As part of the Synod Climate Action Strategy adopted in 2019, the NSW and ACT Synod is encouraging Uniting Church members, households and communities to take part in the Living the Change initiative. Over the coming weeks, we will share information and resources to help Uniting Church members and congregations to reduce their emissions footprint and take other practical action on global warming.

What is Living the Change?

Living the Change is a global multi-faith initiative that encourages people to make lifestyle changes to reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions. It was initiated in 2017 in the US by Green Faith, an interfaith environmental organisation and is supported in Australia by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).

Living the Change is based on two deep convictions:  the earth is a gift from God, andeach of us has the  responsibility to live in a way that supports and sustains our common home.

The program asked us to consider and make changes in three areas:

  • Using more energy-efficient transport
  • Shifting towards more plant-based diets
  • Using more renewable energy at home

Why does it matter?

While world leaders have agreed to try to limit global warming to 1.5oC, scientists tell us we are heading to at least twice that level of emissions.1 A global rise in temperature of that scale is  increasingly harmful to current generations and devastating for future ones.  More intense and frequent droughts and fires, more damaging storms, the Barrier Reef destroyed, declines in animal and insect species, reduced food production and tens of millions of people displaced as climate refugees across the world.

Strong government policies and decisive Change by corporations are needed to cut our emissions and change our trajectory. But private individuals and families can make a significant difference to our emissions as well. It is estimated that Australian households are directly responsible for between 12 percent and 20 percent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions.2,3 This comes mainly from transport and energy use in the home, as well as our diet.

As well as contributing to overall reductions, our actions to limit carbon emissions may encourage others to make changes. Acting together, we can meet the substantial challenges posed by global warming and create a promising future for ourselves, those that follow and the whole planet.

The Synod’s 2019 resolution that established the Synod Climate Action Strategy commits us as a whole church to act faithfully by reducing our own emissions (as well as calling on our leaders to do more to reduce emissions nationally). The Church and Individual Emissions Task Group was established to support churches in that process.

How can I get involved?

You are invited to participate in the Living the Change initiative. Over the coming weeks you can:

  1. Look out for information and tips on Living the Change and what you can do to reduce your emissions footprint. We will be sharing tips, advice, and resources on the Insights Weekly e-news (click here to subscribe) and Insights Magazine, the Synod and Uniting social media channels.
  2. Consider, individually and with others in your household, church and community, what changes you could make.
  3. Begin to make those changes in your life and lifestyle and share them with us.

More information

You can find more information from the Living the Change pages on the ARRCC website.

If you have any questions, please contact Jon O’Brien joobrien@uniting.org  (0477 725 528) in the Church and Individual Emissions Task Group.

References

1 United Nations Environment Program (2019) Emission Gap Report. Available here.

2 Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science Energy and Resources. Available here.

3 Environmental Protection Authority Victoria. Households and GHG emissions. Available here.

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