eNews October 2016

Welcome to our new look newsletter, which is better integrated into our new website. As always, we have good news, bad news and actions and events you can be involved in. Good news has come in the form of BP pulling out of oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight and Victoria’s ban on unconventional gas mining. However, the Federal Government’s reaction to the storms in South Australia and the Palaszczuk Government fast-tracking the Carmichael coal mine by declaring it  “critical infrastructure”, show Australian governments still have no idea of the urgency of the need to act on climate change.

It looks like we, the community, will have to lead our governments, by our actions and by our persistence in challenging them to do better. Keeping reading for ideas on how you can help.

COP22 climate negotiations

Unsurprisingly, here we are, four weeks out from COP22 which runs Nov 7 – 18, and Australia is one of the few wealthy countries which have not yet ratified the Paris Accord. We thus go to Marrakech in Morocco as an Observer State. This is in keeping with our poor performance on climate policy as assessed by a range of reputable organisations both here and overseas. Importantly, we are seriously out of step with the kinds of policies needed to address what is now being described as a “climate emergency”.

Please take a bit of time to participate in one or more of the following actions:

1)    the international social media campaign to let negotiators in Marrakech know the urgency of the action that is needed

2)    letters to Minister Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, and the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, via the ARRCC website

3)    letter to your local MP.

Coming events:

The following are variously opportunities to learn, reflect, advocate, connect with others and/or be inspired. Are any of these near you? Then, come along if you can!

Greenfaith/ARRCC meeting, reflection on “Sukkot”, Jewish harvest festival, Hawthorn, Vic, Oct 16

Don’t nuclear waste Australia, stand in solidarity with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters at 12 in Pitt Street Mall, Sydney, NSW, Oct 15

Music for a Warming World, be refreshed by this beautiful evening organised by member organisation Grand Stand for the Environment, Doncaster, Vic, Oct 26

Inspiracy Festival, a festival of inspiration, imagining and action for the common good organised by the Uniting Church, Newcastle, NSW, Oct 28 – 31

Voices for Justice workshop to build capacity for advocacy for vulnerable people overseas and climate action, Murrumba Downs, Qld, Oct 29

Speaking tour of Fr Sean McDonagh, an Irish Eco-theologian speaking on Laudato Si’, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Nov 3 – 15

Care for our Common Home, Grand Stand for the Environment has invited Ann Boyd and Pat Long from EarthSong to reflect on Laudato Si’, Lower Templestowe, Vic, Nov 6

Voices for Justice workshop, Blackwood, SA, Nov 12 – 14

Eco-theology course, North Parramatta, NSW, Nov 14 – 19

Voices for Justice national gathering, advocacy for vulnerable people overseas and climate action, Canberra, Nov 19 – 22

ARRCC spirituality & activism workshop, Hobart, Nov 19, details TBA

ARRCC news

The new, vibrant Eat Less Meat group has been busily using social media to spread their message. Their Facebook following is growing and they are choosing a theme for each month. October’s theme is “Small scale actions with big impacts” and November’s is “Let’s eat out”. Check it out here: www.facebook.com/mfwelm

Gill King and I had the pleasure of facilitating a multi-faith dialogue in Brisbane about starting a Brisbane-based climate action initiative in Brisbane and surrounding areas. There was great interest and we look forward to supporting more developments. Gill, John Carroll and I have also been facilitating community organising skills workshops, one in Sydney, one in Kiama and one in Brisbane. John Carroll will be visiting Hobart soon, with a similar purpose.

ARRCC promoted #PrayForOurPacific with 350.org, which ended up with 120 participating faith communities across 22 countries. This was the subject of a few of the ten different articles and radio segments we managed to get into the media (see below).

New resource

Member organisation Caritas Australia has published a compelling report on the impacts of climate change on Pacific peoples: www.caritas.org.au/hungryforjustice. Caritas invites supporters to write to their local MP too, and have made it easy here: www.caritas.org.au/hungryforjustice-act

See the section below for more on the big picture across Australia, and how we’ve appeared in the media.

I’m always interested to hear from supporters on any issue, or with information about events or actions near you.

Ever onwards!


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An eventful month

It’s been an eventful month, with more to come! Thank you to all those who wrote to their local MP to help save ARENA from devastating cuts. While it took a $500 million cut, it has managed to retain $800 million of its funding base.

The really good news was that the Victorian government banned unconventional gas mining. This is a huge win for rural communities and environmental organisations which have been campaigning over the last five years. Fracking is still a concern in other states however. In the Northern Territory over 80% of the land is covered in oil and gas exploration licences. Sign this open letter to support a total ban on fracked shale gas in NT.   

There were also the very disappointing comments by the PM and federal politicians on the power blackout in South Australia. The lack of ethical imagination is astonishing! For anyone wavering, see the Climate Council’s video clip: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/blaming-the-solution

Relevant media articles

Guardian article on giving up beef as climate action

Australian churches off the pace with clean energy switch

Rev Sef Carroll: Why I pray for our Pacific

Christians urged to pray for climate-impacted people

Faith Communities heed call from Pacific 

Sight round-up on Pray For Our Pacific

Two Australian Religious Orders pledge divestment