Monday, October 20, 2014

What Might A Quaker Approach to Sustainablity Look Like?


I had the pleasure of joining the Brooklyn Friends School (BFS) last week for their professional development day. The theme was "Sustainability." I appreciated how BFS worked hard to explore an all encompassing view of sustainability; a view held by Friends all over the world.

British Friends offer these thoughts on a Quaker approach to sustainability:

“[The Quaker] response [to sustainability] may arise from love and a sense of the sanctity of all life – a call to answer that of God in every being, every rock, stream, dung heap. It must also be grounded in Truth, especially being willing to see where we are doing harm, where we are part of a system of harm. And we must find the way to hold to that truth while also being compassionate to ourselves and others. We may also respond out of a concern for humanity, for current and future generations and for society as a whole. To be sustainable, our society must enable individuals, communities and the natural world to flourish. It will be unstable if it fails to care for the well-being of every individual, or for community cohesion, or for the ecosystems on which it depends. The Quaker testimonies of equality and peace are witness to our vision of a world grounded in love and in answering that of God in each other. They call for a transformation in the economic system as well as in the systems of government and justice. Ultimately, sustainability means finding our joy, our life, fulfillment of our deepest needs, in ways that cause no harm and that enrich the world.” http://www.quaker.org.uk/sustainability-toolkit



"True godliness," wrote William Penn, "[doesn't] turn men out of the world but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it." Geoffrey Durham adds that, "Quakers work to bring about peace and social justice, because it is a part of their religious impulse to do so. It is living in truth. There is no difference between the sacred and the secular.” (Durham, Geoffrey. Being a Quaker: A Guide for Newcomers. London, 2013).