News from Quakers in Ireland…
— Quakers in Ireland (@QuakerIreland) July 23, 2018
— Quakers in Britain (@BritishQuakers) July 13, 2018
Three Friends from Luton Meeting attended the Carnival of Resistance in London on Friday protesting at the visit of Donald Trump to the UK. It was right that we did so. We were struck by the diversity of groups that joined the march. Climate change activists, anti-racists, women’s rights campaigners, political parties, faith groups…
— Faith & Resistance (@FandRnetwork) July 10, 2018
A person that we met and walked with for a time explained that this was her first ever demonstration, but she had been moved to act, encouraged by her daughter, to take part because Trump is terrifyingly wrong on so many fronts. She had deliberately sought out Quakers to be with because they would act peacefully and appropriately on the demo, she said.
— Quakers in Britain (@BritishQuakers) July 13, 2018
On Saturday at the Quaker Meeting House in Harpenden there was an inspiring talk for the United Nations Association by Tobi Wellner from Quaker Peace and Social Witness – about brave and talented activists for social justice, in East Africa, especially in communities in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya. Their work, based in non-violence, is difficult and sometimes very dangerous. They operate according to the Seven Principles of the Quaker programme Turning the Tide, three of which are:
British Quakers stand with people in the US who are working to resist the climate chaos and racism of Donald Trump's policies. We need leaders of intergrity, in the US and the UK. #TrumpUKvisit pic.twitter.com/7DlXG6prm0
— Earth and Economy (@EarthEconQuaker) July 13, 2018
Tens of thousands of people had come together in London to make a powerful statement to the most powerful person in the world. Many of the slogans on the placards and banners rejected Trump utterly or were personally abusive.
“Build bridges not walls”, and the frequent “Love trumps Hate” if read as much more than a play on the name, were two that might be in tune with the thought that Donald Trump too is capable of change. And that the tide of the world can be turned.
Quaker Colin from Luton Meeting
We are pleased to welcome Charlie Dicker and Caroline Sargent as our new caretakers. They have been appointed following several months of being without a caretaker. A big thanks to all our friends who pulled together to keep the meeting house functioning and worked so hard during this interim period.
They can be contacted on 01582 520560.
Date for your diary…
A short video from NPR in the US about how Quakers advocated the price tag…
Quaker witness have a series of podcasts that are worth a listen…
The BBC highlights Nottingham Quakers and their silent podcasts…
Like Quakers nationally, Luton Quakers have now signed up to the COP 23 Interfaith Climate statement :
To all members of the human family and to leaders gathered at COP23:
We extend our warm greetings. We represent the world’s family of spiritualities, faiths and religions who share a profound gratitude for our precious planet.
Earth is a blessing. She supports life and is the basis of all our economies. She conveys beauty and evokes our recognition of something greater than ourselves. She is our temple, our mosque, our sanctuary, our cathedral. Our home.
Our actions now threaten the delicate balance of life on Earth, with climate change posing a most grave danger. Record numbers of severe storms, droughts, fires, and related catastrophes leave trauma and grief in their wake. Recent months have witnessed the tragedy of such occurrences in the Caribbean, the US, and India. We shudder over the enormity of this suffering and over what more lies ahead.
For thousands of years, our traditions have taught us to care for Earth. This responsibility has become urgent in recent decades. Our misuse of Earth’s generosity, while improving conditions for many, is not improving them for all and is fraying the web of life. The most vulnerable among us, those least responsible for this global threat, suffer the impacts of a warming climate unfairly and unjustly.
We have begun to respond, raising consciousness and starting to consume more sustainably. We have implored leaders to act. We have studied, prayed and petitioned, advocated, marched and mobilized. We have awakened to the urgent challenge and begun to change our ways.
However, we are at a crossroads. The Paris Agreement affirmed limiting temperature rise to well below 2⁰C, while pursuing efforts to a far safer 1.5⁰C limit. Our friends from Fiji and small island states, understanding the stakes and underscoring the science, have told us “1.5 to stay alive.” Yet we are currently headed for warming of 3⁰C or more, perilously beyond this limit
This challenge is both dire and urgent. It calls for us to act.
As religious and spiritual leaders, we are committing to make changes in our own lives, and to support the members of our communities in doing the same. Together, we come to you with an invitation to embark on a journey towards compassionate simplicity for the sake of the climate, the human family, and the community of life. For many of us, changes in three areas make the greatest impact: dramatically reducing emissions from our home energy use, adopting a plant-based diet and reducing food waste, and minimizing automobile and air travel. Because of the gravity of our situation, substantial and long-term changes in these areas are indispensable if we are to reach a 1.5⁰C future, particularly for those of us in communities whose carbon footprints exceed sustainable levels. We pledge our commitment to such change.
Through this collective effort, we look forward to creating a global community of conscience and practice in which we learn to put belief into action in relation to our own lifestyles. Our spiritual and faith communities will give us hope and companions for this journey. We will share ideas, materials, and stories of struggle and success. Our practices of mindfulness, spiritual discipline and prayer will enable us to grow. These ancient teachings and practices, and our renewed commitments and willingness to strive, will help us build pathways towards a sustainable future.
We wish to be clear that we understand that systemic change is required to solve this crisis. We will continue to advocate for the policies that are so urgently needed. However, we also believe that individual commitments and behaviors are as important in addressing climate change as they are in addressing poverty, racism, and other grave social ills. And we know that our spiritualities and traditions offer wisdom about finding happiness in a purposeful life, family and friendships, not in an overabundance of things. The world needs such wisdom; it is our privilege both to share and to seek to embody it.
We invite you to join the many others willing to walk this path by adding your name to this document, and by preparing to make commitments in the three areas named above. The diverse groups coming together in this moment will reach out to invite you to become involved in a programme of support and action which will take shape over the coming year.
Let us pray and hope we can come together in love for each other, those who suffer from climate change, future generations, and planet Earth.
Let us commit to walk gently on Earth.