Faith communities in Australia call for climate action

By Lisa Zengarini, 26 October 2021
Fr Robert Riedling, Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Parramatta with a banner calling for greater climate action at the COP26 Climate Conference. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

 

The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) organized a two-day initiative calling on the Australian Government to act urgently against climate change.

As COP-26 approaches, faith communities in Australia are urging the Australian government to take swift and effective action against climate change to protect Creation. Australia is a large producer of coal and gas and its climate policies and emissions reductions are ranked among the worst in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

On October 17 and 18 the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), a multi-faith organisation committed in promoting climate justice, organized two days of action calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act urgently to combat global warming. Mr. Morrison drew strong criticism when he indicated in September that he might not attend COP-26. After weeks of initial hesitation, a few days ago he announced that he will take part in the Climate Conference taking place in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12.

The “Faiths 4 Climate Justice” events

On Sunday, faith communities across the country were invited to sound the climate alarm either by ringing bells, singing, praying, meditating, calling the Azan (the call to prayer in the Islamic tradition), playing the Jewish shofar, or celebrating other religious rituals. The following day participants in the “Faiths 4 Climate Justice” events showed up outside federal MP’s offices to make their voices heard by Australian political leaders. ARRCC also sent a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling to present a strong climate policy platform to the UN Climate Summit.

The urgent need for action against climate change 

More than 110 faith communities across Australia, including Christians, Muslims and Jews, took part in the initiative. Among them, many Catholics. In a video produced by the Diocese of Parramatta for the Global Day of Action, Father Robert Riedling, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta, explained that organisers are calling the government to take bold action on climate change by 2030 in working toward net-zero emissions by 2050. “The Catholic Church has a great tradition of social justice teaching and is known very much for its pro-life stance, and the issue of climate change scores on both of those issues. We understand that from a social justice standpoint, climate change affects everyone, but it particularly affects those who are vulnerable, the poor, the disenfranchised in the world, and we want to do our very best as a Church to have those people equal everyone else and to ensure that they are not affected,” he said.

RELATED: Ahead of COP26: Diocese of Parramatta and St Patrick’s Cathedral call for bold climate action by 2030

Preserving the gift of creation

The Sisters of St Joseph also called for Australia to make a commitment to “put the protection of the planet at the forefront ”. “How can we not take action?“ asked congregational leader Sister Monica Cavanagh in a statement. “The IPCC findings warn of a catastrophic future if we don’t act. Our Pacific neighbours watch as their lands are disappearing. We know that it is those who are most defenseless who are most immediately affected by the devastation we are causing. Both our religious faith and the call to us as humans, propel us to do all we can to preserve the gift of creation”, Sister Monica said.

With thanks to Vatican News and Lisa Zengarini, where this article originally appeared.

 

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