Faith communities call upon Australian government to act on climate

Faith communities call upon Australian government to act on climate

Faith communities across Australia held vigils on Monday, 18 October outside the offices of Members of Parliament. Demonstrators called on the Australian government to take stronger climate policies to the United Nations climate Summit in Glasgow.

The demonstrations mainly took place outside Government MPs’ offices, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce, and Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Warren Entsch. 

Similar protests took place in hundreds of locations around the world, including in New York, Nairobi, Lilongwe in Malawi, and London.

Over 120 diverse faith communities across Australia hung banners on their places of worship or held events, calling on Scott Morrison to set much bolder climate targets for 2030. As the Government considers a target of net zero emissions by 2050, faith communities say that only an ambitious near-term goal would make that goal meaningful.

Pentecostal Pastor Rob Buckingham of Bayside Church attended a rally in Melbourne.

“Our prayers are for the Morrison Government, that they will take the bold action needed to protect the integrity of God’s creation,” Pastor Buckingham said.

“We can already see the early but escalating effects of climate change. We must rise to the challenge now, in order to protect the future of humanity.”

“We share the Nationals’ concern for regional communities but, with the world moving away from fossil fuels, it is 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.”
 

In Perth, people from across the religious spectrum met outside the office of outgoing MP, Steve Irons. 

Ann Zubrick is the Presiding Clerk of Quakers Australia.

“Mr Irons is in the same prayer group as the Prime Minister,” Ms Zubrick explained.

“We are asking him to let Mr Morrison know that we’re all praying that fossil fuels are not simply replaced by fossil fuels. Funding for a gas-fired post-COVID recovery is immoral. Instead, we need public investment in large-scale renewable energy which would create more jobs and be better for our farmers, water security, our health and the climate.”

In Cairns a ritual took place at the local Anglican Church, attended by Buddhists, Quakers, and people from other local groups. The location is road to the office of Warren Entsch, the Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, and an outspoken critic of National Party colleagues who oppose setting an emissions target.

Father Neil Forgie is the Spokesperson for the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland.

“We support Mr Entsch in his calls for stronger climate action, but we want to encourage him to speak up even more strongly,” he said.

“He must tell the Prime Minister that the time for half-measures is over – we must drastically reduce emissions this decade.” 

In Australia, actions are organised under the auspices of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).

The United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021. 

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