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Make the switch

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Are you looking for a simple, effective environmental action for this Season of Creation? Make the switch to renewables! Choose a power company that is supporting a stronger framework to shift electricity generation away from fossil fuels.

Why is Uniting Earth Ministry encouraging the switch?

The Uniting Church in Australia has a longstanding commitment to the environment, both to ensure that the poor and future generations have enough resources to meet their needs, and because God’s creation is good, in and of itself. The church believes that God calls humanity into a relationship of mutuality and interdependence with the creation. God’s will for the earth is renewal and reconciliation, not destruction by human beings.

The church is deeply concerned about the serious threat of climate change to the future and integrity of life on earth, and especially the impacts on vulnerable communities such as those in the Pacific.

In 2013, the Synod of NSW/ACT was a leader in the still growing campaign to divest stocks and shares from fossil fuel corporations. Other synods, the Assembly and a growing number of churches followed suit, and attracted considerable media interest. It was a “light to the nation” moment of which we can be justly proud.

Now you can be involved, as a congregation or individual. The idea to join the “Make the Switch” campaign came out of the “open space” sessions at Synod 2016. We are calling on you to make your own switch from fossil fuels to renewables.

Switch away from the “Dirty Three”1

Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL provide electricity to over three quarters of Australian households. These companies sometimes market themselves as environmentally conscious, but their “green” initiatives are small compared to their investments in coal and gas generation.

They also actively undermined Australia’s Renewable Energy Target. The RET is designed to help ramp up renewable electricity generation by 2020. The target was reduced in 2015, following intense lobbying from the big power providers2.

By switching away from these providers you can be part of a campaign that puts pressure on them to clean up their act, stop investing in dirty power from fossil fuels, and seriously support renewable energy.

How to make the switch

We have four suggested actions:

 

1. Choose your power provider, and switch!

Use the Green Electricity Guide to help you. The guide ranks retailers on the emissions intensity of the power stations they own, their investments in and policy positions on renewable energy, fossil fuels and burning native forests for electricity, their deals for solar consumers and how well they support additional investment in renewables through the GreenPower products they offer:
http://greenelectricityguide.org.au

[UPDATE: There is a new community owned power provider which will be added into the greenelectricityguide when it is revised, which is definitely worth looking at: https://enovaenergy.com.au/ 

From their website:

Enova was established from the outset as a social enterprise, with twin objectives of helping the community to reduce carbon emissions, and to be of benefit to the community. This is why in addition to the retail arm, Enova Energy Pty Ltd, we also have a not for profit arm, Enova Community Ltd, a registered charitable organisation, to which 50% of profits (*after tax and re-investment) are to flow to enable the fulfilment of our objectives.

Our goals for Enova Community are to:

provide everyone with access renewable energy, increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.]

 

Powershop is the top ranked provider, for two years running. If you switch to Powershop as part of GetUp!’s “Better Power” campaign, a commission goes to GetUp! at no cost to you. This money goes directly to renewable energy and environment campaigns:
https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/renewable-energy/better-power-now/switch-to-better-power-today

2. Let us know you’ve made the switch

Once you’ve made the switch, please let us know. That way we can amplify the impact of your individual action. The more people who switch, the bigger the noise we can make. Contact us and let us know which church you are from, and who you've switched from and to.

3. Let your old company know you’ve made the switch

Perhaps consumer power will have an effect, and they might be motivated to change.

4. Invite others to join you!

What if your church switched, and you wrote a letter to the editor explaining why and encouraging others to join you? Or write your own as an individual. Talk to friends.

What more can I do?

If you’ve already made the switch or are looking to take a next step, here are some ideas:
Join the solar citizens campaign: http://www.solarcitizens.org.au
Put solar on your roof: http://www.solarchoice.net.au
Invest in a local community renewable energy project: http://c4ce.net.au

Resources

Download this information as a two page document.
Download a poster for your church.

 

1 Information in this section comes from a report commissioned by GetUp, The “Dirty 3”, available from https://d68ej2dhhub09.cloudfront.net/1009-The_Dirty_3.pdf. See also http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/networks-push-for-renewable-energy-target-to-be-dumped-33274

Image credit Pieter Morlion, flickr

2 Ibid