“A time to act together”: A call by Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders in Australia

NCCA

The Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews, a joint initiative of three peak bodies – the National Council of Churches in Australia, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry – was formed over twenty years ago in recognition of our common humanity and the values we commit to as Australians.

During October and November, the United Kingdom will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow (31 October – 12 November 2021). The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Around 200 countries will negotiate the challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

As representatives of the three peak bodies today we affirm our common commitment to care for human life and the natural world. We share a belief in a hopeful future, as well as an obligation to be responsible in caring for our common home, the Earth. As people of faith we are grounded in our awareness of the sacredness of life, God’s presence in us and all around us.

In the Christian scriptures we read that Jesus says of the birds of the air that “not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12: 6). How then can we mistreat creation or cause it harm?

Before creating Adam God says (Qur’an 2:30): “I will make upon the earth a successive authority”. Then, as a reminder of the people’s act, God says (Qur’an 2:30) “Corruption has appeared in both land and sea because of what people’s own hands have brought so that they may taste something of what they have done so that hopefully they will turn back”

In the Torah we are commanded to serve and preserve the earth (Genesis 2:15), and our sages emphasise this teaching: “Be careful not to ruin and destroy My world, for if you ruin it, there will be no one else to fix it.” – Kohelet Rabbah 7:13

It is time for the nations of the world to act together. These meetings will be critical for humanity’s collective future.

We look to our Australian government to work together with others to build a sustainable world where addressing climate change is not just an opportunity to stop burning fossil fuels, but also to achieve clean air and water, to reduce food wastage, to ensure a just and equitable sharing of the earth’s resources, and to protect the habitats we share with all other life on our planet and on whose health we depend.

We recognise that we must meet our responsibilities today if we, and future generations, are not to suffer the costs of our neglect in times to come.

Across our doctrinal and political differences, we know that we must change our ways to ensure a quality of life which all can share.

Our collective energy and prayers will be with those working for a successful outcome.

Signed by: Co-chairs, Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews

Ms Elizabeth Stone, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA),

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