Sustainable September is a month-long Uniting Church WA awareness campaign dedicated to promoting sustainable living for your wellbeing and the world we live in. This edition, Elsa Samuel picks five ways to help you live your best sustainable life.
UnitingWorld is the Uniting Church in Australia’s agency for working with people in Asia, Africa and the Pacific as they build lives free of poverty, and share the good news of Christ. UnitingWorld believe the two can’t be separated; they keep this work connected through ecumenical partnerships with churches in their communities, caring for people regardless of religion, politics or other boundaries.
Cath Taylor, from UnitingWorld, shares with Revive how this overseas community services agency is making big change from small change.
Australian Aid Funding
Right now, UnitingWorld is combining donations with Australian Aid Funding to give your gift up to six times the impact for people freeing themselves from poverty. In recognition of both the generosity of Uniting Church donors and the success of UnitingWorld projects, the Australian Government has made special funding available to select programs. UnitingWorld must first raise $1 for every $5 available in Australian Aid Funding.
UnitingWorld doesn’t believe in charity – we believe in solidarity. We do everything in partnership with others who are committed to building on their strengths, long-term. This means there’s no expectation of a ‘hand out’ and everyone we work with is striving to make the most of their opportunities. This is the mindset that truly yields big change.
Investing long term
Our approach is to invest long-term in people: providing them with business training and solutions to poverty that give practical tools to take control of life. We help people start their own small businesses like breeding livestock, growing vegetables, selling second-hand clothes and repairing furniture or mobile phones. Once the loans we provide are paid back, they’re used again to kick-start someone else’s future.
Wise use of resources
We don’t waste money building things communities can’t use, handing out items that will need to be resupplied again and again, or using staff from Australia when local people can do the job themselves. We listen to and respect our partners because we’ve known them for years and have good relationships with them – they tell us what they need to make changes, and we get them the resources.
We’re accredited with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) through the Australian Government and we pay a decent wage to our administration staff, rather than relying on the goodwill of volunteers. This may sound boring, but it actually means that not only are we using the best ideas to get things done, you can also be sure that the money you give is accounted for, our staff are well-trained and properly recompensed, our partners have sound business practices and no resources are wasted.
To give an end-of-financial-year donation to UnitingWorld call 1800 998 122 or visit www.unitingworld.org.au/freedom
Rev Dr John Squires and Rev Elizabeth Raine were the keynote speakers at this year’s Summer Spirit, held at All Saints Floreat Uniting Church in February. They led guests through discussions around ‘new ways of being church.’ Reminding us that “change only takes place at the edge of chaos,” John and Elizabeth shared with ‘Revive’ ways in which local congregations can refresh and energise their church.
The Western Australian State Election will be held on Saturday 11 March. Here, ‘Revive’ shares some
of our hot topics for the Uniting Church WA at this election.
Keep an eye out for election resources from the Social Justice Unit of the Uniting Church WA. For more
info call Geoff on 9260 9800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Climate change and renewable energy
The Uniting Church WA believes that God’s creation, the Earth itself and all the life it supports, is precious
and that the Earth’s resources exist for the good of all. It is calling for strong action to tackle greenhouse gas
pollution in WA, by moving towards renewable energy, improving transport and urban design, food security
and a process to help workers move away from coal and other destructive industries. The Uniting Church
WA is a recent signatory to the Renew WA Climate Consensus Statement. Follow them on Facebook to find
out more at ‘renewWA.’
The destruction of bushland for the Roe 8 project has been a big concern for the Uniting Church WA and the
Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, which not only is harming the Beeliar wetlands and the
wildlife it supports, but is destroying land which has been sacred to WA’s Indigenous people for thousands
of years. Revive has previously reported on this issue, and to find out more visit www.rethinkthelink.com.au.
‘Fracking’ is a process of pumping fluid at high pressure into rock formations underground to help release
gas which is trapped in the rocks. It is a big issue for WA, as there are gas deposits all over the state,
including in the Kimberley, the South West and the Mid-West, with exploration licences also covering parts
of the Gascoyne region and inland from the Ningaloo coast.
Concerns surrounding fracking include health, water safety and availability, greenhouse gas emissions and
damage to the environment. Ask your candidates this election if they will support a legal framework that
enables landholders and traditional owners to refuse access to their land for gas exploration or production.
3. Uranium mining
The Uniting Church WA recognises there are complex issues surrounding uranium mining, but is calling
on individuals, churches, industry and government to work together to end involvement in the nuclear fuel
cycle. The current State Government has recently given approval to several mines, including the Yeerlirrie
proposal, despite it being rejected by the Environmental Protection Authority. Concerns are held about the
possibility of the uranium mined in WA contributing to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. There are also
potential health hazards in transporting radioactive material, and the process uses a large amount of water
– a precious resource in WA. Ask your candidates what will happen to the nuclear waste that began as
uranium in WA deposits.
4. Social Reinvestment
Through its involvement with Social Reinvestment WA, the Uniting Church WA has called for changes
to WA’s criminal justice system. A popular mantra around election time for both major parties is that WA
needs to be ‘tough on crime’ and that this will somehow keep our communities safer. The Uniting Church
WA, however, calls for a smarter, more holistic and preventative approach including an end to mandatory
sentencing, addressing prison overcrowding and reforms to the processing of women, people with
disabilities, mental illness and drug related problems who enter the criminal justice system. Read Revive’s
feature article here, or visit www.socialreinvestmentwa.org.au for more information.
- Western Australian Circus Festival, 27–29 January 2017, Karridale
Run by Lunar Circus in Karridale, the Circus Festival is a celebration of fun. It’s suitable for the whole family with a dedicated kids’ big top with workshops all day, loads of great food, market stalls and Australia’s longest highwire walk. This is a camping festival, so it’s great for a short holiday and it will be a riot of fun.
- Perth Writers Festival Family Day, Sunday 26 February 2017, University of Western Australia (UWA)
Family Day is one of the highlights of the Perth Writers Festival and 2017 will be no exception. With 2017 being the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Harry Potter books, festival goers are invited to dress up as their favourite Harry Potter character to enjoy the day and take part in Hogwarts themed activities. The best part is, that much of it is free!
- Scripture Union WA Summer Camps, various locations throughout summer
Scripture Union WA (SUWA) hold a number of summer camps encompassing a range of outdoor activities. This year there are camps featuring sailing, stand-up paddling, snorkelling and loads more activities to make good use of WA’s perfect summer weather. These camps fill-up quickly, so check out the website for more information.
- Sandcastle competition, all summer, any beach or sandy spot
There’s nothing wrong with a little competition. Get together with some family friends, pool all your sandcastle building resources and head for the sand! You can get passers-by to vote on the best castle for some unbiased judging, or don’t judge at all and just have some fun.
- Boorna Waanginy: The trees speak, PIAF 2017, Festival Opening – Friday 10–Sunday 12 February, Kings Park
A highlight of the summer festival season in Perth, the Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) Opening is always spectacular, so mark it in your diary for 2017. The 2017 opening, Boornay Waanginy: The trees speak, will be a three-night extravaganza of light, sound and imagery transforming Kings Park over the opening weekend. It will be a walk-through event running continuously from 8.00am–10.30pm each night. And it’s free!
- Bushwalking, anywhere
Western Australia is blessed with an abundance of incredible bushland filled with incredible wildlife and summer is a great time to get out and explore. The great thing about bushwalking is that it is a completely customisable activity, there are some great resources around to help you find a walk that is suitable for your ability and the ability of your fellow trekkers, even if they are brand new to trekking. Just remember to stay safe and let a friend know where you’re going before heading off on your great trek.