Are Quakers Called to Live Sustainably?

To live sustainably means to meet our needs in a way that

preserves or enhances the resources and environmental

resilience available for the future.

The BYM Unity with Nature Committee, believing that we are at a critical tipping point in the evolution of our culture and its relationship with the earth, invites all Local Meetings to join us in a Yearly Meeting-wide exploration of the physical and spiritual implications and responsibilities of sustainability.

Will the human community learn to live in harmony with all of the living community of God’s creation in this time of threats from climate change, environmental degradation, species extinction and resource depletion?

Will we find a way to restore the environment and live sustainably?

We believe most Friends are aware of these issues. The implications will affect us all. Although the enormous scope of transformation needed to peacefully address these issues is daunting, we believe Love will lead us to an active, shared discernment of the truth.

We believe a mindful discernment process will lead us to the hope, inspiration and strength we need to overcome our fear and despair. Our spiritual skills are needed. Transformation will occur when we acknowledge the damage we are causing and recognize our responsibility to seek healing in God's creation.

We urge you to join in this Yearly Meeting-wide deliberative process whereby Friends together can cultivate and share discernment on these critical issues. Here are some ways that may work for you and/or your Meeting.

  • Consider privately with mindful reflection.

  • Share your discernment with others in your life as you are so moved.

  • Deliberate with your Local Meeting in Second Hour worship sharing or at a Called Meeting for this purpose.

  • Consider as a Meeting writing a “Minute” expressing your corporate discernment.

  • Arrange to meet with another Local Meeting to share your observations in a larger gathering – and richer spiritual light – and work together developing statements in response to the queries.

  • Consider requesting that your minute be presented to the Yearly Meeting at Annual Session, or at a later Interim Meeting.

Sustainabilty Queries

1. To what sort of life changes does the Quaker testimony of simplicity point us in these times. To live sustainably we must meet our needs in a way that preserves or enhances the resources and environmental resilience available for the future.

2. Do Quakers have ethical, moral or spiritual calling to live sustainably?

3. Do we engage in practices that are not sustainable?

4. Does the lack of knowledge on how to live sustainably reduce our responsibility to do so?

5. Do we share responsibility for the impacts of our resource consumption with those who mine, manufacture, and dispose of these products?

6. Can we imagine a world that is sustainable? What will it look like?

7. Does Spirit lead us into a transformational process to achieve sustainability?

8. How can seeking a balance in 'the right use of things' lead us toward more gentle lives that neither hurt nor destroy?

9. Is there an acceptable alternative to sustainable practices? 

To live sustainably we must live off of what the earth can provide us without harming the future