Climate change is impacting the future of religion

climate change

In a world where climate change is impacting many, religious leaders say it’s a moral problem they have a stake in.

It’s not just a problem for the science community.

Religious leaders are concerned. They’re asking what religion’s future might look like in a world with a vastly changing climate.

Some think it could mean climate change action will soon be at the forefront of religious practice.

Perhaps it will.

Prominent faith leaders from different religions and denominations are getting together to take action.

Multi-faith response

A multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) unites religious communities for climate justice.

Climate change is such an “overwhelming and massive” issue that its impact on religion is inevitable says Tejopala Rawls, an ARRCC leader.

An ordained Buddhist, Rawls says the concept of universal love and kindness within Buddhism motivates him to push for a more sustainable future.

“There’s … the idea of the Bodhisattva [who is] the being who works for the benefit of all. That’s probably the biggest motivator for me.

“I think all Buddhists [and] all religions attempt to help people in some way.”

He’s prioritising climate change action. He’s passionate about it and will do a lot in its name.

As an example, he and several other faith leaders were arrested at the site of mining company Adani’s proposed coal mine in Central Queensland.

He and his fellow protesters wanted the mine to halt production because of their concerns about impacts to the local ecosystem. They continued to protest, even after the Police ordered them to move on.

Corporate notice

Although the media didn’t take any notice, Adani did.

Adani officials met with Rawls and the other religious leaders, trying to persuade them they were “good, responsible corporate citizens, and we should back off” Rawls says.

He doesn’t know if the meeting had any impact on the Adani officials. The Adani mine construction officially began in 2020. Production is “powering ahead”.

But Rawls is pleased his group caught the company’s attention and that its officials felt “they needed to talk to us”.

Political and corporate advocacy

These days, the ARRCC’s focus is on political and corporate advocacy.

“[Taking action] is so urgent now. Anyone who reads the science would be able to tell you that” Rawls says.

The ARRCC wants politicians to take more action and is challenging companies – like banks – to stop investing in coal.

Multi-faith events

Last year, the ARRCC organised several multi-faith events to press the Australian government to make a greater commitment to climate change.

The group wrote to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, calling for new coal gas projects to stop.

The letter was signed by 100 First Nations and religious leaders.

“It was pretty much a who’s who of Australian religious leaders all saying to the prime minister you really need to lift your game on this,” Rawls says.

In the run-up to last year’s federal election, the ARRCC targeted MPs in marginal electorates, urging urged them to embrace meaningful climate change policies.

“It’s very clear that faith communities really care about this. They all want much stronger action on climate change,” Rawls says.


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News category: World.

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