Southeastern Yearly Meeting
Southeastern Yearly Meeting approved a minute on climate change at our most recent Gathering, in April 2014. The minute is the result of a full year’s work. It was first read at our Gathering in 2013. Our Earthcare Committee asked each Monthly Meeting to season the minute and give us suggestions to improve it. Many meetings threshed the minute as a focus for discussions about the climate and our responsibilities, and recommended improvements. It was a wonderful moment when a year’s work ended in approval of a minute that we could own as a community.
Then, even better, our clerk reminded us that we have many inspiring minutes gathering dust on shelves. She asked that we focus as a body on discerning the actions that are now asked of us. That work has begun.
Southeastern Yearly Meeting Minute on Climate Change
We, the Friends of Southeastern Yearly Meeting, bring this minute forward at a time when climate change is undeniable. The realities and impacts have become obvious as levels of CO2 continue to rise past 400 ppm and are causing widespread global disruptions. As Friends from the SEYM region, we personally face catastrophic environmental damage from sea level rise, salt-water intrusion and pollution of our aquifers, rivers, lakes, and springs.
We as a religious community are called to respond now. We recognize we may feel overwhelmed and fear that humankind may not be equal to the task ahead. Many of us have used denial to protect us from what we see is coming. We understand with compassion that this is our attempt to protect ourselves from feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
We need to remind ourselves that hope can be found in our Quaker faith and practices, in the unfailing presence of the Light, in our testimonies that guide us and clarify behaviors asked of us. We value the process of discerning leadings to give us the joy and determination to carry on. We find in our history that many Friends have found the resolve to bring attention and intention to the daunting work they faced, as we can.
We acknowledge, with gratitude, the many individual efforts and changes Friends have already made, and the deep spiritual concern that motivates them. It is time we collectively address local, regional, and global climate issues. We can put our faith, completely, in the guidance of the Light to sustain and direct us.
We commit ourselves as a community to the following:
- We resolve to see clearly the slow moving emergency of climate disruption, to educate ourselves and to seek to see the work that is ours as individuals and as communities.
- We commit to seeking the Light to guide us in our efforts, to bringing in the wisdom of our knowledge and the deep wisdom of our hearts to this work.
- We commit as monthly meetings to discern our particular leadings and undertake them, especially joining locally with other groups who share our commitment.
- We commit to provide emotional, practical, and spiritual support to those who work to care for the Earth.
- We will strive to create right relationships with and within the Earth.
- We commit ourselves to the wellbeing of our children and future generations of all beings whose lives will be so profoundly affected by what we do.