Sister joins teenagers in fight against coal mine

Sr Brigid Arthur (CAPSA)

Brigidine Sister Brigid Arthur lost faith in Australian politicians a long time ago, making her a natural ally for a group of teenagers calling for action on climate change. Source: Sight Magazine.

Equally fed up with political foot-dragging, the 86-year-old has joined eight students from across Australia in a landmark case seeking to block the expansion of the Whitehaven coal mine in New South Wales.

The case, which was first heard in court last week, argues that Environment Minister Sussan Ley has a duty of care to protect young people from climate change that endangers their future.

If successful, it could make it more difficult for coal mines to be approved in Australia, one of the world’s largest per capita carbon emitters and which is highly reliant on coal exports.

Sr Brigid told the Thomas Reuters Foundation that governments in Australia have for “quite a long time” been “swayed by short-term objectives”, which leaves them unwilling to do anything that is “unpopular but in the long-term good for the country”.

Sr Brigid, who set up the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project charity in 2001, said she did not think twice when lawyers involved in the climate lawsuit asked her to be the litigation guardian for the students, aged 13 to 17, who – as minors – legally required an adult to give instructions on their behalf.

A judgment is not expected for several months.


Meet the 86-year-old nun who’s standing with Australian teens launching a major climate lawsuit (By Michael Taylor, Thomas Reuters Foundation via Sight Magazine)


Climate campaign teens prepare for court battle with minister over coal expansion (Sydney Morning Herald)

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