Quakers in New Zealand have come together to release a call for action after COVID-19 focusing on the moral and spiritual imperative for transformational change. They reflects that “they were inspired in part by the words of George Monbiot about the power of stories.” The Call for Action has been widely shared around New Zealand, joining a range of voices calling for change following the pandemic.
QUNO joins other members of the Interfaith Liaison Committee to the UNFCCC in the organization of a 3-part online series on faith and climate action. The group welcomes members from different religious communities, alongside scientists and policymakers, to meet and share their visions for faith-based climate action over the next year. There will be sessions every Tuesday between October 27th and November 10th in the run up to what would have been COP26.
Friend Frank Granshaw was recently in touch to share his work as part of the organizing group for the PDX Climate Bridge ahead of what would have been COP26 in November. The group has put together a virtual “Bridge Kit” to offer a guide to those looking to organize a local bridge to COP26. The PDX Climate Bridge sits under the umbrella of the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, delivering education for sustainable development to local communities.
Frank is a Quaker from the Pacific Northwestern United States. A retired geology instructor, he now teaches climate science for nonscientists at a local university and is heavily involved in climate and sustainability education and advocacy through several secular and religious organizations. He writes:
During a recent visit to the Oregon state capital I was asked during an elevator conversation with a capital staffer what I was doing there. I explained that I was there with a group talking with legislators about supporting climate related legislation. When asked about what motivated me to do so, I responded that I was originally trained as a glacial geologist and that I’m a grandparent. At which point she smiled and said that explains it.
As part of his teaching on the general studies course at Portland State University, Frank has published a Climate Toolkit: A Resource Manual for Climate Science and Action. It offers an accessible guide to climate science and action, and is written in such a way that it can be used in many different settings, including study groups, churches, community groups, or workplaces.
Jonathan Sprout, a member of Fallsington Monthly Meeting in the United States, and his company Force For Good, have released their first CD, Passions. Once a month, Force For Good will premiere a short film (available for free on YouTube). The 13 initial films were made with Quaker principles in mind and deal with gender and racial equality, climate change and renewable energy, the refugee crisis, sensible gun legislation, organic farming, hope, and grace. Each film is about five minutes long, wordless, and prayer/meditation-like. These films are designed to open hearts and minds and have helped prepare people for worship.
The United States-based Friends Fiduciary Corporation is a Quaker not-for-profit which provides socially responsible investment management for Friends meetings, schools and organizations and recently it announced it will divest from fossil fuel industries. In place of fossil portfolios, Friends Fiduciary will rigorously focus on companies leading the transition to a low carbon economy like clean technology, renewable energy and energy and energy conservation, clean water protection, environmental finance, and low carbon commerce.
FWCC, in collaboration with young Friends from around the world and across the Quaker branches, are hosting a series of 5 online workshops over 10 weeks. These sessions will be run by young Quakers for young Quakers through Friends World Committee for Consultation on 5 Saturdays between August 29 and October 24, 2020.
Each session will explore climate action, peace, and justice in relation to one of the five testimonies: Truth, Equality, Peace, Simplicity and Community. There will be a chance to hear from 2 – 3 speakers (who will be Young Friends from across the FWCC sections), to talk in zoom breakout rooms exploring the session’s theme, and a chance to gather and reflect on our discussions together.
Every year on June 5th the world celebrates World Environment Day. This year the theme is biodiversity, which is a core piece of any healthy environment. Currently we are losing species at the fastest rate ever in human history. The following is a useful resource explaining what biodiversity is, why it is under threat, and what are the direct actions you and I can take to help protect biodiversity.
Scientists for Global Responsibility and Declassified UK have published a report which assesses the key environmental impacts of the UK military, arms industry and related sectors. It provides a detailed assessment of UK military greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – arguably, more in-depth than previously provided in a report in the public domain. It also gives an overview of other related environmental issues, especially those of particular concern, such as impacts resulting from weapons-use, the management of military nuclear waste, and the environmental impacts should nuclear weapons ever be used in war.
Kwibuka Yearly Meeting in Burundi engages Friends and non-friends through a wide range of actions to encourage environmental protection and economic development. This happens through the “Christian Action in a World of Distress” Program. Some of the activities include teaching young vegetable farmers to make organic pesticides and fertilizer to prevent environmental degradation, how to transform non-biodegradable plastics into useful tools, and offer retreats to foster youth leadership in climate action. The group is also planning to open three new nurseries to help combat deforestation.
The Earth School is a collection of videos exploring and explaining the environment through quests running from Earth Day (April 22nd) to World Environment Day (June 5th). Each quest encourages young people to learn more about our planet, how all of its different moving parts work, and why it is important to take good care of our shared home. For example Quest 12 delves into biodiversity, provides an introductory video, engaging questions, and further resources. The project is supported by the United Nations Environmental Program, National Geographic, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)