Faith grassroots demand stronger action on climate

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Over 110 places of worship across Australia are displaying banners or holding events today as part of a global faith day of action. They are urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take much stronger emissions reduction targets for the year 2030 to the United Nations climate Summit in Glasgow.

As the Government considers a target of net zero emissions by 2050, faith communities have united to say that it is what we do before 2030 is that really matters.

Many banners call on the Prime Minister to “Protect Creation” and call for “Bold climate action by 2030, starting now.” The banners have gone up in every state and territory, on cathedrals, churches, Buddhist temples and a mosque.

“Much is being made of net zero by 2050,” said Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky, spokesperson for the Assembly of Rabbis and Cantors. “But the real question is what can be achieved by 2030. The latest climate science shows we are running out of time to protect our common home. We urge the Prime Minister to adopt a meaningful plan to match the ambition of other nations like the US, UK and EU, and to start implementing those plans immediately.”

“Australia should also fulfil its promises under the Paris Accord to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. It’s only fair that, as a wealthy country that has profited from exporting fossil fuels, we should be contributing to adaptation finance for climate-impacted countries.”

Pentecostal Pastor Rob Buckingham of Bayside Church in Melbourne, said, “I appeal to the Prime Minister as a man of faith and ask him to carefully consider his government’s responsibility to make sure the earth’s environment is protected for the generations to come.”

“We share the concerns people have for regional communities but the world moving away from fossil fuels. It is actually more compassionate to assist these communities to diversify their local economies. Otherwise, we abandon them to an uncertain and bleak future. Especially so because people in the regions are also bearing the brunt of fires, floods and droughts made worse by climate change.”

Venerable Sujato, a Buddhist monk and the Director of Sutta Central, said, “Our faith traditions all teach that the ethical path is one which is also ultimately life-giving. Mr Morrison has a choice. He takes Australia on a life-giving path of helping conserve the Earth’s climate stability, which also happens to hold the promise of a cleaner, more jobs-rich future. Or he continues down this death-dealing path which protects, not life, but particular sectors which stand to gain by holding back progress.”

ARRCC President, Thea Ormerod, said, “Given the need for recovery spending from the pandemic, the government must not simply replace fossil fuels with fossil fuels. We join with Australian youth who are crying out for the dishonest ‘gas-fired recovery’ to be replaced by public investment in our vast renewable energy potential.”

Similar actions are being taken in hundreds of locations around the world, from New York to Nairobi, Santiago to Sydney, Lilongwe (Malawi) to London. Banners calling for stronger action to tackle climate change are being hung from cathedrals, churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and prayer houses, and protests are being held outside the offices of corporations and politicians.

In Australia, actions are organized under the auspices of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), a founding partner of GreenFaith International.

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