April 25, Ann Arbor, Michigan
To Friends Everywhere: The Sustainability: Faith and Action Working Group of Quaker Earthcare Witness developed some challenges,which are recommendations for Friends’ Churches and Meetings throughout North America. We ask local Friends’ fellowships and Yearly Meetings to prayerfully examine these challenges and to explore ways to act upon part or all of them. These are suggested actions to encourage Friends to set an example of active service in behalf of the many free gifts that we receive from God’s Creation. We encourage these actions as a witness to those outside of our Churches and Meetings.
I. Challenges at Home
A) We ask all Meetings that have land to landscape with native plantings that promote natural ecosystems. An important beginning to this ministry would be to establish a patch of native plants favored by pollinators and other beneficial insects. Given that in a transition to a carbon-free future we need to grow locally, have urban gardens, and be prepared to feed ourselves, we recommend inclusion of edible native plants in the Meeting’s landscape. QEW will provide instructions and suggested links on our website.
B) We ask that all Friends’ Houses of Worship, (which are able to in their locality) shift from non-renewable to renewable electricity suppliers by 2016, that we may serve as models and examples, showing our willingness to welcome the transition to a low carbon world. All Friends are encouraged to do the same. Your local power company may offer the ability to buy energy from renewable sources. This is also possible through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). By switching to solar or wind, many meetings could eventually redirect their resources away from utility bills to immediate needs and other projects that further Kingdom work.
II. Regional and State Challenges
We ask regional Meetings to develop a plan of action to encourage their state or province to hold the highest possible standard to address the risks of climate change and protect our health and environment now and for future generations. We know that the United States and Canada are two of largest carbon polluters and that the US-EPA has proposed a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants. Each US state will be required to craft its own plan to meet the new emissions standards by 2016
· Identify your state or province’s current climate change plan.
· Compare it to the 100% renewable plan proposed by the Solutions Project
· Identify and reach out to other faith and community partners
· Create the space for dialogue and negotiation with policy makers
· Prepare a minute of support for the state plan which reflects the urgent need to lower carbon pollution.
· Discern what form of witness will most effectively make visible our deep commitment to protecting the commonwealth of life now and in the future
III. National and International Challenges
We ask that all Yearly and Monthly Meetings address the moral dimension of investments in fossil fuels and consider reinvestment options that reflect your Meetings’ values. This call for divestment includes freezing any new investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies with the largest reserves and committing to shift any current fossil fuel investments over the next 5 years to investments that better reflect Friends’ testimonies. As many Meetings do not hold investments, consider a Minute in support of divestment as well as holding discussions about how individuals can divest. To see the Minute written by Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting in California, visit http://www.quakerearthcare.org/article/strawberry-creek-monthly-meeting-minute-climate-change-and-divestment
Blessings and peace to all