19 December 2012
Dear Member of Parliament
As a Bishop of the Anglican Church, I understand some of the difficulties and challenges of leadership within a diverse community. This is why the church prays for our elected leaders on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time listening to parishioners. I hear in intimate detail about the things that these people cherish and what they fear.
Many parishioners, especially younger people, are deeply concerned about climate change. These people are often extremely well informed, keeping abreast of the most recent reports from the Climate Commission and other government agencies and what they learn alarms them.
In my experience, many parishioners hope their elected representatives will act in ways that make the climate safe for them and their children. They also care about their natural environment, the places that they love, and they genuinely fear that climate change will harm those places.
This applies with particular relevance to the Rural Church and those whose livelihood depends on agriculture. It is in order to represent these fears as best I can that I have become involved with the WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable, a coalition of civil society organisations – churches, such as the Anglican Church, along with unions, environmental groups, and other advocacy bodies. Joined by common concern about climate change, we have agreed on a set of overarching principles that we believe should inform that policy making of the State government in the coming years.
These principles are attached and it is my hope you will pay close attention to them and allow them to inform policy in this area.
On behalf of the Civil Society Climate Roundtable, I wish to emphasize one particular issue. I am aware that the view is held by some that climate change is an issue for Canberra. I disagree. I believe that climate change is a grave moral issue and it all caring people should to do their utmost to mitigate the damage that it will wreak on our communities and on the environment. Robust, carefully formulated climate policies must lie at the heart of any responsible Government’s political platform – i.e., the triple bottom line.
I notice that such policies are not integral to your party’s platform. This is deeply disappointing to me and the constituency I represent. It is my hope that the Climate Roundtable can help contribute to stimulating a culture of active debate and genuine progress on climate change policy both with regards to reducing WA’s greenhouse gas footprint, and in preparing our State for the worst of the future changes which are already locked into our climate system.
With my sincere hope of continuing this discussion, I enclose the WA Civil Society’s Joint Statement of Principles.
The Right Reverend Tom Wilmot, Assistant Bishop of Perth
Chair, Anglican EcoCare Commission
Member of Anglican Church of Australia General Synod Environment Working Group
Primate’s Appointee to the Anglican Communion Environment Network