“Only when we see that we are part of the totality of the planet, not a superior part with special privileges, can we work effectively to bring about an earth restored to wholeness.”
– Elizabeth Watson
Who We Are
Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) is the largest network of Friends (Quakers) working on Earthcare today. We work to inspire Spirit-led action toward ecological sustainability and environmental justice.
QEW has grown out of a strong leading among Friends that our future depends on a spiritual transformation in our relationships with each other and the natural world. For over 30 years, we have helped Friends in North America integrate Earthcare into their daily lives.
As our communities are being impacted more and more by the climate crisis, we feel an urgent leading to share our witness.
What We Do
- Empower individuals to take Spirit-led action on ecological concerns and build a community of Quaker committed to Earthcare
- Share spiritual and educational resources with faith communities
- Connect Friends caring for the Earth
- Speak out as a public Quaker voice about critical ecological concerns and environmental justice
Our Vision & Witness
WE ARE CALLED to live in right relationship with all Creation, recognizing that the entire world is interconnected and is a manifestation of God.
WE WORK to integrate into the beliefs and practices of the Religious Society of Friends the Truth that God’s Creation is to be respected, protected, and held in reverence in its own right, and the Truth that human aspirations for peace and justice depend upon restoring the earth’s ecological integrity.
WE PROMOTE these Truths by being patterns and examples, by communicating our message, and by providing spiritual and material support to those engaged in the compelling task of transforming our relationship to the earth.
Some Friends may choose different language to describe their personal reasons for supporting or sharing in the work of Quaker Earthcare Witness. All are welcome who seek to further QEW’s programs and activities.
How We Work
We are a volunteer-led organization guided by a 50-person Steering Committee that uses Quaker process and decision-making to guide our work. Our Steering Committee is comprised of at-large members and nominated representatives from Quaker Yearly Meetings (regional groups) in North America. The day-to-day work is done by staff.
Our broader network includes thousands of Friends and hundreds of Quaker meetings and churches who read our newsletter, attend our events, share our educational resources with their communities, and connect together on social media. We also collaborate with Quaker partner organizations, the broader environmental justice movement, and faith-based networks.
Shelley combines her lifelong love of nature with many years of environmental advocacy and research. She has served as staff and a board member of QEW, Quaker Institute for the Future, Earthlight Magazine and many other non-profit organizations. She is an environmental scientist with a focus on air quality. Shelley lives in the San Francisco area and is a member of Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting.Contact by email
Hayley is passionate about the relationships between ecology, economy, and faith. Her professional and personal endeavors reflect this, as well as her interests in grassroots activism, solidarity economics, radical hospitality, and popular education. Originally from Connecticut, Hayley spent almost six years working in Mexico City at the historic Quaker center for peace and international understanding, Casa de los Amigos, and now worships with Friends in Santa Fe, NM.Contact by email
Emily is deeply rooted in Christian mysticism and is nearing completion of a Master's in Divinity from Earlham School of Religion. She believes in listening to the still, small voice and committing to hopeful action. She lives with her dog in Columbus, Ohio and is a member of North Columbus Friends Meeting.Contact by email
Fall 2022 Steering Committee
October 20 @ 5:00 pm ET - October 23 @ 5:00 pm ET
Join Quaker Earthcare Witness' Fall 2022 Steering Committee Meeting.
QEW gathers twice a year to conduct business and enjoy fellowship with each other. Our fall 2022 meeting will be held online using the video conferencing platform Zoom. All Steering Committee members are encouraged to attend and we welcome visitors for any or all of our sessions.
More details and the agenda will be forthcoming.
QEW Bioneers - For the Love of Earth: QEW talks on Eco-spirituality, Environmental Justice, Biodiversity, Population, and What does it all mean for Us.
October 22 @ 4:00 pm ET - October 23 @ 3:20 pm ET
Join us for a special part of QEW's Steering Committee, where we sample 5 different Earthcare topics facilitated by our talented Steering Committee members. Each of these speakers is available to come to your Meeting/Church (via Zoom). You can attend all 5, or pick and choose according to your interests and time.
Saturday, October 22nd (All times Eastern)
4:00 – 5:00 Introduction
Living in Right Relationship with the Living World: Mary Ann Percy The bad news is coming fast now–nearly on a daily basis it seems we’re hearing of another climate-related disaster, another breakdown in Earth’s and Life’s support system–the web seems to be unraveling…How not to become paralyzed by despair? What does Friends’ Faith and Practice, and specifically our Testimonies, have to offer us for both understanding and addressing these many challenges which face us? How may we come to live in Right Relationship with the Living World, respecting and supporting the inherent integrity of the Earth community?! The content will be largely experiential, and also include a brief presentation, and opportunities for reflection and worship-sharing. Be prepared to sit outside for about 20 minutes, although indoor options will also be available.
5:10 – 6:10
Restoring Life and Hope: Renewing Biodiversity, Mind, Body and Spirit: Jim Kessler I will share powerful and inspiring stories, illustrated with colorful photos, of how creating native plant habitat has positively impacted the mental, physical, and spiritual health of our Quaker family. The presentation also describes how songbird, pollinator, and wildlife populations have dramatically increased in response to the introduction of native plants onto the property. My goal is to motivate others to plant butterfly gardens and larger native plant habitats to confront the extinction crisis. Loss of biodiversity can be reversed by the actions of ordinary people. Handouts will be provided for participants that explain how to plan, plant, and maintain publicly acceptable native plant butterfly gardens and habitats.
7:10 – 8:10
Environmental Justice: A Conversation with Beverly Ward and Shelley Tanenbaum, hosted by Hayley Hathaway Shelley and Beverly will share about the connections between racial justice, eco-spirituality, economics, and peace. What are some examples of environmental justice in our communities? What do institutional racism and other forms of oppression have to do with the environment and environmental justice? What is our role as Friends committed to Earthcare?
Sunday, October 23rd
1:10 – 2:10
Population and the Environment: Dick Grossman and Stan Becker The world population grew from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 8 billion in 2022 and we’re adding about 200,000 persons per day. Humans have invaded virtually every ecosystem on the planet and our activities are leading to rapid diminishment and extinction of species. Our ecological impact is the impact of the average person multiplied by the number of persons.
To be sustainable on this planet we must reduce both our individual impact and our numbers. QEW has multiple ‘pamphlets’ (on the website) on population concerns including sexuality, adoption, abortion, immigration, “Human reproduction is in the commons”, etc. With presentation, queries and worship-sharing we will probe these concerns.
2:20 – 3:20
Building Community By Listening: Mary Jo Klingel Listening and tracking process are two of the essential skills we need to master for community building. We will hear about and then practice both skills, and learn ways they can benefit our work for our Earth.
Ecological Grief: Engaging with the Emotional Impacts of Climate Change
October 25 @ 7:00 pm ET
Ecological grief is all around us, whether we recognize it or not, we all carry it with us. Buddhist writer Joanna Macy writes, “Feeling pain for the world is as natural to us as the food and air we draw upon to fashion who we are. That pain is the price of consciousness in a threatened and suffering world. It is not only natural, it is an absolutely necessary component of our collective healing. The problem, therefore, lies not with our pain for the world, but in our repression of it.”
This 90 minute experiential workshop is an introduction to the phenomenon of ecological-grief—what it is, how to engage with it, and why it’s important. We’ll explore those tender places in our own hearts where ecological grief dwells and offer them sacred attention.
Engaging in the grief process in a spiritual community supports resiliency and helps us be more deeply attuned to the actions we are called to take.
Gayle Matson is a member of Chico (CA) Friends Meeting and co-clerk of the Pacific Yearly Meeting Unity with Nature Committee. A former clinical social worker and psychotherapist, she became interested in the phenomenon of ecological grief after moving to Chico in 2018—two months before the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history. Since then, she has focused on the emotional impacts of climate change and has co-facilitated eco-grief groups for a faith-based climate action organization.
Hayley Hathaway is Quaker Earthcare Witness’ Director. She is passionate about the relationships between ecology and faith. She worships with Friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is active on local climate campaigns. Hayley is the former director of Casa de los Amigos, the historic Quaker center for peace and international understanding in Mexico City.
*Please note the event starts at 7pm Eastern time.
Support Our Work
We’re the primary Quaker voice addressing the issues of climate change and the environment. Please consider helping to build a robust, creative, impactful network of Friends taking action to care for each other and the planet—and make a donation today.