At Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s annual sessions this July, Friends came under the weight of the climate emergency as a yearly meeting priority and accepted and approved the Climate Sprint Report, “Moving Together in the Face of Climate Change,” excerpted below. To read the full commitment, visit PYM.org.
This statement stretches us beyond our past positions and actions. We will maintain a vision of the long-term in our decision-making and address the interdependent economic, environmental, social, and political systems that drive the climate crisis and climate injustice.
Specifically, we are called upon to expand our work in five areas:
1. Activism: Most vitally we will put our beliefs into action through advocacy, direct action, and public witness. The yearly meeting will regularly speak as a body on specific issues and possible legislation impacting climate change and the fact that the burden of climate change falls disproportionately on poor and minority communities. Quarterly and monthly meetings and individuals will work together to develop effective voices to be heard by federal, state, and local governments. We will strive to broaden our collaboration with all Friends’ organizations, also welcoming the diversity of religious and secular groups committed to addressing the climate crisis. Friends will also consider situations where group direct action is appropriate, as for example the work of the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT).
2. Education: We commit to reaching a shared understanding of the causes and costs of climate change. We will offer education to every member of the yearly meeting about how we can respond to this crisis. Those members of the yearly meeting with particular knowledge of Climate Change and Eco-Justice issues will provide online information, webinars, workshops, and traveling ministry for all of us. Quarterly and monthly meetings and their members will commit to making use of those resources to increase their awareness of the needs and opportunities to act to interdict the climate catastrophe.
3. Reducing Our Carbon Footprint: We will take steps to reduce our impact on the earth, as individuals and a community, by such means as making changes to our property and finding ways to use less energy in all the aspects of life. We recognize that making significant reduction in carbon emissions also requires taking action for systemic change.
4. Finances: We will recognize the effects our collective purchasing and investing choices have on climate change, and act accordingly.
5. Mourning Loss and Instilling Hope: We recognize that bold work to address this crisis requires spiritual grounding and the support of a community.
…Recognizing that monthly meetings will be at the heart of this work, they are specifically encouraged to determine how best to keep these commitments before the eyes of the meeting. This could be in the form of a committee to plan actions and report regularly, or an individual charged with those responsibilities.
The entire yearly meeting is under the weight of this urgent concern. This means that each of us is asked by our religious community to carry it into the yearly meeting, quarterly meetings, monthly meetings, and our individual lives. This also means that we do not have to process our fear, grief, and exhaustion alone. We are called to support, teach, and encourage each other. We hope every member of PYM will rise to this challenge.
The Climate Change Sprint:
William Cozzens (Germantown),
Ruth Darlington (Medford),
Christie Duncan-Tessmer (Chestnut Hill),
Patricia Finley (Old Haverford),
Robert L. Greene, Clerk (Princeton),
O (Central Philadelphia),
Kathryn Metzker (Willistown),
Christy Tavernelli (Earth Quaker Action Team Board member),
Xia (Eco-Justice Collaborative member).