For our common home
Dear Mr Adani,
We are leaders from many faith traditions and communities across Australia. We are writing to you to ask you to abandon your proposed mine and instead use the same money to invest in solar energy in North Queensland.
Our common home, the Earth, is now in great danger due to the effects of our actions as human beings on the climate. On this point the scientific community is united. Today, we too are united as people of faith.
Let us be clear. We are not merely opposed to this one mine. We are opposed to all new coal development in the Galilee Basin. We are at a crossroads. One way lies destruction; the other way, sanity. We need to turn immediately in the direction of a stable and compassionate future based on ambitious investment in renewable energy.
We wish to stress that we strongly support good local jobs. Yet people need jobs with a realistic future. Grasping at short-term profits from a thermal coal industry in worldwide structural decline will not provide this. Meanwhile, investment in renewables is booming. And the evidence shows that investment in renewable energy creates far more jobs per dollar than coal does. Coal communities need serious investment to make the transition from the dirty energy of the past to the clean energy of the future.
This mine would also create far fewer than the 10,000 jobs you have claimed. Your own economist stated under oath in the Queensland Land Court that the average number of new jobs per year would be around 1464. Likewise, your Australian CEO has said that “everything will be autonomous from mine to port”. This is no recipe for jobs.
We are very concerned that there is nothing approaching a broad acceptance of the use of the land for the mine from the indigenous peoples in the area. This is abundantly clear from the longstanding legal opposition on the part of the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council.
We know that this mine would use huge volumes of scarce water from the Great Artesian Basin. This ‘Pearl of Great Price’ is an ancient and precious source of water and must not be squandered. The effects on farmers and on our ecosystems would be too great.
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.
Here in Australia this moral responsibility is inescapable. By itself, the amount of carbon dioxide from burning the coal in the Galilee Basin would be one tenth of what the whole world can ever emit if we are to avoid the safe upper limit in temperature before many island nations and coastal cities start to disappear (1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels). This is already starting to happen. Australians in the Torres Strait Islands are already suffering serious inundation as are our close neighbours in Kiribati and Tuvalu. 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. The single largest and overriding cause of this is climate change. The reef is World Heritage listed – and the world is watching. Such an increase in temperature also poses serious security risks as world civilisation starts to feel the strain of so many natural disasters.
Your own mine would emit a staggering five billion tonnes of CO2.
Our love and concern for the wellbeing of people, other forms of life and our planet leaves us convinced that building this mine would be a giant leap in a very dangerous direction. We therefore call on you to abandon it and to work instead with state and federal governments to invest in good local jobs in solar and wind. You have the capacity to do enormous good.
Protecting our common home and all those who live here is an essential part of each of our faiths. We each ask the faith communities to which we belong to join us in creating this future. An easy first step is to support the Sun Powered Queensland campaign for an ambitious target for solar energy. We also ask our communities to contact the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, who have organised this letter, to help them in their work.
Yours in peace,
Bishop Philip Huggins, Anglican Church, President, National Council of Churches, Australia
Dr Rateb Jneid, President, Muslims Australia
The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt, Dean of St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane
Jeffrey B. Kamins OAM, Senior Rabbi, Emanuel Synagogue, Woollahra
Sheik Riad Galil OAM, Senior Imam, West Heidelberg Mosque
Bhante Sujato, Project Leader, Sutta Central
Reverend Dr Denis Edwards, Professorial Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University, Adelaide Campus
The Right Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University
Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, Jewish Ecological Coalition, Board member, ARRCC
The Reverend Dr Jo Inkpin, Lecturer in Theology & Senior Tutor and Anglican Priest, St Francis College, Brisbane
The Reverend Dr Patrick McInerney, Columban Coordinator NSW
Professor Gerard Moore, Academic Dean, United Theological College, Associate Head of School of Theology, Charles Sturt University
Rev Brian Vale, Regional Director, Missionary Society of St Columban, ANZ Region
Associate Professor Mehmet Ozalp, Islamic Sciences and Research Academy Australia (ISRA)
Reverend Dr Jason John, Uniting Earth Ministry, Uniting Church NSWACT
Reverend Dr Ormond Rush, Associate Professor and Reader, Institute for Religion & Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University
Dr Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology, Institute for Religion & Critical Inquiry, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University
Father Claude Mostowik MSC, President, Pax Christi Australia, Director, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre (Australia)
Pastor Darren Cronshaw, Head of Research and Professor of Missional Leadership, Australian College of Ministries, Pastor, Auburn Life Baptist Church
Reverend Alex Sangster, Uniting Church Minister, Fairfield
Reverend Rex Graham, Uniting Church Minister, Wollongong
Pastor Jarrod McKenna, Cornerstone Church, Perth
Reverend John Brentnall, Chairperson, Uniting Eco Group
Sister Barbara Daniel PBVM, Presentation Sisters
Sister Elizabeth Young RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Elaine Wainwright RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Caroline Vaitkunas RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Claudette Cusack RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Mary Tinney RSM, Sisters of Mercy, Earth Link
Sister Marie Britza RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Veronica Lawson RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Julie O'Brien RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Barbara Bolster RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Tricia Nugent RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Sister Ruth Wyatte RSM, Sisters of Mercy
Ana Freeman, Rahahim Ecology Centre
Dharmachari Arthacarya, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Aryadharma, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Buddhankapali, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Dantachitta, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Dharmalata, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Dharmamati, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Dharmamodini, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Dharmananda, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Hrdayaja, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Khemayogini, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Maitripala, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Nagasuri, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Nandavani, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Prakashika, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Saddhavijaya, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Samacitta, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Shubhavyuha, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Siladasa, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Sudaya, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmachari Tejopala, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Vimoksalehi, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Vimuttinandi, Triratna Buddhist Order
Dharmacharini Moksavajra, Triratna Buddhist Order
Ms Thea Ormerod, President, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC)
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