Monday, March 27, 2017

Report on Sustainability Group Meeting at FWCC, Section of the Americas, in March 2017

Anthony with Chuck and Geeta
One of the highlights of the 2017 FWCC, Section of the Americas, gathering at Stony Point, NY, was working with Chuck Kleymeyer, Geeta Jyothi McGathey and other Friends to craft an "addendum" to the Living Sustainably minute approved in Pisac, Peru. FWCC is an organization that brings together Quakers from diverse theological and geographical backgrounds, from "Alaska to the Andes," according to our executive secretary Robin Mohr. While FWCC cannot make decisions on behalf of its constituent yearly meetings, it can and does reflect how Spirit is at work among Friends world-wide. In March, 2007, 127 Friends, including 18 from Latin America, at Stony Point, NY, to worship, listen to speakers, and consult together. There were numerous interest groups, including two dealing with Sustainability.
From its statements in Kenya and Piac, it has become  clear that climate disruption and living sustainably have become priority concerns for Friends around the globe--in many ways, a testimony as important as our traditional Peace Testimony. 
I posted the following report about what led up to the Pisac minute:

During the 2012 Friends World Conference in Kabarak, Kenya, FWCC produced a powerful statement calling for "peace and eco-justice." This statement emerged from a deeply felt sense that Spirit is calling us to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis. "We must change, we must become careful stewards of all life," insists this statement. It evokes biblical language as well as Quaker tradition to remind us "we are called to be patterns and examples of peace and eco-justice, as difficult and decisive as the 18th and 19th century drive to abolish slavery." Powerful as this call is, it lacks specific advice on how Friends can become the change we so urgently need.

Since the 2012 consultation, there has been a growing sense that FWCC needs to offer concrete recommendations on what Friends can do to make a difference. During our 2016 gathering in the Sacred Valley of Peru, the spiritual heart of the Inca civilization, we became aware that local rivers are polluted, insecticides and pesticides are poisoning the farmland, and indigenous people are protesting the mining that is desecrating their sacred mountains. I was told that some of the spiritual leaders of the local indigenous community have placed their hands to the ground and feel the sadness of mother Earth.

Feeling this deep pain in the midst of a breathtakingly beautiful Andean landscape, we wrote: "Our hearts are crying out for our beloved mother Earth, who is sick and in need of our care." As a starting point, we came up with 27 specific actions that individuals, monthly meetings and yearly meetings can take to foster sustainability. They range from "grow your own food and plant trees" to "support Quakers in politics and international work."

Chuck helped us to see that the Pisac statement didn't include important elements like restoring the earth, supporting the resiliency and resistance of communities adversely affected by climate disruption, and deepening the spiritual basis of our work.

Here's a report about our meeting at Stony Point:

On Friday, March 24, 2017 seventeen Friends met at the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) gathering in Stony Point, NY, to discuss the sustainabilty minute approved at Pisac.  We had three working groups and here is a report on what transpired. We’d like to begin with a quote from Isaac Penington:

“Sink down to the Seed… and thou shalt find by sweet experience that the Lord knows.… and will lead….to the inheritance of Life.”

Powerful though it was in many ways, we felt the Sustainability minute at Pisac dealt mainly with mitigating anticipated climate disruption. We strongly feel Friends need to go further. Since climate disruption is already adversely affecting the earth as well as the lives of people and other living beings, we need to consider how we can act in solidarity with communities affected by climate disruption as they strive to respond, resist or adapt. We also need to consider ways in which we can help to restore the damage caused to the Earth.
We see a need for a collective as well as personal spiritual awakening leading to transformative spirit-led action. To be effective, we need to express joy in the changes we have made in our lives and share our joy with others. To be spiritually grounded, we need to deepen our relationship with nature and connect with God’s creation. We suggest that Friends traveling in the ministry through FWCC share FWCC’s material on sustainability and collect stories about the effects of climate disruption on local communities and how they are responding. We urge each one of us to carry out our Quaker testimony on earth care and lift it up to all the bodies we are part of.


 How are we as Quakers living our lives as if climate disruption is real and really matters?
How are we showing solidarity with indigenous and marginalized peoples affected by climate disruption?

Here's the Spanish version:

Milena Villca
El viernes por la noche, Marto 26, 2017, se reunieron diecisiete Amigos para discutir la minuta aprobada en Pisac acerca de la sostenibilidad. Nos dividimos en tres grupos de trabajo y a continuación les doy un informe de lo que ocurrió. Quisiéramos empezar con un extracto de Isaac Penington:

“Húndete hasta la Semilla… y encontrarás por dulce experiencia que el Señor [la] conoce …y [la] ha de guiar hasta la heredad de la vida.”

Aun cuando fuese poderosa en muchas maneras la minuta sobre la Sostenibilidad de Pisac, ésta tuvo que ver más que nada con reducir el impacto esperado de la disrupción climática. Tenemos la fuerte opinión que los Amigos tienen que ir más allá. Ya que la disrupción del clima está afectando de forma nociva tanto a la tierra como a las vidas de las personas y otros seres vivos, debemos considerar cómo podemos actuar de forma solidaria con las comunidades afectadas por la disrupción climática mientras que éstas luchan por responder, resistir o adaptarse. También nos toca considerar formas en las cuales podemos prestar apoyo en el proceso de restauración de los daños de la Tierra.

Vemos la necesidad de un despertar espiritual al nivel colectivo así como al nivel personal, el cual nos pueda guiar hasta la acción transformadora dirigida por el Espíritu. Para ser mayormente eficaces, tenemos que expresar el gozo en los cambios que hemos hecho en nuestras vidas y compartirlo con los demás. Para estar arraigados espiritualmente, tenemos que profundizar nuestra relación con la naturaleza y conectarnos con la creación de Dios. Sugerimos que los Amigos líderes que están viajando en el ministerio a través del CMCA compartan los materiales del CMCA sobre la sostenibilidad, y que reúnan historias acerca de los efectos de la disrupción climática sobre las comunidades locales y las maneras en que las mismas están respondiendo. Animamos a cada uno de nosotros que lleve consigo nuestro testimonio cuáquero sobre el cuidado de la Tierra y que llame la atención de todos los entes de los cuales forma parte, a este tema.


¿Cómo estamos viviendo nuestras vidas nosotros como cuáqueros a la luz de la realidad y la verdadera importancia de la disrupción climática?

¿Cómo estamos expresando solidaridad para con los pueblos indígenas y marginados que se encuentran afectados por la disrupción climática?

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