The Move Beyond Coal campaign: an online briefing for Uniting Church members

The Move Beyond Coal campaign: an online briefing for Uniting Church members

Did you know that burning coal is the number one cause of harmful climate change and Australia is one of the biggest exporters of coal? Every day, Australia’s coal is fuelling climate change that impacts us here at home and around the world.

This is not just an issue of creation care but of justice. It is those communities who have contributed least to the climate crisis, including our Pasifika neighbours, who will face the earliest and harshest impacts of climate change.

That is why the Uniting Climate Action Network is asking Uniting Church members to consider getting involved in the Moved Beyond Coal campaign. We are holding an online briefing on the evening of Thursday 8 September so you can find out how.

What is the Move Beyond Coal Campaign about?

The Move Beyond Coal campaign is a grassroots movement that calls on banks to end funding for coal expansion. It is supported by organisations including Tipping Point and the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. The first focus will be urging the National Australia Bank to end financial support for Whitehaven Coal’s expansion in NSW. This action is consistent with statements our church has made about action on climate. In its National Climate Action Plan the UCA Assembly has called for, “the immediate cessation of new coal or gas mines or other means of extraction”.

What will the briefing cover?

The briefing will address the role that Australian coal exports play in fuelling global warming. We will hear about lessons from previous campaigns that show that focussing attention on those financing coal production can put a brake on coal extraction and export. We will learn how a range of actions from sending an email, to displaying banners at bank branches, to lobbying bank executives, can cause lenders to reconsider the flow of money to new coal mines.

What’s this got to do with Christian faith?

The short answer is a lot. Our church has said: “The Uniting Church’s commitment to the well-being of the environment arises out of its belief that God is the Creator of the world in which we live and move and have our being. This ‘groaning’ creation is God’s ‘good’ creation”.  A substantial majority of Uniting Church members agree with that conviction. In 2016 the National Church life Survey found 81% of church members affirmed that care for creation should be an essential part of the church’s mission.

There are many ways to demonstrate care for creation, and advocacy on reducing coal emissions is just one of them. Quite a few Uniting Church members are already involved in such action, by themselves or in concert with other groups. We want to encourage those who may not have acted in this way before, to consider getting involved.

What will you be asked to consider?

The briefing will inform you about why the campaign matters and what you can do. This includes the possibility of forming local action groups to build relationships with local NAB branches as well as other supportive actions. We will let you know how to connect with the wider campaign and what resources will be provided to help you act. Whether you decide to be involved or not after that is up to you.

Who is hosting the briefing?

This briefing is hosted by the Uniting Climate Action Network and members of the Uniting Advocacy team as part of the Synod Climate Action Strategy. Our main speaker is Fahimah Badrulhisham. Fahimah is an organiser for the Australian Religious Response to Climate who believes strongly in the importance of multi-faith action on climate.

The Move Beyond Coal campaign briefing will be held on the evening of Thursday, 8 September from 7.00pm-8.30pm. You can register here.

For more information, please contact Jon O’Brien on 0477 725 528 or at joobrien@uniting.org

The Uniting Advocacy team

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