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For those who have not heard, a diverse range of faith communities around the world are awakening to a fresh opportunity to help create a safer climate future. The initiative, called “Living the Change: faithful choices for a flourishing world”, is seeking to challenge people of faith to live more simply, in line with the long-held spiritual traditions.

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Believers are being inspired to make specific commitments around reducing energy consumption, meat consumption and air and road transport. Add up all the savings from each of our individual commitments, and together with thousands of others around the world, we will collectively make a huge difference.

The good news is that the online facility through which people can make lifestyle commitments is now ready! It can be found here.

No doubt many of us have already been reducing our carbon footprints, but some of the suggested lifestyle changes may be surprising. Readers may also be interested to see the avoided emissions calculated for various suggested actions for the Australian context.

This opportunity represents the beginning of a movement. First, to demonstrate that sustainable behaviour change is a way for faith communities to put their belief systems into action on an individual level. Also, and perhaps with greater urgency, this movement is designed to demonstrate that change in key human behaviours - at scale and alongside ambitious policies - is indispensable to avoiding devastating levels of climate change while we work to create a flourishing future for our shared planet.

Some still wonder why the climate is a concern for people of faith. In answer, Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins, President of the National Council of Churches in Australia, describes it as “a number one issue.” Personally, he felt compelled to act after “the simple reality of being a grandparent and holding a grandchild and wondering what kind of planet that child will be able to grow up in.”

A Jewish leader regarding care for the environment, Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, said, “Human beings have a responsibility to look after God’s Creation, to look after God’s world, … to make it better, to heal it where it’s broken. That guides me in all that I do.”

Buddhist Philippa Rowland is the President of the Multi-Faith Association of South Australia and an advocate for climate justice. She said, “Perhaps we could return to a simpler life so that others may simply live, as Gandhi said.”

It has long been the world’s spiritual traditions which have held up the value of living simply, gratitude for life’s blessings and seeking happiness in relationships rather than material comforts and possessions. The campaign calls on believers to live out these traditional values and thereby create an alternative to the consumerist culture which drives the over-exploitation of the planet’s limited resources.

Leaders in faith communities are being asked to encourage people within these communities to make pledges, and to support them in sustaining these commitments over time.

Across Australia, individuals of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and a range of Christian traditions will be making pledges online. People are encouraged to be ambitious so that, when collective efforts are viewed as a whole, the emissions avoided will be significant. These various efforts will then be shared and celebrated at special events in October, to be held in the nation’s Capitals and some regional centres. Similar events will be held in hundreds of places internationally.

By the time of the next climate negotiations in Poland in December, organisers plan to present significant achievements in terms of avoided emissions.

Thea Ormerod, President of ARRCC said, “Australians have around the highest per capita emissions in the world. This is both a challenge and an opportunity, especially as we are surrounded by regional neighbours who are amongst the hardest hit by climate impacts. Sea level rise is already forcing relocations in the Pacific. Australian faith-based communities could take the lead in setting an ethical example and make a real difference.”

Living the Change was initiated by the US-based multi-faith organization, GreenFaith, and now has worldwide implementing partners from a range of faith traditions. In addition to ARRCC, they include the Bhumi Project (Hindu), Global Catholic Climate Movement, Global Muslim Climate Network, Hazon (Jewish), One Earth Sangha (Buddhist), World Council of Churches and the World Evangelical Alliance.

The commitment facility will also soon be available also on the website of the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).
Contact: Thea Ormerod | 0405 293 466 | chair@arrcc.org.au

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Living the Change is inviting you to participate in two upcoming workshops:

Living the Change

Date: Sunday 14 October 2018        Time: 2:30 to 5:15pm
Location: Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
For more information, click here

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Living the Change: faithful choices for a flourishing world

Date: Sunday 18 November 2018 Time: 2:30 - 3:50pm
Location: St Albans Community Centre - 309C Main Road East, Saint Albans, VIC 3021 (Meeting Room 1)
Free Registration. For more information, click here.  

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