Quakers call for bold national climate policy

Quakers in Britain and Friends World Committee for Consultation are today (8 October) bringing together faith leaders and representatives from the Buddhist, Brahma Kumaris, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Quaker communities for an interfaith celebration of sustainable living. They are meeting as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C delivers a sharp message that the world must act now to avoid climate catastrophe.


Placards say climate justice
Standing up for climate justice. Photo: Mike Pinches for BYM

Faith and religious communities worldwide are signalling an escalation of their climate commitments in response to the release of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. The report shows the world lagging dangerously far behind the emissions reductions needed to avert catastrophic levels of climate change.

The latest findings highlight the importance of changes in human behaviour and lifestyles alongside strong governance, policy and finance for a chance to hold global mean surface temperature (GMST) to 1.5°C. According to the IPCC report, “In the US and Europe, greenhouse gas emissions are lower when legislators have strong environmental records".


As people of faith we are motivated to sustain life on earth.

- Gretchen Castle Friends World Committee for Consultation


Guests at the interfaith celebration will share a vegan meal, created by Friends House Hospitality Ltd. This recognises the potential impact of plant-based diets on emissions reductions, when followed on global scales. The latest IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C finds that “dietary shifts could contribute one-fifth of the mitigation needed to hold warming below 2°C".

During the evening guests will hear inspiring and personal testimonies from people of faith on their journey with sustainable living, including Harfiyah Haleem of IFEES EcoIslam & Muslim Women's Collective, Tower Hamlets, Dr Ruth Valerio of Tearfund, Dr Laura Miller of Eco Synagogues and Andrea Hosfeld of the London branch of Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement.

Ahead of the event, Juliet Prager, Deputy Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain, said:

“Quakers always welcome opportunities to work with other faith groups. Recently we've worked together to engage our government on the UK's climate policy, and make our case for strong climate ambition. As the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C makes clear, we need strong leadership on climate change, bold policies, and large-scale investment in a green economy. Locally, people of all faiths and none are taking action - but that can only be transformative in the right policy context."


Dietary shifts could contribute one-fifth of the mitigation needed to hold warming below 2°C

- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report


Gretchen Castle, General Secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation, said:

“As people of faith, we are motivated by a spiritual imperative to sustain life on earth. Quakers are among those who recognise a personal and collective responsibility to take action so that the poorest and most vulnerable people do not suffer as a consequence of our actions.

“Tonight we are sharing learnings and celebrating our sustainability journeys across our diverse faith communities. People of faith worldwide have the potential to achieve significant reductions in levels of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions.Together we call on the government to demonstrate strong leadership and climate ambition to ensure a 1.5°C future."

This global Week of Living the Change runs from 7-14 October 2018.

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