Community Climate PetitionJenifer Byrne

Students at Brisbane’s Brigidine College with the Community Climate Petition. PICTURE: Jenifer Byrne

Christians from various denominations are among those from faith communities around Australia who have been collecting signatures for a petition - expected to be the largest of its kind - calling for stronger action on climate change. 

Tens of thousands have already signed the 'Community Climate Petition' which has so far been seen in almost 100 different federal electorates and is hoped will reach all 150 in the country. It is already understood to be the largest multi-electorate climate-related petition the country has ever seen.

It calls on political leaders to support deeper and more urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, for a faster transition to a clean energy economy, and for better support for our poorest neighbours who are already grappling with the impacts of climate change. Signatures are being collected up until 7th August after which they'll be presented to local MPs who will be asked to personally present the petition to Federal Parliament.

As well as representatives of Christian churches, those collecting signatures have included people from Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and other faith backgrounds.

Thea Ormerod, president of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, said that as people of faith, they are "calling on our politicians to take stronger action on climate to protect our future and that of our children and grandchildren".

The petition is being supported by a coalition of faith-based organisations which, as well as the ARRCC, include Caritas Australia, Catholic Earthcare, Common Grace, the Edmund Rice Centre, Pacific Calling Partnership, TEAR Australia and the Uniting Church in Australia.

Zhi Yan, campaigns coordinator at Caritas Australia - Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, said climate change is "one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time". "The world's poor are bearing the brunt of climate change despite having done the least to cause it."

People interested in joining the Community Climate Petition and collecting signatures can contact Susan Duric at Caritas via [email protected] or visit www.caritas.org.au/climate-petition.