Candlelight Vigil at Parliament: Faith groups join together to pray for the planet

Members from Perth’s Muslim, Buddhist, Bahá’í, Catholic and other Christian communities gathered last night to pray and meditate for a safe climate future.

The group, from the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, believe that WA has an important role to play in reducing Australia’s impact on the climate.

Sheikh Muhammad Agherdien said that, “climate change is not just a political, economic or scientific issue but is also a moral and spiritual one. We are connected to people around the world through our faith communities so we know that people are already suffering the impacts of climate change. We must all do our part to reduce pollution for the sake of all people.”

Boon Tan, President of the Buddhist Council of Western Australia commented on how encouraging it was to see people from different backgrounds and beliefs come together for the sake of the climate. He said, “The earth is our common home, and a safe climate sustains all of life. It is important to pause and consider how we in Western Australia can act to extend loving-kindness to all people and creatures through our Government’s policies.”

The WA Government is understood to be in the final stages of preparing its State Climate Policy and so the group decided to come together to pause, pray and meditate for a safe climate future.

Sr Margaret Spain from the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions said that, “WA has done such a wonderful job in addressing the challenge of COVID-19 – it shows just how much we care for each other and the vulnerable in our community. Our hope is that the same dedication and compassion can be directed towards the challenge of reducing our emissions in WA.”

Uniting Church Minister Rev Gordon Scantlebury, said that, “Worryingly, WA’s emissions having been going up over recent years, largely due to expanding fossil gas projects. We therefore feel compelled as people of faith and as Western Australians to act and pray that WA does its fair share to bring those emissions down.”

The group are hoping the WA Government’s new State Climate Policy will reflect the opportunities available for new jobs in clean energy and manufacturing, while also setting science-based targets to reduce emissions and align with the Paris Agreement.

A letter, calling for the development of a thorough transition plan to create jobs and reduce WA’s emissions instead of opening new fossil gas developments, was endorsed by the group and passed on to Members of Parliament.

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