CC Member Philippa Rowland on the Great Barrier Reef and Climate Change

30 May 2017, 4:33 AM

Philippa Rowland, from Multifaith Association of South Australia Inc., gave a speech at the UN Chapel in New York in April 2016, concerning oceans and life underwater, when the First Interfaith Climate Statement was delivered to Mogens Lyketoft, UN Secretary General: 

"I pay my respects to Elders past and present and distinguished faith leaders and government representatives. 

“Australia is an ancient land, blessed with abundant renewable energy in sun, wind and sea. Yet we remain stuck on the horns of a dilemma - deeply vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but addicted to fossil fuels. 

"It’s deeply encouraging to see all faiths calling for urgent action on climate change, given clear signs from science & the environment itself.

“The current global coral bleaching event affecting our Great Barrier Reef is just one example of Australia’s vulnerability to global warming and the impacts are far worse for our Pacific neighbours.”

It is already over a decade since Australian Catholic Bishops released formal Pastoral Letters expressing concern about the need for action on the Great Barrier Reef and on Climate Change. 

I quote: “Not only is the Reef a precious ecosystem in itself, but also an integral part of the one web of planetary life that connects us all – the human species and all species of the land and sea, rainforest and reef, mountains, plains and inland desert.” 

All forms of life have a meaningful role and place in the world. Pope Francis calls humanity to an Integral Ecology in caring for our common home, like Theravadan Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn’s concept of “Interbeing”, understanding deeply the interconnectedness and sacredness of all beings. 

“May the combined wisdom and moral authority of our spiritual elders give us all the courage to transition to an equitable and sustainable low carbon economy."

“In reality, a safe climate is a common good that belongs to all generations and it is our generation that has the responsibility to act - for we are the last to have the ability to respond. The time to act is now.”

Read the interfaith statements on the COP 22 Interfaith Climate Statement webpage. Click the April 2016 tab for the New York event.

Philippa Rowland adds:

The interfaith individuals that pulled the 2016 statement together are continuing with the most wonderful things:

  • Ciara Shannon is working with the ShineInvest Campaign from London. "Shine: Investing in Energy Access for All is preparing for a formal launch in 2018. As we build out our strategies, next steps, and community of practice, early partners will continue to pledge their support to the global energy access effort."
  • Nana Firman has become a star of the Islamic Climate movement. She was the Muslim Outreach Coordinator with OurVoices, working on a Green Ramadan with Saffet Catovic and ISNA
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