Building a low-carbon, sustainable community
In early August 2011, 1,500 Quakers came together in Canterbury for Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) and made a corporate commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community.
You can read the Epistle from YMG here [PDF].
Read minute 36 of YMG explains what the decision means in more detail and minute 23 on economic justice is also informative. See the full minutes here [PDF].
The actions Friends have been asked to take include the practical, political and spiritual and are about both personal and corporate action, across the Yearly Meeting. Friends are asked if we can reconnect with our roots, to live a religious life and proclaim a message the world needs to hear.
Meeting for Sufferings have been asked by the Yearly Meeting to work with area meetings and staff to define appropriate aims for our corporate commitment. They will ask relevant committees to undertake projects to turn the decision into positive action. This will take time, but this discernment process means that we take the right decisions for our community. These decisions will be publicised as and when they are made.
Area meetings have been given tasks too, and individual Friends are deeply challenged by the minute.
What can you do?
There are many things individual Friends and meetings can do already to help build our low carbon sustainable community, and to help discern what this community might look like. Below is a list of suggested actions by Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW), as well as some initiatives by other Quaker organisations and area meetings.
The ideas cover sustainability, economics and peace. A sustainable community is one that is economically just as well as low carbon. By living sustainably we help to build a peaceful world.
If you have 2 minutes
- Sign up to Quakernomics, the QPSW blog for people seeking a fair economy for people and planet. There is a special thread for matters discussed at YMG.
- ‘Like’ the SustainableQuakers page on facebook, and join the discussion.
- Sign up to receive Sustainability…for Peace, a biannual newsletter and regular e-update list for Friends with a concern for sustainability.
- Sign up to receive Better World Economics, a three times yearly newsletter produced by QPSW for Quakers interested in economics.
- Request a copy of the ‘Quakers and Sustainability’ display for your meeting. This 8 A3 panel display explores Quaker concern with sustainability and highlights some of the action that is already being taken. Contact Sunniva Taylor, QPSW Sustainability for Peace programme manager for a copy (email@example.com or 02076631047).
If you have 5 minutes
- Read ‘A Quaker response to Climate Change’, a corporate statement agreed at YMG 2009.
- Read Green Advices & Queries. Resources are also available here to help you understand and reflect on the scientific, social, political and economic challenges posed by climate change.
- Read ‘350 Years On – The Peace Testimony Today’
- Read inspiring stories about what Friends around the UK are already doing to live more sustainably.
- Listen to Suzanne Ismail, QPSW Economic Issues programme manager, talking about Quaker work on ethical trade at YMG, or read a transcript of what she said here
- Order an audio copy of the Swarthmore lecture, entitled ‘Costing not less than everything: sustainability and spirituality in challenging times’ from Woodbrooke and/or get a copy of the accompanying book from the Quaker Bookshop.
- Read Building Sustainability, Building Peace briefing which explores the connections between sustainability and peace.
- Browse the presentations and audio files from 2 major QPSW events ‘Equality, Prosperity and Growth’ and ‘A Zero Growth Economy? What would it mean for us all?’
- Read Sustainable Security: A briefing for Friends which explores what the real threats to global security are.
As a Meeting
- Use the Sustainability Toolkit and Climate impact calculators.
- Read and explore as a group the questions in the QPSW Responding to Climate Change pack
- Hold some all age events on sustainability. See relevant editions of Journeys in the Spirit for many ideas
- Think about your money. Consider whether or not your Meeting’s money is being used in a way that promotes right relationship. Perhaps you could hold a special meeting during National Ethical Investment week to involve the whole meeting in considering this? For more information and resources see ‘Money in a low-carbon, sustainable community’ an article written for issue 18 of QPSW’s Better World Economics newsletter.
- Think about any employees or contractors you may have. Are they paid at least a living wage? Do they feel empowered to raise any concerns or join a trade union?
- Is your Meeting registered as a Fairtrade place or worship? If not, see these details from the Fairtrade Foundation.
- Join Living Witness. Living Witness aims to support the development of Quaker corporate witness to sustainable living and explore ways of taking it to the wider community in Britain and elsewhere
Supporting the work
As well as taking action please consider donating to sustain our existing commitments and to enable QPSW to support the decisions of the Yearly Meeting.