EcoQuakers report on progress at Ireland Yearly Meeting 2017

EcoQuakers logoThe World Quaker Gathering in Peru called on Quakers to live out the changes needed to sustain the Earth as home to all humankind and the natural world.  As a response to this call, Ireland Yearly Meeting 2016 adopted Minute 40 and agreed to the following actions:

•    To commit to making all Meetings . . . as sustainable as possible…. [we] ask Meetings to develop a sustainability plan, no matter how simple . .
•    To . . . [develop] an investment strategy . . . to ethically invest all the funds within the Yearly Meeting in sustainable and peaceful companies, and divest from destructive industries, including fossil fuels.
•    We also ask all Meetings to consider how truth prospers with regard to sustainability, taking care to relate this to all of our testimonies – peace, simplicity, truth and equality.”

Nineteen Quaker Meetings prepared a great variety of sustainability plans, the variety being indicative of the diversity of circumstances experienced across Meetings. Some Meeting Houses have outdoor grounds that can be utilised to boost biodiversity, grow food or herbs, support bees and provide protection to hedgehogs. Meetings that have historic properties are constrained by preservation orders in what changes they can make. Those who borrow or rent premises are also constrained in this matter. When other Quaker buildings are being extended or refurbished there is potential for making sustainability a priority. Location also influenced the nature of the sustainability plans, with Members of urban Meetings having more options to use public transport while Members of rural Meetings were more likely to grow their own food.

The challenge is a spiritual call as well as a material one, how truth prospers with regard to sustainability and how to relate earth-care to our testimonies of peace, simplicity, truth and equality. Richhill Meeting’s report was grounded in a spiritual vein, acknowledging as it did the Quaker testimonies of equality and peace that are witness to our vision of a world grounded in love and in answering that of God in each other. The report called for a transformation of the economic and political system, as well as the ending of the misuse of the Earth’s resources, which we recognise creates inequality, destroys community, affects health and wellbeing, leads to war and erodes our integrity.

The report of the nineteen sustainability plans was presented at Ireland Yearly Meeting 2017.  Read the report from Ireland Yearly Meeting 2017 here.