Introducing our Eco-Bishops: Tom Wilmot, Perth, Australia “Economics drives environmental policy”
Climate Change is the product of unreconstructed Free Market Capitalism which has made ecology a subset of economics when the reality is the other way around. The Free Market system has not delivered on its promise of the good life by a trickledown effect.
Our economic systems are in urgent need of reform: we need clean sustainable energy and a fair and equitable distribution of sovereign wealth. The twin issues of wealth disparity and degrading the capacity of the planet to sustain life are antithetical to the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament which speaks of a God of distributive and restorative justice, mercy and compassion.
The Church in our time needs to rediscover Christ as the Savior of the World, and recover its prophetic voice if we are to speak in God’s name to address the two great moral crises of our time; a fair and just distribution of wealth and care for creation.
We need a prophetic voice. We need to say that climate change is a global issue and needs global solutions. We need to think globally and act locally. Most big changes that occur in terms of economic reform when a mass of people say to people this is what we want – street marches and rallies need to be on our agenda.
For Bishop Wilmot environmental awareness and action “to preserve the living systems of the planet” is not an ‘optional extra’ but ‘core business for Christians’… Overwhelmingly climate change affects the poor through impacts now being experienced: food insecurity, crop failures, threats to fresh water reserves and loss of diversity.” As Christians we have a call and it is our mission to be stewards and have compassion for the most vulnerable.
In their October 2014 Synod, Wilmot’s Diocese determined that it is in the best interest to join the ranks of divestment, stating, “The Diocese accepts that it is both ethical and responsible to divest from fossil fuel stocks. The concerns of the Church about the social justice issues of climate change, due to fossil fuel consumption, will also be communicated to other relevant companies in the Diocesan portfolio. … Our local action is part of an accelerating global movement that is underpinning expressions of concern about climate change with divestment action.”
Bishop Tom is married to Gaynor, and has two daughters, Adrienne and Sarah. He studied Theology at St. John’s College, and was ordained as a deacon and priest in 1977 for the Diocese of Perth. In February 2004 he was consecrated Bishop and appointed as Assistant Bishop to the Goldfields Country Region in the Diocese of Perth. He is the chair of the Anglican Eco Care Commission . His other interests include the dialogue between science and theology, cinema, and global politics
“Sustainable living, living within our means, is not an option for the few but an imperative for everyone. This ethic is entirely consistent with the character of God’s goodness and fairness which calls us all to sustainable living if we would be God’s children and not the children of that persistently popular lesser god, consumerism.”
– Bishop Tom Wilmot, Sustainable 2014