Australia and New Zealand  response to the Global Change Consultation Group A

Query 1

    how can we identify certain aspects of our society as determined by ‘global change’?
    Thoughts on global change in 1980’s due to economic issues and policies in Aotearoa/NZ which disenfranchised minorities and poor people
    UK, effects of global change cope-able, but worsening. e.g., deliberate widening of rich/poor gap through government policy, e.g., rising petrol prices; electricity shortages on horizon, has led to new discussions in small communities on alternative electricity sources; e.g., climate change leads to more flooding
    not interested in whether global warming is ‘man-made’ or not, it is enough to acknowledge the pollution and by-products of our globalised system of production to call to action to change it
    growing awareness or climate change has highlighted the interconnectedness of high …. and its negative fall-out, in political, environmental and economic spheres.
    2-8 billion people moved on Chinese trains during Chinese New Year
    recycling rubbish=new money-maker in Asia, as well as growing movement in many countries
    noticeable change in weather in Australia, with repercussions on the economy of states [lost crops, etc.] – multiplied repercussion as economic fall out trickles through different levels of society
    logical awareness that world is warming, rising sea levels, therefore coastal cities at risk. Grievous Australian flooding exemplary of this and as illustration of how many places will be if sea levels rise. Situation has created new fears for future generations
    ‘mediatisation’ of politics has stopped our politicians being real leaders.  This refers to increasing tendency of politicians to be more concerned with news media representation than with genuine leadership
    last decade astonishing change to ADDICTION to TECHNOLOGY = truly global change. Internet and news media has facilitated ‘gossip culture’ where instant information [often dubious] has ramifications. Means we’ve lost interpersonal communications, e.g., between neighbours. ‘knowing your neighbour’ community is being lost, replaced with global technologically-mediated communication and this is MASSIVE social change
carbon footprint of this gathering [in Manila, AWPS] and bringing us here? Plastic has replaced so much – how is this adding or subtracting?
    Older friends up-skilled to internet use for fear of ‘irrelevance’; …change hard to discern: increased heart and . But talk of global warming and planning for this has facilitated new moves in community as well as in politics.
    At personal and small community level, there is obvious growing awareness and action, but not at elite political level. Internet = great invention to unite and divide [e.g., bringing community together..to organise or not];
    ‘The Big Polluters’ as a concept of disassociates us from problem, shifting our responsibility

In sum: social, environmental, political, economic, technological, inter-generational, culture of politics, etc – way we are concerned about global change.

Query 2

    community gardens, bike use, community meeting to communicate positive message. But negative = transport [car, plane]
    ‘life’s full of contradictions’ – droughts in Australia have prompted more responsible water use. ‘I recycle but then I hop an airplane and came here.’
    more effort on saving [preserving] in water, fuel, clothes, etc.  Conscious of not consuming; tree planting.
    Vegetarianism at Young Friend gatherings to reduce carbon emissions. Sustainability policy created for organisations at future gatherings
    communication action to make explicit the global interconnections, not just environmental but also political, economic, social…in matters of healthcare, pollution, social policy, etc. This highlighting our actions for others and policy-makers the negative fall=out of global processes which are not immediately visible.
    More cycling and walking, eating less meat, saving electricity and fuel.
    Less car use, fuel use, more pro-active water preservation [saving shower water, etc.] which all save money too. Choosing more sustainable products and local food. Producing renewable-source electricity and feeding it back into the grid.
    Australia Yearly Meeting carbon offsets. Regional Australia meeting using solar power. Simple solar-powered heating/cooling systems [Solar Verti]. Vegetarianism where possible
    Local meeting ‘earthcare’ groups. Recycle ‘grey’ and ‘black’ wastes [e.g., for garden use]. Reselling, donating goods at opportunity shops [use to fund Quaker projects, eg., Quaker Service Australia]. Recycling over $1 million a year of goods otherwise destined for the tip.
    Sustainability priorities for rebuilding Quaker meetinghouses
    Personal fuel consumption – trade-off, sometimes more efficient to take a car.

Query 3

    Quaker meeting offers forum for discussion of this issue, peer support.
    Can’t see how these changes affect relationship with God. May have some affect in sense that relationship to caring for the world is expression of relationship to God, for this care has increased.
    The changes have not caused me to suffer, but they make me feel more concerned for people affected by global warming.
    Hard to comprehend in terms of a ‘Divine Plan’ view of God. Our experience of God is an inward one; but an awareness of the role of a belief in God for people experiencing extreme hardship as a result of global changes is important part of how I want to communicate my experience of God.
    ‘I have long believed in the eternity of the soul’…reincarnation. But we rarely think of what happened to our souls  before, i.e., ‘that of God’ was there at the Big Bang. We have a say in the life of the universe.
    ‘So my relationship with God is now more fuzzy’. This fluidity is the genius of Quakerism.
    Progression at the end of my prayer from ‘amen’ to ‘so be it’ to ‘so it is’.  Our changes are changing the universe. ‘we are stardust’….what makes the universe
    my relationship with God between my spirit and head, unaffected by global change. But I am on his earth as a custodian, thus I must leave it in good shape for those to follow. This comes from my belief in God.
    All these changes do affect my relationship to God. War in Iraq, I dreamed people went off to war instead of being electricians. After Auschwitz, I don’t think God intervenes. We are responsible for our salvation, we are responsible for our relationship to God. Pascal’s wages with God [nothing to lose by believing in it] = same for climate change.  ‘I hope the world is tougher and unknowable than it may seem’. ‘ the feeling that God is suffering with us comforts us, and compels me to do all I can’.
Query 3b
    worried about armchair theorizing or what should be a practical issue for all of us.
    No idea how the meeting does, by in my life the Testimonies are very important.
    In war, we taught people survival skills for homes of no electricity. Now, we theorise, but do not practice such practical examples.
    This is far too wide a question
    Simplicity= the one testimony most important to global change and the one we most often ignore. Because it is so hard – too hard?, because it highlights the latent hypocrisy, i.e., we are not simple, despite eloquently speaking on it, because it involved sacrifice – are we willing to make it?
    But there are Friends among us who do keep us remembering the need/testimony to simplicity
    we need to support our Friends who go out on a limb and really push the global change resoonse
    good examples of Friends’ action, e.g., battery exchange
    the non-simplicity of global commercial world is not the will of God, but result of our lifestyle and decision making processes
    to address issue of simplicity, our moral leading needs to be tested – ‘we can’t preach equality from a mansion.’
    thinking, talking, sharing this is powerful
    The ‘Chinen study’ diet to change our eating patterns [transcriber couldn’t read name of diet]
    how may Friends change systems? e.g., renewable energy. e.g., our transformative investment [like the bicycle].  God leads us in creative ways we have not even thought of.
    I want to see Quaker investors
    all our testimonies are involved one way or another but I’m deeply suspicious of how we speak about simplicity. ‘there is something to be said for the complexity of society; e.g., the medicines that keep many alive, only available through a complex society.  ‘complexity can be a blessing’. Simplicity need not be dull, we need employment that involves people, not resources.
    Peace testimony also important [building the institutions of peace]
    we need to build the global institutions that can address the global problems
    we need to anticipate the causes of conflict; e.g., to think now on where to move displaced people to
    so peace testimony is most important.

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