On Friday 27 August Australasian Religious Press Association delegates took part in a morning seminar on redefining the climate and creation care discussion. The workshop was co-hosted by the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) and the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.
The facilitators were three experienced advocates in the centre of redefining the climate and creation care conversation –
Michelle McDonald - a Catholic parishioner who is Editor of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland’s Anglican Focus
The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt - Dean of the Brisbane Anglican Cathedral
Peter Branjerdporn - a Uniting Church parishioner who coordinates the Anglican Church Southern Queensland’s Justice Unit
Dean Catt spoke of his experiences in Canberra Parliament House and how he needed to carefully chose his words for the occasion – sometimes the ‘religious person’ (him) was surplus in a particular discussion group. Careful presentation was a focal issue.
Peter Branjerdporn told his own story from his observation of the carpool drive from Tasmania with former Senator Bob Brown in 2019, who discovered they were not welcome by many. Their message fell on deaf ears and the way it was presented missed their own predetermined mark.
Michelle McDonald addressed the climate debate fraught with divisive left – right political agendas and this constantly revealed miss-understandings and name calling. Michelle was articulate and thoughtful.
All three facilitators with each separate session - addressed various aspects of redefining the climate and creation care discussion.
Numerous questions were put to the facilitators. One question raised the difficulties in addressing the climate issues - without whatever being said - being misconstrued into a left / right debate, and moreover being seen as a far-left-greens political position.
This has been proven over many years to be a destabiliser in trying to redefine the climate issue in language that might be recognised as legitimate public concern.
Dean Peter Catt spoke to this dilemma and eloquently fevered examples of this precise thing happening time and time again. He noted that the idea of a balance was prevented from even being given clear air. This sentiment was acknowledged by all.
The workshop groups were given a short phrase of “left leaning prose” published in environmental publications or put together by the facilitators – asking the workshop to replace the phrase redefining it into a balance presentation.
Workshop: Group 4
Original sample statement -
“Prophecy of our young leaders. What will you sacrifice to address the great scourge of the climate crisis? ‘I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruit and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination.’ (Jeremiah 2.7)” (A post on an ecumenical Australian Christian Facebook page)
Redefined statement –
Our young people desire to see positive change in the way we care for God’s creation. Genesis chapter 1 outlines how human beings have a responsibility to care for creation, understanding that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31). What ways could we make these positive changes through legislative policy and community participation?
This exercise was well received by the ARPA delegates by the various workshop groups.
Another day presentation of not dissimilar format and agenda is on the way.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 45 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 45 years with 4 children and 6 grand children