The International Labour Organization has released a specific policy brief regarding the needs to consult and include persons with disabilities in climate change adaptation and mitigation, specifically regarding transitions to a new and green economy. Persons with disabilities often experience multiple negative impacts from climate change, especially when their lived experiences intersect with other disproportionately climate change-vulnerable characteristics such as gender, indigeneity, socio-economic status, and race. The brief includes a convenient overview of existing frameworks to guide action. The policy brief emphasizes the important of inclusive participation, skill-development support as economies transition, and leverage the often untapped potential of persons with disabilities in imagining and implementing green and just economies.
As the disastrous consequences of climate change become increasingly apparent worldwide, it is important to address the way vulnerable groups are particularly impacted. During Geneva Peace Week, the Environmental Committee of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, with support from the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), gave voice to experts on climate justice, vulnerable populations and decision makers working to include climate justice concerns in national and international policies through the event “Creating a Future for All: Climate Justice and Peacebuilding”. The event highlighted the importance of integrating gender in all aspects of climate change work and peacebuilding, the multiple ways climate change impacts peace internationally, and the necessity of public participation in all climate change and peace-building processes.
This week an increasing number of US states, cities, and other municipalities celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a deliberate space to reflect on the history, present, and future of Indigenous peoples in Turtle Island/USA/Canada specifically and worldwide generally. Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS), a Turtle Island/United States based Quaker service organization, shared several resources to help further understand this particular day, including Quaker complicity in Indigenous oppression, and avenues to take action. QVS wrote that “We’re excited to honor and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day! The strength and resilience of Native Peoples who have long stewarded the land we live upon is seen and lauded. There is much work to be done in addressing historical and modern harm to our Indigenous siblings, let us collectively move and work towards that justice!” As indigenous peoples are at the forefront of being affected by climate change while also being leaders in the movement to save our planet, the following resources can be helpful in reflecting on Quakers’ specific relationship with Indigenous peoples and the ways we can support and be in solidarity with Indigenous communities.
Use this tool to navigate a map to find out whose land you are on.
This article is on the history of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and 8 Indigenous rights groups to support and learn about.
The art featured in this post was created by artist Blue Rain, of the Muscogee / Creek Nation, whose land the Atlanta QVS community is on.
QUNO, under the Friends World Committee for Consultation, is the only faith-based organization accredited as an observer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which collates the most recent climate science findings to advise all countries. While government representatives cannot change the underlying scientific text in the reports, they can negotiate language in the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), so long as the integrity of the findings is not affected. From the 19th to the 24th of September states gathered in Monaco to discuss a special report which focused on the state of the ocean and the cryosphere, which refers to places on earth where water is in solid form such as glaciers, permafrost, and ice sheets. This report was particularly significant as it explicitly discussed some of the processes already occurring due to climate change, such as coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and glacial melting, alongside future projections of further change.
Lindsey Fielder Cook, QUNO’s representative for the Human Impacts of Climate Change programme, made a number of interventions concerning adaptation limits, human impacts and permafrost melting, and worked with negotiators to ensure the rights language of public participation in climate policy was included. This report contains significant urgency for it is speaking to what many are already experiencing, particularly those most vulnerable such as the inhabitants of Small Island Developing States and indigenous Arctic communities. The report highlighted the difference between urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – manageable change – and continuing with insufficient action – unimaginable and unmanageable change to glaciers, biodiversity and marine life, and the ability of access to drinking water for billions of people. the report urges international action.
October 6th is World Quaker Day, and many Friends and their respective meetings around the world gathered around the climate-conscious theme of “Sustainability: planting seeds of renewal for the world we love”.
Hill House Meeting in Ghana started by discussing a range of questions to engage with what sustainability is and how it connects to Quaker testimonies, from which in particular arose the importance of the future, of planning ahead and considering generations to come. This is expressed in a Ghanaian proverb that says ‘dea wodua na wobu’ – meaning you reap what you sow. So if you plant good seeds (good ideas) you will have good results (expression of love and care) for the future. Other items discussed ranged from good governance to land tenure and electricity production. Ultimately this translated in Hill House Meeting committing to more environmental practices as a community and as individuals.
Friends World Committee for Consultation, which has supported the meetings celebrating World Quaker Day has further information specifically about Hill House Meeting and how Quakers around the world joined in on celebrations with a focus on sustainability.
Nothing Lowly in the Universe: An Integral Approach to the Ecological Crisis explores the connections between the scientific, technological, economic, cultural, psychological and religious forces driving the crisis and shows how we can transform the ways of thinking and living that got us here. Drawing on the Quaker testimonies of integrity, reciprocity, nonviolence, simplicity, and the fundamental equality of the whole earth community, on other wisdom traditions, and on the work of visionaries from Gandhi and Arne Naess to E.F. Schumacher and Thomas Berry, Jennie M. Ratcliffe explores the spiritual principles of an integrated deep ecology, economy and peace, and shows how they are being put into practice around the world.
Jennie M. Ratcliffe is an environmental research scientist, Quaker, and activist. She lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and is a long-time member of Durham Friends Meeting (NC). She has worked for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Universities of London and North Carolina, and has been active in peace, social and ecological concerns for many years in the Quaker community and beyond.
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QUNO, under the Friends World Committee for Consultation, is the only faith-based organization accredited as an observer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which collates climate science findings to advise all countries. While government representatives cannot change text in the reports, they can negotiate language in the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), so long as the integrity of the findings is not affected. Negotiation can result in weakening SPM language. At the recent IPCC meeting on Land, QUNO’s Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, sought to protect language on sustainable and restorative behavior (diet, farming, consumption, restoration/regeneration of eco-systems) and consequences to insufficient action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. She summarized the Report’s main messages as: 1) land is currently absorbing (sink) some 20% of GHG emissions, 2) land degradation must be reversed and overall GHG emissions reduced, and 3) without this, land will become a GHG emission ‘source’, leading to irreversible eco-system collapse and ‘substantial additional GHG emissions from ecosystems that would accelerate global warming’.