Close to 300 people joined the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change Living the Change events last weekend and committed to further steps for a safer climate. You could join this new faith-inspired movement. In Melbourne, those concerned with climate change met at Melbourne’s Multicultural Hub. Religions for Peace Australia was a sponsor for this event.
The world has barely had time to take in the recent IPCC Special Report, which warned that the entire future of civilisation is in jeopardy if we do not address the climate crisis we are in. At this very moment, the poorest in the world are being decimated by storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels and food insecurity; yet all this will get far worse if we do not limit global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The forecast is dire, yet like the Hebrew prophets of old, there are people in our midst calling for hope and action “for everything is possible with God.”
Some of these people came together across Australia in October for a week of ‘Living the Change’ events to encourage personal and collective transformation to address Climate Change. These were people of various faith traditions who gathered to focus not on the problems, but on what can be done about them. They drew from their religious and spiritual traditions to harvest the wisdom and values that will drive this change from the inside out. For example, Monica Weightman, a Murri woman, played songs of justice and shared Aboriginal wisdom for protecting and regenerating the land. Fr John Dupuche challenged participants to find contentment in the inner world rather than needing to consume, travel and possess. Other people of faith including Buddhist and Muslim leaders spoke about their personal commitments to a more sustainable lifestyle, including vegetarian or vegan food consumption and putting up solar panels. Small groups used role plays to demonstrate the climate threat that they were going to address. Participants learned that with small changes, such as reducing meat consumption and long-haul flights, big savings can be made to greenhouse gas emissions. From this base they saw the need to reach out in education, awareness-raising and political action.
This gathering was more than a talkfest or rally; it created the conversations and actions that are becoming the new normal: climate justice driven by faith values. More than that, it motivated and inspired by way of celebration. Change can be positive and much easier when struggles and achievements are shared with others. The ritual of blessing on the delicious vegan afternoon tea brought together the source of all life and the bounteous gifts that we have been given. As the Muslim leader shared, in order to be good custodians of God’s masterpiece of creation, we must live our values and take concrete changes now.
For more information on Living the Change: https://livingthechange.net/
Check out your commitment to Climate Change: https://livingthechange.net/commitment-tool/
For more information on emissions that can be avoided by small lifestyle changes: https://www.arrcc.org.au/sample_pledges_and_avoided_emissions