Climate of urgency

Alex Sangster

Alex Sangster blocking construction of the Adani rail link

With drought in the eastern states of Australia, record heatwaves across Europe and Asia and bushfires ravaging Greece and California, attention has shifted once again to the impact of global warming.

This year’s Uniting Earth national e-conference – held on 23 September – focuses on the theme ‘Hope in Action’ as ministers and activists explore community responses to climate change.

The conference is organised by Uniting Earth, a ministry of the NSW/ACT synod, and will feature speakers from across the church along with grassroots environmental campaigners.

In a break from previous years, all video presentations will be published online beforehand, with the conference itself serving as an opportunity to directly interact with the presenters.

One of the speakers this year is Fairfield Uniting Church minister Rev Alex Sangster.

In her video, Ms Sangster speaks about the use of nonviolent direct action (NVDA) to advocate for stronger climate action.

“For me, NVDA is part of the heart of the story of our faith and I think Jesus was engaged in NVDA pretty much from the beginning,” Ms Sangster said.

“I think it’s very important that Christians are visibly seen. Jesus was a sign, a visible act and the sacraments are visible acts of God’s love.

“We live in an era where everything is about the image, so we can subvert that and use that.”

Last year, Ms Sangster engaged in civil obedience to protest against the proposed Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.

She joined activists and leaders from other religious organisations to block construction of the Adani rail link to the Carmichael mine.

“One of my favourite activists is 92 and he’s a Second World War veteran. He goes to action with his son, who is 70 and is his carer,” she said.

“He is legally blind but he was there at Adani and is an absolute inspiration.”    

Other e-conference presenters include Australian Religious Response to Climate Change President Thea Ormerod, Queensland UCA minister Rev Andrew Gunton and church leaders involved in the Maules Creek coal mine blockade in north-western NSW.

Visit to view the video presentations. 

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