Report on Global Change Consultation at Colorado Regional Meeting

    1. How has global change affected our communities and ourselves?

      1. Climate: extreme weather conditions (green house gases go up every year 3 – 4%).
      2. Change globally is simply evolution of creation. The human is only the latest evolutionary experiment…and many indicators tell us/me that we are destroying our species and many others in our reckless, selfish ways.
      3. Economic: sheister bankers, foreclosures, shipping jobs, increase gap between rich and poor. People not honored for their loyalty.
      4. Disparity of resources between the first world and the third world, finite planet, limited space and time.
      5. Increase in depression, stress.
      6. Heightened awareness to “being green” – high consciousness to conserve resources, alter our lifestyle: drive less, bicycle more, recycle, educate our peers, work and vote toward alternative, cleaner energy.
      7. Warming of the oceans, coral reefs, polar ice caps, social, political, environmental, income gap, solar, reduce consumption, recycle, economics, jobs, abundance, satisfying, sustainability, awareness, action.
      8. Social out of control building expansion, war, antisocial, intolerance, closed minds, closing access to public lands, tea party.
      9. Climate, pine beetle infestation, intense forest fires, high winds, tornadoes, drought.
      10. Increased depression, stress.
      11. Economic-corporations not honoring/being loyal to employees: shipping jobs overseas: increased gap between rich and poor.
      12. Economic, foreclosures, hunger, homelessness, joblessness, outsourcing, unavailable health care (for profit), soaring fuel costs, industrialization, anti-environmentalism, atmosphere, lung disease, smog, carbon dioxide, global warming, garbage, landfills overflowing, water, pollution, diseases, ecology, honeybee/bat deaths. Genetic modified organisms, pollution.
      13. Practical effects on our communities and ourselves not very great. Increasing percentage of people on anti-depressants. Scarcity: our planet’s resources and its ability to absorb and cope with toxic wastes, carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” are finite and limited. Abundance: awareness of this reality couple with a real commitment to equality and justice for all the people (species) on the planet tells us “we consume too much.” How can we change our living and consumption patters? Can a new and simpler, smarter way of life be more satisfying and abundant?
      14. Global change hasn’t affected me much yet.
  1. What actions have we taken in response to global change as experienced in our area, to express our responsibilities towards all creation? In what ways have my own activities or those of my community contributed to positive or adverse local and global change?
    1. Reintroduction of species. More comprehensive recycling (composting). I have contributed to these by being a more active contributor over the last few years. The town I live in has increased its participation more as well. Where we are not up to some communities we are moving in that direction more actively all the time.
    2. Express our responsibilities towards all creation? Our position of privilege, we have the vantage point of global change, the luxury to take some actions (attend protests, give to causes to slow or “band-aid” symptoms of global change, while having a major stake in the status quo, political, economic, and social structures. Activities we can do include gardeners’ markets, use less energy, water and stuff, etc.
    3. Examine needs vs wants.
    4. Reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim, reinvent, re-gift, rejoice, reconnect…
    5. Conserve and redistribute food, energy, land, scarce resources.
    6. Examine our own lives truthfully, with no fear, take time, don’t blame.
    7. Share our abundance, keep things balanced, keep it simple.
    8. Global change is complex, it calls for connection and understanding of others.
    9. It is miraculous that no further nuclear bombs have been used, why? A desire for good life.
    10. We have personal responsibility: take public transportation, reduce consumption (recycling, purchasing locally, solar power.
    11. We have community responsibility: volunteering, writing, teaching, sustainable infrastructure (food, transportation, waste), public campaigns, political action, influencing laws and legislation, think globally.
  1.  How do changes around us affect our relationship with God? How does my relationship with God affect my responses to the changes around us? What role does faith have in my life and in the life of my community? In what ways do I and my Friends church or meeting community bear witness to our Testimonies in our daily lives?
    1. Faith gives me hope and guidance for my life. I hope to express God’s will in my community.
    2. Changes challenge us to find new ways to express our relationship to God. I would like to see our relation to God expressed in action.
    3. Quaker testimonies inform me that we must learn first and foremost to live simply, to remove human centric view in favor of a respect for mother nature, of humility, of stewards of life.
    4. EDUCATION so people will be AWARE of the RAMIFICATIONS of their actions.
    5. Simplicity + peace + truth + integrity + justice.
    6. Role models in present and past in our spiritual community.
    7. I’m called to “like” – to find common interests and personal enjoyment-even with people I don’t agree with. “Love” – wishing them well-is no longer enough. God wants me to treat everyone as my brothers and sisters and to look for ways to become the peaceable kingdom-despite deep disagreement-differences in language, etc. “Jesus loves us” and “namaste” aren’t that fundamentally different.
    8. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not into your own understanding. In all things acknowledge him and he will direct our paths. (Proverbs)
    9. Faithfulness increases with crisis.
    10. We have too much and others have too little, but we Quakers have not changed very much.

4. What stories and experiences from past times of catastrophic happenings such as major droughts-perhaps from Scripture, perhaps the record of regional or local events – might inspire us to respond to the changes the world is facing today?

  1. Grass roots action (for example, soldiers in Christmas truce in World War I.
  2. Only grass roots movements flare the freedom to speak truth to power.
  3. In order to react effectively to catastrophes, people have to work together as communities. Bottom up not top down.
  4. Seek light, ways to open..
  5. Identify with those oppressed (Danes/Jewish WW II) Witness for justice together with others.
  6. As Quakers our task is to encourage community around the toughest issues facing us.
  7. Some historical parallels…? fall of the Roman empire, Great Depression, Egyptian captivity or Babylonian exile (Biblical)
  8. Often the world’s problems seem so big it’s difficult (impossible?) to see what one person can do, but even the smallest actions can help if lots of people do them.
  9. Historically response to “evil” most successfully happens in community.
  10. 30’s depression, WWII nutrition experiments, Japanese internment. Human spirit survives, working in community, witnessing, being present.

5. How can we bear witness to the abundance God offers us and testify to the world about ways in which justice, compassion, and peace may address significant disruption, stress, and tension?

  1. Justice, recognize that food production in the 3rd world countries to the south of us will become even more of a problem as it gets hotter and drier, and they will have to move, as will perhaps we (or our descendants) may have to.
  2. Show gratitude, be aware, show empathy.
  3. Take responsibility, kindness, compassion, healing.
  4. Remove boundaries, rich v poor, etc.
  5. How do we create shared responsibility and fair distribution? Evangelize???
  6. Shifting the value of how we live. “What can I do?
  7. Recognize and be grateful for what we have every day and use these gifts to prepare for the future of humanity (and other life forms.).
  8. Begin (start little) do something. Learn. Give thanks, then give away. Look at what we truly value.
  9. Awe of people who have stood in harms way for their desire for a better world.

6. How can we support one another in rekindling our love and respect for God‟s Creation in such away that we are messengers of the transforming power of love and hope?

  1. Practice and teach others to practice “deep gratitude.” This can be done as individuals, meetings, at first day school. Take 30 seconds to 1 minute to feel deeply grateful for a specific thing.
  2. Show the film “The Economics of Happiness” by Helene Norberg-Hodge. Have discussions: what makes us happy?
  3. Lift up the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, equality, and peace. These are the keys to happiness. Realize the power of these testimonies to transform the world.
  4. Brian Swimme: each of us is the product of 13 billion years of the evolution of the universe: use this amazing power and opportunity to move evolution forward. We are co-creators of the universe now. It is a sacred trust.
  5. Resources that are not sustainable are just that: not sustainable. As individuals we need to be mindful of this fact, and not get overly personally identified with this reality.
  6. Make effort to share news of the positive.
  7. Find gratitude triggers; be aware and appreciative of good works as well as the wonder of it all.
  8. Encourage those who do well and can do good.
  9. Supporting your meeting’s good works. Widen the effect.
  10. Identify wonderful projects, large and small, that seem very hopeful to me and that I believe might be hopeful to others. An example is Norway’s paying the entire country of Guiana to not clear-cut their timber and be prohibited from using the money in a corrupt, selfish, manner. I tell as many people as I can about such things that are good news.
  11. Be a mirror, especially for people who live alone, to people who aren’t really appreciating (or even seeing) their own accomplishments and effectiveness. If they feel less discouraged or hopeless, they they can be more energized to to important things that can contribute to hopefulness.
  12. Be resolute, as taught by Buddhists. Helps fend off detractors and critics, giving strength to carry on when confronted by opposition to work for God’s creation.
  13. Brian Swimme, cosmologist, concludes from observing what humans are good at, that we are best at “gawking,” or appreciating the world around us. This is our function in the universe.
  14. Each of us is individually responsible to engage, with integrity, with our environment.
  15. Many Friends meetings are involved and engaged with efforts and actions to live more in tune with global change realities.
  16. Find ways to translate our concerns, i.e. speak others’ language of love and concern.
  17. Feel gratitude, it takes the place of fear.
  18. Support each other in being environmentally conscious.
  19. Communicate what works, make people aware of projects, things they can do.
  20. Find ways to “translate” our concerns.
  21. Speak each others’ language of love.
  22. Buoy each other up – encourage those who live alone and don’t have someone to tell them.
  23. Live the Quaker testimonies, support your meeting and the leadings of others.
  24. Live with and express gratitude. Act with mindfulness always.
  25. Start with the core being, create self-awareness.
  26. Grass roots, not top-down.
  27. Communicate to others that they matter and what they do matters-by mirroring the details of their successes. Observe, remember and communicate. Express appreciation.
  28. Lift up the Quaker testimonies-they are the tools of sustainability and the key to happiness!