Rathfarnham Quaker Meeting

Rathfarnham Quaker Meeting worked its way through the Eco-Congregation Ireland checklist (see Resources Section 1), which helped them identify what the Meeting had already achieved and to see what areas might be prioritised.

Fairtrade Fortnight 001The Meeting has signed up to Airtricity, uses energy-efficient light bulbs, where possible, and has clearly-labelled bins for recyclables. All cleaning products, soap, toilet rolls etc areTree planting at meeting house 001environmentally-friendly brands and containers have been put in the toilet cisterns to save water. Crockery is always used rather than disposable cups and plates.

Fairtrade tea and coffee has been used for many years and a Fairtrade sign Tree planting at meeting house 010in the kitchen encourages outside groups to support Fairtrade too. One time during Fairtrade Fortnight a range of Fairtrade products was displayed after meeting for worship and the children made biscuits Planting the herb gardenusing Fairtrade ingredients.

Junior Meeting sessions with children and teenagers often include environmental issues. Topics covered have included Celebrating Stop Climate Chaos - Junior Meeting 001Creation, recycling, picking up litter, living simply, planting herbs and bulbs, insects, eco quiz, Fairtrade, Stop Climate Chaos, rainforests, water, globalisation and making a bug hotel and an Easter Rathfarnham Spring CleanGarden from natural materials. The board games What’s Rubbish? and Go Green have been played and speakers have been invited from Concern and Christian Aid.

The young people have also organised a number of fundraising cake sales. Beneficiaries have included VITA and Rainforest Concern.

Several nut trees were planted about 10 years ago. In 2010 the Meeting’s eco committee organised the planting of four fruit trees – three apple, one plum. All ages got involved in digging, wheelbarrowing, planting and nurturing.

In 2011 children and adults again joined together in planting a herb garden. People are encouraged to help themselves to herbs after meeting for worship on Sunday mornings.

Some of the lawn has been left to grow into a wild meadow to encourage biodiversity and three hives of bees took up residence there in Spring 2011. A water butt has been installed to collect rainwater.

A list of Eco Tips was distributed to each member of the Meeting and copies of these were left in the foyer so that other users of the premises could pick up copies too. The Meeting regularly supports Stop Climate Chaos events and campaigns.

During 2010 the Meeting held discussions on the four Quaker testimonies of peace, integrity, simplicity and justice. Each of these testimonies can be related to living an eco-friendly lifestyle. The Meeting had a fifth discussion about the environment and considered if earthcare should become a testimony too (some Quakers in the US already consider it a testimony).

As part of 350.org’s Global Day of Action on 10/10/10 members of the Meeting walked/cycled to Meeting and a display of locally-produced organic fruit and veg was substituted for the usual flower arrangement in the centre of the meeting room.

In May 2011 the local community was invited to join in a Spring Clean that was organised in conjunction with Rathfarnham Parish Eco Group.

A number of adult and children’s books about the environment have been added to the Meeting library and members of the Meeting have been encouraged to sign up to The Litter Project – a world-wide campaign that encourages people to commit to picking up a piece of litter every day. One member of the eco committee also set up a Facebook page called One Piece of Litter a Day – Ireland. See http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=128592503843275.
Rathfarnham Meeting received an Eco-Congregation Ireland award on 4th December 2011.