Australia and New Zealand  response to the Global Change Consultation Group B

Query 1:

    mobility of world population – major refugee problem – 2 detention centres in Darwin for refugees
    God intended for the world to change but not for us to destroy the environment. Species become extinct and human lives becomes more difficult and cut off from the abundance intended for us. Environmental change is foremost concern.
    As urban development specialist, see the impact of above; rising sea levels impact our coasts affecting huge numbers of population. Concern about melting glaciers on Indian Ocean re water supply for 100s of millions of people. Sources of rain water and also glacier water. The receding glaciers affect water supply for huge part of sub-continent. Indonesia has lost its glaciers.
    Myanmar’s 3 seasons: summer -rainy – fall — global change means rainy isason is lost with effect on rice crops. No rain until July, too late to cultivate the plants, so lost food.
    6 years ago, arrived in Seoul in February and city was covered in smog, a great concern. Concern isn’t stopping me travelling to this conference, but am making small steps at home. Can’t do solar power at home so put money into windpower. Feel Australian carbon tax the wrong direction, need to put dollars into renewable energy reserves.
    Aspect we all need to take responsibility for is educating ourselves and our communities. As a citizen I have responsibility to hole government to account for global practice, to account and identify changes needing to be made.
    Economic and financial disparity is growing which we need to address. Australia has indigenous people living in 3rd world conditions.
Query 2

    transition to carbon zero organisation, reducing our carbon footprint to zero or less. Need to find likeminded people locally to work together.
    We’ve seen development of alternative energies. How much can this work large scale? China, taking responsibility for population control. Over population is a huge part of the problem.
    Currently working in primary school in a kitchen garden programme, taking primary children into the garden, learning how to plant, care and harvest and then how to preserve and cook it. As a gardener I can’t speak directly on global change but do encourage home grown or home prepared food. Will take back from here, how our actions can influence global change and their place in that process.
    Locally people use firewood rather than gas/electric so deforestation occurs. We realise but don’t know the alternatives. Need to know how to avoid cutting wood yet have fuel. I have hope!
    I am impressed with countries where population is coming down which is helped by education – one step towards hope.
    As Quaker communities we’re …we need UN level work on this. These issues are so great that it needs massive collective action.

Query 3
    Fell that we are getting a text message from God that we need to clean up our act asap or diabolical changes will occur. Or it is us to blame for our own predicament. Fee we need ‘to do the needful’, it is not Armageddon but an ‘inconvenient truth’.
    Often when we have a calamity we feel God has punished us – most likely it is because of things people did that made it worse. Need to look to what we think God’s intentions are to avoid such devastation.
    We write to governmental minister, we demonstrate but how else can we as church communities respond? I don’t know what more we can do or do differently.
    Last week a small meeting helped fund a pamphlet on peace to be circulated across our YM.

Query 4

    natural catastrophes that created the largest crater lake in the world and the whole planet went dark thousands were killed, the implications of natural phenomena, looking at the big picture, it can happen at any time! We don’t have to panic, though some may see it as Armageddon, but as Quakers we can blance knowledge with faith and conviction and be aware of patterns. What are man-made problems [e.g., Japan nuclear reactors] or what are just patterns of the planet.
    Don’t need to go back to ancient history, enough examples more recently. Stories of droughts, etc. I can only cope with the human story not he big headlines. Record these stories and who what is taking place.
    We went through cyclone Tracey and lost everything. I struggle to connect that experience to responding to the changes today.
    There is a t-shirt in Bali that says, ‘shit happens’!
    The story of Tillich the Frog – had to make him laugh to restore the water – need humour to get us through
    The ‘CNN effect’ is disempowering. We need to accept that shit does happen and get a life.
    ‘be prepared’ is on the back  of that t-shirt.
    I get inspiration today from those who have gone through catastrophic situations. New beginnings are very exciting; our place is to be there and foster what is good.
    Australians need to promote the message, need to look to the positive rather than dwell on the negative, inform ourselves who is leading the way in clean energy.

Query 5

It was heartening to hear [from a speaker at this Gathering] who was a presidential adviser to the peace process, at the same time both tragic and fantastic. That there are people actively working on a peace process [within the Philippines]. Each step towards compassion and peace makes a difference. Need to take baby steps to make elephant step. The first step is to cut the elephant into bite sized pieces and this helps me.

Query 6

We need to live with those in need and provide all that is appropriate. After cyclone Tracey we were given money but there was nothing to buy with it – we needed things!

One of the ways of dealing with the situation is to celebrate the success stories – need to engage with what is happening as a positive front.