Re-imagining Our Relationship with the Planet
There are many ways to connect to our planet: environmental projects, trails, management of our carbon footprint, decisions around what we use, purchase, eat, or invest in, considerations about what we plant in our backyards, how we build our homes or get from place to place. All are important, but most important is to be informed.
As we prepare to address climate change during Annual Sessions 2020 it is helpful for Friends in our community to ground themselves with advance preparation.
A plenary session will be held on Saturday, July 11, during which we will explore the possibility of establishing a yearly-meeting-wide witness on climate change. To prepare for this session, all are encouraged to watch a panel discussion made up of members of the Eco Justice Collaborative, Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), Quaker Earth Care Witness, leaders from Penn Charter and Friends Central Schools, and a member of West Chester Friends Meeting.
If you are interested in learning more, check out some resources gathered by the Eco-Justice Collaborative:
- July 15: United Nations Working Group Virtual Event at the U.N: Quaker Earthcare Witness convenes a Side event during the United Nations 2020 High Level Political Forum. The side event will focus on Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ceres’ Investor Guide to Deforestation and Climate Change gives investors a framework to help them understand and engage on deforestation-driven climate risks across their portfolios.
- “How the Dutch are reshaping their post-pandemic utopia.” A short video featuring the Dutch economist, Kate Raworth, forwards a “Doughnut” economic model that focuses on balance and wellbeing.
- There’s Another Story to Tell About Climate Change, and It Starts with Water Author Judith Schwartz argues in a 2017 Guardian article that we should look beyond fossil fuels to ask how water can serve climate control.
Friends are lucky to live in a region rich in well resourced projects with people who are working to address environmental concerns. There are also many projects that try to bring people outdoors, so that they can feel a greater connection to nature.
The Circuit is reviving an 800 mile network of historic trails within the Delaware watershed. Once it’s complete, greater Philadelphia will have a trail network that connects the urban, suburban and rural communities of one of the largest metropolitan regions.
There is also the Delaware River Water Initiative which works across four states to protect the Delaware – a shared source of clean water. Plus the East Coast Greenway another trail network that aims to ‘connect people to place’.
For national trails, Steve Elkinton, of Chestnut Hill meeting, authored a book, The National Trails System – An Illustrated History, on the National Trail Network (including a trail from Selma to Montgomery). If you are a hiker or a camper, Steve is a great resource. Steve worked with volunteer organizations and national parks over 25 years to map out the nation’s trail network.
The world is complex, and there are many ways to engage. If you are looking for what you can do locally, Quaker Schools, Colleges, and many monthly and quarterly meetings are deeply engaged in environmental projects. These can be local or national.
Friends Council on Education has a section of its website for schools interested in sustainability. This site can also be tremendously useful to meetings, both in terms of connecting with schools, but also in provoking thoughtful projects that meetings can partner with schools on.
Finally, each time we meet we recognize that Quakers and others are occupying Native People’s land. Friends interested in Native American Peoples should connect with PYM’s First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative. The Clerk, S. Boone O’Scheyichbi, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Before all else, with humility, this Friend acknowledges being born and raised on the ancestral territory of the Lenape People, Lenapehoking” – Boone