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A Land-Management Plan for Catholic Properties Around the World
Curbed writer Timothy Schuler explores the campaign to help the Catholic Church manage its extensive global land. The effort to create an "ecological land-use map" for Catholic lands around the world is led by Goodlands, a non-profit founded by designer Molly Burhans.
The Church is estimated to have about 277,000 square miles around the world—a land area larger than France. Goodlands has taken up the unprecedented endeavor of developing a "Catholic geographic information system"—mapping jurisdictios and incorporating existing data on climate, wildlife connectivity, and more.
Armed with that data, Catholic-owned lands could take up, in a coordinated way, the imperative issued by the Pope's 2015 encyclical on environmental stewardship. For example, Burhans estimates that "if 70 percent of Catholic parishes planted an average of just three trees, it could sequester as many as 10 million pounds of carbon each year." Or, Schuler suggests, they could "use a property to enhance wildlife habitat or provide affordable housing … [or] play a role in aiding the work of environmental organizations."