People of Faith Blockade Work on Adani Rail Line

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November 21st: A multi-faith group of six peaceful protestors are blocking work on the rail line from Abbot Point to the Galilee Basin to protest Adani’s proposed mega-coal mine.  The protestors are all members of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), a multi-faith organization that works with diverse faith communities to tackle global warming.

Among the protestors are a Uniting Church Minister, the Reverend Alex Sangster, and a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, Tejopala Rawls. Other participants are from the Catholic and Quaker traditions.

ARRCC President, Thea Ormerod said “Stopping Adani’s mega-coal mine from being built is a moral issue. People around the world are already losing their lives and livelihoods, and species are going extinct because of the damage we are doing to the earth’s climate. Today we call on people of all faiths to join us in taking a stand for those already being impacted by climate change, for future generations and for the Great Barrier Reef.”

Ms Ormerod said her organisation had decided to engage in civil resistance because other avenues were not working. “For ten years, ARRCC has drawn this issue to the attention of elected representatives and business leaders. We have done everything we could within the law to prompt our leaders to take action to move Australia away from dependency on coal, oil and gas.

“Non-violence is at the heart of all the major faiths. We will continue to use all legal options open to us to convince our leaders to act for climate justice. However, where necessary, people of faith must not shy away from civil resistance.

Reverend Alex Sangster, a Uniting Church Ministerparticipating in the protest, said, “Adani wants to dig the biggest coal mine in Australian history. Pollution from the mine will dwarf the emissions of whole countries such as Bangladesh and Malaysia, and the rail link would allow the development of other mines in the Galilee Basin, with all that added devastation. As people of faith we cannot stand by and be silent. We will resist the defeatism of easy despair and we will put our bodies on the line for our vulnerable earth. This mine will not go ahead.”

Tejopala Rawls, an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, also participating in the protest, said, “Australia’s leaders remain in denial about both the science and the moral implications of actively promoting new coal mines. At a time when the only decent thing to do is to take urgent action to curb carbon emissions, mining companies are given protection by governments and our legal system, at the expense of Aboriginal land rights, groundwater, ecosystems, the health of local populations and farmlands”.

Ms Ormerod said, “When you weigh up the dire planetary consequences of a less-than-robust response against the ethical foundations espoused by our various faith traditions, the only possible conclusion is that we must step up the urgency of our calls for action.

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Media spokepersons at action
Thea Ormerod (ARRCC President), Rev. Alex Sangster, Tejopala Rawls 0405 293 466 or 0400 740 000