Report on Global Change Consultation at Hamilton Monthly Meeting

We read the preface and the queries, discussed the process, then entered silent worship.

Personal experiences of global change

Noted the de-industrialization of Hamilton, jobs moving away, increase in poverty and a shrinking middle class.

Recalled being unable to buy hoisin sauce for a recipe in Hamilton, 30 years ago. Noting the many positive aspects of the spread of world cuisine, world music, and the mingling of cultures.

Loves the diversity we live in, but notes the fading of real diversity across the world; for example the acculturation of a tribe in Panama in one three-year period. This is contributing to a loss of diversity in Gaia.

Recalled the book ‘The Ugly American’. Left a career as a diplomat in US foreign service after being asked to help Dole acquire land for cash crops on Cameroon. He was unsuccessful in his appeals to superiors to value human development over economic development. His career has involved taking groups of people to see how north american values have adversely affected other cultures. Industrialization supports negative forces.

Dislikes cloned seeds. Farmers shouldn’t have to buy seed, but now it is sterile.

We receive and purchase food from all over the world. It is astounding to think of transporting fruits and vegetables by air from far off places. But those places depend on this trade. 40 years ago the development community was hoping for ‘trade not aid’. Now we wonder if it is a good solution.

Query #2: actions

Many of us have reduced excess consumption, travel, energy use. Hamilton now only allows one bag of garbage per week.

As a meeting we have done a few things to reduced energy consumption at the meeting house; insulated our walls, started to weather-strip, installed new windows. As individuals we are constructive in society, an overwhelmingly responsible group of people. Quakers in meeting were involved in the conservation movement before it was popular. But we don’t do much as a meeting. We aren’t projecting our values. How can we project justice and peace as a meeting? We need to do some deep thinking. We need a testimony on the environment.

How we deal with each other day to day is crucial.

Query #3 Changes and our faith

Quaker literature has been a major inspiration. If you take on issues on your own, you burn out. If you start with a deep relationship with God, you can be directed to what you can actually do. Some form of spiritual practice links me to a wider source of energy, and makes me aware of our interconnectedness. I cant think of anything more countercultural than that. I call that interconnectedness God.

Being a Quaker has changed me. It motivates me by something bigger than myself. The role of faith is to expand why I do what I do.

The globalization of faith has expanded our freedom and understanding but caused a loss of focus. It is a challenge for us to talk about our faith.

I cant recite a creed. Quaker meeting is an accepting place. It is right.

God is a creative principle. We are supposed to be creative. We try to live a meaningful life with honesty and integrity.

Query #5: bear witness to God

I live with joy, and enjoy the world.

I do the best I can.

A physical injury made me more sensitive to the difficulties in lives of others.

We have many opportunities to speak truth, and we don’t always respond.

Not the willed but the willing life.

We need to be aware of the footprint we leave. The Quaker footprint is not small.

We need to do a lot more.

We could try using these queries during meeting for worship.