Around the world thousands of people of diverse faiths helped lead Rise for Climate, a globally-connected mobilization with more than 850 events in 95 countries on 1-2 September.
From San Francisco, Jakarta, Lagos, Delhi, Sydney, Bogotá, Santiago to New York City and beyond, called for governments, businesses and households to take action, meet the Paris Agreement’s goals and avoid devastating harm.
Actions in Australia were among the first of the day in Cairns, Hobart, Adelaide, Darwin, and Sydney, where a three-masted ship sported a “Rise for Climate” banner as it crossed Sydney Harbor.
President of the Multifaith Association of South Australia, Philippa Rowland, said this movement was inevitable.
“It’s a sign of the times that people of faith will stand shoulder to shoulder with indigenous elders, teachers, students and people from all walks of life calling for real action on climate and clean energy across this vast continent,” said Rowland.
Along with the weekend marches, protestors from the wider community headed to Parliament House in Canberra, with a message for the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. Around 200 farmers and supporters from Farmer for Climate Change demanded politicians to make significant policy changes in order to address climate change, as the country still grappling with the ongoing drought.
Greenpeace protesters also scaled the Parliament House flagpoles to fly a banner featuring Mr Morrison infamously holding coal, with the words “Get your hand off it”.
Our activists are at parliament house sending a message to Scott Morrison on his first day since becoming PM: Get your hand off coal, Prime Minister! Stand with them >> https://t.co/wHQzXsOpPN #resist #coalcoup #auspol pic.twitter.com/nNBdRdm9Yb
— Greenpeace Aus Pac (@GreenpeaceAP) September 9, 2018
This comes after the Australian Government abandoned the Natural Energy Guarantee which focussed on reducing carbon emissions. The failed legislation, ultimately saw the Liberal leadership spill that ousted former PM Malcom Turnbull last month.
Despite axing the national energy policy, the government insists that meeting the emission targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Our commitment stands but we won’t be legislating it,” a spokesperson for the prime minister told Guardian Australia.
Climate scientists predict that 2018 will be the fourth hottest year, prompting the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to warn that the world is at a “defining moment” and action on climate change is needed now.
“If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us,” said at Mr Guterres at a recent UN New York headquarters address.
Recognising that government inaction requires the public to also step up, a multi-faith service in Kansas, US on 13 September will be a global call for people of faith to commit to Living the Change. This new sustainable lifestyles campaign calling for personal behaviour changes with the greatest climate impact: sustainable transportation, 100% home renewable energy use, and plant-based diets.
“Fulfilling the promise of the Paris Agreement requires personal commitment alongside bold political and business leadership,” said Caroline Bader, Director of Living the Change.
“It is a reality that we simply cannot meet the 1.5⁰C temperature rise goal without a shift in our lifestyles. We care about tomorrow and the future of the planet and all people. That’s why we are committing to Living the Change.”
The service will feature messages from the Dalai Lama and Patriarch Bartholomew, and will be live-streamed globally at 4pm PT (9am AEST Thursday 14 September).