Perth Faith groups join global demonstration for climate justice

Increasingly impatient that governments, corporations, and financial institutions have not addressed the climate crisis despite decades of warnings from scientists and mounting climate impacts, the Uniting Church WA joined with the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and diverse faith communities around the globe in a co-ordinated action today under the banner of Faiths 4 Climate.

Ann Zubrick, Presiding Clerk of Quakers Australia joined the Western Australian branch of ARRCC as they gathered outside the office of Federal Member of Parliament, the Hon Steve Irons. Supporters in Bunbury also gathered outside the office of the Federal Member for Forrest, Hon Nola Marino MP.

“We have already seen with fires and floods what happens when the science of climate change is not heeded,” she said.

“By contrast, we’ve seen during this pandemic that good outcomes are achieved when scientific advice is followed but, when governments do the wrong thing, it’s the poor who are hurt the most.

“Climate scientists are urging the strongest action possible to mitigate climate change, hence our call for much stronger action by 2030. Governments like Australia’s need to wake up out of their complacency.”

Geoffrey Bice, Social Justice Consultant for the Uniting Church WA and President of ARRCC WA said, “Western Australia needs to play its part in reducing emissions too. There have been some encouraging developments in renewable energy, but the State Government seems to avoid talking about emissions from the gas industry which is by far our biggest polluter.”

The action in Perth was part of a global series of events organized by the GreenFaith International Network, a global, multi-faith alliance.

In New York City, religious activists prayed in front of Army Corps of Engineers offices for an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure and blockaded the entrance to the headquarters of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager which routinely invests in oil, gas, and deforestation projects.

In London, iconic churches hung banners calling for generous commitments by developed countries to pay for ‘loss and damage’ suffered by countries whose emissions pale in comparison to the world’s largest nations. An interfaith group marched to the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street and presented demands and religious petitions, and then later projected these demands onto the Houses of Parliament.

In Jakarta, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, situated across the street from major government offices, unfurled a banner that said, “Destroying the planet is haram” – the Arabic term for “morally forbidden.” The Catholic cathedral across the street responded with a banner saying, “No more fossil fuels. Amen.”

Religious leaders in Sydney held a multi-faith prayer service outside the office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, unfurling a large banner that said, “Scott Morrison: Protect Creation – Bold Climate Action Before 2030 – Starting Now.”

The worldwide action gave voice to a set of demands developed by grassroots people of faith which surpassed those included in a statement issued by the Vatican and high-level religious leaders two weeks ago.

These demands include: an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects and tropical deforestation; universal access to renewable energy; policies creating green jobs and a just transition for impacted workers and communities; support for those forced to migrate due to climate impacts; and reparations from countries and industries responsible for the lion’s share of historic greenhouse gas emissions.

Over 200 high-level faith leaders and 100 religious groups representing more than 100 million members have signed onto these demands.

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