Momentum is building for the People’s Climate March gatherings happening throughout Australia over the weekend of 27 to 29 November. This is the weekend just prior to the UN meetings on climate change which will take place in Paris.
Our climate is changing. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, September received about one -third of its normal rainfall this year. This weather pattern has extended into October, creating concerns about an intense bushfire season this year.
In 2006, the Uniting Church declared climate change a serious threat to the future of life on earth. In the years since, most national and state councils of the Church have divested from corporations engaging in fossil fuel extraction. The Justice and International Mission unit has also been campaigning to stop the proposed coal mine that would destroy a large part of the Great Barrier Reef. We are marching because we want a just transition to 100 per cent clean energy and an end to fossil fuels.
Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan encouraged all Church members who are able to join in the march.
“I’m delighted that our Church is getting behind this important global campaign,” he said.
“Uniting Church members will join others marching to express our concern for the whole creation. This is also for us an important action we take in solidarity with our Pacific and other international partner churches.”
The Uniting Church has been working with leaders of other faiths in joining the response. April Robinson is the interfaith network developer with the synod’s Commission for Mission. She said the issue is not monopolised by one particular community or faith.
“No matter what is happening in the socio-political sphere, the earth holds each and every one of us,” Ms Robinson said.
“In the words of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn ‘people say walking on water is a miracle, but to me, walking peacefully on earth is the real miracle’. Peace is more than the absence of war, it is how we treat this sacred land.”
In Victoria, faith groups will meet at on 27 November at 5pm outside Wesley Uniting Church in Lonsdale St, Melbourne for a short ‘farewell to coal’. They will then join the march at 5.30 at the State Library.
In Tasmania, people will gather on Sunday 29 November, 1pm, Parliament Lawns, Hobart.