A Shared Quaker Statement: Facing the Challenge of Climate Change

- Posted by Quaker Earthcare Witness in Meetings Taking ActionQEW Position Statements,  | 6 min read
Large profile of tree in foreground with sun in background obscured by clouds and reddish sky
Fire Season by Kathy Barnhart

 [Last update: June 2017]  

“It would go a long way to caution and direct people in their use of the world, that they were better studied and knowing in the Creation of it. For how could [they] find the confidence to abuse it, while they should see the great Creator stare them in the face, in all and every part of it?”

William Penn, 1693

As Quakers, we are called to work for the peaceable Kingdom of God on the whole Earth, in right sharing with all peoples. We recognize a moral duty to cherish Creation for future generations.

We call on our leaders to make the radical decisions needed to create a fair, sufficient, and effective international climate change agreement.

As Quakers, we understand anthropogenic climate change (climate change due to human activities) to be a symptom of a greater challenge: how to live sustainably and justly on this Earth.

We recognize that the current rise of greenhouse gas emissions is leading to an unprecedented rate of increase in the global average surface temperature of extreme detriment to the Earth’s ecosystems and species, including human beings.

We recognize that catastrophic global climate change is not inevitable if we choose to act urgently.

We recognize a personal and collective responsibility to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable peoples now, and all our future generations, do not suffer as a consequence of our actions.  We see this as a call to conscience.

We recognize the connections between climate change and global economic injustice as well as unprecedented levels of consumption, and question assumptions of unlimited material growth on a planet with limited natural resources.

We recognize that most anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are created by fossil fuel combustion.  We recognize that our increasing population continues to pursue fossil fuel-dependent economic growth.  We recognize that the Earth holds more fossil fuel reserves than are safe to burn and that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we are to prevent the catastrophic consequences of climate change.  We, therefore, question profoundly the continued investment in and subsidizing, fossil fuel extraction.

We seek to nurture a global human society that prioritizes the well-being of people over profit, and lives in the right relationship with our Earth; a peaceful world with fulfilling employment, clean air and water, renewable energy, and healthy thriving communities and ecosystems.

As members of this beautiful human family, we seek meaningful commitments from our leaders and ourselves, to address climate change for our shared future, the Earth and all species, and the generations to come.  We see this Earth as a stunning gift that supports life.  It is our only home. Let us care for it together.

  • Quakers in Ghana
  • Quakers in Britain
  • Living Witness, UK
  • EcoQuakers Ireland
  • Quakers in Australia
  • Quakers in Denmark
  • Ireland Yearly Meeting
  • Norway Yearly Meeting
  • Quaker Service Australia
  • Canadian Yearly Meeting
  • Netherlands Yearly Meeting
  • Pacific Yearly Meeting, USA
  • Miami Friends Meeting, USA
  • Quaker Institute for the Future
  • Northern Yearly Meeting, USA
  • Lake Erie Yearly Meeting, USA
  • York Friends Meeting, PA, USA
  • Memphis Friends Meeting, USA
  • New York Yearly Meeting, USA
  • Storrs Friends Meeting, CT, USA
  • Quaker Concern for Animals, UK
  • Davis Friends Meeting, CA, USA
  • Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW)
  • Newtown Monthly Meeting, USA
  • Croton Valley Meeting, NY, USA
  • Valley Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Quakers in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • FWCC- Asia West Pacific Section
  • Cookeville Monthly Meeting, USA
  • Eugene Friends Meeting, OR, USA
  • Oak Park Friends Meeting, IL, USA
  • New England Yearly Meeting, USA
  • Winnipeg Monthly Meeting, Canada
  • Northside Friends Meeting, IL, USA
  • Duneland Friends Meeting, IN, USA
  • Lafayette Friends Meeting, IN, USA
  • Herndon Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Princeton Friends Meeting, NJ, USA
  • Patuxent Friends Meeting, MD, USA
  • Nashville Friends Meeting, TN, USA
  • Trenton Meeting of Friends, NJ, USA
  • Bethesda Friends Meeting, MD, USA
  • Honolulu Monthly Meeting, HI, USA
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting, CA, USA
  • Abingdon Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Baltimore Yearly Meeting, MD, USA
  • Frederick Friends Meeting, MD, USA
  • Humboldt Friends Meeting, CA, USA
  • Eau Claire Friends Meeting, WI, USA
  • Annapolis Friends Meeting, MD, USA
  • Mattaponi Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Santa Fe Monthly Meeting, NM, USA
  • Rochester Friends Meeting, MN, USA
  • Gettysburg Friends Meeting, PA, USA
  • Richmond Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Anchorage Friends Meeting, AK, USA
  • Geneva Monthly Meeting, Switzerland
  • Westtown Monthly Meeting, PN, USA
  • Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, UK
  • University Friends Meeting, WA, USA
  • Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, UK
  • Blacksburg Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Liskeard Local Meeting, Cornwall, UK
  • Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)
  • Midlothian Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Jacksonville Friends Meeting, FL, USA
  • Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting, OH, USA
  • Sacramento Friends Meeting, CA, USA
  • Twin Cities Friends Meeting, MN, USA
  • Gunpowder Friends Meeting, MD, USA
  • Homewood Friends Meeting, MD, USA
  • Haddonfield Monthly Meeting, NJ, USA
  • Langley Hill Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Chena Ridge Friends Meeting, AK, USA
  • Maury River Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Salmon Bay Friends Meeting, WA, USA
  • Belgium & Luxembourg Yearly Meeting
  • FWCC – Europe and Middle East Section
  • Northampton Friends Meeting, MA, USA
  • Prospect Hill Friends Meeting, MN, USA
  • Little Falls Meeting of Friends, MD, USA
  • Minneapolis Monthly Meeting, MN, USA
  • Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting, MD, USA
  • Monongalia Friends Meeting, WVA, USA
  • Santa Monica Monthly Meeting, CA, USA
  • Charlottesville Friends Meeting, VA, USA
  • Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting, MD, USA
  • Yellow Springs Friends Meeting, OH, USA
  • Dunnings Creek Friends Meeting, PA, USA
  • Whidbey Island Friends Meeting, WA, USA
  • Yonge Street Monthly Meeting, Ontario, CA
  • Delta Monthly Meeting, Stockton, CA, USA
  • Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC)
  • Edinburgh Universities’ Quaker Society, SCT
  • Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA)
  • American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
  • Quaker City Unity Friends Meeting, NH, USA
  • Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting, CA, USA
  • Société Religieuse des Amis (Quakers), France
  • Eggemoggin Reach Monthly Meeting, ME, USA
  • Mid-Ohio Valley Friends Meeting, OH/WV, USA
  • Baltimore Monthly Meeting, Stony Run, MD, USA
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
  • Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)
  • Goose Creek Monthly Meeting of Friends, VA, USA
  • South Central Yearly Meeting (TX, OK, AR, LA), USA

Please contact Lindsey Cook at lfcook@quno.ch if you need more information, or wish to add your Quaker group.

Latest signature update: June 2017

Dear Friends worldwide,

The Statement [above] was developed by Quaker Earthcare Witness, the Quaker United Nations Office, and Friends Committee on National Legislation for their joint presence at events during the UN Climate Summit in September 2014.

A number of fellow Quaker organizations wished to add their name, including FWCC, which sent the Statement out to Quaker communities worldwide. As a result, we continue to receive signatures which we add to the Statement, uploading the most recent versions onto the QEW, FCNL, and QUNO websites.   

The Statement was originally written as a ‘witness’ of our role in anthropogenic climate change.  Its aim was to inspire personal and community action; it was not meant to define a universal action, since the situation of Quakers worldwide is not universal.  However, QUNO has produced a booklet describing individual Quaker actions, A Call to Conscience, which is available on its website, and we encourage you to write if your Meeting commits to community-wide action.  We are also helping develop a resource for Quaker action on climate change.

The above Statement was revised in January 2015 to reflect the following concerns:  that it has longer life by being non-date specific to continue its relevance, and that the language be less anthropocentric and more strongly acknowledge the grave dangers we face from climate change.  It was revised in August 2015, to add the word ‘anthropogenic’ in clarifying the statement relating greenhouse gas emissions to the combustion of fossil fuels on the second page.

We have attempted to do this while holding to the core message that Quaker organizations and Meetings have already upheld and signed.

If you wish to add your Meeting to this Statement, please contact Lindsey Cook as suggested at the end of the Statement. 

If you do not wish to sign, but wish to use this material as a base for a Meeting-specific Statement, you are most welcome, but please take off the signatures.

In peace and with gratitude,


August 2015