Quakers and Sustainability

About what Quakerism as a way of life and movement can contribute to transition through social turbulence created by energy scarcity, climate change, and social injustice.


Fall 2008. Taking stock

There is a saying you can tell a person's priorities by what he does more than what he says. I am pulling inward, enjoying having few personal contacts, living alone. I have the new circle of acquaintances in the Dundas Sustainable Lifestyles Project, a thing I started in a moment of inspiration from a talk by Mike Nickerson last fall. This is my new circle of contact, that certainly centres around sustainable living. We mostly see the future as grim, no way out of the perfect storm bearing down on us. (financial markets worldwide are in chaos as I write this, maybe melting down into a 1930's style depression, we'll see.) Suzuki quotes leading ecologist that 80% of species are going to go extinct due to GHG from our human ways.

I did have a 20-something friend I spent time with who could not handle the 'grim' part of my assessment of the world problematique, the scenario we are living where all assumptions from the past are suspect or outright useless. He didn't like the pessimistic ring to my summing it all up as GRIM. I came across a bit of Buddhist writing last nite that put the words in place for me. It is not important whether the future is assessed to be GRIM or ROSY, it just IS, so get on with living it. GET ON WITH IT. Sort of like Nike says, "JUST DO IT". That is what I say we need to do as Quakers, or anyone, spiritually inclined, attuned or adept, or not. It could be a secular world that has the most likelihood of surviving the 'long emergency' into post-carbon, postpeak, postpostmodern living. I'm trying it on for size.

I'm not very outwardly or inwardly quakerly these days. Maybe I should hang out on a blog somewhere and wail into the night with the rest. I'm still recorded in the ministry of chaplaincy in CYM. They don't do any oversight or support so what difference does that make! The chaplaincy started in prison work in 2003-4 but morphed to climate/community preparedness and now local food security. I may be a quaker community chaplain, but hardly an exemplary one!

I have sharply downscaled my involvement in my meeting, Hamilton, the outdoor camp (NeeKauNis) and certainly CYM. I am now the youngest (at 54) regular attender at Hamilton Mtg. 10 years ago I was so keen to do outreach (remember Quaker Outreach Forum on Yahoo) and get a new generation rooted in ourmeeting, but my ways were not the ways of the meeting. I quit trying, which is not really what I like to be, a quitter. It is a bit of a flaunt too, to be straight about it. "There, I told you so, meeting comatose cuz you didn’t' listen to me."

There are many days when it is hard to 'walk cheerfully, answering that of G-D in every person' but so was it for Fox. At least I don't have anyone beating on me, putting me in jail for months or chasing me from town to town!

On to the sustainble future~ (a good biography is the recent See You in a Hundred Years, by Logan Ward, 2007. He and his wife take a stab at living as tho they had no access to any technology or convenience of the last 100 years. Maybe that is indeed what we are facing.