Pages tagged "Faith"
As a matter of love and gratitude, it is our role to take care of the Earth, to take care of the Planet – God’s creation. It is our responsibility to cherish it and to pass on our planetary life to future generations."
For several years Bishop Philip has been a Bishop in the Anglican Church and was the recent President of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA). The NCCA has incorporated environmental care into its mandate for many years, taking a leading role in building momentum toward the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
The role of faith leaders internationally is to raise the ambitions of our political leaders. 84% of the world population have a religious belief. Just as faith leaders played a crucial role in building momentum for the UN COP21 negotiations for the Paris Agreement, so we must make a similar contribution now…"
Most of Bishop Philip’s climate efforts are through the Interfaith Liaison Committee (ILC), which networks Faith communities working towards a socially just and climate-safe world. The ILC monitors developments within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It provides a space for faith leaders to coordinate efforts in line with implementing the Paris Agreement and brings a faith voice to COP negotiations.
If we are to achieve containment to 1.5 degrees, it has to be negotiated and implemented [through the UN]. It’s our best chance.”
Bishop Philip feels gratitude that there is an international platform for countries and stakeholders to engage on climate change. The resounding support that the Glasgow Climate Pact from COP26 - the first international climate agreement explicitly planning to reduce unabated coal usage - has received is inspiring.
The Glasgow Pact helps to keep the hope of the Paris Agreement alive. We’re now in the period of making sure that this Pact is honoured. That is the focus of our prayers, meditations and advocacy."
The ILC includes groups from Africa, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific. Much of Bishop Philip’s energy is devoted to the ILC and its purposes, on the pathway to COP27.
At this stage of life I just want to focus on work that will benefit my grandchildren and their generation.”
Philip helped establish weekly prayer and meditation groups that ran through the lead up to COP26 and into 2022. These groups also provide a space for people of all faiths to reflect on climate and learn about each other’s efforts. Many had the desire to attend COP26 but were unable to go, and this group ensured that their energy could be harnessed from all corners of the world. Negotiators and representatives who attended COP26 in person reflected that this spiritual energy helped to sustain and illuminate their work. This year, under the banner of Towards UNCOP27: Fresh initiatives of prayer and meditation they are meeting on Zoom each Tuesday, convened by Elaine George.
Providing space for reflection and mindfulness helps to ease climate anxiety, which is another issue that has been gaining attention within faith communities. It is a priority of Philip’s to find ways of sustaining good mental health while encouraging ongoing climate action within the community.
The theme of COP27 is Climate Justice, an issue that directly intertwines with Philip’s work with refugee communities. He is particularly concerned with how climate change will create swathes of climate refugees in our region, and what the Australian Government will do to establish coordinated humanitarian action.
The private sector is making major investments, as are State and Local Governments. More and more individuals are pursuing zero emissions lifestyles. The missing link is a coherent national strategy."
Philip believes that Australia has a role to play in assisting nations disproportionately impacted by climate change to develop sustainable economies centred on clean energy. Responding to climate change is a matter of applying the solutions that already exist, but just need to be implemented, to transition Australia and our region into renewable economies.
Australians need a government that treats climate change as an issue that requires urgent action. The action in this critical decade will determine whether we, as a human family, can contain climate change to 1.5 degrees of warming.”
A coordinated and holistic national strategy to address climate change from social and economic perspectives is urgently needed.
“We should celebrate the great blessings we experience in having a high standard of living, beautiful living environments, and abundant natural resources, while acknowledging our responsibility for stewardship of a whole continent."
Dr Batchelor is an Adjunct Fellow with The International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia and has worked on Muslim community projects with the Australian Religion Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and the Climate Reality Project. Dr Batchelor engages with Muslim communities in Australia and overseas. In December 2021, he coordinated a very successful webinar with IAIS Malaysia, between Australian and Malaysian speakers and participants on the topic, “Preparing for COP 26: Curbing Carbon Emissions by Governments, Civil Society and Individuals.” It demonstrated that Malaysia is leading ambitious climate action and that Australia has a role to play in advancing this work within the region. There are many opportunities for Australians to support our neighbors to achieve climate justice, and he found their spirit to be inspiring.
Dr Batchelor is concerned that Australians have some of the highest emissions per capita in the world and that we must consider ways to reduce our carbon footprints, with part of the solution being to reduce wasteful consumption.
“We must be content with the simple things; we can live at a lower level of wealth and expenditure while enhancing happiness in life.”
Teachings from the Qur’an and Sunnah tell us how we should tread lightly on the Earth, with as minimal impact as possible. Islamic thought highlights how a lower-impact lifestyle can enhance self-fulfillment and enable followers to differentiate between needs and wants. As wealthier countries, like Australia, consume much of the world’s resources, these teachings draw our collective attention to the benefits of more sustainable modes of consumption.
Dr Batchelor and other professional activists contend that Australia should adopt a de-growth model, the steady-state model, which goes beyond a circular economy. A steady-state economy is founded on the idea that we need to consume less and repurpose more. If the whole world was consuming at the rate Australia does, the Earth’s non-renewable resources would be exhausted within four months. By adopting a de-growth model we could achieve and maintain a steady-state economy, one which no longer needs exponential economic growth to support a healthy and happy population.
“Changing habits is not easy, and excessive consumption has become habitual for many Australians.”
Cutting-through to everyday people is key to promoting alternative ways of living in a more sustainable way. This is the only way to operate within the Earth’s biophysical limits. A recent article in the Australasian Muslim Times (AMUST) by Dr Batchelor perfectly captures this idea. Achieving a steady-state economy would involve cutting back on advertisements, to limit how much ‘stuff’ people are bombarded with; ending planned obsolescence, shifting from ownership to usership, ending food waste and scaling back ecologically damaging industries. He sees this as a key lesson for wealthy countries to take when engaging with their less consumer-driven neighbors. We have much to learn from their perspectives on sustainability.
Dr Batchelor publishes climate-related articles with the AMUST. He also continuously advocates for greater climate action and collaboration between Malaysia and Australia. He has lived and worked in Malaysia for three years, where he headed the Science, Technology, Environment and Ethics Unit of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies. During that time, he delivered annual conferences on sustainability and the environment, and contributed to works such as the book, Islamic Perspectives on Science and Technology Selected Conference Papers. He rallied environmental NGOs in Malaysia to participate in forums and roundtable discussions and, before the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed in 2015, he and his group contributed ideas that influenced the Malaysian Government in their national recommendations towards formulating the global SDGs.
Dr Batchelor is pleased by PM Morrison’s commitment to net-zero by 2050, but considers this to be the first step in transitioning our economy to being one that is truly sustainable. He envisions Australians becoming more active stewards of nature, and for humanity to come together as one big human family to protect those most vulnerable to climate change. He wants to see Australians reduce wasteful consumption, and follow a moderate path of balance, contemplation, and contentment. In particular, there are several specific actions to be taken in achieving these goals; disincentivising large new houses and waste generation, encouraging reuse of goods, a star-system for advertisements which rate products based on environmental and social wellbeing, reduction of red meat consumption and government policy to assist climate refugees.
This last point is particularly important for the federal government to consider as Australia has many island neighbors who will experience the impact of rising sea levels from climate change. As a nation we are experiencing the impacts of climate change right now, but we have the opportunity to deliver climate justice collaboratively with our regional friends. Protecting the environment enhances the wealth and security of all life on Earth, which is a key consideration within Islamic teachings.
“Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of people have earned so [God] may let them taste the fruit of their misdeeds that perhaps they may return [to righteousness]."
- The Qur’an, Ar-Rum, The Romans, 30:41
As Australians, let us make a sacred affirmation and recognition together, to recognise our collective responsibility to care for our Mother Earth so that our future generations are not robbed or deprived of their rightful inheritance which is our responsibility to pass on to them, these same entitlements and benefits that our ancestors passed on to us for our benefit and enjoyment.”
Uncle Ray is an advocate of climate and social justice, dedicating his life to supporting the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal people. He is an active Executive Member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation Australia (IPO), which is a national coalition of 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations, community organisations and individuals who advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples.
The IPO draws on United Nations mechanisms and instruments, such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to assert the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights within Australia. Ray is also Director of Bunji Consultancies, providing strategic analysis, advice and services to improve achievement of environmental and organisational developmental goals.
The IPOs scope of work has increased substantially over the last few years. Uncle Ray has noticed a growing need to focus on the interplay between climate change and mental health, with burnout becoming an issue within the advocacy space. Australians have been confronted with the increasing severity of climate change in recent years, with the 2019-2020 bushfires and then the floods in Queensland. The IPO has been looking for ways to help everyday people rebuild their resiliency and improve their mental health, so that we can all become more engaged and ready to tackle climate change.
As it stands, I don't think that anyone is apathetic to climate change, but there are barriers to engagement that are causing burnout and serious mental health challenges.”
Uncle Ray believes that local climate action within communities, supported by strong national policies and investments, will help people feel more interconnected, hopeful and prepared to adapt to a changing climate. He believes that a cohesive national strategy must also include political system reform and a deeper appreciation and integration of Indigenous cultures, so that we can forge a better, climate-safe future.
Uncle Ray sees that Australia has the unique advantage of being able to support several renewable industries. All governments must see the development of these industries as a top priority, so that we can replace fossil fuel industries and support local jobs. He sees a future for Australians that is supported by strong renewable industries, which will afford us long-term economic and energy security and will ensure that local manufacturing thrives in Australia. Uncle Ray also sees the need for national mitigation and adaptation planning that aligns with State and Local Government policy.
We need Treaties to establish strong Indigenous Australian voices in parliament, and part of this must include an honest and open discussion with all Australians about climate change.”
By acknowledging the impacts of climate change on native species, and our lands and waters, Uncle Ray believes we can better understand the stakes and work towards a common goal of protecting what remains. In discussion with the Pastor, it became apparent that he believes we have many opportunities ahead of us to protect our local cherished places by helping climate action to resonate with everyday people. Climate change, land and water rights are deeply interconnected, and the IPO seeks to elevate this understanding onto the political agenda.
Last year saw the resounding success of the IPOs Heal Country Heal Climate report, which outlined priorities for climate and the environment, developed to inform the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and climate and environment priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Uncle Ray attended COP26 alongside two other representatives of the IPO, Dr Virginia Marshal and Tishiko King. The group’s involvement with COP26 helped to drive home the need for the Australian Government to recognise Indigenous Australians’ right to self-determination, and how climate change, land and water rights are all interlinked. Delivering climate justice must include justice for Indigenous peoples.
Uncle Ray encourages more Indigenous Australians to become active in addressing climate change by connecting to local environmental groups and communities such as Better Futures Australia.
Father Peter Moore's vision is for people of faith to come together and share their understanding of creation and the environment and how their faith values it. He is Chair of Angligreen, Anglican Church Southern Queensland, Deputy Chair of Queensland Churches Environmental Network and is on the Management Committee for the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.
Read more about Peter and Angligreen below.
Can you tell us more about Angligreen?
Angligreen is a committee of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland that supports its parishes and agencies in:
- fulfilling the fourth mark of mission of the Diocese, “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the Earth”;
- responding to and complying with the Protection of the Environment Canon 2007; and
- partnerships with other Diocesan, Anglican, Ecumenical, Interfaith and secular bodies working for their protection of the environment.
Why is Angligreen taking climate action?
The world wide Anglican Communion has defined five characteristics or marks which define what it means to be a Christian. One of those marks is “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the Earth.” The Anglican Church of Australia passed a Canon in 2007 calling on the church to reduce its footprint on the planet. Angligreen is part of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland's response. We believe we are called to care for creation and not exploit it. We work to reduce the damage we are causing and to advocate on behalf of creation.
Can you tell us about your commitments to climate action?
We are behind the Sacred Earth, Sacred People Project calling for:
- 100% renewable energy for all: Sustainable, affordable power for everyone - especially the 800 million people without access to electricity
- Global finance aligned with compassionate values: Increased financing - in COVID recovery and beyond - for renewable energy and sustainable food systems
- Jobs and healthcare for all: A just transition for workers, migrants, and communities impacted by climate change and the energy transition through healthcare, job training and placement, and other necessary support
- Respect Indigenous rights: A strong defence for the legal rights of Indigenous communities and environmental protectors
- Welcome for migrants: Generous hospitality and opportunities for climate and environmental refugees to migrate and establish new homes
- No more climate pollution: Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in wealthy countries by 2030; accelerated finance/technology transfers for global net zero before 2050
- End the planet’s desecration: No new fossil fuel exploration or infrastructure, industrial agriculture, or deforestation; no more habitat or biodiversity loss
- Eliminate immoral finance: No further financing or COVID bailouts for all fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, or deforestation
- Just contributions from wealthy countries: Leadership by wealthy countries in climate financing and technology transfer, in recognition of these countries’ colonialist and environmental debt
- Bold faith community leadership: Sustained, united action guided by the teachings of our diverse religions, ushering in an equitable, peaceful life for all
Is there a project you are working on that you are excited about?
I work together with other Christian groups in Queensland through Queensland Churches Environmental Network and Australian Religious Response to Climate Change as well as others to educate, encourage and advocate for an urgent response to the Climate Crisis. Australian Religious Response to Climate Change is a foundation member of GreenFaith International, and through Sacred People, Sacred Earth we are seeking faith leaders and individuals to sign onto these targets and placing 10 targets before they are presented to before national leaders to act in their preparation for COP26 in November 2021.
What real-world opportunities have you uncovered from taking climate action today?
The recent bushfires, drought and floods in Australia have highlighted the crisis. Covid-19 has taught that if science is accepted and followed, solutions can be found and progress achieved. Money is available for recovery when a crisis is accepted. The world is changing and we can help direct the change. Australia is lagging.
What climate action would you like to see Australia take?
Commit to our 10 targets listed above.