NEWS | Anne Lim
Monday 30 November 2015
Christians turned out in force to show their support of stronger action on climate change on Sunday ahead of the start of UN climate talks beginning in Paris on Monday.
In Sydney, thousands of Christians were among the crowd of more than 45,000 that thronged the Domain and marched to the Sydney Opera House as part of the People’s Climate March Australia.
Marches were also held in all capital cities and 20 regional centres. As well, more than 2000 events were held in more than 150 countries as part of the Global Climate March.
Dressed in purple to show they belonged to the “Many Faiths, Many Cultures” group – one of eight colourful blocs representing Sydney’s diverse community –Christians marched with Pacific Islanders to show their solidarity with people whose communities are already suffering from the devastating effects of climate change.
Primary teacher Nadia Morcom was unable to march because of a disability, but attended a worship service attended by Christians and Pacific Islanders from across the denominational spectrum at Pitt Street Uniting Church.
“I’m here because I’m concerned that this is perhaps one of the greatest injustices we’ve seen to people around the world,” said Ms Morcom, who attends a church at Macquarie University.
“As Christians we’re called to love our neighbours and if we can’t provide them with a safe home to live in, we’re not meeting their basic human needs.”
Ms Morcom said she hoped the scale of the marches would “galvanise the wider world to see that it is not just a green issue but an issue that matters to everyone and that political leaders might perceive that the average person cares about this.”
Simone Berry persuaded about 20 people from her church, Hills Alliance Church, to join her in marching for greater climate justice.
Ms Berry said she was moved to do more on the issue a couple of months ago after seeing a documentary about the founder of 350.org, which is building a global climate movement.
“I always knew about climate change but until then I didn’t realise understand it’s a terrifying problem and it’s an issue right now especially for our children’s generation,” she said.
“After seeing that documentary I was really moved to try and learn more and do my part and help out to try and make changes.
“I don’t want my kids to grow up and suddenly ask me why didn’t we do more to help out.”
Ms Berry, who marched with her two-year-old son Kit, said she was particularly concerned about the effects of climate change on agriculture.
“That’s going to be a huge issue with providing food for everyone,” she said. “The Pacific Islands are already experiencing it – they’re starting to lose these amazing ecosystems.
“As Christians we’re the stewards of God’s creation – all the species, all the ecosystems, everything is God’s world and we’re here to protect it and we’re doing a very bad job of it.
“We all need to come together and raise our voices and call out to protect what’s we’ve been blessed with.”
Holding a placard saying “Climate Action for God’s Creation”, nine-year-old Junmo Shin attended the march with his parents, who speak little English.
“It matters because if the climate changes homes get destroyed because the sea levels rise,” said Junmo, who also attends Hills Alliance Church.
Standing alone but waiting for her friends was Weis Schuiringer of the Quakers Society of Friends.
“It’s now or never,” she said when asked why she was marching. “And I think it’s really important that the faith traditions march together.
“Quakers don’t have a clear explanation of why we are on this earth – we don’t believe that the good Lord created the earth in six days, but we are full of awe and wonder about creation and that is something to hang on to and maintain.
“And we’ve nowhere else to go.”