Faith and environmental groups spearhead global climate 'mobilisation'

Faith groups march in over 850 cities worldwide demanding action

PHOTO: Greenfaith

By Chris Shearer

September 11 2018 

Tens of thousands of people have called on governments, businesses and households to take ‘bold action’ to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate goals during protest actions held in 95 countries over the weekend.

The Rise for Climate mobilisation campaign saw events taking place in over 850 cities across the globe, with thousands of people representing many faith-based groups.

Events in Australia were among the first of the weekend, with the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change sailing a three-masted ship sporting “Rise for Climate” banners on its sails across Sydney Harbour. Australian events were also held in Cairns, Hobart, Darwin and Adelaide.

Credit: Steven Saphore

ARRCC President Thea Ormerod said faith communities around the world were becoming increasingly visible in the climate movement.

“We’re witnessing to the need to make our love real and active,” she told TMA. “I’m talking about our love for the world, humans and Creation itself. All of Creation is good, and deserves our care.”

President of the Multifaith Association of South Australia, Philippa Rowland, said the events were “a sign of the times”.

“People of faith will stand shoulder to shoulder with Indigenous elders, teachers, students and people of all walks of life calling for real action on climate and clean energy,” she said.

Among many demands, the Rise for Climate campaign called for:

  • Divestment from fossil fuels and commitment towards no new fossil fuel projects
  • Investment in 100% renewables
  • Electric transportation
  • An end to tropical deforestation and persecution of forest’s indigenous peoples
  • Jobs in a green economy
  • Personal lifestyle changes

The Revd Fletcher Harper, executive director of Greenfaith, the interfaith environmental group that led the international mobilisation of faith groups for the Rise campaign, said an “a la carte approach” to tackling climate change wouldn’t be sufficient to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.

“The Earth is a sacred gift. The climate is dangerously out of balance. Governments, businesses, all of us – we have to wake up and make serious changes,” he said.

Greenfaith said faith communities were now turning their attention towards a multi-faith service at San Francisco’s Grace Episcopal Cathedral on 12 September to mark the opening of the Global Climate Action Summit.

The service will be live-streamed globally at 9am 13 September AEST, and feature messages from the Dalai Lama and Eastern Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Bartholomew. It will also call on people of faith to adopt the Living for Change campaign, which encourages sustainable lifestyles through personal behaviour changes around transportation, energy use and diet.


For more information on Living the Change, please visit:

Sign up for the live stream here: