QEW 2018 Annual Report (November 2017 – October 2018)
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 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 work toward that transformation by continually seeking the Light in all our endeavors and depending on the testimonies and Friends’ process in our work.
For 30 years, we have worked to help Friends integrate Earthcare into their daily lives. As the earth gets hotter and our communities are being impacted more and more, we feel an urgent leading to share our witness.
We produced four print and electronic issues of Befriending Creation, a 12-page newsletter designed to promote the work of Quaker Earthcare Witness, stimulate discussions and actions, share insights, practical ideas, and news of our network’s work across the US and Canada, and encourage a sense of community and spiritual connection with all Creation among Friends. Archived copies of Befriending Creation can be accessed on our website at <quakerearthcare.org/publications>.
We also published a new trifold called Human Reproduction is in the Commons: The Case for Smaller Families.
We distributed a set of outreach materials to help promote QEW’s work at monthly and yearly meetings including an introductory brochure, a poster, and a list of “What Can I Do.”
Our website and social media presence are useful resources for sharing material and we continue to see an increase in traffic. Each week, we distribute a graphic on Facebook and we regularly post articles of interest.
HIGHLIGHTED ECO-JUSTICE & LOCAL ACTIVISM
Each issue of Befriending Creation highlighted stories of local activists, including resistance to pipelines in Virginia and power plants in Massachusetts, direct action in Philadelphia, community organizing in Toronto, and documenting sunny-day flooding in Florida.
We distributed our trifold on Environmental Justice, describing the disproportionate impact environmental stress often has in disadvantaged communities.
We shared news of Friends working at the regional, state, and national level to influence legislation.
ORGANIZED FOR CLEAN WATER IN THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
Our United Nations Working Group sponsored a side event in July 2018 as part of the United Nations High Level Policy Forum in New York City, following on our successful food sovereignty side event in 2017. The event brought together African and African-American water-rights activists to share resources and inspiration.
ENHANCED 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: Monteverde Friends School to restore their septic tanks for the teacher’s house and to build an emergency water system whose need became apparent after the tropical storm; Falmouth Friends for developing a Climate Calculator and distributing it; Memphis Friends Meeting for landscaping with native plants and a garden; and Camp Woolman to develop and implement several earthcare lessons.
LINKED SCIENCE AND ECO-SPIRITUALITY
We lifted up the alarming science of climate change and the fascinating science of soils and the water cycle, along with our growing sense of spiritual communion with the natural world in numerous articles in Befriending Creation.
SUPPORTED OUR CHILDREN’S TRUST COURT CASE
In the fall of 2017 we were asked to join an amicus curiae (Friend of the Court) with other faith-based groups, in support of 21 youth plaintiffs who are suing the U.S. government for inadequately preventing climate change. We added our name in support of this case, Juliana vs. United States, and we have published articles and alerts as the case develops.
QUAKER ACTIVISM AND EDUCATION
We sponsored the QEW Earthcare Center at the Friends General Conference annual gathering, including scheduling and hosting presentations every afternoon, showcasing what Friends are doing regarding Earthcare, displaying resources to share, and giving talks. We offered presentations on climate justice, indigenous concerns, eco-spirituality, water rights, community organizing, and energy technology.
QEW’s Publications Committee published Earthcare for Children and Earthcare for Friends.
Our General Secretary, Publications Coordinator, and members of our Steering Committee presented workshops and talks at monthly and yearly meetings including New York Yearly Meeting, Piedmont Friends Fellowship, New England Yearly Meeting, North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) and many monthly meetings.
We offered accreditation to Friends to attend the UN Climate Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.
QEW partnered with the Faith contingent at the Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice march in San Francisco, as part of the Global Climate Action Summit, and led a workshop on eco-spirituality at Grace Cathedral.
Our staff and committees filled growing requests for resources from Yearly and Monthly Meetings.
After several years of running deficits, this fiscal year showed a healthy surplus. We were delighted to have been successful is raising our budget, and we will prudently allocate this surplus in the following fiscal year to a mixture of reserves and one-time expenditures.
In October, our Steering Committee confidently approved an increase of 10% in our annual budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, in order to bring our staff closer to the US Labor Department’s recommended pay for non-profit employees.
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 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 have a General Secretary and a Publications Coordinator (both part-time employees) and a bookkeeper consultant.
Two Steering Committee meetings were held during this time period: at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago and at Dumas Bay Retreat Centre near Tacoma, WA. Our 50-member Steering Committee includes 30 representatives from 20 yearly meetings plus 20 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.
QEW grew out of a strong leading among Friends in 1987 that our future depends on a spiritual transformation in our relationships with each other and the natural world.
Now in 2019 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.
This year, we will reach out to Friends and beyond:
- Sponsor an international forum on water in the African diaspora, building on the success of our two previous forums in 2017 and 2018
- Distribute our Earthcare curriculum widely
- Broaden our connections and more widely distribute our resources with an updated website
- Produce a Quarterly publication, growing the number of people and meetings/churches that receive this resource
- Speak out to support Friends actions on Earthcare
- Continue to visit Friends Meetings, offering workshops and forums that encourage Friends to act boldly and with spiritual grounding in care for our Earth.