Quakers in Britain join Global Climate Strike

By agency reporter
September 18, 2019

Greta Thunberg – welcomed with a standing ovation to Friends House in April – and a global network of young activists have invited adults to take part in a global strike for the climate, inspired by their 'Fridays for Future' school strikes.

The strike day on Friday 20 September 2019 will begin a week of action calling on political leaders to take urgent action to avert climate breakdown. Pupils and students around the world will leave lessons and lectures to take part.

Quakers in Britain have issued a statement of support thanking the youth strikers, who include many young Quakers, for their leadership. Staff members are permitted to take part in the day of action, to use the opportunity to join local protests or volunteer for local environmental projects. The statement says:

“We are facing climate breakdown. The impacts are already fanning the flames of war, injustice and ecological destruction around the world. Those who have done the least to create this crisis are being hit hardest. Yet as a faith community that values all human life and the planet we share, we take hope and inspiration from a global movement demanding urgent climate action. Together, we must hold those in power to account and build a truly sustainable and just economy.

“Quakers in Britain uphold those taking part in and supporting the Global Climate Strikes, including our staff members. To confront our climate crisis we must question business as usual. We thank the youth strikers for their leadership for this day of action."

Speaking at an interfaith climate event in June, seventeen year old Quaker Anya Ramamurthy, a member of the UK Student Climate Network, called on people of faith to join her in the global strike.

Speaking about the role of faith in climate activism, she said to confront our climate crisis “we need to voice our views, loud and clear, be active and engage politically. We all must confront the injustice and hold our leaders to account. We must build the world as we want to see it. God is within every one of us and therefore we must act like it."

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain, said “Young people and workers should not have to strike to demand leadership on climate change. But with our Westminster parliament shutdown and politicians arguing among themselves over Brexit, it appears necessary for us to stop business as usual and make our voices heard. As a faith group, we are part of a growing, inspiring movement for climate justice. In the face of climate breakdown, it brings us hope."

In May, the UK government committed to cut UK emissions to 'net-zero' by 2050 in order to end its contribution to climate change. Quakers in Britain are among many campaign and faith groups who have called on the government for an earlier target and to commit to urgent policies and investment to achieve it.

With little focus on the climate crisis in Westminster due to the Brexit deadline and parliamentary prorogation, campaigners have called on devolved governments to show climate leadership. St Andrews Quaker Joyce Taylor says, “Quakers in Scotland believe that the Climate Change Bill offers an opportunity for Scotland to be a leader by adopting the more ambitious target of 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030."

On Thursday, she joined campaigners in Edinburgh to hand in a petition to the Scottish parliament ahead of the stage 3 debate on Climate Change (Emissions Targets) Bill on 25 September.

The note stated that, while Scotland's declaration of a climate emergency is a positive step forward, politicians must use the Bill to sign commitment to action into law. Campaigners are pushing for a commitment to further action in the crucial next decade, with an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

*  Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

* Quakers in Britain https://www.quaker.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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