environmental as anything
Today I participated in the People’s Blockade Of The World’s Biggest Coal Port in Newcastle (New South Wales, Australia). Here’s something the organisation that organised and ran it (Rising Tide Australia) had to say;
Now, more than ever, we need to be turning up the heat on the coal industry, and their friends in government. The export coal industry is Australia’s single biggest, and fastest growing contribution to the global climate crisis.
Newcastle, already the world’s biggest coal port, is opening a major new coal export terminal over the course of this year, bringing the export capacity of the Hunter Valley coal chain to an incredible 178 million tonnes of coal per annum. That’s the climate change equivalent of 30 Bayswater Power Stations. Within ten years, the coal corporations plan on exporting more than 300 million tonnes of coal per annum – a tripling of current export capacity.
Tripling coal exports means tripling coal mining. As Newcastle coal exports boom, more precious bushland will be razed, more waterways polluted, more communities ripped apart as the transnational coal companies carve their way westwards into the Liverpool Plains. The profits will be exported, but the devastation will stay here in the Hunter. The catastrophic effects of climate change will hurt all around the world.
This madness has to stop. The climate crisis is deepening, and time is fast running out. Politicians are failing to take action against the rampant coal companies, so we have to do it ourselves.
We had a great day paddling canoes around Newcastle Harbour in protest. But I was disappointed.
Not about the amount of people (there were quite a few!)…
Not about the effectiveness of the protest (it stopped shipping traffic for the day and spread awareness of climate change and the planned expansion of the coal port)…
No, I wasn’t disappointed with anything like that. I was disappointed at the lack of Christian involvement. Indeed most Christians I spoke to laughed off the event, as if it was some quaint exercise that was beside the point of the “gospel”. On the other hand I met some of the most beautiful people at this protest, who deeply cared for our earth, and whose lives reflected respect and love for God’s creation more than any Christian I have ever met.
And this was a huge challenge… and so should it be!
This is not a condescending rant, as if to say, “I got involved and you didn’t!” No… this is just some musing about why most Christians couldn’t care less about the workmanship of the God they claim to worship. After all, God created the earth, and then put us in charge of caring for it – shouldn’t Christians be most committed to ensuring not only its care, but its survival?!
This is especially true, given that climate change is most affecting the world’s poor, even though they are least responsible for it (for example, the monsoon in many countries is becoming shorter but more intense and less predictable, leading to failed crops and lost livelihoods. This is one example of how our CO2 emissions are destroying the lives of the poor overseas).
Are our lives worth more than theirs? Should our lives have to change in order to ensure their survival and betterment? How do I answer such questions in light of Jesus’ statements about the poor and our responsibility to look after them? How can Christians just freely and knowingly ignore such commands of Jesus as if he “didn’t really mean it”?
This is not meant to be a guilt trip, but merely me asking questions and getting my thoughts off my chest (and secretly hoping they might change someone’s mind and actions). One thing I think about is how so many Christians get caught up in arguments about creation that are beside the point of the Genesis narrative, but when you bring up one of the major points of the creation story in Genesis, namely humans being created to care for the earth, those same Christians lose interest (or sometimes worse).
It is way too easy to debate about peripheral issues in the biblical narrative and neglect (often willfully) some central ones that will actually require us to act, change and advocate for the helpless. Our responsibility as the image of God to care for his creation is central to the biblical story (it’s the stated reason for why we were created); should we start acting like it?
Posted on March 28, 2010, in Ecology/Environment, Mission, Theology and tagged Blockade, Climate Change, Creation, Environment, Environmentalism, Genesis, Newcastle Coal Port, Protest. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.