Why Sunshine Coast church groups fear climate change
CONCERN for the welfare of future generations and protection of the environment were the principal concerns that drove more than 1000 people of faith on the Sunshine Coast to sign a petition calling on the Federal Government to do more to address the looming impact of climate change.
The petition signed by 1053 people has been presented to Fisher MP Andrew Wallace calling for stronger action on greenhouse gas emissions and for Australia to increase its assistance to vulnerable nations already struggling to respond to the impacts of climate change.
It drew together the Caloundra Catholic Community Social Justice Network, the Caloundra Uniting Church Social Justice Group and the Anglican Church.
Bob Cullen of the Caloundra Catholic Community Social Justice Network said he had been inspired to launch the petition by the 2015 "On Care for Our Common Home" letter from Pope Francis.
"The Pope said that climate change represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity today," Mr Cullen said.
Mr Cullen joined Mrs Wendy Lowry of the Caloundra Uniting Church Dr Ray Barraclough of the Anglican Church to present the petition to Mr Wallace.
"When I met two people from islands to the north of Australia and heard their poignant descriptions of losing their homelands because of sea level rise caused by climate change, I realised the need for action," Mr Cullen said.
"Rising sea levels have seen communities lose sources of clean drinking water to flooding and salinity. In the worst cases, communities have been forced to abandon their homes and to watch their family graves being washed away."
Dr Ray Barraclough, who has taught students from Kiribati and Tuvalu, has seen families forced to leave their ancestral homes.
Mrs Wendy Lowry expressed her deep concern about the legacy being left for future generations.
"I have 12 grandchildren and am concerned about the pollution that we are leaving for their generation," she said.
Mr Cullen said the meeting with the Fisher MP ended with the prayer Mr Wallace had concluded his Maiden Speech to the House of Representatives: 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference'.
The Fisher petition was part of a Community Climate Petitions campaign raised simultaneously in almost 100 federal electorates across Australia.
It was driven by a diversity of faiths including Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Brahma Kumaris.
It was supported by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, Caritas Australia, Catholic Earthcare, Common Grace, Edmund Rice Centre, Pacific Calling Partnership, TEAR Australia and the Uniting Church in Australia.