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Australian Climate Institute asks faiths about climate change

December 14 2006:

Australia’s Climate Institute has sponsored a powerful new document giving faith groups in Australia a voice on climate change, and including statements from 16 different traditions urging greater responsibility for the environment.

“For most of us, the fate of the planet as a result of global warming is really a moral issue,” explains Climate Institute CEO, Corin Millais, in Common Belief, published on December 5. He acknowledges that the issue is usually dominated by the language of science, but states that it is now time to introduce the language of ethics.

“Here, for believers by believers, is the beginning of a dialogue on the morality of climate change,” he says.

“You brought me into this life as into an enchanted paradise. We have seen the sky, like a deep blue cup ringing with birds in the azure heights. We have listened to the soothing murmur of the forest and the sweet-sounding music of the waters. We have tasted fragrant fruit of fine flavour and sweet-scented honey. How pleasant is our stay with you on earth: it is a joy to be your guest.” Orthodox Christian Prayer


“If Christians believe in Jesus they must recognise that concern for climate change is not an optional extra but a core matter of faith,” writes Canberra’s Bishop George Browning. “We are privileged to live in a wonderful world. We can abuse that privilege or we can rise to the challenge climate change presents. The potential for success – or failure – is both stark and global.”


“Green is the colour of Islam,” pronounces the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, urging improvements in alternative technology, urban consolidation, recycling and the Government promoting “measures that emphasise quality of life rather than consumption.”


“Every technological civilisation faces two opposing dangers,” writes the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. “One is the hubris that says: we have godlike powers, therefore let us take the place of God. The other is the fear that says: in the name of God let us not use these godlike powers at all. Both are wrong. Each technological advance carries with it the possibility of diminishing or enhancing human dignity. What matters is how we use it. The way to use it is in covenant with God, honouring His image that is humankind.”


The document also includes a statement by Yawuru leader Patrick Dodson, writing on behalf of Australia’s Aboriginal people, and urging the creation of new songs, “to celebrate that which has been given to us”.

“We have the wealth created from our past misuse and we have the clear evidence that if we do not act promptly then the opportunity will have passed and the destruction of our land, our seas, our river systems and the very air that we breathe will be beyond rescue and the inheritance of our children will be a barren bequest.”


The 16 traditions represented in the book are: Aboriginal, Anglican, Australian Christian Lobby, Baha’I, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Evangelical, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Lutheran, Muslim, Salvation Army, Sikh, Uniting Church.

Link here to download the full document.

The Climate Institute (Australia) was set up a year ago with a $10 million grant from a philanthropic organisation, in the context of the disturbing piece of information that Australians are the worst greenhouse polluters per capita in the world.

Its mission is to develop and implement a five-year campaign to alert Australians to the seriousness of climate change and to the need for governments to take urgent action.

Link here to access the Climate Institute Australia website.

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