The wider Uniting Church is joining youth climate leaders calling for action on climate change, and to build a better future
The Uniting Church in Australia has a long history of caring for creation. There is hope in our stories of putting faith into action, hope in our strategies to adapt, and hope in the mobilisation of large groups of people for political change and the building of strong communities. As Covid-19 and climate impacts have been disrupting the world, we have a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine and create a safer and better future.
School Strike 4 Climate is a movement led by school-aged students who are taking action for climate justice. In 2019, they led thousands-strong strikes and marches through major cities across Australia calling for bolder climate action. In 2020, they led numerous small-scale and online actions. Our Synod has formally supported the strikes and many Uniting Church members have joined in the actions.
Our young people, along with many climate scientists, energy experts and those in the general community, are deeply concerned at our Federal Government’s plan to spend millions of our taxpayer dollars on a gas-fired recovery, despite the evidence that:
- Gas, like coal, is a polluting fossil fuel that increases our greenhouse gas emissions and increases the risk of greater and more harmful climate change.
- Gas is more expensive than existing renewable energy sources and creates fewer jobs than renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
- Independent energy experts tell us that new supplies of gas are not required and/or won’t be viable as renewable energy becomes even cheaper and as our trading partners phase out of fossil fuels. The real risk is that new gas mines and power plants will become stranded (useless) assets.
School Strike 4 Climate is once again striking on May 21, appealing to the Australian government to “fund our future not gas”. They call for support for:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country.
- The creation of jobs that fast track solutions to the climate crisis and help communities recover.
- Projects that transition our economy and communities to 100% renewable energy by 2030, through expanded public ownership.
Hear our leaders
Check out our leaders from past climate strikes!
What is the problem? Why is there a day of action? What is our national energy use and why we need to accelerate the switch to renewable energy
Stories from Uniting Church leaders about their climate concerns and how action on climate change is part of the Uniting Church’s mission and faith
Rev Dr Chris Walker & Rev Alimoni Taumoepeau
How to get involved on the 25th! ;
Raul Sugunananthan & Shane Slade ( Christian Students Uniting), Miriam Pepper, Jon O’Brien ( Youth Action Task Group)
How to plan or join an action
How to engage your MP
Some public commitments for actions
Read the slides here: UC briefing_how to get involved 160920
Ways to get involved!
The last few years we have seen bush fires, the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and economic disruption. While the government has an opportunity to create jobs and reboot the economy by investing in clean affordable renewable energy projects, they are instead deciding to fund fossil fuels that will likely make matters worse.
Why do you care? What gives you hope? Whatever your faith journey and motivation, climate change intensifies our shared responsibility to use our words and actions to support solutions and inspire people around us. There are many ways to get involved
Get in touch ( [email protected]) if you have any questions, or want to talk about what the first step is for you
Attend an action happening near you!
Join in a May 21 event in person if there is one near you and ask others to join you. So far there are rallies planned in 15 cities and towns across the Synod.
The event organisers have made a special appeal for adult marshals, particularly for capital city events. You can help by going to YES, I’LL JOIN THE MARSHAL TEAM.
For those in Sydney, there is a pre-rally Uniting Church youth-led worship service at Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt St Sydney (10am for 10:15am start, then march to Town Hall for the rally starting at 12 noon).
Sign the School Strike 4 Climate Pledge!
Sign the School Strike 4 Climate pledge – as an individual, or more preferably a congregation or community group. These pledges will be taken by School Strike 4 Climate groups to meetings with local Members of Parliament, demonstrating widespread community opposition to public subsidies and taxpayer funding for gas.
Church Noticeboards and Banners!
Take a Photo and Share!
Take a photo and amplify your action by spreading the word through social media, #FundOurFutureNotGas #Uniting4Climate
Take a selfie of you or your group with your sign/banner and the message “Fund Our Future Not Gas”.
Please also share your photos with the Uniting Advocacy team at [email protected]
Help to spread the word about your action and concern by sharing your photo on social media. Some tips:
- Your default privacy settings might be such that only your friends can see your posts. If you would like other people beyond your friends to see your post, make sure you make the post public.
- Use the hashtags #FundOurFutureNotGas and #Uniting4Climate. People searching for posts associated with the strike will then be able to see your post, as long as you have made the post public.
- If you are posting a photo of a group, tag or mention others who appear in the photo (with their permission). You can mention someone by using the @ symbol and typing their name.
- Tag or mention others who you think might be interested in your post.
- Share your post to relevant social media pages, such as your church’s page.
- For help with the specific social media platform that you are using, visit the help pages provided by that platform.
Tell Your MP Why You Care!
Let your local Member of Parliament know that you are taking action and why you care
There are multiple ways to do this:
- Tag or mention your MP when you post on social media. Use the @ symbol and type the name of your MP’s social media account (search for this in your social media platform if you don’t know it). Your MP will then receive an alert.
- Ring your MP and tell them about why you support young people in their call for urgent climate action.
- Write a letter to your MP. Make sure you say why you are concerned about the issues. For help to write a letter, see this messaging guide and letter-writing tips from the Uniting Advocacy team. If you have a group photo or a photo of a sign or banner at your church supporting the strike, include that too.
There is a lot of information out there! Here are some good videos and places to get engaged and learn about emerging solutions
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions that guarantee land rights and care for country: https://www.insights.uca.org.au/young-people-call-on-the-australian-government-to-support-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-led-solutions-that-guarantee-land-rights-and-care-for-country/
ABC Four Corners “Fired Up”. Four Corners investigates what is driving the Federal Government’s push for a gas-fired future in the face of considerable scepticism, with many warning that the public is not fully informed about the cost of backing gas. https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/fired-up/13299104
Samantha Hepburn, “4 reasons why a gas-led economic recovery is a terrible, naïve idea”, August 25, 2020. https://theconversation.com/4-reasons-why-a-gas-led-economic-recovery-is-a-terrible-na-ve-idea-145009
Australia Institute report, “Weapons of gas destruction: Lifting the lid on greenhouse gas emissions from Australian fossil gas projects and resources”, September 2020. https://www.acf.org.au/weapons_of_gas_destruction
Beyond Zero Emissions ‘Million Jobs Plan’ is a great example of what a climate-smart recovery could look like. Listen to BZE’s Principle Researcher, Dr Dominique Hes (Bio here) on how the Million Jobs Plan aims to find and deliver one million new, good, secure, well-paying jobs, to help rebuild our economy after the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic and secure a strong future for all Australians. Dominique is joined by BZE Hunter region volunteer, Dr Natasha Deen speaking on how local communities are getting involved.
The Climate Council was founded in 2013 by tens of thousands of Australians to create a new, an independent and 100% community-funded organisation in response to the abolition of the Australian Climate Commission.. They get climate stories into the media, produce hard-hitting reports, call out misinformation as we see it and promote climate solutions such as the transition to renewables.
Based in Canberra, it conducts research on a broad range of economic, social, transparency and environmental issues in order to inform public debate and bring greater accountability to the democratic process;
- Climate and Energy program;
- Gas and coal watch
- National energy emissions audit
- Climate and Energy program;
The School Strike 4 Climate is talking about expanded public ownership- what is that?
Queensland is an example of a state whose electricity assets are still publicly owned, and dividends are have been used to fund access and affordability programs under an Affordable Energy plan, and subsidising household energy bills.
Recently, Queensland announced a $500 m renewable energy fund to build publicly owned wind and solar projects as a centrepiece of its post pandemic economic recovery plan.
The recovery funds are more referring to money being allocated to stimulate the economy due to impacts from Covid.
Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, recently suggested that while COVID-19 has had deep economic and health impacts, it could also be an opportune time to inject funds from global economic stimulus packages’ into the development and manufacturing of renewables, saying:
“Large-scale investment to boost the development, deployment and integration of clean energy technologies – such as solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries and carbon capture (CCUS) – should be a central part of governments’ plans because it will bring the twin benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy transitions. The progress this will achieve in transforming countries’ energy infrastructure won’t be temporary – it can make a lasting difference to our future.
A recent Price Waterhouse Cooper report looked at the impact COVID-19 on Australia’s renewables sector, and found the virus will impact manufacturing and delay the supply of equipment and materials used in the construction of solar energy facilities, along with short term price increases.
However some believe that Australia could use this time to rebuild and respond with a considered plan to create “jobs-rich economic benefits” – and it’s argued that investment in the renewables sector could provide some substantial inroads. The clean energy sector has argued that a pipeline of wind and solar projects could be brought forward.
Read about WWF’s work in how Australia can develop a renewable export industry