Sunday’s AFR editorial (‘Carbon concern is not moral’, 5 July 2015) claims that churches have abandoned pastoral care, sacraments and care of the poor because we are divesting from fossil fuels. It’s wonderful to see that our divestment programs and the attendance of Uniting Church members and groups at climate change rallies have been noticed. Mainstream Christian churches hold a diversity of opinion about many things, but not about the value of the earth as the good creation of God and God’s priority for those who are poor. These matters are intimately connected and deeply moral. Our brothers and sisters in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change on their livelihoods. They are asking us to act for their sake. In divesting from polluting industries, the churches are acknowledging our own complicity and encouraging countries like Australia to take our fair share of responsibility for the mess that we are now in. If you are a subsistence farmer in Bangladesh no longer able to grow your crops because of the effects of climate change, cheap energy will not be of much use. Of course, should the world embrace clean and renewable energy, the two have a chance at not being mutually exclusive. And even as we divest, we are still managing to serve the sacraments, share the word of God and care for each other.
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