EcoQuakers Ireland is a committee of Ireland Yearly Meeting that supports Quaker Meetings in their efforts to live peacefully and sustainably.
EcoQuakers believe that care for the environment is an integral part of the Quaker tradition and links closely with the Quaker testimonies of peace, simplicity, truth and equality.
EcoQuakers have compiled a useful list of Sustainable and Eco-friendly Goods and Services in Ireland. You are encouraged to consult this list and to incorporate ethical and sustainable purchasing practices into your own lives and the spending of your Meetings.
EcoQuakers have produced a booklet Regenerating Our Common Home – Quaker Considerations for Restoration and Protection of the Environment. They did this in response to Yearly Meetings Committee Minute 20.71, which called on Friends to:
• Acknowledge a climate and biodiversity emergency
• Apply the test of sustainability to all our decisions, at all levels
The Regenerating Our Common Home booklet follows on from an earlier publication EcoQuakers produced to support Quaker Meetings in drawing up sustainability plans – Responding to IYM 2016: Living sustainably and fairly on this earth.
It is hoped that this new booklet will encourage Meetings to return to the sustainability plans they originally created in response to IYM 2016 Minute 40 and update them, hopefully with more ambitious goals and targets. Suggestions are to examine the insulation and sustainable energy potential of our Meeting Houses.
EcoQuakers also made a video Quakers: The Spiritual Journey of Earthcare, which may be viewed here.
In July 2020 EcoQuakers held an online conference, Reimagining Society Sustainably. You can see a recording of the event here.
Eco Quakers and the Ireland Yearly Meeting Investment Committee produced a booklet to promote an ethical investment policy for Quaker Meetings in Ireland and for IYM Funds. You can see the booklet here and a letter EcoQuakers wrote to accompany the booklet here.
What are the aims of EcoQuakers Ireland?
1) To provide a Quaker input into environmental and related social and economic challenges in Ireland;
2) To encourage Friends and Meetings to become better informed about these issues, and to address them with greater confidence and conviction;
3) To connect with similar initiatives in other Yearly Meetings and like-minded organisations.
Facing the Challenge of Climate Change
EcoQuakers believe that the need to tackle climate change – at personal, community, national and global level – is extremely urgent.
In March 2019 the committee wrote to political leaders both sides of the border urging them to take immediate action on the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. You can read here the letter sent to Minister Richard Bruton, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment in the Republic. A similar letter was sent to all the political parties in Northern Ireland.
EcoQuakers made a submission to the Citizens Assembly in 2017. You can read it here – EcoQuaker submission to Citizens Assembly
EcoQuakers Ireland and Ireland Yearly Meeting are among Quaker groups throughout the world that have signed up to a shared statement on climate change. You can read the statement here.
Following the commitment made by Ireland Yearly Meeting in April 2016* to
a) become as sustainable as possible and b) to ethically invest all funds in sustainable and peaceful companies and to divest from destructive industries, including fossil fuels
each Preparative Meeting was asked to draw up a Sustainability Plan that would include such factors as: maximising energy efficiency, accessibility by public transport, recycling and composting, use of Fairtrade refreshments and eco-friendly cleaning products, ensuring funds are ethically invested, creating wildlife-friendly environments and developing edible landscapes.
EcoQuakers Ireland produced a booklet – Responding to IYM 2016: Living sustainably and fairly on this earth – to help each Meeting draw up a Sustainability Plan.
Most Meetings had drawn up their plans by IYM2017. You can see the plans here – Ireland’s Quaker Meetings Sustainability Plans 2017. You can also see a useful leaflet developed by Roscrea Meeting here – Sustainability leaflet – Roscrea meeting.
Meet the EcoQuakers Committee!
The present members are: Brían Ó Súilleabháin, Jane Touhey and Tom O’Connor (Churchtown), Feidhlim Harty and Kate Harty (Limerick), Kerry Nicholson, Alexey Janes and Laoise Corrigan (South Belfast). The IYM representative to Eco-Congregation Ireland, Fran Brady (Dublin Meeting), is an ex-officio member.
How do I find out more about EcoQuakers?
- Email the current Convenor, Brían Ó Súilleabháin, at email@example.com
- Come along to our Special Interest Group at Ireland Yearly Meeting!
How did EcoQuakers begin?
The EcoQuakers Ireland Committee has its origins in a concern brought to Ireland Yearly Meeting in 2008 by Natasha Harty (Cork) and Tony Weekes (South Belfast) under the title ‘Caring for Creation – what canst thou do?’ EcoQuakers Ireland became a recognised committee of Ireland Yearly Meeting in 2009.
* Minute 40 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.