June 23, 2008 / 4:49 PM / 11 years ago

Vatican tells vacationers to mind Mother Earth

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Thou shalt not harm the environment during thy vacation.

The Vatican sent out this message — in effect — to summer travelers, issuing a set of suggestions to help tourists minimize or offset environmental damage caused by their pursuit of rest and relaxation.

“One can choose to be a tourist at odds with the Earth or in favor of it,” said the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, according to excerpts published by Italy’s ANSA news agency on Monday.

Tips included taking less luggage on gas-guzzling airplanes and cars, planting trees to offset tourists’ carbon footprints and choosing vacation spots in closer harmony with nature, ANSA said.

Under Pope Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican has become progressively more “green”, including by installing photovoltaic cells on buildings to produce electricity.

Last year, the Vatican hosted a scientific conference on climate change to underscore the role that religious leaders around the world could play in reminding people that damaging the environment is sinful.

Writing by Phil Stewart, editing by Mark Trevelyan

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