QEW 2017 Annual Report (November 2016 – October 2017)
QEW is the largest network of Friends working on Earthcare today. We work to inspire spirit-led action toward ecological sustainability and environmental justice. We provide inspiration and resources to Friends throughout North America by freely distributing information in our newsletter, BeFriending Creation, and on our website, www.quakerearthcare.org, as well as through popular social media channels Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
We are dedicated to a spiritual transformation within the Society of Friends with regard to our connection with the natural world.
We produced five print and electronic issues of Befriending Creation. In addition, we published new trifolds called Eco-Justice: Ecological Responsibility Linked to Social Justice, Talking About Climate Change: A Call for Dialog, Talking About Climate Change: A Practical Guide, and we re- issued an updated trifold, Adoption: An Option for Friends. Our website continues to be a useful resource for sharing material and has seen an increase in traffic. We regularly post interesting and challenging articles on our Facebook page and Twitter, and we have been seeing growth in our number of contacts online. Each week, we distribute a graphic on Facebook and we regularly post articles of interest. Archived copies of BeFriending Creation can be accessed on our website here.
Supported Indigenous Communities Working on Climate Justice
- The theme for our November/December issue of BeFriending Creation was Earthcare in indigenous communities
- Our General Secretary and two Steering Committee members spent time at the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock, in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux, bringing supplies and a statement of support from QEW Friends
- Continued reporting on Earthcare in indigenous communities with two articles in the January/February issue of BeFriending Creation: "A Call for More Radical Witness" by Tom Small and "Bringing Light to the Dark" by Brad Stocker and "Respect is the Heartbeat of Standing Rock" by Shelley Tanenbaum was published in Friends Journal.
- Featured two talks and a film on indigenous concerns at FGC
Supported Eco-Justice and Food Sovereignty in the African Diaspora
Our United Nations Working Group sponsored a side event in July 2017 as part of the United Nations High Level Policy Forum. Our side event brought together African and African-American activists and chefs to explore re-localization of food. We reported on the event in the May/June issue of BeFriending Creation"Relocalization Among the Most Marginalized in an 'America First' World" by Pamela Boyce Simms and in the July/August issue: "Food Sovereignty for Marginalized Populations in the African Diaspora" by Beverly Ward and Pamela Boyce Simms.
Financed Local Earthcare Projects
Each year, QEW offers mini-grants to Quaker Meetings/ Churches and other Quaker organizations to support hand-on projects that foster earthcare. Examples include gardens, reforestation, clean and efficient water and energy systems, and community educational programs. In this fiscal year, we were honored to support these uplifting and productive activities: pollinator garden and rainbarrel project in Iowa, community garden at a Malawi refugee camp, Uganda on deforestation, eco-spiritual neighborhood support in N. Philadelphia, and clean water in Costa Rica.
Quaker Activism and Education
- We sponsored the QEW Earthcare Center at FGC, including scheduling and hosting presentations every afternoon, showcasing what Friends are doing regarding Earthcare, displaying resources to share, and giving talks. Our staff and Steering committee presented information on climate justice, indigenous concerns, eco-spirituality and Earthcare education
- We published an Earthcare Curriculum for Children, with a launch at Friends General Conference
- Our two representatives attended Friends Committee on National Legislation’s annual meeting in November, and shared news about national legislation with our network
- Offered accreditation to Friends to attend the UN Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany
- Led the Quaker contingent at the April climate march in Washington, D.C.
- Published numerous articles about local Meeting Earthcare actions
- Filled growing requests for resources from Yearly and Monthly Meetings. Allied with several like-minded groups:
- WEcan (Women’s Climate Action Network) – following their actions and publications
- UScan (United States Climate Action Network) – following notices and alerts, connecting with the network to follow COP23 events
- GreenFaith – following their notices and publications Steering Committee Two Steering Committee meetings were held during this time period: at the Atlanta Meetinghouse and at Pendle Hill near Philadelphia.
Our 45-member Steering Committee includes 26 representatives from 20 Yearly Meetings plus 19 at-large members. Most representatives and at-large steering committee members visit their own monthly and yearly meetings on behalf of QEW, distribute our resources, and/or provide workshops and interest groups. We celebrated our 30th anniversary with reflection, joy and fellowship at our October Steering Committee meeting. Several Friends who were founding members of QEW were present or sent reminiscences. Through worship-sharing and active listening, we contemplated next steps for QEW and the Society of Friends as we face enormous environmental threats. Earthcare Curricula Our Earthcare Curriculum has been updated and reformatted in an easily accessible design. Each chapter is available online as a downloadable lesson, with multiple options for specific topics to discuss, Bible references, and suggested songs and activities.
We have a General Secretary and a Publications Coordinator (both part-time employees) and a bookkeeper consultant.
We have consistently raised on average $75-85,000 each year for the past several years (excluding the cost of our steering committee meetings, as we bring in enough registration fees to pay for these events). Last year’s (November 2016-October 2017) income was no different. We had hoped to expand our network and publications, but were limited by our income. Most of our expenditures go directly to publication costs (printing, postage, editing), outreach (visits to monthly and yearly meetings, and events), and maintaining our network (steering committee meetings, conference calls, database maintenance). We estimate that our staff spend about 10% of our budget on fundraising (15 percent of staff salaries plus the cost of the annual appeal). Nearly all of our income comes from monthly/yearly Meeting donations and individual donations. We continue to operate with a deficit, though this year we were able to bring down the deficit to just about 5% of our budget (previously we had run about a 10% deficit).
How do we build a sustainable and life-enhancing future in these challenging times? QEW grew out of a strong leading among Friends that our future depends on a spiritual transformation in our relationships with each other and the natural world. This year (2018) we are facing unprecedented environmental threats to our oceans, our food supplies and fresh water and our climate. The need for a spiritual transformation to embrace a new way of relating to our environment and each other is stronger than ever.
We will be launching new efforts to reach out to Friends and beyond:
- Sponsor an international forum on water
- Distribute our Earthcare curriculum widely
- If funding permits, update our website to broaden our connections and more widely distribute our resources
- Produce a quarterly publication, expanding the number of articles in an appealing format
- Speak out to support Friends actions on Earthcare February 2018