On Sunday some of our students and staff will be joining other Kildare Ministry schools and community works in the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees. This annual event raises awareness of the plight of refugees and asylum seekers and calls on our leaders for compassionate responses in their policy and decision making. Thank you to Michael McCallum for organising this for our community. Further information can be found on the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project Website Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project – Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP) 

The Australian Catholic Bishops Council Social Justice Statement 2021-22: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, affirms that “we human beings need a change of heart, mind, and behaviour”. It draws from Scripture, from the theological tradition, from Catholic Social Teaching, and from the wisdom of the world, including the insights of the First Nations. The Social Justice Statement provides theological foundations to ground and inspire efforts to care for creation while responding to the needs of the disadvantaged and excluded.  

In the Statement, the Bishops invite the whole Catholic community to join them in taking up Pope Francis’ invitation to a seven-year journey towards total ecological sustainability, guided by seven Laudato Si’ Goals.  

These Goals are:  

response to the cry of the earth;  

response to the cry of the poor;  

ecological economics; sustainable lifestyles;  

ecological spirituality;  

ecological education; and  

community engagement and participatory action.  

As Kildare Ministries school we are called to attend to ecological justice and our College has signed up to the Ladauto Si Action Platform. We have also achieved our Level 1 Accreditation as an Australian Catholic Earthcare School.

This term, a group of students and staff participated in Clean up Wadawarrung Country day. 19 students and 6 teachers participated and helped to clean up the school’s local surroundings including part of the Gabriel Blythe track. During the sunny walk, several random items were collected including a totem tennis pole, garden hose, half a boogie board but most interestingly was an old microwave. We were each given a different bag that collected different waste including landfill, recycling and green. At the end of the lunch session, a waste audit was done and in total the group collect 8.8kg of rubbish, 3kg of recyclables and 1 kg of compostable items. It was wonderful to see the Clonard community work together to create a greener and cleaner future. We also took this as an opportunity to remind participants that it’s important to pick up your rubbish to protect the wildlife and to preserve the land for future generations.

This week we heard from one of our Year 12 Sustainability Leaders who is writing to raise our awareness about a local project from a young person’s perspective.

My name is Lauren Dillon and I’m one of the Year 12 sustainability leaders at Clonard. 

You might have seen in local newspapers recently about some concerns regarding a proposal for a gas terminal in Corio Bay.  

Today I’m writing to you to tell you the facts and share my own experience regarding being an educated young person living in a climate crisis. 

I’ve always had a passion for the environment, especially after living on the land surrounded by nature. It devastates me that these projects are still being put forward when the best research shows that there is absolutely no room for the exploitation and development of the fossil fuel industry. It’s hard to put into words the fear and the anger I feel over the fact that I even have to write this article. That I had to lose the ‘best years of my life’ to climate anxiety and stress all because the world is unwilling to wake up. I feel like all I can do is watch in horror as Australia places its foot on the accelerator even as we’re speeding up to an unfinished bridge. I come home from a stressful day of Year 12 and then get to watch as increased natural disasters take innocent lives, temperatures rise and more species die. For a long time all I could do was shut people out, I couldn’t deal with more news that further my pain. I’ve long since learnt how to turn this emotion into more positive action but there are still times when I feel majorly overwhelmed. That’s not to say that all of your daughters experience this but I think it’s important to note that we young people face an unpredictable and scary future. These emotions are only heightened with proposals like the one outlined below. 

LNG is an extremely unrenewable energy source that releases masses of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, hence contributing to climate change and global warming. 
This project significantly increases emissions by 2040 which gravely impacts the City of Greater Geelong’s net zero target by 2035 
30,000 Geelong residents are within 3.5km of the project and face increased risk and amenity due to the project 
Dredging is required which disturbs toxic sediments and releases chlorine on the seagrasses and habitat as well as a nearby internationally recognized RAMSAR Wetlands.  

As part of the review process for the gas terminal proposal, Viva has opened Environmental Effects Statement (EES) submissions which allows the community to write letters for the concerns you have for about the proposal.  

An EES is a document that examines the possible impacts a project might have on the environment. This submission needs to be in by Monday 11 April. 

Further information can be found at the Geelong Renewables Not Gas website or Viva Energy Gas Terminal Inquiry and Advisory Committee | Engage Victoria where you can write a submission.  

Thank you for your time.  

Lauren Dillon