Around Australia and the whole world governments are spending vast amounts of money to stimulate the economy in the wake of COVID19. The sums of money that will be spent over the next few months are so large that highly reputable experts like the International Energy Agency are now saying that they will determine how the whole climate crisis plays out. This is because these investments will lock in infrastructure in either fossil fuels or a sustainable alternative depending on how the money is spent.
The danger is that these decisions could lock in greenhouse gas emissions at a level not even consistent with warming below 2°C, much less the currently more accepted guardrail of 1.5°C. In Australia, a major concern is the make-up of the National COVID Coordination Commission which is top-heavy with former gas industry executives and is not subject to the usual accountability rules. Government Ministers are making announcements consistent with a "gas-powered recovery".
Well-researched information on this issue is available on this ARRCC webpage, last up-dated on 27th August.
What faith communities can do
ARRCC is working closely with other organisations in the climate movement in Australia and other parts of the world to have the best shared strategy. We are not on our own. What we can add is a clear moral voice at a crucial moment. We can do this in the following ways.
Pressure on MPs
Over the coming months people around the country will be contacting their local MP to let them know we want a clean recovery. Lots of organisations are working on this. We can play our part as people of faith. The pressure is going onto both federal and state MPs since state Premiers are now also key decision makers in the National Cabinet.
Writing to your MP
This is where you can be an organiser. Can you think of a handful of people from your faith community who could be up for writing a letter to your MP? If each of us ask a few people to do this we can make a much bigger difference than if we just took action ourselves. Who do you know who might say Yes?
We’ve put together a handy guide to writing to your MP.
Organising a faith delegation to meet your MP
Your MP will really get the message if a group of people of faith meet with him or her in person. Here is our guide to organising a meeting with your MP.
What should we ask our MP to do?
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has a very clear plan for a clean economic recovery. Please ask your MP to agree to putting in place the ideas in this document.
National Day of Action
The Student Strike for Climate movement is calling for a National Day of Action on Friday, September 25. They are calling for post-COVID stimulus spending to be about investing in low carbon, employment-intensive jobs and not about propping up a failing gas industry. The theme is "Fund our future, not gas".
All actions are intended to comply with COVID-safe restrictions in each State, so many will be online and involve small numbers of people. Nonetheless, the aim is for diversity, colour, creativity in as many locations as possible. Signs which can be photographed using drones are envisaged. Actions could be via social media, using "selfie" photos of people with their messages or videos. There may be in-person events in some places, eg, outside federal MP offices, compliant with physical distancing rules.
Register your action here: https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/register
Sounding the Alarm action
On November 21 and 22 the G20 will meet. These 20 leaders represent countries that make up around 80% of the world’s GDP. The meeting will focus squarely on the economic recovery. Some of the leaders want this recovery to be climate-friendly while others, like Scott Morrison here in Australia, want to put a huge amount of the money into gas instead. So this is the perfect moment for communities of faith to speak with one voice and sound the alarm about the need for a just and clean recovery from COVID.
This action will amplify the launch of a statement signed by senior faith leaders internationally, calling for post-COVID Recovery spending that is fair towards people and sustainable for the earth.
Ringing bells and more
We are asking all places of worship to ring their bells on Wednesday November 18 to sound the alarm and let the Government know that we want them to put COVID recovery money into a future that our kids have a chance in.
My place of worship doesn’t have a bell
No problem. There are lots of other ways to sound the alarm. Perhaps your tradition has bagpipes or drums. You might want to see if you could ask your Rabbi to blow his or her shofar to sound the alarm. And Tibetan Buddhists have plenty of instruments! Imams could consider chanting a special version of the Azan. It's time to get heartfelt and creative! You might also want to put up a sign outside your place of worship.
A guide to Sounding the Alarm
We’re putting together a guide to Sounding the Alarm including how to get good local media. The first draft is here.
Getting others involved
The best thing anyone can do is to start organising in your faith community. Please sign up here to let us know you’re planning to do this and we will get in touch with information and support.