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Speaking out

Speaking out on sustainability

As part of our commitment to becoming a low-carbon, sustainable community, Quakers have been speaking out about how environmental and economic injustices challenge our testimony.

QPSW is working with Friends across the country to call for political change for sustainability. QPSW can help meetings explore the sustainability crisis and find focuses for action. In 2014, we’re helping Friends find out and speak out in particular about the following issues.

Quakers for a green economy - 2012 demo
London Quakers calling for government support for the green economy

Facing the Challenge of Climate Change: A shared statement by Quaker groups

Quakers in Britain have put their named to a shared statement by Quaker Groups calling for  meaningful commitments on climate change by global leaders meeting in New York for the UN Climate Summit. Read the statement here.

For the Love of…

Quaker Peace & Social Witness is part of the For the Love of… campaign which is being organized through The Climate Coalition. Visit the website to find out more about how you or your meeting can get involved.

To find out how you or your local meeting can get involved in this campaign contact Maya Williams at or 020 7663 1056.

Quakers disinvest from fossil fuels

Quakers in Britain have agreed that their centrally-held funds should not be invested in fossil fuel extraction companies, and have produced a briefing to provide some ideas for action by individual Friends and meetings.

Energy Bill of Rights

Quaker Peace & Social Witness has recently endorsed Fuel Poverty Actions' Energy Bill of Rights which sets out principles on which a fairer, more affordable, sustainable energy system would be based. Find out more about the Energy Bill of Rights and how to get involved in the campaign

Ending fossil fuels dependency: A briefing

Quaker Peace & Social Witness is working with and on behalf of Friends to challenge dependency on fossil fuels in the UK. To achieve this we need to create pressure for change to government policies and our economy. You can find out more about fossil fuel dependency and about how the UK can build a more just and sustainable energy economy by reading QPSW’s new briefing: Ending Fossil Fuels Dependency [PDF - new window]

For hard copies of the briefing (including large print version) please contact Sunniva Taylor, Sustainability & Peace programme manager: 020 7663 1047.

Take action on the tar sands

Last year Friends across Britain and QPSW were very active in calling for tar sands fuel to be blocked from Europe. Oil extraction in the Canadian tar sands has been described as the most carbon-intensive and environmentally destructive industrial project in history. We were focused on ensuring that a piece of legislation proposed by the European Commission called the ‘Fuel Quality Directive’ (FQD) would label transport fuel from the tar sands as more carbon-intensive than conventional fuels. Due to the obligation on fuel suppliers to cut emissions, this would have effectively block tar sands fuel from EU markets.

You haven’t heard much from us about this in recent months because information about progress of the FQD was very sparse. However, as of November 2014 we have more information and it appears that the FQD will not help keep tar sands fuel from Europe as we’d hoped. In response to hard lobbying from the Canadian government and others the new proposal (which still needs to be approved by the European parliament) now counts fuel derived from tar sands in the same category as conventional oil, which means refiners will be freer to import large quantities of oil sands from Canada.

Open cast tar sands aerial view. Credit Kris Krug / CC
Open cast tar sands aerial view. Credit Kris Krug / CC


Read ‘Take action on the tar sands’ briefing from 2013 for more background information.

Please check back soon for updates, or sign up to our Earth and Economy email updates.

For more information about the tar sands, and how you and your meeting can take action, contact Sunniva Taylor, Sustainability & Peace Programme manager, on 020 7663 1047.

Taking action for a frack-free UK

Are you taking action against fracking? Or would you like to be? In September the Economics, Sustainability and Peace sub-committee of QPSW discerned that we should call for ‘an immediate cessation of the exploration and extraction of natural gas and oil from the UK’s shale formations’ for the primary reason that it undermines commitment to action on climate change. The committee also concluded that we should ‘also ask for active government support for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.’ We know that Fracking is something that Friends have been taking action on across the country from the protests at Balcome in 2013 to the Reclaim the Power camp in Blackpool this summer. Find out more about fracking and Quaker involvement in the Balcombe protests in 2013.

Staff are in the process of producing a written briefing on fracking. But we’d love to hear from you if you are already taking action or have taken a position on the issue as a meeting.

The Climate Coalition

QPSW is a member of The Climate Coalition (previously known as Stop Climate Chaos), a national coalition of organisations calling for urgent climate action by government. The coalition’s combined supporter base of more than 11 million people spans over 100 organisations, from environment and development charities to unions, and faith, community and women's groups.

The Robin Hood Tax

Quaker Peace & Social Witness is one of over 100 organisations backing the Robin Hood Tax Campaign.

The proposed RHT, (which is, more technically, referred to as a Financial Transaction Levy (FTL), would take the form of a 0.05% levy (50p in every £1000), applied internationally on a range of financial transactions such as the buying and selling of currencies, bonds and derivatives. The money raised would be divided with 50% being available for government use in the country of collection and 50% divided equally between climate change adaptation in developing and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Supporters claim that it could raise as much as $400 billion per year.