UCASE: Taking action on climate change
Uniting Church Action for Society and Environment (UCASE) social justice group formed around 18 months ago. Despite COVID-19, the group remains active and has further plans to advocate on a number of key issues in 2021.
The group is comprised of people from Uniting Churches in North West Sydney, including Epping, Eastwood, West Epping, and Beecroft. UCASE started around 18 months ago and meets every two months to discuss updates on three focal areas. These include climate/environment, refugees, and reconciliation.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has remained active, meeting via Zoom and Facebook. It continues to grow, with its Facebook group including the Uniting Church President and a former President.
UCASE has remained connected and responsive. On 6 June, for example, the group managed to quickly put together a small, silent vigil on Epping Bridge, standing at 4:32 pm to acknowledge 432 Indigenous deaths in custody.
Phil Chapple is a scientist, and one of UCASE’s members. He is specially engaged in the topic of climate and provides the group with regular updates on Australia’s climate change policy, as well as what they can do in their own lives to live more sustainably.
He says that the complexity of climate science meant that people had often misunderstood climate change as a topic.
“As a scientist, I have closely followed the scientific discussion about climate change for many years,” he said.
“The predictions of scientists are based on the laws of physics (the effects of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere); they aren’t merely matters of opinion, although it’s complicated and there are large uncertainties. Generally, the predictions of climate scientists over the last three or four decades have been correct – within the uncertainties of their climate models.”
“As Christians, we have a duty to stand for the truth, to care for creation and to protect vulnerable people. Climate change will disproportionately affect the poor – those dependent on agriculture or the ocean for their livelihoods, those living in tropical areas that may become unbearably hot, and those who live close to sea level. Climate change is therefore a social justice issue. Christ calls us to action.”
During their relatively short time as a group, UCASE has already become well and truly active. In 2021 group aims to meet with their local member of parliament, the Member for Bennelong, John Alexander.
Mr Chapple told Insights that any other churches looking at launching similar groups should do so.
“If you have people in your church who are passionate about social justice issues, go for it,” he said.
“Focus on the issues of your passions and interests. Together, in God’s strength, we can make the world a better place!”
For more information on UCASE, visit their Facebook page here.