Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting

Minute Regarding Global Climate Change (approved 2001)

SAYMA Friends:

SAYMA Friends recognize that unprecedented rate of change in our global climate is causing rising global temperature, diminishing polar ice, changing local weather patterns, and increasing frequency of severe storms. We also recognize that human activity, largely the combustion of fossil fuels, is a major cause of these changes.

Further, this global climate change is destabilizing many of our planet's ecosystems, reducing their production of foods, medicines, and other products for humans, and accelerating species extinction.

Human refugees from droughts, floods, and rising sea levels, and the human suffering caused by crop failures and the spread of infectious diseases from warmer climates are stressing societies and governments, setting the stage for violence, oppression, and conflict. Our peace testimony leads us to find ways to remove these potential causes of war.

Friends' concerns for simplicity, right sharing of resources, and equality, and our recognition that the effects of global warming desecrate God's creation, lead us to issue an urgent call for Friends to make substantive changes in their lifestyles including:

  • reduction in use of fossil fuels--for transportation; home heating, air-conditioning, and lighting; and recreation--through conservation, efficiency, and use of alternative energy sources (human, solar, and wind power).
  • reduction of industrial combustion of fossil fuels through informed choices of products and services.
  • work for public policy that:
  • supports international agreements to reduce heat-trapping gases
  • discourages use of carbon-based fuels and encourages use of renewable sources of energy
  • develops, supports, and promotes both local and long distance public transportation systems.

We urge Friends Meetings and individuals to act on these urgent concerns. We call on Monthly Meetings & Worship Groups to report on such actions at the next Yearly Meeting. We ask Friends to consider how to develop social supports that enable us to move into spiritually informed daily efforts to change our lives and act on our concerns.

Minute on Population (approved June 10, 2000)

In October 1999, world human population surpassed 6 billion, having doubled since 1960. At the present rate of growth, it is likely to double again within the new century. The effects of this rapid population growth, exacerbated by excessive consumerism, threaten all of earth’s creatures, placing insupportable demands on her finite resources, creating unmanageable problems of waste disposal, and intensifying environmental degradation.

While remaining sensitive to the needs and values of all cultures, we acknowledge our responsibility to become informed about world population growth and the concerns it raises. Through our leadings and sharings, we will seek knowledgeable, loving, and creative ways working towards effective and realistic solutions. These include providing education on and means of contraception for both sexes, encouragement of adoption as an alternative to having biological children and open support of those who choose not to procreate. And it is essential that those who have more than they need strive toward a simpler, less wasteful life-style.

We also recognize that special emphasis must be given to measures to reduce poverty, provide security for people as they age, and empower women. Literacy, equal social status, and the general education of women to broaden their life choices are measures that not only improve their lives but help delay childbirth and limit family size.

We urge our government to renew contributions to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, and we urge meetings to study further the problem of rapid population growth and to discern how we are to act on this concern as individuals and as meetings in our own communities, in our country, and in support of countries throughout the world.