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.
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.
Friends World Committee for Consultation has created a Sustainability Resources list on their website, which includes reports from different meetings around the world, personal testimonies from Friends, and links to publications and podcasts from FWCC as well as other Quaker organizations such as QUNO and Quakers in Britain. FWCC also has an Instagram page where more information and narrative is shared.
Beverly Ward, the Southeastern Yearly Meeting Field Secretary for Earthcare, attended a “Peace Breakfast: an Interfaith gathering” at Valencia College in Orlando, United States. Faith leaders were asked to share touchstones—“a touchstone transcends any one religion, thought, or spiritual tradition and serves as a guide. These touchstones provide examples of specific prayers, passages or scripture, or inspirations from various sacred texts or philosophical writings associated with diverse traditions.” Those present were invited to present a touchstone about how humans are accountable to the care and protection of planet Earth.
As the Climate Change-heightened Australian bush fires continue, Australian Friends have received many expressions of concern from Friends around the world. Presiding Clerk Ann Zubrick has sent the attached letter on behalf of Australian Friends to Friends Everywhere, in response to these messages.
Richard Whiteford, a climate change consultant and member of Downingtown Friends Meeting, published an article in the latest World Ecology Report entitled “Effects of Climate Change Impacts on Humans” which discusses the 2019 Climate Summit and recent climate science and its communication to non-scientist audiences, and calls for unity and ambition to act on climate change before it is too late.
The Friends International Bilingual Center was set up by Quaker volunteers in Bolivia. It offers educational programmes for children, young people and adults focused on social concerns, spiritual growth and stewardship of creation which are all important Quaker Principles. The following document outlines a few actions undertaken and shares the climate change-specific context in Bolivia
During the final days of 2019 Quaker Summer Gatherings in Aotearoa/New Zealand invited Lindsey Fielder Cook (QUNO, Representative for Human Impacts of Climate Change) to speak on the work QUNO does regarding international climate change negotiations. Edited by Gray Southon, the recordings can be viewed here, and include themes such as the faith component of QUNO’s work, background on the history and mechanisms of climate negotiations, and what quiet diplomacy means.
On December 1st, 2019, the Sunday before COP25 in Madrid started, several organizations, including Quaker United Nations office, organized a Interfaith Dialogue and Service. Lindsey Fielder Cook and Detmer Yens Kremer were present for QUNO, Carmen Alcalde represented the Madrid Meeting. During the day many thoughts regarding the responsibility of faith communities to act on climate action urgently and with a united voice. Lindsey Fielder Cook spoke on a panel regarding faith perspectives on climate change, and Detmer Yens Kremer shared a poem by Anohni and guided those gathered in silence during the service itself.
On Saturday, the 22nd of February, Friends World Committee on Consultation organized a global online conference to bring together Friends around the theme of sustainability. This conference aimed to bring Quakers together without creating a large carbon footprint to determine where we stand as Quakers regarding sustainability, and how to move forward in ways that align with our faith and practices. To read more about what was shared, which ministries arose, and ways to move forward, click here.