In keeping with Friends General Conference’s theme of “Our Growing Edge,” we explored the query, What is your Monthly or Yearly Meeting’s growing edge on environmental concerns? The query and responses were one of the 14 sessions we hosted in this year’s Earthcare center.
The Earthcare Center provided informal meeting space to make connections with each other and for Friends to learn more about QEW and other Friends organizations with a focus on Earthcare. We also hosted talks by several organizations and individuals. I had the pleasure of hearing all of the talks–where I learned about:
- permaculture from QEW Steering Committee member, Carol Barta
- economics and resource scarcity from Geoff Garver and Judy Lumb of Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF at www.quakerinstitute.org)
- young adult Friends’ leadership workshops from Mary Craudereuff and Madeline Schaefer (www.pendlehill.org/yald)
- repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery through the heartfelt blanket program sponsored by the Indigenous Peoples Concerns committee of Boulder MM with Paula Palmer (www.boulderfriendsmeeting.org/ipc-right-relationship)
- direct action against mountain top removal from Amy Ward Brimmer of EQAT (www.eqat.org)
- how to be part of a QIF Circle of Discernment with Judy Lumb, Geoff Garver and myself (www.quakerinstitute.org)
- backyard solar with Paul Klinkman (www.klinkmansolar.com)
- deepening our spiritual connections with the natural world with QEW Steering Committee members eric joy, Mary Jo Klingel, Mary Coehlo, Mary Gilbert, and Boulder MM member Paula Palmer
- finding GMO- and pesticide-free food with Liberty Goodwin (www.toxicsinfo.org)
- Quaker Earthcare Witness, where I led a discussion with the query described above and below.
Responses to the query, What is your Monthly or Yearly Meeting’s growing edge on environmental concerns? were mostly along the lines of greening meetinghouses and building community gardens. Our deeper reflections in this worship-sharing session and in the weeklong QEW-sponsored morning workshop on deepening our spiritual connection to the natural world made it clear that we are called to do so much more. We can see energy-efficient homes and meetinghouses, organic gardens, and supporting local agriculture and business as important first steps in widespread, far-reaching changes that are needed to create a resilient and friendly world amidst our changing climate.
It was inspiring and a pleasure to join hands with Friends from throughout North America (and a few beyond) at the Gathering. These connections allow us all to carry out our Earthcare witness in our personal lives, and through our monthly and yearly meetings. Next year’s Gathering will be held at California University in the Pittsburgh, PA area –see you there!
Shelley Tanenbaum, Clerk