Quakers commit to sustainability

At a gathering of more than 1,500 members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the UK, an official commitment was made to become a low-carbon, sustainable community

The event in Canterbury in 2011, entitled Growing in the Spirit: Changing the Way We Live to Sustain the World, included lectures, discussions and workshops exploring the themes of sustainability and economic justice. Participants were invited to consider the spiritual challenge of the ecological crisis.

In a keynote speech, Pam Lunn, lecturer at Woodbrooke Quaker College talked of the need for serious and sustained spiritual discipline if people are to develop the inner resilience to meet the challenges and demands that face humanity in the future.

Gwen Prince, a participant at the event, said that members were called to make a radical commitment, which has been compared to the historic decision once made by Quakers to oppose the slave trade. “There was a call for us to move beyond our comfort zone and be prepared to make uncomfortable changes in response to the enormity of the challenges we face,” she said.

The decision means that every Quaker in Britain will be supported in monitoring and reducing their carbon footprints. All Quaker meetings are to be sent a ‘sustainability toolkit’.