I am, if not preoccupied, at least seriously engaged with the question from the future: ‘What were you doing to try to stop the world from spiralling into ever increasing temperatures and violent weather patterns?’. My faith impels me to repair the world, not destroy it. In fact it views humans as its caretakers, looking after God’s creation and passing it on in good condition to those who come after us (ie ‘sustainability’, millennia before the term was coined!). So on Wednesday 18th May, I participated in a peaceful demonstration in Preston, at Bill Shorten’s constituency office, a part of the 350.org campaign to show worldwide concern for the need for dramatic and immediate action.
On Mother’s Day, I found myself standing on a double railway line at a bridge over the Hunter River, wearing white overalls with a red X painted on the back like the other 60 or so people with me. We were waiting for the police to arrest us all, having declined their invitation to leave voluntarily. The police didn’t seem in much of a hurry to do this, as they arranged and re-arranged the on-site processing set up they had brought. We were happy for them to take as long as they liked - it added to the time the coal trains were unable to bring their cargo to the Newcastle coal port.
In New York on 18 April, Ambassador Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly took delivery of the Interfaith Climate Change Statement to World Leaders signed by 270 high-level religious leaders, 4970 individuals and 176 religious groups from around the world (www.interfaithstatement2016.org).
This milestone document calls on governments around the world to take decisive action on climate change. ARRCC member, Philippa Rowland of the Multi-Faith Association of SA was present and gave a brief address to the meeting.
The nation appears to be gearing up for an early federal election, so I hope you’re preparing to advocate for sound climate policies! This is especially if you’re in a swinging seat, or in a seat with an elected representative who is lobbying against good policies. (See the dirty thirty.) Is that you? Especially then, we have a job to do!
The media is full of reminders of the urgency of the issue, the latest being the major coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef.
How do we communicate about climate change to people of faith in a way that they can hear us? What kinds of terms seem to appeal and motivate action? What language should we avoid? Communications experts like George Marshall have done the research.
What do you do during Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter? For Christians, Lent is the time to remember the 40 days that Jesus spent in the Wilderness, facing challenge and temptation. It is a time to reflect on God’s purpose for our life.
In recent years, many Christians have adapted this noble tradition to become more mindful of – and reduce - their impacts on Creation.
After some rest in January, relieved that an agreement had finally been reached in Paris, the ARRCC Management Committee has met to sketch out next steps. The Paris outcome was achieved in large part because of the considerable pressure from so many people around the world. Now, the Agreement will be important for holding our political leaders accountable.
The agreement reached in Paris depends on political will, with countries setting their own climate action plans. So this is not a time to be complacent. If the decisions are to be implemented, the world will need to pick up the pace of change dramatically, and Australia will have to change quite markedly from
the course it is on.
The Islamic world has released an historic Declaration to prepare the way for a robust treaty in Paris. The Declaration calls on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to do their part to eliminate dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and commit to renewable energy sources. It was drafted by academics and finalized at the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium held in Istanbul Aug. 17-18.
We did it! More than 140,000 people came together in 55 cities and towns across Australia. People of faith were visible and strong.