More than 1,000 Friends participated in Britain Yearly Meeting’s (BYM) annual gathering between 19 Seventh Month and 8 Eighth Month. The Gathering theme for 2021 was: “For our comfort and discomfort: living equality and truth in a time of crisis.” Under this umbrella, continued consideration of privilege, diversity and inclusion, and climate justice. There were three discernment strands:
- Acknowledging and welcoming gender diverse people, and
- Faith-based action for climate justice.
On 5 Eighth Month, I presented at a session, “Climate Justice – Living Our Testimony to Truth and Equality in a Time of Crisis”, at the invitation of Tracey Martin, Learning & Research Coordinator at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre and Martin Ward, BYM Agenda Committee. My presentation, “Climate Equity: Speaking to One’s Condition—Equality -> Equity ->Justice,” included personal, African-American, and BIPOC experiences in both the U.S. and abroad, specifically the impacts of air pollution from automotive and air traffic.
Friends from BYM’s Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) shared a video, “Climate Justice and the Work of Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW).”
Following the presentations, participants were asked to discuss the following questions in small groups:
- What touched you in what you heard?
- How does our Quaker testimony to equality and truth speak to the idea of climate justice? [and peace]?
- How might a commitment to climate justice influence what actions we take in response to the climate crisis?
There were additional sessions on climate justice. In addition to the video, QPSW also shared available these resources:
• Stop the Maangamizi: (Maangamizi is a Swahili term for Holocaust and continuum of chattel, colonial and neocolonial enslavement.)
• War on Want report: ‘The New Colonialism’
• Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972)
• Lanning and Mueller, Africa Undermined (1979)
• Frederick Cooper, Africa Since 1940 (2002, revised edition 2019)
• Reading list on disability and climate justice. (A Friend shared, “It’s important to note that because of environmental racism a large majority of disabled people are people of colour and racialised people also experience extreme discrimination in medical settings too.”)
As always, I am available to share the Climate Equity presentation. No group is too small. Thank you, Friends!
—Beverly Ward, SEYM Field Secretary for Earthcare