Report on Global Change Consultation at Northern YM

Queries and Responses

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

  • We have been sheltered from some aspects of global change and so may be in denial about their effects. In our area, for example, we have clean air to breathe and abundant supplies of clear water.
  • We have felt the effects of some aspects of global change only indirectly, such as the melting of glaciers in the Arctic and the threat to the polar bear population. For these aspects, change has affected our knowledge but has not deeply penetrated our consciousness and relationship to the world.
  • Some aspects of global change, such as improvements in transportation, have affected us positively.
  • Our response to global change has in some ways been shaped by how we define “our communities.” If we understand our community as global, we are likely to feel a much greater connection to those affected by changes we would otherwise experience only vicariously.
  • Our response to some aspects of global change — economic insecurity, terrorism, extreme weather that impacts us directly — has been fear, and we wonder how we can return to a response based on love and hope?

#2. What actions have we taken in response to global change as experienced in our area, to express our responsibilities toward all creation? In what ways have my own activities or those of my community contributed to positive or adverse local and global change?

  • By just being human beings in this world we bring love, which would not exist without us.
  • We advocate for policy changes to promote the development and use of renewable sources of energy, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, transportation, energy standards for new construction, sustainable agriculture, reduction of the widening gap between rich and poor, reform of financial institutions that favor the rich.
  • Individually we make changes to conserve energy and water and eat more locally grown and organic foods.
  • We cultivate a sense of hope based on contributing to a growing community with a vision of what it means to live in right relationship with all of creation.
  • One among us spoke of the joy he experienced living in simplicity in Tanzania without running water and electricity, and consuming very little, sharing with his neighbors the hardship of a drought.
  • Perhaps one cause of the current crises we face is a belief system that encourages boys and men to compensate for feelings of inferiority by over-achieving, one aspect of which is the development of technologies that encourage the unsustainable use of resources. To address this we much replace our judgmental belief system with one based on compassion.

#3. 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?

  • Change intensifies my relationship to God. The spiritual domain is one place where I find answers.
  • This depends in part on how I perceive change. Some change excites me.
  • Practicing gratitude affects my attitude toward change.
  • Staying connected with God affects my ability to deal with change.
  • It depends on whether it is change over which I have some control or change over which I have no control.
  • My personal connection with God is dependent on my involvement in my faith community.
  • Our function is to seek God’s will, to align ourselves with the flow of the universe. We don’t do a very good job of that, and this create barriers to ability to deal with change.
  • We need to recognize that some of the strategies we use to meet shared needs have been very destructive.
  • Letting go of our need for control, staying connected with the natural world, and opening our hearts to God’s love will enable us to stay rooted and grounded even through the dynamic change we are experiencing. These are ways of being in relationship, which is essential to dealing with change.