Religious leaders join anti-Adani protests in Australia

Leaders from Jewish, Buddhist & Christian communities occupied the office of Australia’s Environment Minister, warning that they wouldn’t budge till permission to Adani’s coal mine was withdrawn

Photo courtesy: Facebook\AYCC Victoria
Photo courtesy: Facebook\AYCC Victoria

NH Web Desk

Protests against businessman Gautam Adani’s Carmichael coal mine continue unabated in Australia, with religious community leaders on Tuesday occupying the local constituency office of Australia’s Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to make their opposition to the $16.5 billion mine known.

According to a report in Guardian Australia, religious heads of Jewish, Buddhist and Catholic communities occupied the Melbourne office of Frydenberg, which is located in a suburb with a considerable Jewish presence.

Quoting the religious leaders, the Guardian article reported that the protestors were demanding that the minister “withdraw” his support to the coal mine and they refused to budge until the Environment Minister ceded to their demands.

Saying that he has never been involved in such act of “civil disobedience” ever before, one of the protest leaders, Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, told Guardian Australia, “It seems to me now the situation is so dire and so urgent that we have to get him to take responsibility. Because we’re talking about an ethical responsibility to the future.”

The Guardian article further quoted him as telling that he, along with Christian, Buddhist and other Jewish leaders, had signed an open letter addressed to Frydenberg in April this year, in which they had expressed opposition to the mine.

“We do not feel that the response has been sufficient,” Rabbi Keren-Black added.

According to the report, around a dozen religious leaders are simultaneously holding a symbolic “funeral for coal” protest outside the office to press Frydenberg.

The protestors reckoned that emissions from burning coal would virtually make it impossible for Australia to meet its Paris Climate Change’s individual commitment of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius.

Another protest leader, Jarrod McKenna of the Cornerstone church in Perth, highlighted that the mine, which is being backed by Australia’s ruling coalition, was otherwise facing stiff resistance from the indigenous peoples who own the land where the mine is coming up, environmentalists, scientists and public in general.

The protests against Gautam Adani’s mine have grown significantly in recent months, as the umbrella group named Stop Adani Alliance continues to grow in numbers.

A report in Sky News Australia noted earlier this week that the Queensland mine would have “catastrophic” implications for the Great Barrier Reef, including fears of coral bleaching that would in turn hit tourism in the World Heritage Site.

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