Sunday, 12 October 2014

After the Climate March, what? -- by David Millar

Art thou a child of the Light, and hast thou walked in the Light? What canst thou say? – Margaret Fell
Aboriginal peoples led the Sep 21 climate March – from an Idle No More video
In addition to the Peoples Climate March [1] in New York, I attended the Peoples Climate Summit (offering “new economy” alternatives to the official UN Summit plan to finance climate action and SDGs by carbon offsets) and Climate Convergence workshops. I reported on these daily by email to QEWdiscussions.[2] where I also posted critical analyses by several trustworthy sources: Pablo Solon of Bolivia, IBON, Third World Network, Indigenous Environmental Network and others. We should be lift up these voices from the global South in our local meetings and Quaker networks. Post them on your Meeting's bulletin board. Send them to non-Quaker friends.

The “rainbow” of indigenes, people of color and the poor is today's front line In North America, as IEN, Idle No More and the Environmental Justice movement remind us – but the destruction of God's Creation and rampant speculation at the expense of Earth commons will affect all future generations. As the Kabarak Call says, “We waste our children's heritage.” [3]

The key question is not, how good do we feel about joining the March? It is what do we do now?

This does not mean giving up your spirituality and your present leadings.[4] Every little bit counts, including personal transformation, habits of consumption, prayer, support for members of your Meeting, multifaith groups and listening projects, and transition networks.[5] You may feel your bucket is full. As UCC leader Rev. Jim Antal [6] reminded us at a post-March Vermont IPL conference, ecojustice is now the container, the “bucket” that unites all our concerns.

Comparing Quaker positions on many concerns with other NGOs, [8] we find ourselves on parallel paths, with common values and concerns. Some (including Britain YM, AFSC and FCNL) may be farther down the path than QEW is. We can learn from them.

Black Quakers in Africa are far ahead of us in developing processes for peacemaking, truth & reconciliation and (re)building the beloved community. [9] Here in North America, we can learn from aboriginal wisdom about Creation, [9] and from the 50 years of civil action by black churches in the Environmental Justice movement. [10] To catch up, we must open up.

I [was] brought up into the covenant, as sanctified by the Word which was in the beginning, by which all things are upheld; wherein is unity with the creation. - George Fox's Journal

Footnotes and links

  1. See my album of Quakers at the March,
  2. My emails to QEWdiscussions, reports on the new Jubilee and New Economy conferences. The NGOs with which QEW could exchange info are listed in Climate Convergence, OurPower Campaign and People's Climate Justice Summit (see its amazing workshop list, and videos of the Peoples Tribunal). I could not attend everything but here are others' reports of the Bee-In for food justice Sep 20, EQAT civil dis Sep 20, Flood Wall Street Sep 22, FrackOff, US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) Sep 17-Oct 17, and the first WCIP: World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (I recommend updates from the IGC: Indigenous Global Coordinating Group in preference to the uninformative official UN site).
  3. The Kabarak Call to peace and ecojustice was approved by World Conference of Friends, 2012. See also World Council of Churches' declaration for An Economy of Life 2012.
  4. Don't give up your leading BFC 26.1 January 2013.
  5. Antal powerpoint to be posted on VTIPL. Under his leadership, UCC has approved divestment from all fossil fuels.
  6. Multifaith goals for SDGs, a comparison – download the spreadsheet from Dropbox.
  7. AGLI download: HROC and peacebuilding manuals; read the story of their development in A Peace of Africa by David Zarembka and Ending Cycles of Violence by Judy Lumb.
  8. Yale FORE introduction with sacred texts; and posts tagged native on my blog.
  9. Greenfaith resources on Environmental Justice.

1 comment:

Paul Klinkman said...

Protest works.

Nonviolent electoral reform to reduce political corruption is more effective than protest in the long run. Backyard government invention is the creation of a neighborhood government. Personally, I admire the wisdom of consensus process. I also admire the sharing of representative power seen in Cambridge, Massachusetts City Council elections since 1940. I also want to see a system responsive to time limitations. When I see Quaker staffers and functionaries at work, I sense that they’re always asking of themselves, “what would the community want me to do?” Friends have a type of auditing system that picks up the pieces afterwards when individual staffers blow their assignments.

And so, I want to see a codified system of neighborhood and community government. I know that Friends like consensus process, but I’ve seen too many poorly thought out yelps on the Yearly Meeting floor to give full approval to a system of mass business meetings alone. When, not if, such a codified democratic system is developed, we test it. Then we scale it up until our present government is simply absorbed one day.

Backyard solar invention is the surest and most direct method of inhibiting and eventually stopping climate change, but it requires a solid front of many people to develop the inventions. I don’t see that front of people. Solar research is so dead these days. I’m telling you all straight out, there’s so much that’s easy to invent and that will change the world.

Too often people lose faith and turn away, and then the work doesn’t get done. Without vision the people perish.

Prayer changes things.