EcoQuakers booklet to help Meetings become more sustainable

EcoQuakers Ireland has produced a booklet to help Quaker Meetings in Ireland become more sustainable in line with the commitment made at Ireland Yearly Meeting in April 2016 that each Meeting would develop a sustainability plan before January 2017.

Responding to IYM 2016 booklet coverThe booklet, Responding to IYM 2016: Living sustainably and fairly on this earth, aims to help each Meeting answer the call to live peacefully and sustainably, with a vision that emerges from their own Meeting.

What does your Meeting feel led to do? What does love require?

The Quaker testimonies of equality and peace are witness to our vision of a world grounded in love and in answering that of God in each other. They call for a transformation of the economic and political system, as well as the ending of the misuse of the Earth’s resources, which we recognise creates inequality, destroys community, affects health and wellbeing, leads to war and erodes our integrity.

Friends all over the world are – in the Quaker tradition – stepping out of their comfort zones to see where their lives may contain the seeds of war in relation to sustainability. As part of this, the 2016 Friends World Committee for Consultation World Quaker Gathering in Peru called on Yearly Meetings around the world to initiate at least two concrete actions on sustainability by January 2017. In response, IYM in Spring 2016 committed to divest from fossil fuels, and has asked all Meetings to develop a sustainability plan, no matter how simple, before January 2017.

The booklet, which you can see here, outlines two example sustainability plans to demonstrate how different they can be, and contains some possible actions under the categories of Energy and Transport, Food and Biodiversity, Consumption and Finances, Cultivating Community and Speaking Truth to Power. This process needs to be joyful and spirit-led, and the booklet contains only promptings to help you create your own vision for sustainability within your Meeting.

We hope you find the booklet inspiring, comforting and challenging, and we look forward to exploring each others’ experiences at IYM 2017. In the meantime, please get in touch if you’d like a member of the EcoQuaker committee to come and talk with your Meeting. More importantly, we must remember to be compassionate with ourselves and others as we hold each other accountable to this task. This challenge is as much a spiritual call as a material one, to act not in fear, but with hope and love.

EcoQuakers Ireland – Richard Bloomfield (Cork), Alice Clark (South Belfast), Lynn Finnegan (Coleraine), Fiona Murdoch (Rathfarnham), and Jane Touhey (Churchtown). The IYM representative to Eco-Congregation Ireland, Gillian Armstrong (Rathfarnham) is an ex-officio member.

Minute 39 of Ireland Yearly Meeting 2016:

Call to action on Sustainability from Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Plenary in Peru Claire Conboy-Stephenson has read the minute agreed at the FWCC Plenary in Peru urging the worldwide Quaker community to re-double its efforts in relation to sustainability. It calls on Yearly Meetings to initiate at least two concrete actions on sustainability by January 2017.

The Special Interest Group facilitated by Eco-Quakers Ireland has reflected on this and has proposed a number of actions. We agree to the following two actions:

1.To commit to making all the Meetings within Ireland Yearly Meeting as sustainable as possible, considering such factors as accessibility by public transport, energy efficiency, use of Fairtrade tea and coffee and use of organic and locally sourced food when possible. We ask Meetings to develop a sustainability plan, no matter how simple, before January 2017. We ask Ireland Yearly Meeting to take its sustainability plan into consideration when planning for its next Yearly Meeting.

2.To follow in the steps of FWCC by developing an investment strategy, by January 2017, to ethically invest all the funds within the Yearly Meeting in sustainable and peaceful companies, and divest from destructive industries, including fossil fuels.

We also ask all Meetings to consider how truth prospers with regard to sustainability, taking care to relate this to all of our testimonies – peace, simplicity, truth and equality.