Days away from the Climate strike, the event is taking unprecedented dimensions. People from every corner of the planet are now discussing the issue, and it has become a topic to explore from countless angles. We are now all witnesses of how global warming is affecting all continents, species and people regardless of where we are or our beliefs. It is now our responsibility to stand for creation:
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air and they will tell you, or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10
A report on the 2016 the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) showed that the majority of Australian churchgoers are concerned about the current state of the environment and want the government to act. In fact, they revealed very strong convictions about caring for the earth. Some 93% of churchgoers and 96% of leaders felt that they had a Christian responsibility to care for the environment. Over half of churchgoers and leaders agreed that care of the earth should be part of the mission of the Church. But attitudes towards the sacredness of nature, spiritual connection to land, along with exploitation of plants and animals yielded a range of views.
The Uniting Church in Australia, and the Synod of South Australia already have several initiatives in place to help care for the earth. But UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer's invitation to all Uniting Church members to show their support for the Climate Action is a call to action to lobby our government into taking a stand too. It is an expression of our commitment to address the devastation of our environment and our active participation towards God’s renewal and healing of all creation.
Dr Palmer's invitation stated: "This Earth is created by our good and generous Creator. We are connected to the Earth and are called to live with care and respect toward the whole Creation. In the Scriptures and in our present context we hear Christ’s call to participate in Christ’s renewal of the creation. Climate change, refugees, widening deserts, polluted oceans, endangered animals and vanishing forests are signs of the suffering of our planet, and a cry for us to take compassionate action as disciples of Christ. We are passionately committed to contributing our voice and action toward a world in which all people, creatures and the Earth can flourish. We call on our Australian Government to enact climate change policy that recognises our contribution to the crisis facing our planet, and acts to effectively address the crisis and contribute to the healing of God’s Earth."
Moderator of the South Australia Synod, Rev Sue Ellis, added her voice to the cause.
"In Fiji I heard and saw the suffering in the Pacific Islands due to the effects of Climate Change. I am committed to resisting greed and being part of the solution for Climate Change. I will be at the Adelaide Climate Strike on 20 September in Tarndaynyangga (Victoria) Square."
On Friday 20 September, we as the Uniting Church will be asking three things:
Policies which support 100% renewable energy generation by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050;
No new coal, oil or gas projects; and
Just transition and job creation for workers in industries impacted by climate change and climate change mitigation actions.
If you are planning to join the Climate Action in Adelaide, pleaseassemble in the forecourt of Pilgrim Uniting Church on Flinders street at 11:30am before moving to Victoria Square together. If possible, wear the colour red.
There are also other rallies organised throughout South Australia (for instance in Naracoorte, Port Lincoln and Clare). To find a rally near you, go to the SchoolStrike4Climate website.
If you are unable to join the Climate Action this Friday, there are other things you can do to show your support. Here are some ideas (as shared by UCA Assembly):
Meet with a group of your friends, colleagues or fellow students and take a photo of yourselves standing behind an appropriate sign or banner. Here is one suggestion. Share the photo with us.
Display a sign or banner in front of your Church expressing your commitment to act on Climate Change. It will be great encouragement to young people and others who see it. Use existing signboards or paint a message on an old sheet and display it. You can also print a template from our website and write your own message. Alternatively, you could print the UCA logo and For the Whole Creation sign here.
If your Church has a bell, one suggestion is to ring your bell at 12:00pm (the same time as the Climate Action event happening in South Australia). Alternatively, you might toll the bells 11 times at 11am – recognising the 11th hour or tipping point for our planet.
Contact young people you know who are going to a climate rally and let them know you support them in this action – phone, text, email or send a personal card.
Hold an environmentally themed service or liturgy. See some great ideas as part of the Season of Creation.
Write a letter to your local paper saying why you support these events and calling for more action by government
Adjust your lifestyle to reduce your own carbon emissions - choose from an idea listed here. Check how your lifestyle contributes to greenhouse gas emissions with the Australian Greenhouse Calculator (AGC).
Send a letter to your local Member of Parliament using ideas here.
Last week 200 Australian Christians and 15 Pacific church leaders held almost 100 face-to-face meetings in Parliament with the nation’s politicians, including senior government ministers, as a part of the Micah Australia Voices for Justice Conference.
Synod Standing Committee meeting updates are published to inform the wider Uniting Church SA community of the discussions, deliberations and decisions arising from each meeting of the Committee. This update refers to the recent December 2019 meeting.