It’s winter in these lands now called Australia. I’m sitting here on Wangal country in the Inner West of Sydney - and I’m freezing! Having lived most of my life on Gubbi Gubbi country in Redcliffe, Queensland, I am not accustomed to the cold. As I have my heat bag and hot water bottle at the ready, pull on my trusty Ugg boots, and layer up my clothes to stay warm, I grab a scarf. It’s a scarf that has been knitted for me by Jan, who lives in Adelaide, on Kaurna country. It’s a scarf that goes from shades of blue to shades of red that I describe as hauntingly beautiful. It’s a scarf that shows the truth of our warming planet showing 101 years of the average global temperatures. It’s a scarf that is like one of over 280 that have been knitted across these lands now called Australia, powerfully showing our Common Threads and calls for urgent action on climate change for our Common Home.
In September 2020, Common Grace put out a call for Christians across these lands now called Australia to knit scarves that tell the truth of climate change. We invited our movement to mix their creativity with their enthusiasm for creation and climate justice.
We had a vision of gifting these scarves to Australia’s Federal Parliamentarians in the hope that it sends a gracious and strong message to take urgent action on climate change. This vision has now become a reality.
When we first invited our movement to join Knit for Climate Action, I could feel it getting hotter. 2019 was Australia’s hottest year on record - rounding out our hottest decade on record where temperatures were almost 1C above average. Many of us still vividly remember the heat, and smoke from the 2019-2020 bushfire season where over 1.8 million hectares of bush habitat and biodiversity was lost in the Black Summer bushfires. I myself have felt Australia’s hottest day on record, a sweltering 46.6°C in Adelaide, Kaurna country on the 24th of January 2019.
I have also listened to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities who are experiencing the impacts of climate change right now - from the Torres Strait where you can see the seas rising, to Aboriginal peoples in the centre of these lands now called Australia having serious concerns about conducting ceremonies that have taken place for thousands of years because it is simply too hot to perform them. I have also grieved with our neighbours, the peoples of the Pacific Island nations, where the impacts of climate change threaten homes, lives, and whole nations - their very existence.
Whilst it is hard for us, at the start of Winter, in the Southern Hemisphere, to put ourselves in the extreme temperatures of an Australian summer, the planet continues to warm. Today in Phoenix, Arizona, it is 41 degrees celsius. It is one of the hottest cities in the USA and their summer of 2020 was the hottest on record. We are yet to see what the summer of 2021 has in store for places like Phoenix and other cities and countries in the Northern Hemisphere.
Extreme heat is not the only impact we face. We are constantly reminded of the more frequent and extreme weather events climate change brings with record-breaking floods, and our precious ecosystems facing extreme threats.
We know it hasn’t always been this way. We feel it. Now we also can see it through the scarves knitted through Common Grace’s Knit for Climate Action.
The we, is all peoples and all creation in our entire world. Our world is warming and we must take action.
May these scarves, the actions of our knitters, and your involvement as the Common Grace movement:
demonstrate that as a movement of people pursuing Jesus and Justice, we are deeply concerned and seek justice for all of creation through the protection and restoration of God’s beautiful earth.
remind Australia’s Federal Parliamentarians of the urgent need to address climate change.
encourage all peoples in the lands now called Australia to listen to and by led by those most impacted by our warming world, Aboriginal peoples, Torres Strait Islander peoples, and our neighbours - peoples of the Pacific Island nations
spark conversations about our warming world, the risks of climate change and how to love our neighbours through climate action.
And inspire everyone to pursue a safer, more just, and more sustainable future for all.
TAKE ACTION On June 21 Common Grace and knitters will be gathering at Federal Parliament in Canberra to present scarves to our nation's leaders. June 21 is Australia’s winter solstice and #ShowYourStripes Day where we will be sharing our #CommonThreads as we meet with key Parliamentarians, asking them to take action on climate change for our #CommonHome. We would love you to take action for Creation and Climate justice! Find out how here.
LISTEN to the Life Matters ABC Radio National interview with three of our wonderful knitters Sue, Greg and Loraine and Brooke Prentis in conversation about Knit for Climate Action. Hear their stories of knitting the climate stripe scarves and hopes for urgent climate action.