s really what Pope Francis calls for and by making these buildings a little bit more sustainable, we’re helping the environment.”
Solar panels are expected to be installed on four of Catholic Charities’ 44 buildings used for supportive housing, seniors and low-income families by early fall.