University of Portland signs St. Francis Pledge

University-of-PortlandUniversity of Portland signs St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor as part of its dedication to protect the environment
By University of Portland

University of Portland president Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., recently signed the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor on behalf of the University community. The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by Catholic individuals, families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live their faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change.By signing the St. Francis Pledge, the University states it will:

· PRAY  and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.

·  LEARN  about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.

· ASSESS  how we — as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations — contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.

·  ACT  to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.

·  ADVOCATE  for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

University of Portland is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. For the last three years, the University was selected for inclusion in its annual edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide Green Colleges. The University is the only private college in Portland and only one of six schools in Oregon to receive the honor.

Among the University of Portland’s many other sustainability highlights, it is one of the only schools in the country with a LEED Platinum certified building – Donald P. Shiley Hall – making it one of the most energy efficient and environmentally sustainable buildings in the world.

In 2010, University of Portland was the first college in the West to ban the sale of disposable plastic water bottles, helping start a national trend.

Other universities that have signed the St. Francis Pledge include University of Notre Dame, Loyola University Chicago, and Saint John’s University. Organizations such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Relief Services have also signed the pledge.

The University of Portland’s signing of the pledge preceded Pope Francis’ inaugural mass on March 19 where he made a powerful call for the protection of the environment and of society’s most vulnerable.

In his homily, Pope Francis described the Church’s mission as “respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live and protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.”

The Pope’s homily repeated references to environmental protection and the importance of addressing issues related to climate change.

The significance of the St. Francis Pledge can be found in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s fourth assessment report, which found that those in developing countries will suffer the most from the effects of climate change.

The pledge signing is another step in the University’s ongoing commitment to environmental issues. On May 9, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, will speak at the University of Portland. Hosted by Maitripa College, the Dalai Lama will be joined by other religious leaders in the interfaith dialog “Spirituality and the Environment.

Disclaimer: Articles featured on Oregon Report are the creation, responsibility and opinion of the authoring individual or organization which is featured at the top of every article.