- Climate Change and the Pacific Conference

Archbishop Peter Chong – From Fiji
    Growing up near the ocean means several things. The ocean is entertainment, fun and joy. The ocean is a food bank where you can collect sea food and provides economic support. The ocean makes up 70% of the Earth surface and produces 70% of the oxygen thus gives life for the earth. It is home to millions of living creatures.Scientists say that the ocean is essential for all life both in the ocean and on land.

    My grandfather built his house 50 metres from the seashore. About 40 years ago the house burnt down. He moved to higher ground. However, today all of the villagers houses have been moved to higher ground because of rising sea levels.

    Global temperature warming is killing large amounts of corals where many sea life depend.

    In the village on the west side of Fiji the ocean is both life and economy. But since Black Sand mining by an Australian companies have driven many crabs from their homes.

    The ocean is the spirituality of many native people. Their sea gods are in the ocean. This is a sacred place which we respect. The destruction of the oceans is the destruction of their sacred ground. There is a cry of Mother Earth. There is a totem in the sea, in the land and in the sky. They are connected. We need to respect all our totems.

    As we prepare for COP26 in November we need to listen to the voices of ocean people. Hopefully, these stories will awaken global people to change.

    We need to speak the voices of the victims. God is on the side of the victims.
Rev Mata Havea Hillau – Uniting Church
    I would like to acknowledged the elders of past, present and future.

    As a Pacific woman and a leader I wish to share my cry for action. I was born in Tongan. I grew up in Sydney. I was 8 years old when I was in a cyclone in 1982 and 2001. I felt a fear as a helpless child. We continue here to provide financial support here in Sydney for people in the Pacific Islands.

    Listen to the cry of the earth and a call to action. People in the Pacific will become environmental refugees. Many nations will disappear. We already see the confronting images such as in Kiribati where whole islands have already disappeared. Listen to the cry of the Earth as a cry to action.

    I am an ordained minister in the Uniting Church. The Uniting Church is for the will of the world that we will not destroy the world with actions. The Uniting Church has committed to the stewardship of the Earth. A theology of disaster resiliency – a resource for Pacific people but also for the world. How long must the Pacific people must be resilient?

    I am a Christian that I am. Jesus preached to the weakest. Jesus spoke up. The outcast. The marginalised. Jesus calls us to do likewise. Jesus speaks loudly for all people to act.

    We need to safeguard and protect the world in this present time. It is timely that we speak in this season of creation. We all have a responsibility to have a voice. Listen.

    This is an emergency. My school, my hospital and my island is disappearing from the earth. I feel so small in such a huge task. I am not an expert in climate action. But the IPCC clearly shows us we need to take action.

    My church committed to – first, to advocate all government to reduce pollution, second, as a church and third, for the indigenous people.

    My children’s children I want them to receive the earth in the best ways possible. Together we are stronger. We are one body with many parts. Nothing can separate us because climate change will affect all of us.
Rev James Bhagwan
    I would like to acknowledge the custodians. Gives peace to elders past present and future.

    Archbishop has said there is a deep connection between the land and the sea. This is a spiritual connection. This effects how we see and relate to each other.

    There is a cry of our people. There is a challenge which we face. There is a destruction of creation. We have placed ourselves on top. We have taken dominion and made it domination.

    We see this in the changes of the weather. The cyclone season now begins in September not in April. There is rising sea levels which causes salt. The Pacific countries bear the boot mark of the impact of those who have created the problems.

    This is about climate justice. We talk about refugees in the wars. These war will end eventually, but for climate change refugees, this is not so.

    The challenge for us in the Pacific is that there will be no right to return. When we talk about reduction in 1.5 degrees in warming. We are talking about those who have placed a death sentence on Island people.

    For the first time in history, you will see the disappearance of entire countries. The territory will disappear. The Island nations will lose their sovereignty.

    There is question of Exile. We see in Psalm 137 – by the rivers of Babylon. Some Pacific Islanders will come to Australia to pick fruit and work in a meat factory. But they are second class citizens in Australia. How will we move people with dignity.?

    We will soon bury their umbilical chord of our children.

    Western Governments are tiring their foreign aid with second and third world countries to their climate relief money. This is blood money. They are stealing from one to pay for the other.

    I have a warning to you. The Pacific are on the front line of climate change. But so are you! The droughts we experience you will experience. The plekton in the ocean which provides oxygen for all soon die. This is the oxygen we breath. This will affect you as well as us.

    Your Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) professes his Christian faith. Call your Prime Minister to live his faith. To care for the Earth and to care for the poor.
Bishop Vincent Long
    I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. The Darug people.

    The effects of climate change are everywhere to see.

    You may have chosen to live in the world of alternative facts, which disbelieve the science. But the Catholic Churches “Social Justice Statement” of 2021 calls us to “Listen to the Signs of the Times”.

    This is painful as there is a deep connection to land and country. The cry of the earth and the cry of the young.

    Young people want change. We cannot continue going on the way we have.Destroying rainforests. Consuming without end. Polluting.

    Australia has reneged the agreement of the Paris Accord of 2016.

    Australia’s Climate policy is now is the worst in the world. The current Prime Minister has refused to commit to a target. As a nation Australia cannot be a responsible global citizens. We continue to subsidise carbon polluting industries like Coal.

    Sir David Attenborough has said Australia has always pushed above his weight. Why are we not doing this now?

    As Australia moves to a post COVID world, we cannot ignore the Climate crisis. It is here and it is now.

    We need a new radical way of living. To be in communion with one another.

    We need to abandon the old paradigm of competition and consumption.

    We need a conversion of mind and heart which is a conversion of lifestyle.

    Australia is the largest exporter of coal.

    We cannot leave this to governments or big players.

    We need to live the spirit of poverty and simplicity.

    Australians need to build a collation that challenges the moral issue of our time.

    We need to amplifier the prophetic voice of Pope Francis.

    We need a new Laudatio Si generation.

    The Social Justice Statement says the first nations people are the first teachers. There is an ancient wisdom. They can teach us how to care for and be in deep connection with the land and the environment.

    The balance is at point of collapse.

    Laudatio Si shows a relational wholeness. There is an integrally connectedness.

    Pope Francis recognises the economic growth cannot be considered progress.We cannot pursue economic growth detached from environmental consequence.

    We need to take less from the earth.

    We need a new consciousness.

    We need to wake up.

Three areas of action
  • Campaign of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change to put banners on places of worship. Campaign Links: ARRCC banner campaign- Stand with Tosy campaign- no link yet (may not be one in time for tonight and that's fine)-

  • Sign the Laudato Si' petition: -

  • Edmund Rice Centre – Letter Writing Campaign – Tosy was grew up at Tarwaa in Kiribati. Tosy Tatau . Letter writing campaign please contact her.-

  • The Laudato Action Platform - For all sectors of churches - families, schools, universities, parishes, diocese, hospitals/health facilities, businesses and farms, religious and agencies

For more information click here......


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18 September 2021

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Social Justice

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Think Global

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Edmund Rice Centre

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