“Don’t get scared – get prepared.” A Call to Meetings around Climate Change Prevention from the Eco-Justice Collaborative
The recent floods, hurricanes, and wildfires across the country have awoken many of us to the need for preparation, adaptation and mitigation to extreme weather. We’ve gotten messages and guidance on how to help Friends Meetings in Texas and Florida and many have been generous.
While standard disaster preparedness is in place in most of our counties, extreme weather can dump several months’ worth of rain in a few hours, leave whole communities without electricity and make access to essential services difficult. As we have painfully witnessed this fall, these events can swamp our standard disaster relief and recovery resources.
We recently saw this: “Don’t get scared – get prepared.” It spoke to us in the Eco-Justice Collaborative. What would it mean for us to be prepared? We began conversations with New Jersey Friends and others involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We asked what they had learned. What they wish they had done before the storm. We then brought the question to Concord, Haverford, and Western Quarters and we heard that there was concern and interest.
Our Meetings, like other houses of worship can prepare before a disaster and we want to know how to show up for our members and our community during and after a disaster. Outside help will come and go, but the Meeting will always be here.
- Does your Meeting have a plan in the case of an extreme weather event? Southeastern PA is especially prone to flooding, for example.
- Is your Meeting already a member of the state or local VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster)?
- Do you provide regular services to elderly or disabled members? Would you be able to continue in a disaster?
- Do you have a phone tree in place?
- Have you done an assessment of your Meeting House?
- Is it an appropriate location as a shelter or a cooling station for extreme heat days?
- What can we do now as individual Friends and as Meetings to minimize the impact of extreme weather?
- Do our Pastoral Care committees have training in spiritual support for those suffering from the trauma of a disaster?
The Eco-Justice Collaborative invites Friends to reflect on these questions. We can be the best and most enduring supports for one another in a time of crisis.
To share what we learned from Hurricane Sandy and more recent extreme weather events, the Eco-Justice Collaborative, in collaboration with three Quarters, is piloting an opportunity for Friends and others to learn more about what our Meetings and members can do to build resilience. We are holding an event called Faith in Times of Disaster: Local Solutions to Mitigate Extreme Weather Events on December 9th (See PYM calendar for more information.)
Let’s be ready to care for each other and our neighbors. Let’s learn from the lessons of Hurricane Sandy and more recent experiences that have tested the faith community this fall. Join us in this conversation. We are eager to hear what you have already done and what you can share with others.