Caring for Creation

Raising ethical dimensions in debate on climate justice

Climate change is impacting human life and nature in severe ways. Yet it is the vulnerable who suffer most. As the life of such people is dependent on eco-systems for survival, churches join hands with other faith based organizations to support their cause, stressing an ethical aspect in the debate on climate change.

“Faith based organizations articulate concerns of the marginalized communities and bring their issues to mainstream forums. It is obligatory therefore to address climate change and its impact on human rights, as faith traditions signify care for the environment,” says Nafisa D’Souza, a climate justice advocate from India.

D’Souza was speaking at an event on climate change and human rights titled “Bridging the Gap: Faith and Ethics Perspectives” organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights, in collaboration with the German Human Rights Forum and United Evangelical Mission (VEM) on 20 September 2011 in Switzerland.

D’Souza is executive director for the Laya Resource Centre, working for climate justice, with focus on indigenous people in India.

“What we have taken from the earth has destroyed some parts of it. Ethical concern means that responsibility for creation is to be taken by all of us. In a polarized world where there is an imbalance of power, faith based groups are engaging in debate on development and its impact on climate justice,” D’Souza stated.

D’Souza remains optimistic about the role of faith organizations in promoting a “pro-people” stance in the debate on climate change. “Churches and faith based organizations can relate religious ideologies to a broader ethical perspective. Religions that see themselves as part of a global reality can support the most affected by climate change. The WCC is doing this by safeguarding the ethical aspect in a debate for climate justice,” says D’Souza.

These views were endorsed by Dr Guillermo Kerber, WCC programme executive on climate change. Speaking on behalf of the WCC and the Geneva Interfaith Forum, he says, “Churches and faith based organizations acknowledge the various dimensions of climate change. They are witnessing how climate change is affecting vulnerable communities on the ground, especially those who have a strong link to nature and those who are extremely dependent on the environment. Being aware that these populations have contributed less to climate change, it becomes evident that climate change has an ethical dimension.”

Diverse perspectives on climate change and human rights were shared by other panellists. Sophia Wirsching from Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World, Germany) especially focused on climate displaced people and their rights, while Theodor Rathgeber, from the German Human Rights Forum, assessed the present negotiations of climate change and human rights at the Human Rights Council. The moderator of the discussion was Valeriane Bernard from Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University and Geneva Interfaith Forum.

Presentations were followed by discussions, where Hendrik Garcia, from the Philippines diplomatic mission brought participants’ attention to a draft resolution on climate change and human rights that it has initiated along with Bangladesh mission. Panellists appreciated the effort, while stressing their expectation of a more ambitious position from the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

As churches and faith based organizations prepare for a stronger impact at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference COP 17 in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011, a “Call for Action” was signed urging “responsibilities of the States in the area of climate change, adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and funding” and “reaffirming the role of faith traditions to care for the environment and addressing climate change”.

WCC campaign for climate justice:
www.oikoumene.org/climatechange    Full text of the Call for Action

Sustainable September Resources

 

Follow the links:

2011 Sustainable September Bible Studies

2011 Sustainable September Worship

2011 Sustainable September Children’s Resources

2011 Sustainable September Introduction

 

Caring for our planet through sustainable gardening practices

Open 8am – 12 noon Saturdays

The only Certified Organic Market in Western Australia !

Perth  City  Farm  Organic Grower’s  Market

Organic & Biodynamic stall holders

 

Perth City Farm is proud to be in its 4th year of holding the Organic Growers
Market. We are unique to Perth and the whole of Western Australia as we are the
ONLY Market that has exclusively certified Organic &
Biodynamic stall holders. Our focus is to support local organic & biodynamic
growers by making their outstanding produce available to the Perth community –
in doing so, we are reducing our carbon footprint by lowering food miles and
supporting sustainable farming practices.

As well as our customers having the benefit of buying grower direct, Perth
City Farm provides an organic retail market stall to supplement what is not
available from our farmers. This is sourced from certified wholesalers of
Organic and Biodynamic produce for the convenience of  “one stop” shopping for
our customers.

Some things you will find at Perth City Farm:

  • Certified Organic & biodynamic Fresh Produce fruit & veges
  • Organic & biodynamic dairy products
  • Organic olive oil
  • Organic & biodynamic meats
  • Organic eggs
  • Certified Organic Personal Care, Healthcare Consultation and Baby products
  • Certified Organic bulk dry goods
  • A range of organic groceries, including baby care products, face & body
    creams
  • Environmentally sensitive household products, books & seeds & Gift
    ideas

So come and visit our market and our NEW Cafe.
Freshly Roasted Ruba Organic Coffee and Organic foods prepared daily.  Take a
stroll through the lovely permaculture gardens where you can check out our
aquaponics system, the nursery, the animals and art.

WHERE: 1 City Farm Place, East Perth (off Lime Street)

WHEN: 8 am  to  12 noon every Saturday inc public
holidays

CAFE:Mon to Fri  7am to 2pm      Sat  8am to 1pm

Climate Justice Round Table – Message from Bishop Tom

Bishop Tom Wilmott

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.

Yours sincerely

+Tom

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

Climate Justice Round Table Principles Document

 

2013 State election policy priorities of the

WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable

 

The WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable is a coalition of churches, unions, community groups, aid organisations, environmental groups, youth organisations and social service providers who support strengthened government action to address the causes and effects of climate change.

 Roundtable members recognise that climate change is already having a profound impact on Western Australian people, communities and the natural environment. These impacts are disproportionately felt by people living on low incomes, in regional areas, and in developing nations. Roundtable members also recognise that strong action to tackle carbon pollution in Western Australia can deliver significant benefits for communities, including increasing employment, improving transport, ensuring food security and reducing the cost of living.

 The Climate Change Roundtable notes that WA is per-capita the highest polluting state of the world’s highest polluting nation. Since 1990, WA’s gross carbon pollution has risen by 63%, and developments planned over the coming decade are anticipated to more than double emissions again.

The Roundtable supports a national price on carbon pollution. Members also recognise that State and Local Governments have an important responsibility in reducing carbon pollution through implementing policies that complement a carbon price, and in adapting to a changing climate.

Roundtable members are concerned that the WA Government’s response to climate change has been inadequate to date.

Current policies leave Western Australian communities vulnerable to climate impacts and fail to capitalise on significant opportunities to reduce carbon pollution and develop new clean industries in WA.   The WA Civil Society Climate Round Table calls on all political parties and candidates in Western Australia to commit to a strengthened response to the causes and impacts of climate change in Western Australia. In particular, the Roundtable has identified the following priority areas for policy reform in the next term of Government.

Energy production, supply and use

Roundtable members recognise that carbon pollution from energy production is the single greatest driver of climate change, globally and in Western Australia. Our state has abundant renewable energy resources including wind, wave, solar and geothermal energy, as well as significant innovation, technology and engineering expertise.  These opportunities could form a basis of a clean energy economy with significant sustainable employment opportunities in manufacturing, design and construction industries, especially in regional areas, and co-benefits to our health through reduced pollution.

Roundtable Members urge the State Government to adopt the following policy priorities in the energy sector:

1.      Develop a comprehensive strategy to maximise WA’s renewable energy potential.  This strategy should enable growth in energy consumption to be met through renewable energy generation and must maximise renewable use in government, households and industry; 

2.      Introduce an ambitious strategy to improve energy efficiency in households and the commercial sector to significantly increase economy-wide energy productivity in the state. This will include government, residential, business and industry level energy efficiency and demand-management programs, and a strategy to integrate distributed generation into Western Australia’s energy network;

 3.      Create an Independent Energy Advocacy Body representing residential and small business energy consumers, in order to develop and promote more socially and environmentally sustainable energy policies for Western Australia.

Transport and the built environment

Roundtable members recognise the important role that improved transportation and urban design can play in reducing carbon pollution growth, with transport of people, goods and services in WA accounting for 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

The Roundtable urges candidates and political parties to commit to the following measures that will both reduce carbon pollution and promote health, improved amenity and liveability of our urban environments: 

1.      A comprehensive, ambitious, and fully funded strategy to maximise access to public transport. This includes urban light rail, as well as high speed public transport  between major regional centres. New residential development must be transport-oriented, including concentration of urban growth and amenities around transport nodal areas and gradient of housing density and infrastructure around transport centres. The State Government should ensure that funding is set aside so that the Public Transport for Perth in 2031 plan is fully funded;

 2.      Introduce best-practice building and urban design codes for energy and water efficiency in new homes and urban developments, and to develop a comprehensive program to improve energy and water efficiency in existing homes, with an emphasis on providing assistance for low-income households;

 3.      Foster and promote active transport modes such as cycling and walking to reduce pollution and improve public health. This includes significant further development of the Perth Bicycle Network, as well as improving pedestrian access through enhanced urban design standards in commercial and residential areas;

 4.      Ensure that growth in freight transport is met by rail, and that Tier Three rail networks are retained through the next term of government.   

daptation and food security

Roundtable members recognise that Western Australia’s communities, environment and food security are highly vulnerable to climate change, and that the state is already experiencing some of the most significant impacts of a changing climate globally.  

Climate change threatens our unique natural environment including Southwest forests, pristine coastlines and marine ecosystems. A hotter, drier climate is already causing serious impacts on agricultural production and water supplies, while rising seas and greater incidence of bushfires and extreme weather events presents an increasing challenge to vulnerable communities. 

The WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable urges candidates and political parties to commit to developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to assist communities, businesses,agriculture, natural environments, and aboriginal communities to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. Roundtable Members urge the State Government to urgently adopt the following policy priorities with regards to climate adaptation and food security:

1.      Safeguard food security and rural communities by ensuring Western Australia’s agricultural sectors and fisheries are resilient in the face of drier and less predictable conditions and other anticipated climate change impacts. Such measures will support a transition to more sustainable food production systems while ensuring that Western Australians have access to local, affordable and nutritious food; 

2. Maximise opportunities, such as generating carbon credits, to enhance the naturalenvironment through tree planting, soil ecology, revegetation and avoided landclearing and disturbance;

3.      Enhance the health and resilience of natural ecosystems through strategic enlargement of existing national parks and conservation reserves; a system of wildlife corridors connecting intact natural ecosystems; reducing threatening processes such as land clearing and deforestation, and enhancing the state’s network of marine reserves; 

4        Work in partnership with Aboriginal people to enhance the resilience of communities and preserve cultural values, landscapes and knowledge in the face of a changing climate;

5.      Develop planning policies with appropriate coastal set-backs to preserve public open space and enhance the resilience of infrastructure and coastal environments to sea-level rise and extreme weather events;

6.      Ensure future water security for domestic use and food production by increasing water use efficiency, managing groundwater sustainably, and promoting water recycling for appropriate uses. 

WA Civil Society Climate Roundtable Members

Australian Youth Climate CoalitionAn

Anglican EcoCare Commission

Catholic Church Social Justice

The Climate Reality Project

Conservation Council of WA

Council of Churches Western Australia

Transition Town Guildford

Doctors for Environment Australia

Oxfam Australia

Sustainable Energy Now

Unions WA

Uniting Church Social Justice Board