by Pamela Haines.
As I was pondering how to release more energy for addressing climate and environmental justice issues in our Quaker meeting, I had the idea of setting up an informal gathering where we could hear what others were doing and support each other to take a next step. I reached out to someone I thought would be interested, and together we planned and held a very simple online potluck. It was a nourishing evening on all fronts.
People talked about things they were doing that none of the rest of us knew about, suggested resources that were thankfully received, and shared hopes for bigger impact that others were eager to support. I believe this simple model holds promise, both for follow-up in our own meeting, and for replication elsewhere. So I’m sharing the recipe for what we did, with text from the invitation, the plan, and the follow-up message.
Reflecting on all the concern for the environment that is present in our meeting community, the two of us have been inspired to think freshly about how best to support that concern. How might we feel more connected to one another as we face the existential threat of climate change? Be heartened by each other’s efforts and inspire one other? Get support as we take steps and set intentions? Become aware of resources we didn’t know existed?
We are excited about what might come from giving some attention to all the love, energy, and yearning for impact that is present among us!
Please join us for a Zoom dinner where we can share the ways, large and small, that we are already in motion around environmental justice and the climate emergency, the obstacles we face, and the intentions we would like to hold going forward. This could be followed by opportunities to connect in smaller buddy/accountability groups, and perhaps other dinner conversations after that. Everyone is welcome. (Just bring yourself, your hopes, and your dinner!)
Welcome: No matter at what stage you are in thinking about or taking action on climate change, we can all use support to engage with this big issue. Our goals are that everyone will leave with a next “stretchy” or growing step to take and at least one buddy to help you be accountable to your own goal.
First round: Share two things you are up to and pleased with in relation to climate change and environmental justice.
Second round: What would you take on if you had more courage, support, or knowledge? (We are hoping to support people in their aspirations or growing edges.)
Small groups of two or three: What do you need to help you to take the next step?
Closing: Check if people have buddy plans, announce availability of list of participants and upcoming opportunities, invite everyone to share resources with others on the meeting e-list.
What a pleasure to be together last night! I love how we built on our connections and our shared concern about the earth to support and inspire each other to imagine that more is possible. I have a vision of our community claiming each person’s contribution as part of our shared response and seeing ourselves as making a difference together.
Attached are some notes from the evening and a link to the Friendly Households grid developed by folks in the EcoJustice Collaborative of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to remind people of the different possibilities for taking action, from personal to household to community and beyond.
Let’s all share our successes, big and small, with the wider community. Let’s not let any good news stay hidden! In these hard times, there may be nothing we need more than a sense of connected forward movement. I’m looking forward to the first post on the community e-list—maybe it will be yours!
Pamela Haines, a member of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, has a passion for the earth and economic integrity, loves repair of all kinds, and has published widely on faith and witness. Her newest publication is a poetry collection, Encounters with the Sacred and the Profane. She blogs at pamelahaines.substack.com.