Quaker United Nations Summer School Applications Now Open

The Quaker United Nations Office’s summer school program returns in person from 3-14 July 2023. Taking place at the heart of international governance, the 12-day residential program in Geneva is an opportunity for young people to learn about QUNO’s work, multilateral governance, and some of the most pressing international politics of our day, including the climate crisis. Apply by March 3rd. Click here to learn more about the program. Applications and reference letters can be accessed here.

Loss and Damage Action Day- 22 September

Quaker Peace and Social Witness has shared that on 22 September, individuals were invited to participate in Loss and Damage Action Day. Last week, people around the world stood in solidarity with those living under the worst conditions of the climate crisis and called for “polluters to pay up.” As rich countries and large emitters of greenhouse gas emissions continue to knowingly damage the planet and threaten the well being of the earth’s most vulnerable, Quakers continue to call for urgent, sustainable and transformative climate action.

Photo by Michael Preston

Loss and Damage refers specifically to the negative impacts of climate change that have already been experienced. It also refers to those losses that have yet to occur but inevitably will. Often the people most impacted are already the poorest and most vulnerable inhabitants of earth who have contributed the least to the climate crisis. On the 22nd, hundreds of Quakers and others came together across the United Kingdom, including as part of a walk of witness from St. John’s Church, Waterloo, to Parliament Square, in order to increase pressure on the largest polluters to be responsible for the consequences of their actions.  

Photo by Michael Preston

As the climate crisis continues to be increasingly felt around the world, it is more important than ever to put pressure on those most responsible. To stand in solidarity at any time of the year with those most impacted by climate change, here are a few simple actions you can take:

1. Write to your national representatives to tell them about how important it is to fund loss and damage.

2. Hold a short screening of “The Global Story of Climate Change, Loss and Damage- and Who Should Pay for It” to share with friends and family the importance of polluters paying

3. Share your own #PayUp4Loss&Damage post on social media

4. Engage with future climate change justice related events in your community

5. Familiarize yourself with the People’s Climate Empowerment Series and share it with your community

Photos by Michael Preston

All Change! Making paths on shifting ground

The Closing Minute of the Living Witness Gathering at Woodbrooke, 26-29 August 2022

We are 63 Quakers gathered from across Britain, with a sense of urgency and under concern.
Addressing all Friends, as far as we can reach. We will outline our experience, own our own response, and issue a call to action.

We have heard clearly, with hope and excitement as well as fear and grief, an acute sense that this is an extraordinary time – a time of enormous challenge which can change us profoundly in ways we need to change. It is the great, holy work of our time, it is our privilege to be part of it and we must prepare our spirit for what is coming.

The climate and ecological crisis changes everything.

We value the work which is being done by Yearly Meeting staff and Woodbrooke on climate justice and encourage Friends to participate. We also see clearly that there is a need for grassroots action/response to the climate and ecological crisis in addition to that currently embodied in YM and Woodbrooke structures.

Local and area meetings are aware of the urgency and much is happening, both within Quakerism and beyond. Meeting for Worship isn’t just a place to feel comfortable, but a crucible in which we scrutinize our lives and see how they can be aligned more closely to our faith.

Arising from this gathering we know that there isn’t one right thing to do, the important thing is to do our best, and not give up. We each commit to listen to each other, love and support each other, work and worship together. We will find ways to ground ourselves and heal ourselves, and build resilience and inclusion wherever we can.

We carry forward from this gathering many strands of work, both large and small. We recognise that injustice in the ownership and control of resources raises questions about our entire political and economic system. We commit to work with children and young people; we have a concern to address the current cost-of-living crisis, including offering our meeting houses as warm refuges; we make a commitment to support those taking direct action; we will respond to promptings to work more on food and biodiversity; and we are led to support local communities in becoming carbon neutral, alongside many other ideas and actions.

We believe Faith groups can take a lead which will help the nation listen, and Quakers must play our part in this. We would like to see an Interfaith commitment to climate justice leading up to the next general election so that incoming government is clearly focused on this issue.

The last time Quakerism renewed itself was the 1895 conference which became the basis of 20th century liberal Quakerism. Quakers had to reorientate their faith.

Today, we are a similar position. Rather than evolutionary science tearing up our sense of the past, we hear the prophetic voice of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that is tearing up our sense of the future and ending the notion of the inevitability of growth.

The science and the events it chronicles, together with our increasing awareness of the legacy of extractive colonialism, are once again calling on us to renew our faith. This is the context of our gathering. We open ourselves to this pregnant sense of the present. Quakers and Living Witness can be midwives of the spirit.

The universe is participatory, there are no bystanders. Our commitment to climate justice encourages us to see everything we do as something which is of god or against god. We are called to be whole with creation and act on the Truth which we find.

Quaker Institute for the Future prepares inspiring EPISTLE for Friends worldwide


The Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) was established in 2003 inspired by Kenneth Boulding’s Quaker Studies on Human Betterment and his call for a research institute focused on the future. QIF has sponsored a series of collaborative research projects, including an annual Summer Research Seminar, and published research findings in thirteen books <quakerinstitute.org>. In cognizance of humanity’s (and our planet’s) current climate emergency, QIF’s Board of Trustees recently approved an inspiring epistle using the following language: “As the world has gone from climate change to climate crisis to climate emergency, we, the QIF Board of Trustees, find that climate change affects every aspect of our work. The time in which nations and citizens of the world can yet act to mitigate the worst effects of climate change is rapidly vanishing. In the spirit of Quaker tradition, we have prepared this epistle in the hope that it may inspire Friends in solidarity with truth seeking and in their discernment on witness and action.”

The Epistle [LINK]

Magpie Art Collective’s Quaker Peace Doves

Magpie is the Barrydale based art collective by artists and social entrepreneurs Scott B. Hart and Shane A. Petzer. Working in their studio and gallery in the Western Cape of South Africa, Scott and Shane produce art, craft and bespoke creations centred around their commitment to “meaningful commercial and social entrepreneurism, integrated with environmental concern.”

During the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, Magpie developed a new project on the Quaker Peace Dove. The collective ran online making workshops in collaboration with Cape Western Monthly Meeting, during which Friends joined together via Zoom to create “#QuakerPeaceDoves” using a template created by Magpie. The doves are made of recycled milk bottles, hence the title of the series: “Turn Your Lockdown Trash Into Art.” Shane writes that the doves were conceptualised as:

“a unifiying symbol around peace and environmental/climate justice concerns [and provide] an example of how we can use art as a social tool.”

The workshops also created an online space for Friends to gather and share during the pandemic, an opportunity that was important for the artists who have long been involved in creating work that places social concern and community at its heart. For more information, and contact details visit http://www.magpieartcollective.com. Images of the work featured above can also be seen via Magpie’s social media channels.