"Try to live simply. A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford. Do you keep yourself informed about the effects your style of living is having on the global economy and environment?"
Advices and Queries 41
Quakers in previous centuries avoided excess. They dressed simply, didn't gamble and avoided alcohol. Quaker simplicity was reflected in the way early Quakers chose to worship. We still meet in silence with no formal sermon, hymns or prayers. Instead we wait to be moved by God to give 'spoken ministry'. Some Quaker meetings for worship can be entirely silent.
A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength.- Advices and Queries 41
Quakers continue to avoid the excess, complexity and inherent inequality of our modern consumer society. We try not to concern ourselves with obtaining wealth and material possessions. The desire for material gain not only consumes our time and attention, but can often be at the expense of others.
Simplicity has most recently found expression in our work on sustainability. Increasingly Quakers see the overuse of the world's natural resources as unnecessary and harmful to the planet.
Examples of recent and current projects include:
- In 2011 Quakers made 'The Canterbury Commitment'. This commits Quakers to take action collectively to build a 'low-carbon, sustainable community'.
- In 2013 Quakers in Britain were the first church in Britain to divest our centrally held money from fossil fuels. By divesting we help to question the morality of the fossil fuel industry and challenge its power.
- Current climate justice work focuses on 'loss and damage'. We campaign to compensate and support countries who are suffering the unavoidable effects of climate change. We are also working to push the UK government and financial institutions to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry.