Quakers call for new priorities and action on climate change

By agency reporter
August 27, 2009

Quakers in Britain are calling for governments to change priorities and take radical steps to avert climate change, and are "redoubling efforts to reduce our carbon footprint."

The Religious Society of Friends says: "Quakers have long been known for encouraging simplicity and finding alternative paths to conflict resolution other than warfare, but the threat of climate change gives a new urgency to their call."

The Quaker Living Witness Project offers an audit to measure carbon footprints on www.livingwitness.org.uk/ Cotteridge Meeting in Birmingham used the audit to green its meeting house. Their steps for change included changing electricity providers, installing air-sourced heat pumps, double glazing and dry lining solid walls. They have cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent.

The Quakers’ call for action and commitment is summed up in a statement to be sent to world leaders ahead of the United Nations Conference in Copenhagen. The statement, endorsed recently by Quakers’ annual gathering in York, urges the commitment for change and declares:

“The crisis of global climate change represents a supreme test of humanity's collective wisdom and courage. Many of the poorest people are already suffering changed climate; they are asking us all to act. The Earth is God’s work and not ours to do with as we please. We recall Gandhi’s saying, often quoted by Quakers: ‘Live simply that others may simply live’. Climate change is challenging us to ask anew what our faith leads us to do.

“We call for unprecedented international cooperation to enable the large cuts in global emissions which are required. This will be a difficult road to travel but we are prepared to support decision-makers in taking the radical steps necessary."

The statement continues, “An inequitable global agreement on climate change could lead to forced migrations and serious conflict. Any agreement must put the world's poorest first; it falls to richer countries to bear the greater burden of responsibility for change. The goal is achievable but priorities will need to change: currently, the majority of states commit more resources to warfare than to tackling climate change."

It concludes, “Our faith in common humanity gives hope; love, rather than fear, can still lead us through this crisis.”

The statement will be sent to world leaders from a major gathering in November 2009 in Windsor, England. The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) is working together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to enable faiths to launch seven-year long term Plans to Protect the Living Planet.

Quakers will also host an open meeting at Friends House in London from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 4 November. 'Climate change: we can change!' will be an opportunity to hear from leading United Nations, scientific and religious figures, ahead of the Copenhagen climate change conference.

The aim is to draw together faith and secular organisations in a meeting that will include presentations, music and discussion. Entrance will be free but those interested in attending are urged to register in advance at www.quaker.org.uk

The Quakers Living Witness Project offers ways to check your carbon footprint on www.livingwitness.org.uk/

'Walk Cheerfully, Step Lightly, one hundred ways to green your life' is available in *.PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format at: http://www.livingwitness.org.uk/home_files/wcsl.pdf

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