The People’s Climate Assembly presented a united front to our Government as it sat for the first time in 2020, calling for action to address the climate emergency. The people of Australia will no longer accept complacency and denial of the truth.
On the first sitting day of Parliament, I was very pleased to help lead an interfaith ceremony of mourning organised by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC). I was joined by representatives of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faith traditions. The hundreds present testified to the reality that our many faiths share one planet.
The response of many to the ceremony of mourning and the gratitude expressed by many was a simple demonstration of one area in which the church can make an important contribution as together we face the crisis of Climate Change. I also believe this crisis is larger than any one group and philosophy and thus was happy to be working in cooperation with people of other faiths and no faith.
Later in the day thousands completely encircled parliament house with the “Red Angels” from Extinction Rebellion in the lead followed by Rod Bower and myself representing faith leaders in the community standing for action of Climate Change.
For me the calling to be active in caring for our planet and all that goes together to make up our ecosystem is part of our vocation as followers of Jesus.
The Christian faith has much to offer the ongoing work of ecological action and I believe the church should be amongst the leaders sharing in this action.
The People’s Climate Assembly continued for the rest of the week and is hopefully the first in an ongoing series of action showing that the Australian people want positive action concerning Climate Change now!
Following the event, I ran into Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church, who had attended the opening of parliament service and the expressions of mourning and sympathy passed in parliament for those who perished in the bushfires. The challenge remains to move from sympathy to rapid, long term action to address climate change and make future firestorms less likely.
Rev Dr Paul Chalson (in the blue stole in the top image)
(this article is slightly edited from the original contribution)
See also an article in Insights