Elizabeth Young

Sister of Mercy, Forbes, NSW

Published 5th October 2021

I belong to a Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

My life and work have taken me to communities that have been especially impacted by climate change and other injustices.

I spent six years in Port Augusta, in the north of South Australia.

When I arrived, the largest source of employment in town came from the two coal power stations. The people of Port Augusta had been impacted by the burning of fossil fuels and were very keen to transition to clean renewable power generation instead.

I became part of the Repower Port Augusta campaign, which ended up seeing its vision fulfilled.

"The town is now a hub of renewable power that really came about not through government proactivity, but industry creativity and people power."

Elizabeth Young

Sister of Mercy, Forbes, NSW

A few years later, I moved to Forbes in the west of New South Wales.

At the time, in 2019, the land and people were suffering through a severe drought. It was heartbreaking to see the parched country, thirsty animals and despairing people.

In those tough times, we turned to our faith to support us, but also to empower us to make the necessary changes to protect and respect our Common Home.

Even though the drought has broken and we have had a lot of rain since then, my neighbours do not forget. We all fear the next climate catastrophe, which continues to loom large.

Here, I have become part of the Rural Fire Service and we respond to both fire and flood, acting where we can to mitigate the worst effects of climate impacts.

I believe that we must act urgently, on many levels: political, economic, spiritual and educational – for all of creation; for today and for the next generations.

"In those tough times, we turned to our faith to support us, but also to empower us to make the necessary changes to protect and respect our Common Home."

Elizabeth Young

Sister of Mercy, Forbes, NSW

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