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Jenny Howell and Mary Harris at the Brisbane “Living the Change” workshop run by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. Photo: Mick Porter

Lifestyle choices drive climate action

People of faith around Australia are simplifying their lifestyles to help slow climate damage and drive positive change. Journey reports.

Hundreds of people of faith have gathered in capital cities around the nation to attend “Living the Change” workshops run by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.

Coordinator Mark Delaney, who ran the Brisbane event in September, says that the events provide people with the opportunity to talk about how to make lifestyle changes.

“It’s one thing to decide in your head that you want to live a more environmentally friendly life, but it’s another to actually do it. Expressing our concerns and fears is key to overcoming them and putting our ideas into practice,” says Mark.

“These lifestyle changes are good for us as people, but they also drive bigger picture changes.”

“Living the Change” events were held recently in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart. The workshops are based on the idea that combating climate change requires not only political action but also individuals simplifying their lifestyles.

Key modifications people are making to lower their carbon footprint include reducing car usage, installing solar panels, avoiding plane travel, eating less red meat, buying pre-owned goods and purchasing green energy.

Participant at an earlier Living the Change workshop, retired physiotherapist Paul Grace from Brisbane, says that he will make his next trip to Melbourne by train instead of flying.

“If enough of us do that, then sooner or later the government will put in a high-speed electric rail line between capital cities to make those trips much less damaging to the environment,” he says.

Workshop conveners found that people are making significant, counter-cultural decisions for the sake of the environment.

“Miriam hasn’t flown for 10 years, Ken and Harriet have built a house entirely from recyclable materials, and Rob has purchased an electric car, generating all the power he needs from solar panels on his roof,” says Mark.

“When I hear the things people are already doing, and the commitments they’re making today, it gives me great hope that change is possible.”

Workshop participants were invited to record their commitments to a lower-carbon lifestyle on the Living The Change website.

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