Uniting Climate Conference Online Program

Uniting Climate Conference: Faith in a Better Future Overview

Jump to Online Workshop Program

Conference 9am-4.45pm

Please aim to join sessions and workshops a few minutes early to make sure we can run to time!

Opening and Keynote Sessions

Welcome to Country: Julie Jones Webb (Chair and Dharug Director Dharug Strategic Management Group)

Proud Dharug woman, Traditional Custodian and Knowledge Keeper from multiple fresh and saltwater clans.

Address from Uniting Church Synod of NSW.ACT Moderator Mata Havea Hiliau

Keynote Address: Uniting for Climate Justice

Miriam Lyons (Sunrise Project)

Director of the Australian Energy Transformation Program at the Sunrise Project. Miriam has over two decades of experience as a progressive campaigner, policy analyst and commentator. She has held a variety of leadership roles, including Climate Justice Campaigns Director at GetUp

Video addresses:

  • Senator David Pocock Australian politician and former professional rugby union player
  • Bill McKibben American environmentalist, author, journalist, co-founder and Senior Advisor of climate organisation 350.org

Young Changemakers Panel

Featuring community leaders, Uniting Church members and climate activists

Raul Sugunananthan (Uniting Church National Assembly) 

Raul is a second generation Australian of Sri-Lankan Tamil and Chilean heritage. He is a member of Leichhardt Uniting Church and works for the Uniting Church National Assembly as a Policy and Advocacy Officer. He is passionate about taking up Jesus’ call to stand with the marginalised by taking relational action on issues of social and climate justice. 

Grace Vegesana (Australian Youth Climate Coalition AYCC)

Grace is the Climate & Racial Justice Director at the AYCC based in Western Sydney on Dharug Country. She believes in a better, brighter, and more climate-resilient world for young people to inherit and thrive in, and works to bring those dreams into reality through supporting volunteer-led grassroots movements at the AYCC. She is part of the congregation at Leichhardt Uniting Church.  

Rosaline Parker (Young Women’s Pacific Collective)

Rosaline is a woman of Samoan background living in western Sydney and is a member of the Young Women’s Pacific Collective. She is passionate about how climate change is affecting the Pacific and threatening Pasifika peoples connection to culture, here and in the islands, which is one reason she is a long Pacific cultural performer. Roseline works as an intensive therapeutic caseworker. 

Hayden Charles (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress UAICC)

Hayden is a recognised youth leader with an exemplary track record in Indigenous advocacy. As National Chairperson for UAICC National Youth, Hayden will provide unique advisory regarding cultural acknowledgment and service outcomes. He currently works as a Social Responsibility Advisor at SKG Services.

BREAK Morning tea: 11.05-11.25am

ZOOM Workshop Program

Session 1: 11.30am-12.30pm (3 options)

Workshop title


Speaker(s) Bio

Climate Conversations: how to talk about climate change with family, friends and others

Ken Enderby – Climate for Change

In campaigning for change, the words and frames we use are incredibly important. This workshop will explore frameworks and tools that you can use to help you have effective and impactful conversations about climate justice with friends, family, colleagues, and others around you. If we want to change the narrative and bring people onside, in an environment when misinformation is rife and values are key, we need to know how to speak powerfully and confidently about the issue. 

Ken Enderby has degrees in history and economics from Macquarie and Sydney Universities respectively. In 2020, he completed a course on climate science at Queensland University. Ken has been a campaigner for peace, human rights and economic development for over 40 years, working on projects in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Before retiring, he was the Head Teacher of Career Pathways at Bankstown TAFE. He is currently the president of Climate Action Burwood/Canada Bay. He also works as a facilitator with Climate 4 Change and a mentor with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

Ken has written for both radio and television, and is the author of the novel Trail of Deceit, published in 2011. More recently, he is the author of Climate Myths and How to Respond to Them, which looks at 107 misconceptions about climate change and renewable energy.

Shifting to a regenerative world: opportunities and challenges for regional communities 

Lizzie Webb (The Next Economy) 

In shifting away from fossil fuels and towards greener energy there is a lot to think about. Come along to find out about what the transition could look like, possible benefits and barriers it could present for regional and rural communities, and what local communities and organisations (including Churches!) can do to make it better.

Lizzie is a renowned environmental and humanitarian engineer who works with The Next Economy, supporting communities, governments and industry to build regional economies that are climate safe, regenerative and socially just. As Head of Programs, Lizzie leads the organisation’s growing national programs team across the energy, land and economic development sectors.

The former CEO of Engineers Without Borders Australia and Kindred Spirit Enterprises is a social business leader and entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience in Australia and across Southeast Asia. Lizzie is a Churchill fellow and was awarded an Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence award for her contribution to humanitarian engineering. She has thrice been listed in Engineers Media’s Top 100 List of Australia’s Most Influential Engineers and sits on several non-profit and social enterprise boards.

Building community resilience to climate disasters

Dr Lai Heng Foong and Dr Kim Loo – Drs for the Environment

This workshop explores the health, social and other impacts of climate disasters. We know climate change is a threat multiplier so how can communities better prevent, prepare for and adapt to the increasing incidence and severity of climate disasters? We will consider who is most vulnerable and what can be done to increase communities and households’ resilience and capacity to adapt to extreme climate events such as heatwaves, fire, flood and severe storms.

Dr Foong is an Emergency Physician based in Sydney who has a passion for Public Health and Disaster preparedness including COVID-19 preparedness, Climate change and health impacts, Indigenous Health and the social determinants of health. She is a mother to two children, two cats and a dog, all of whom she hopes will inherit a safer and more sustainable future. 

Dr Kim is a mother with two adult children and a GP. She has been working in general practice for over 3 decades in Western Sydney . Kim  has seen the impacts of rising temperatures , fires ,smoke , floods and mould devastate the lives of patients. Kim has been working to educate and empower her community through her organisation Doctors for the Environment Australia , NSW  AMA and RACGP Council  

BREAK Lunch: 12.30-1.20pm

Session 2: 1.20-2.20pm (3 options)

Workshop title


Speaker(s) Bio

Farmers for Climate Action

Peter Holding – Farmers for Climate Action 

This workshop will inform conference participants about:

  • Why farmers care about climate action – how is climate change already impacting farmers.
  • What Farmers for Climate Action are doing to engage farmers and advocate for their interests.
  • The potential benefits of clean energy to farming communities as well as how challenges can be addressed.

Peter is a third-generation farmer in south east NSW, growing crops such as canola and wheat, as well as running sheep for wool. Peter is also a member of the Climate Kelpie – a central location for farmers after practical information and tools with which to manage climate change risk and impacts. Peter has an extensive knowledge and first hand experience with the strategies farmers can use to manage and adapt to climate change.

Our transition to net zero: How to make it fair, fast and inclusive!  

Rochelle Braaf – Australian Council of Social Service

Climate change disproportionately impacts people and communities experiencing disadvantage, especially when the transition is slow, inequitable and non-inclusive. But with the right policies we can address climate change, AND reduce poverty and inequality. Come along to hear about ACOSS’s campaign for Fair, Fast and Inclusive Climate Change Action, its Blueprint Framework for government action, its key asks and resources, and how you get involved. 

Dr Rochelle Braaf is the ACOSS Senior Advisor on Climate Change and Energy. Rochelle’s background is in social research and policy across a range of social issues including climate change, disaster response and resilience building, homelessness, gender equity and gender based violence. In Australia, she has worked in government, academia and NGOs, and has also worked in international development in the Pacific, South Sudan and Cambodia. Rochelle joined ACOSS in November 2022.

Since joining, she has led projects including: advocacy on coordinated regional transition to net zero emissions to promote community engagement and community benefit, especially for people experiencing disadvantage; two summer heat surveys as part of ACOSS advocacy for energy performance upgrades of low income housing; a working group advocating for phase out of the fossil fuel subsidies (notably the fuel tax credit); and development of policy on fair, fast and inclusive action on climate change.  

Climate Justice is First Nations Justice: What Real Allyship Looks Like

Scott Wilson (Gevolve Solutions)

This workshop will look at the impacts of climate change (and extractive industries that fuel climate change) on First Nation’s peoples and communities. This includes grief around impacts on traditional country, the ability to practice culture and pass it on and harm to Aboriginal identity and spirituality. We will discuss how non – Aboriginal people can be good allies with First Nation’s peoples as they address these challenges. We will identify what being a good ally looks like and what it doesn’t look like. We’ll consider what steps governments must take to better acknowledge and support First Nation people’s rights with respect to country. We’ll consider ways we can take the next step in acting in solidarity with First Nations peoples in our own contexts. 

Scott Wilson is a Gooniyandi & Gajerrong man. He is the Co-Founder, Chair and Director of Gevolve Solutions, the First Majority Aboriginal owned company in Australia moving to produce green hydrogen through waste conversion, while supplying Australia with the tools to reach our net zero targets. 

Uniting Church Climate Action and Strategy Briefing

Uniting Church Climate Action Snapshot

Hear from different parts of the Uniting Church on the work already being done to take meaningful action on Climate Change.

Hear about what’s next for the Uniting Climate Action Network in the leadup to the Federal election, upcoming international negotiations and find out how you can get involved in acting for a safer future for all.

BREAK Afternoon tea: 3.10-3.30pm

ZOOM Reflection, Next Steps and Close

Time to discuss and reflect on what you’ve heard. Voting process on key areas of the Uniting Advocacy Climate Strategy. Work as a group to identify next steps and actions for the Uniting Climate Action Network.

Conference wrap-up and benediction.

Conference Close: 4.45pm