On the 7th of October, around 2,000 people gathered in Melbourne to spell out the words 'Stop Adani', seen from the air. This was a powerful and very well-organised event to be part of - the mathematics of getting us into formation was superb! The reason for the human sign was Gautam Adani's plan to build a giant coal mine in the Galilee Basin, Queensland. As well as the reasons in the 'Guarding the Galilee' film and the recent Four Corners report, we heard from speakers including an inspiring young Aboriginal man from Seed Mob and a woman from India. This latter speaker revealed the insidious links between Adani and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. We learned how close their connections are and how much Adani had funded Modi's election campaign, leading to the suffering of many lower-caste Indians who are not valued by Modi's government. After these speakers, we sang some songs and marched into formation for the drone to photo us from the sky.
Later in the day, I joined a large group of people gathered by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change at Federation Square. We held a protest about the same Adani mine plan, but in a different key. Holding candles we staged a multi-faith vigil, including readings, speakers, prayers, songs, times of silence and a funeral for coal. This group acknowledged the good that coal had done in our world but recognised that it is now ready to be buried. With the strength of each other and our religious traditions, it was a light of hope that a new sustainable and inclusive future is beginning.
ISMAPNG is in the early stages of rolling out a massive plan to transition away from fossil fuels through, among other things, the installation of solar panels on a number of its properties.
These photos are of one of the first solar installations of the rollout, and were taken at Lockyer Street, Adamstown, NSW. The installation went live on September 15 and ISMAPNG's Environmental Sustainability Project Manager and property team are working with the solar engineers to monitor the performance of the system and ensure that everything works as it should.
ISMAPNG's Environmental Sustainability Project Manager and property team, in partnership with BIG Procurement, are now working to identify the group of properties which will benefit from the next phase of the rollout.
For more information, email ISMAPNG's Environmental Sustainability Project Manager.
Yesterday in Parliament Adam Bandt, federal MP for Melbourne, formally tabled the community climate petition which many of the Sisters of Mercy, and Rahamim's local community, have supported by signing in recent months.
In tabling the petition, Mr Bandt said:
"I'm very proud to present to parliament a major petition from communities of faith supporting action on climate change and a just transition to renewable energy. Grassroots communities of faith around the country, including Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews have come together to recognise that climate change is disproportionately affecting poor and marginalised communities around the world and that has Australia has a special responsibility to act. The petition calls for stronger action to reduce our emissions, transition away from fossil fuels, move towards renewable energy, and support our poorest and most vulnerable neighbours as they face the increasing impacts of climate change. Twenty-five thousand people of faith around the country have signed, all on pen and paper, including 192 of my constituents in Melbourne. I would like to thank my constituents Yen Daly, Tom Allen, Jo Knight and Sister Elizabeth Young of the Sisters of Mercy who met with me in Melbourne to present the petition to me.
... What these leaders and these communities are saying is loud and clear: climate change is a justice issue, and people of faith are responding.
I'm not a person of religious faith, but all of us here must recognise deeply the values that have been expressed in this petition and in the actions of faith communities around the country: that we need to care for each other and that we should not abandon our sisters, brothers and neighbours to a crueller world and the suffering that will be an inevitable result of climate change if we don't act. The choices before us are stark: we can either work together to care for one another and protect a safe climate or abandon our neighbours, put up walls and make a crueller world. Because climate change is a question of justice, it can't be solved without justice at the forefront of our response. We won't stop climate change if we don't bring everyone along with us and support the most vulnerable communities, and there will be no justice for the vulnerable if we do not stop climate change.
This week the world saw a glimpse of what could be our future if we don't take action. We saw it in Houston, where Hurricane Harvey left so many devastated or stranded. We saw it in Bangladesh, where extreme rainfall has led to the worst flooding in decades and the deaths of thousands of people. My constituents and the faith leaders that I met yesterday cannot sit by quietly and allow this to happen, and I commend those faith leaders for their action. These are the values that reflect the faith of so many Australians and people around the world. I'm proud to share their message in parliament, and I support their call for a rapid and just transition to renewable energy and urgent climate action."
Readers may enjoy this video which features speakers from diverse faiths explaining why they have supported this petition.
The South Australian Mercies have been living their care for Earth through the following actions and activities since June 2017:
- With the Australian Conservation Foundation, Catholic EarthCare and the No Dump Alliance, we continue to campaign to stop the Australian Federal Liberal Government's Nuclear Waste Dump plan in SA. (The State plan was declared "dead" by the SA Premier Jay Weatherill on June 7, but the Federal plan is still on the agenda of the Australian Federal Government)
- Supported the call on Jay Weatherill to make Solar Thermal happen in Port Augusta.
- Viewed the film Guarding the Galilee and with Catholic EarthCare to lobby and campaign for Stop Adani.
- Have been encouraging the whole school community of Mercedes College to participate in prayers and actions for the Season of Creation:
- Pray the Prayer for Our Earth from Pope Francis
- Commit ourselves to reflection, acts of kindness and gratitude and deeds of advocacy during each of the 34 days of the Season of Creation from the Calendar created by the Mercy International Association.
- Copies of the Season of Creation calendar are displayed at the most noticeable place in each classroom, office, staffroom, canteen and library as a reminder for our commitments for this month.
- Resources on the Season of Creation from MIA were sent to all teaching staff to incorporate them into their RE learning and teaching programme.
- An article about the Season of Creation include a copy of the Prayer for Our Earth and the Season of Creation calendar were sent home to all families and were also posted on the school website for all to access.
One of the first priorities for ISMAPNG's new Environmental Sustainability Project Manager, Chris Hill, is to begin implementation of a major project involving the installation of solar panels on as many ISMAPNG properties as possible.
Any properties where solar panels may not be installed due to restrictions or structural building issues such as heritage rules, structural safety concerns, or poor roof alignment to the sun will still be included in an ISMAPNG-wide upgrade of all lighting to LED lighting.
You can learn more about the project here.