Religious leaders unite on climate

THREE rabbis are among 16 diverse Australian religious leaders who have signed an open letter calling for bipartisan support of a ­carbon price.

The letter, which has been organised by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), also calls for the winding back of coal exports and for more investment in clean, renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We urge all Australians to give this moral issue the attention it demands,” it reads. “Our world is a blessing, a gift, and a responsibility. We must act now if we are to protect this sacred trust.”

Among the signatories are Emanuel Synagogue senior Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, Rabbinic Council of Progressive Rabbis chairperson Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky and The Great Synagogue senior Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence.

Speaking alongside other religious leaders at a press conference held at the Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney last Thursday, Rabbi Kamins said Australians needed to take responsibility for the impact we’re having on the planet.

“That means not only stopping coal exports, but also coal mining over a period of time, and retraining people in those fields for other jobs in renewable resources,” he said.

“This has to be a thought-out societal approach, but to pretend that the problems are too hard or can’t be dealt with now will mean that they can’t ever be dealt with.”

He said religious leaders had a responsibility in their teachings and sermons to raise awareness of the issue.

“I think there’s an incorrect notion throughout the world that religion and science are antithetical to each other,” he said.

“Whereas I think all our religions are very much knowledge-based and celebrating the ability of the intellect to grow towards God, from which it comes.

“And so I think we can be in the forefront in a common discourse with spiritual basis, telling people that actually, we should start listening to the teachings of science that are quite clear as to what we’re doing.”

The spokesperson for Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson, Jacqui Redmond, said that in the first six months since the carbon tax was implemented, 4300 megawatts of power had been saved.

“That was significant and I think we need to celebrate that we are capable of placing a limit on our carbon pollution,” she said.

Also present at the press conference were representatives from the Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faiths, the Uniting Church, Columban Missionaries and Franciscan Friars.

All of the leaders present explained how custodianship of the earth was enshrined in their teachings.

GARETH NARUNSKY

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins signs the letter.