Catholic theologians, religious join multi-faith calls on Adani

Women Religious and prominent Catholic theologians are among diverse faith leaders who have signed a joint letter asking Mr Gautam Adani to abandon his proposed new coal mine in North Queensland and invest in renewable energy in the region instead.

The faith leaders oppose all new coal mining in the Galilee Basin, saying that it would have an unacceptable impact on water supplies, the global climate and the Reef. They stressed the need for good local jobs in North Queensland and that these would be better met through investment in solar.

Representative from Adani HQ accepts letter from faith leaders, photo courtesy of FLAC

The letter says that “grasping at short-term profits from a thermal coal industry in worldwide structural decline will not provide this” and that renewable energy is “booming”. The letter adds, “We are at a crossroads. One way lies destruction; the other way, sanity.”

Rev Dr Denis Edwards, Rev Dr Ormond Rush (himself from Townsville), Professor Neil Ormerod, Columbans Rev Brian Vale and Rev Dr Patrick McInerney are among the signatories, as well as Presentation Sister, Barbara Daniel, Sister Elaine Wainwright and other Sisters of Mercy. They join Anglican Bishops, Rabbis, Imams, Pastors and ordained Buddhists in calls for a change of heart.

The letter was personally handed to a representative of Adani Australia in Townsville on April 18. A group of locals, many from local faith communities, joined the religious leaders' representatives as they held up a giant image of the Earth from space with the words “We all live here”.

The letter was organised by the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), which contacted Adani Australia last week to let them know the letter would be coming. ARRCC is multi-faith but has a large number of Catholic member organisations including Caritas Australia, the Edmund Rice Centre and a number of Religious Orders.

Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black said
“Dollar for dollar, renewables provide a lot more jobs than coal. The figures are very clear. Investment in renewables could provide all sorts of jobs, from fabrication to installation, operation and maintenance jobs as well as research, education and training. Mr Adani can do so much good, and right now he’s at an important crossroads.”

Rabbi Keren-Black said, “There is so little time left to act on climate change and so much carbon dioxide that would be emitted if mining went ahead in the Galilee Basin, this needs to stop being treated as a political issue and be recognised for what it is – simply a moral issue.”

Dean of Brisbane Cathedral Peter Catt said

“No one has looked at the combined effect of all of the nine proposed mines. They need to be considered together. We know already that Adani by itself has been granted unlimited use of water from the Great Artesian Basin. What happens when we get another eight mines?”

Uniting Church Minister Reverend Alex Sangster said
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the world. I want my daughters to be able to see it. We need to act together now to protect creation.”

Basing their work on the teachings of the world’s religious traditions, ARRCC holds that true prosperity cannot be created without care and respect for people and the environment. The letter states “For thousands of years, our traditions have taught us to care for the Earth. This responsibility is now extremely urgent. And it is those least responsible for this threat that suffer the greatest impacts of a warming climate.”

The letter cites global as well as local implications of coal mining in the Galilee Basin, saying it would “lead to many more bushfires, droughts, cyclones and floods both here and all over the world. Already we see the impending loss of the famous Great Barrier Reef, a place of magnificent beauty, full of life and astonishing colour, which has experienced back-to-back yearly coral bleaching.”

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