With a federal election on the horizon, how we vote as people of faith is very much a part of living authentic spiritual lives. Being spiritual does not give us an exemption from being “political”. Indeed, we are political whether we speak out or not, because to be silent when faced with injustices is to quietly collude, and is equally a political position. That’s why ARRCC regards it as important to offer a scorecard for people who want to make climate the key issue on which they vote.
ARRCC is very grateful for the work of the well-respected Charity, the Australian Conservation Foundation, in carefully researching and producing this scorecard. We do not have the resources to create such a scorecard ourselves, and we have every reason to trust the values framework and integrity of ACF staff. For details of how they arrived at their conclusions, see the ACF website.
Being authentically spiritual sometimes means having the integrity to assess the policies of the various candidates for election and deciding honestly which will create a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.
If there’s any election that deserves #VoteClimate, it is this one. In this election even more so than previous elections, one of the two major parties has all but given up caring about climate change.
Yet ARRCC regards regard climate change as the most urgent evil of our time, one which humanity can address but only if we act now. Hence our “signs” campaign which fifteen congregations have joined, including Richmond Uniting Church (pictured). If your community could be interested, see https://www.arrcc.org.au/signs.
Those on the frontlines of these consequences do not have the luxury of wondering if climate should be a priority, nor do the school children of today. The former are already suffering greatly from sea level rise and extreme climate-related weather events; the latter are battling a loss of hope that comes from facing a bleak and uncertain future. It’s inspiring to see the courage of youth finding their voices and speaking out.
It is wrong that climate has become so much about “left” and “right” politics, when it is really about protecting our world so that life can flourish. In many ways it is a practical issue about how we organise our economies. That climate challenge has been politicised is an evil itself, deliberately perpetuated by those who profit from the continued mining and burning of fossil fuels.
The hope of ARRCC is that all people of faith will be conscientious citizens and give due weight to the importance of the climate policies of the various parties and candidates. Australia contributes to creating the problem in two ways. One of these is well understood by the public; hence the take-up of renewable energy is accelerating. The other is that Australia, as a nation, reaps the benefits of being among the largest exporters of coal and gas which, when burned overseas, add more pollution to an atmosphere which already has dangerous levels of greenhouse gases. This is less well understood.
Opportunities to act
As people of faith we should be at the forefront of urging all our elected representatives to adopt enlightened policies to end this moral failure on Australia’s part. Thus, ARRCC is organising grassroots actions among people of faith, including placing signs outside of Churches which witness to this kind of message.
ARRCC also offers ways for people of faith to personally take action through progressively moderating their high-consuming lifestyles. In 2019 we are again promoting Living the Change, a global multi-faith campaign inviting Christians and all people of faith to live lifestyles that are simpler, more climate-friendly and actually more aligned with our spiritual traditions.