Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the papal encyclical Laudato Si’ “on care for our common home” which calls for “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.”
Lock the Gate spokesperson Phil Laid said, “The Pope’s deep and moving statement is a call to values which are the bedrock of healthy communities living in healthy environments - fellowship, clean drinking water and sustainability.
The Pope’s lengthy entreaty includes many reflections that are important challenges in Australia, where water resources and good soils, rare bushland and even whole villages are being sacrificed for the fossil fuel industry, which the Pope says we must replace with renewable energy.
The key points he make which are relevant to mining and energy issues are as follows:
- Threat to groundwater resources from mining: “Underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution”
- Importance of environmental advocacy: “Because the enforcement of laws is at times inadequate due to corruption, public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action".
- Biodiversity loss: “a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey...."
- Urgent need to address climate change, to which our exported coal is our biggest single contribution: "the climate is a common good"
“We hope that the Pope’s challenge to begin a new dialogue is taken seriously and responded to by political and business leaders in Australia, and welcome his intervention, which reminds all of us that we are dependent on the basics of life - clean air, land and water - and that we cannot afford for them to be recklessly degraded by coal and unconventional gas mining.
“Last night, the Pope told us that ‘in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.’
“There is a secular movement across Australia to reassert the values the Pope describes, and we urge the institutions and leadership of the country to join in this correction and take new steps to protect the country and prevent dangerous mining and energy projects which put our collective well-being and our future at risk.”