People of faith unite for climate justice
October 19, 2022
Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis and Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Interim National Chair Rev Mark Kickett were among 100 religious leaders from Australia and the Pacific who last week called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to put an end to new coal and gas projects.
The leaders sent an Open Letter to the Prime Minister urging the Government to stop approvals and subsidies for new coal and gas projects and to get behind a global Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to phase out fossil fuels and to support a just transition.
“For Australia to be serious about climate action we need to rule out new coal and gas projects and stop providing those industries with various forms of public money,” said Rev Hollis.
“Australia continues to be the third largest exporter of fossil fuels. Whether coal and gas are burned overseas or on Australian soil, lives and livelihoods will remain at risk because of our inaction.
“Now is the time for Australia to show courage and leadership. We must act now to ensure all of God’s creation can flourish.”
The letter was released on 13 October as multi-faith services organised by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) were held in churches and worship spaces across the nation as part of the global Faiths4ClimateJustice campaign ahead of the next global leaders climate talks at COP27 in November.
The open letter reads: “Australia is a wealthy country that profits from exports that are causing the crisis. We hear the cries of anguish from those most vulnerable in the human family who are losing their lives, livelihoods and homes through climate-fuelled disasters.”
As well as an end to coal and gas, faith leaders are also calling on the Government to:
- fully respect First Nations peoples' rights to protect Country from coal and gas projects
- restart Australian contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, intended to help those with less to survive the climate crisis
- ensure well-paid and sustainable jobs for Australian coal and gas workers so that no-one is left behind.
Signatories included senior leaders from the Pacific, and in Australia, the Grand Mufti, heads of Buddhist, Brahma Kumaris, Christian and Muslim peak bodies as well as leaders in the Jewish, Sikh and Hindu traditions.
There was a strong UCA presence at the multi-faith services across the country, including a service hosted at Nowra Uniting Church in NSW.
See below a selection of photos from services throughout the day, with thanks to ARRCC.