Earth Hour: What is the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change?

The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) is a movement that encourages regular people of faith to step up and make a difference.

At the ARRCC, the past year has been the busiest yet as we work to promote ethical, environmentally sustainable, healthy and contented lifestyles. ARRCC aims to support people of faith to be at the forefront of climate action in Australia.

Our responsibility

ARRCC’s mission is twofold: to promote ethical, environmentally sustainable, healthy and contented lifestyles which respect the Earth’s precious natural resources, and to advocate, from a faith perspective, for public policies which contribute to climate justice.

ARRCC strongly believes that climate change is a profoundly moral issue: the earth is of intrinsic value and we have a duty to protect it.

Furthermore, we have a responsibility to care for the ecosystems on which life depend - both here in Australia and overseas - particularly to help people in developing countries who are bearing the negative impacts of climate change earliest and hardest, future generations, and other species with which we share the Earth.

Here in Australia, one of our most important responsibilities is to protect the Great Barrier Reef and to safeguard this natural wonder for coming generations.

What can we do as individuals?

As individuals we can contribute by reducing and changing our consumption habits, in such a way that we focus on those aspects of life that really matter: relationships, a sense of purpose, and connectedness with the natural environment.

However, to be effective, a communal as well as individual response is required. Societal structures that promote unsustainable consumption need to be regulated. Economies need to be redirected away from the pursuit of unlimited economic “growth” and towards new understandings of prosperity.

ARRCC achievements

Support for our work continues to grow. ARRCC is proud of our network of supporters and over 140 formal members, including 35 faith-based organisations.

Ride to Worship Week: In 2010 ARRCC launched the inaugural Ride to Worship Week – an Australia-first faith-based sustainable transport campaign. Hundreds of people from faith communities across Australia answered the call to leave their cars at home and cycle, walk, share a lift or catch public transport to their religious activities.

Meat Free Day: To help reduce the environmental damage caused by animal farming, people in faith communities are being encouraged to reduce the meat in their diet.

Participation in the fossil fuel divestment movement: The concept of moving investments out of coal, oil and gas extraction and infrastructure has captured the imagination of people of faith, both in Australia and internationally.

With partner organisations and Catholic Earthcare, ARRCC has strongly encouraged individuals and faith-based organisations to move their money out of institutions that continue to invest in fossil fuels.

ARRCC members across the country have been key drivers of fossil fuel divestment decisions by faith-based organisations including the Jewish Moetzah, certain Anglican Dioceses, Uniting Church Synods, Religious Orders and Quaker communities. This campaign is fast-growing, and is perceived as so threatening to the fossil fuel lobby that they are fighting back.

Rewarding excellence: ARRCC believes in showcasing excellence and highlighting best practice in faith communities. In 2010, we presented 15 faith groups with awards for their environmentally sustainable practices. We continue to showcase such achievements – so that others can learn from them.

Can you help?

ARRCC is a membership-based organisation, which means they rely on you for support and funds.

Right now ARRCC have just over 20 people who support our work on a regular basis. If we are able to attract another 25 new monthly donors it will be a lot easier for us to plan into the future and increase our impact.

We believe that through love and faithful action we can change the world.

Earth Hour

Australia is home to some of the world’s most iconic and breathtaking natural landscapes and wildlife. But just like many of the natural wonders across of blue-green planet, we are facing unprecedented threats to our biodiversity due to climate change.

That’s why millions of people in over 180 countries will be switching off their lights this Saturday night for Earth Hour, as a symbolic gesture to show to the need for stronger climate action.

Join us in observing Earth Hour this Saturday, 24 March and show your support for the planet we call home. From 8.30pm AEDT, switch your lights and electronic devices off for one hour to play your part in protecting our beautiful planet.