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For believers, by believers.

ENI-Australia's religious communities have united to call for urgent action on climate change at a time when the country is facing its worst drought.

Common Belief: Australia's Faith Communities on Climate Change, spans religious differences, and includes Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Evangelical traditions. Judaism, Islam and Aboriginal spirituality are also represented.

The privately-funded Climate Institute approached Australia's religious communities and they responded enthusiastically. "For most of us, the fate of the planet as a result of global warming is really a moral issue," Climate Institute CEO, Corin Millais said. "Here, for believers by believers, is the beginning of a dialogue."

For many of the churches the statement was an opportunity to reexamine the relationship between human beings and the earth. Historically, the creation story in Genesis has been used to justify environmental exploitation. Patrick Dodson, speaking for aboriginal people, wrote that Western society "tended to see nature as something that must be managed for its maximum capital exploitation, an asset of power and dominance."

Rev. George Browning, the Bishop of Canberra wrote: "Wilfully causing environmental degradation is a sin."

Several churches advocated the model of Christian stewardship saying, "As God's stewards we bear an ethical responsibility for the care of the Earth and the welfare of all living things."

Yet, not all religious leaders have embraced this project. In a speech earlier this year, Catholic archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, said that "pagan emptiness" motivated "hysteric and extreme claims" about global warming.

"There's a great level of enthusiasm out there in the faith community," said a spokesperson for the institute.
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Title Annotation:world news in brief
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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