Tobias shared his thoughts at ARRCC's Interfaith Forum on Intergenerational Justice, part of ARRCC's Youth Embassy, on Thursday 28th June 2012
Tobias Neville is a Christian and lives in Canberra.
Good evening everyone, I trust you’ve been having a very interesting night. My name is Tobias Neville and I’m here to talk about my faith and climate change. So, first off, some basic information. I’m a Christian - Anglican more specifically - but I don’t really fuss over denominations. I go to Holy Covenant Anglican Church in Jamison. And I’m currently just working through school and exams. Now I think climate change is an issue every one of us needs to consider. It’s something that affects millions worldwide, and could cause catastrophic damage to nature and humanity in general. We’re already beginning to feel the effects of climate change, with more and more natural disasters and famines. Australia has only recently really gotten out of drought, and other parts of the world like the horn of Africa continue to be stuck in it. Climate change is real, and those who are in poverty and suffering are the first to be hurt. I think that we as a society cannot allow this suffering. It is my faith that has led me to this view, and my faith that gives me strength to stand up for what I think is right.
I believe that we are all called, regardless of our religion and faith, to be people of justice in the world. We should all be trying to demonstrate peace and love to our fellows, giving charity and mercy to others, and forgiving as we would want to be forgiven. No matter what faith we hold, what God or Gods we believe in, it is our duty, not merely as people of faith, but as people of justice, to fix issues. And climate change is a major issue. I see connection between my faith and this problem of climate change in the firm belief that those who have should give to those who have not. This applies in faith, in love, and in resources. Climate change presents itself to me as a problem that could be used to show what humanity is capable of, what we are capable of. We can turn a blind eye or deny it outright, live our lives like we have done and forget the difficulties of others. Or we can use this problem as an opportunity to bring help where it is needed, to show God’s love and mercy. It’s very Christian of me to say this, I know, but I truly have faith in our ability, my friends, to change what’s happening to nature, the climate, and society.
Since I was young I watched the news with my parents. I must have been maybe eight or nine years old when I noticed things about natural disasters. Being the, inquisitive youth I was, I asked and gathered what information I could about the idea, even reading books on the topic. Since then, I realised that they seemed to be getting more and more common. It was a couple of years back that it hit me: this is all connected. The drought here, the more and more frequent floods, they’re all linked. I used to hear about one or two cyclones in the north of Australia. Now I swear there’s another one every few weeks. Australia has been in drought for years, and the drought was broken with severe floods. In my view, when we see a problem, we should solve it. This is how I connect Christianity; a religion founded thousands of years ago, to this here and now. My faith guides me in how I should act. And when I see what is happening in the developing world, all I can think is “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first” and “love your neighbour as yourself.” It challenges me to change and to bring change to the world.
I say this not only as a Christian, but also just as a young person growing up in a troubled and violent world. There is so much wrong out there, so many problems that need fixing. We might as well start here. Climate change is real, and it is happening. We need to act soon to stop it. As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I see and feel the need for care and justice, a need for hope. My friends, I really do believe that climate change can be averted. The world is in trouble, and climate change is a fine place to start the process of fixing it. Thank you.