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.
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.
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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The Crundale Press, Hillsborough NC (imprint).
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For further information please contact: TheCrundalePress@mindspring.com
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’.
An attender of Stourbridge and Hampstead Meetings, Britain, Rajan is very interested in exploring ways in which the powerful, core values of Quakerism might find better expression and implementation among Quakers and others. He believes a conscientious, proactive reduction in our routine exploitation of other animal species is one very good place to start.
Rajan warmly encourages everyone to find some small area of activism in their life and make that their own area of cultivation, development and exploration.
Read Rajan’s article here.
Today, and for the duration of the COP 24 we will be holding Friend Alan Burns in the light. Alan passed away on the 11th of November whilst carrying out a pilgrimage from the Vatican to Katowice. More information about Alan is available on his blog. To hear about the pilgrims who have continued their walk, more information is available on the Facebook page.
We thank Liz for writing this post and sharing it with us.
“Many of you know that my husband Alan Burns has been in Europe for the past several months on a pilgrimage to raise awareness about climate change. He and a group of fellow activists were walking from Rome to Katowice Poland in time for the Climate Conference. I received news Sunday morning that Alan had died while the pilgrims were in Slovenia. Please hold Alan, his family, and his friends in the light as we process this transition, and do whatever is in your power to continue his work to avert the worst catastrophe this planet has faced. Alan was a kind soul and a tireless worker for peace, justice, and equality; he lived his life as he hoped others would, and I think died doing exactly what he wanted to be doing – helping the save the world.”
We are grateful to Alan for his life and his unwavering light given to the important issue of climate change which is also close to our own hearts.
Quaker Earthcare Witness is a network of Friends in North America, Australia and elsewhere who are taking spirit-led action to address the ecological and social crises of the world from a spiritual perspective.
Australia Yearly Meeting’s Earthcare Committee
Australia Yearly Meeting’s Earthcare Committee shares insights and tools to better navigate and nourish in these times of change and global environmental challenge.
The AYM Earthcare Committee meets regularly to listen and respond to our local natural world, as well as tending to national considerations. We are aware that so many are doing so much to learn and teach about the earth’s troubles, that everyone is responding with care for our earth’s concerns, and we seek ways to bring about healing, and support earthcare initiatives.
To read the Australia Yearly Meeting Earthcare Statement go here: https://www.quakersaustralia.info/Earthcare
Australia Yearly Meeting’s Earthcare Committee Newsletters
The Earthcare Committee’s Newsletter are offered as opportunities, aimed at giving us time and space to reflect on the footprints we leave on this earth and how we might walk more mindfully on our land. The newsletters may be found here: https://www.quakersaustralia.info/Earthcare/earthcare-invitation-newsletters-0
Earthcare Witness Publications
Quaker Earthcare Witness produces a quarterly print and online publication, BeFriending Creation, that highlights Friends’ Earthcare concerns through articles, interviews, book reviews and news items.
QEW has also produced dozens of pamphlets on environmental concerns, including issues of peace, spirituality, population, climate change, energy, sustainability, eco-justice, money simplicity, food, and water. They are downloadable and can be shared with your Meeting.
A few highlights include:
- Eco-Justice: Ecological Responsibility Linked with Social Justice
- Talking about Climate Change: A Practical Guide
- Contemplative Action in the Time of Climate Change
Quaker Earthcare Witness also offers matching $500 grants for Earthcare projects in your Quaker community.
BeFriending Creation is published quarterly: January-February-March, April-May-June, July-August-September, October-November-December.
Submissions are welcomed from readers!