This is happening now. This has been happening for a while now.
We are continuously seeing the effects of the climate crisis. I have personally seen its destruction on my home Islands of Fiji. High tides getting higher, the sea continues to rise to levels that weren’t expected when my people built the sea walls and infrastructure on the islands. Fiji has been hit by record breaking cyclones, leading to tens of thousands of Fijians homeless and 40% of the population affected by the storms.
Our neighbouring islands in the Pacific face similar issues with rising sea levels and natural disasters, some are even in states of emergency. Ask any Pacific Islander and they will have a story about how climate change is immediately affecting them or their family.
We see effects of climate change here too, in our own backyard. From the heat waves in western Sydney, to the intense bushfires that last for months, to weeks of heavy rain and flooding. There are stories from the iTaukei, the Indigenous peoples of these lands, on the changes of the landscape that they have cared for thousands of years.
So the question is, how are we responding to this catastrophe?
On May 21 our young people led the most recent climate strike rally, demanding the Government to stop giving away billions of dollars to expensive gas projects on stolen land and start investing in renewable energy and First Nations Solutions.
Young people from the Uniting Church also led a service prior to the rally at Pitt St Uniting, recognising the importance of being in the presence of God through worshipping together before leading us into the streets of Sydney to continue to fight for our future and the future of the lands that we live on.
As Christians, it is not enough to just sing praises of God’s creations like in the Psalms. It is not enough to just listen to the word of God inside the four walls of a building. Let us follow the example our young people have shown us and go into the world to proclaim the gospel and bear witness as Christians that we are stewards of ALL of God’s creation.
In the wise words of Manitela ‘Della’ Tali Let us ACT ON CLIMATE now. LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND.
Ofa Foiakau is the Field Officer (Central/West), and Youth/High School ministry leader as a part of the PULSE team.