SEYM Field Secretary for Earthcare (FSE) Beverly Ward visited Fort Myers Monthly Meeting for an Earthcare workshop on Sunday, November 4th. Helen Fox writes:
“About 18 people had a productive discussion over several hours about the complex environmental and political issues we are facing in SW Florida, including (but by no means limited to) water quality, environmental justice and local politics, sea level rise, and the need for more citizen scientists. We exchanged information about various organizations we could support or join, how the Meeting might get involved, and the many actions we are taking as individuals.”
Beverly also led the group in the AVP ‘Roots and Fruits’ exercise, which facilitates brainstorming on Friends’ interests and helps the group identify Earthcare themes, concerns, and possible actions.
She also talked about some organizations she had been working with, including Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) and their UN Working Group, which has been convening a side event at the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent. Beverly co-clerks the QEW’s UN Working Group, bringing earthcare issues from Florida to an international forum.
Friends asked Beverly to return for another workshop after they have thought about all they had discussed that day and shared it with the rest of the Meeting.
“As usual, I left feeling I learned more than I shared. About 12 people gathered at Nancy Howell’s house the night before for dessert and conversation, where I enjoyed bonding with two Friends who are also in anthropology.
“The most moving experience for me with FSE visits is when we discover opportunities to make local connections. One of the communities that made a presentation at this year’s FL-iCAN assembly was the Dunbar area in Fort Myers, where there had been arsenic dumping from the 1960s until the 1990s, without consulting or notifying the residents. Another issue for the area was that there weren’t any shelters in Dunbar or in the City of Ft. Myers during Hurricane Irma. After Hurricane Irma, the power was out in Dunbar for a long time. Elderly residents were isolated in very hot homes without supplies. We began to explore ways to support this community and others in climate and social justice efforts. The 2019 FL-iCAN Assembly will focus on issues of climate equity.”
—-Helen Fox and Beverly Ward, contributors
To request a visit from our Field Secretary for Earthcare, contact
Beverly G. Ward, SEYM Field Secretary for Earthcare