Faith communities around the world are being asked to ‘sound the alarm’ for the climate and call for climate justice as we try to get our economies going in the wake of COVID. The biggest ever global faith-based Day of Action for the Climate is planned for 11am (the ‘eleventh hour’) on March 11, with the theme ‘Sacred People, Sacred Earth‘. After the Day of Action, ‘Green Faith International’ will call for a “Year of Action” in the lead-up to COP26 which will be held in Glasgow in November 2021.
On March 11 at 11am, each place of worship, faith-based small group or household will choose its own way to do this (eg by ringing its bells as will happen at Pilgrim Uniting Church). Action Kit for churches here.
Thea Ormerod from ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) speaks about the Global Multi-Faith Day of Action.
A statement for ‘Sacred People, Sacred Earth’
We are united by a fundamental belief that all people, all living things, and the Earth are sacred. As we consider the state of the world today, our hearts overflow with concern. We are frightened and frustrated by the damage that COVID-19 is inflicting on our communities. The pandemic has revealed cruel injustices. The vulnerable suffer the most severe impacts. We know about this injustice. We have seen it before. These same communities are disproportionately and catastrophically affected by the accelerating climate emergency.
Grave threats are at our door as the world shelters in place. We see the rise of increasingly unaccountable or authoritarian governments, exploitive economies, and extremist cultural forces which pit us against each other, target women and oppressed communities, and foster doubt about the science required to save life on Earth. This is a world of widespread poverty, racial and gender injustice, massive income inequality, and the devastation of nature. This version of civilization is unsustainable at every level. Worse impacts lie ahead if we do not act now.
A far better future is possible if our collective response to the pandemic and the climate crisis is guided by compassion, love and justice at a scale that meets this moment. We must not only provide the relief that so many need to survive. We must create a new culture, politics and economy of life that heals people and planet.
We envision a world transformed, in which humanity in all its diversity has developed a shared reverence for life on Earth. Together, we are building resilient, caring communities and economies that meet everyone’s needs and protect the planet. The era of conquest, extraction, and exploitation has given way to cooperation and community. The good life is one of connectedness – with each other and all of nature. It is a world of flourishing life that replaces despair with joy, scarcity with shared abundance, and privilege with justly distributed power.
The work to create this future begins now.
In the months ahead, governments and financial institutions will spend massive sums in response to the pandemic. Governments will present climate commitments at COP26 in November 2021. These actions must not perpetuate an outdated economic system that relies on fossil fuels and the destruction of the very forests, waters, oceans and soils that make life possible. Instead they should accelerate renewable energy development; ensure universal access to clean water and air, affordable clean energy, and food grown with respect for the land; create jobs paying family-sustaining wages to workers in safe conditions. Wealthy countries must take responsibility for a larger share of emissions reductions to support a global just transition. We must also prepare ourselves to welcome those who will be displaced by COVID and climate change.
Compassion, love and justice require no less of us all.
Pilgrim Uniting Church is a member of ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change). ARRCC joins in the call for:
100% clean energy for all – especially the 800 million people in energy poverty
Global finance aligned with compassionate values – in COVID recovery and beyond – for renewable energy and sustainable food systems
Jobs and healthcare for all – necessary support for a just transition for workers and communities currently dependent on fossil fuel industries
Protection of Indigenous rights
Welcome for migrants who are compelled to find new homes because of climate impacts
No more climate pollution – net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in wealthy countries by 2030; accelerated finance/technology transfers for global net zero before 2050
An end to the planet’s desecration – No new fossil fuel exploration or infrastructure, industrial agriculture, or deforestation; no more habitat or biodiversity loss
Elimination of immoral finance – No further financing or COVID bailouts for all fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, or deforestation
Climate reparations from wealthy countries – wealthy countries should provide climate financing and technology transfer
Bold faith community leadership
Aligned with these demands, ARRCC is calling on the Morrison Government to:
* A formal commitment from Australia under the Paris Accord to achieving net zero emissions by 2030. It follows that Australia should offer Nationally
* Determined Contributions (NDC’s) that align with this goal.
* The use of post-COVID recovery spending to boost renewable energy and low carbon industries rather than fund a “gas-led recovery”.
* Provision of substantial amounts of finance for the UN Green Climate Fund, additional to the aid budget.
* Provision of support for an orderly, planned, just transition for communities currently dependent on the coal and gas industries.