New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.
Burlington Friends at Climate March 2014

Latest Earthcare Actions in Monthly Meetings

HERE ARE recent reports from monthly meetings around New England Yearly Meeting on their Earthcare-related activities. (Click here for a current list of NEYM Earthcare Liaisons who are sources of this information.)

  • MIDDLEBURY FRIENDS MEETING Earthcare Committee: Fran Putnam reported in December 2016:

    "During the past four months our Meeting, under the guidance of our co-clerk, Jean Rosenberg, has focused on the work of Joanna Macy and her book, Active Hope: How to face the mess we are in without going crazy." We hosted three small-group discussions two weeks apart and then had a three-hour workshop called 'The Spiral of Hope,' led Jean Rosenberg. The workshop was very interactive and we felt it was more effective than the small group discussions.

    "Following on that work, we reported our experience with Active Hope to the Addison County Interfaith Climate Action Network (ICAN). This has inspired two other faith communities to undertake multi-pronged projects based on Active Hope with their congregations. In addition, ICAN is planning a full-day workshop for the community called 'Active Hope--inspiration and courage for times of great change' on January 28, 2017.

    "Our committee is very happy to see that what began as a Friends Meeting initiative suggested by Jean Rosenberg has percolated into the larger community and beyond. We  hope the community workshop will inspire participants to work through our despair and fear about climate change and move towards hope and renewed purpose.

    "In addition, our committee is looking for concrete ways that our Meeting can take up the call from NEYM to respond to climate disruption."

  • FRIENDS MEETING AT CAMBRIDGE: Mary Gilbert reported in December 2016: "Two members of Friends Meeting at Cambridge, Christna Frintner and Kim West, traveled to Standing Rock where they spent a few days in a prayer camp. I do not have further information, except that they were welcomed and could feel the friendship of the people there.

    "A small group from the Cambridge Quaker Earthcare Witness committee is working hard to set up a state-wide network of Friends (and friends) who are  willing to contact their state legislators in a time way. We currently have 49 names. Our first project will be to support a carbon fee and distribution bill that didn't make it last year, but has been 'tweaked' and will get a new number and a new start in January. We hope our 49 people will make a difference!

    "Cambridge is also working to get a Voluntary Carbon Tax system along the lines of what is happening at Mt. Toby. We have 14 people who have expressed interest in participating."

  • PROVIDENCE (R.I.) FRIENDS MEETING: Providence Monthly Meeting recently sent the following letter to the NEYM Legacy Gift Committee, supporting Paul Klinkman and Liberty Goodwin's design and development of energy-efficient solar greenhouses.

    14 Second Month 2016
    Legacy Gift Committee
    ​New England Yearly Meeting

    Dear Friends:
    Your Friends at Providence Monthly Meeting send you warm greetings in the Spirit. After months of discernment by our Peace and Social Concerns Committee and by our Monthly Meeting for Business, we feel clear to send this letter of support from our worship community on behalf of Paul Klinkman’s and Liberty Goodwin’s application for grant funding from the Legacy Gift Future Fund.

    We support these two Friends’ leading to work on issues of climate change and sustainability through their work on a new, potentially less expensive type of solar greenhouse. We are also pleased to note that there is interest within the wider community for this project, with the Rhode Island New Urban Farmers offering to host the greenhouse building on their property in Warren, Rhode Island.

    Providence Monthly Meeting intends to provide oversight for this project in the form of an ad hoc committee, which will meet approximately once a month. Several members of our Monthly Meeting, from both Providence Meeting and Saylesville Preparative Meeting, have expressed interest in serving on this committee.  The committee will also receive assistance from Bleu Grijalva of the New Urban Farmers, who has agreed to serve in an advisory capacity to our committee.

    We commend this project to your careful discernment, and should it be of assistance to you, we would be pleased to answer questions as they arise in the process. We will hold you in the Light as you carry the weighty task of determining the best uses for the Legacy Fund.

    Daniel Lederer, Clerk
    Providence Monthly Meeting

 

  • FRIENDS MEETING AT CAMBRIDGE (Mass.): Mary Gilbert reports: "Friends Meeting at Cambridge (FMC) has endorsed a bill designed to reduce carbon use that is working its way through the Massachusetts legislature. Like the successful law in British Columbia, it is a 'fee and distribution' plan (not a tax). Consumers would be charged a fee at point of purchase, the amount of the fee would increase annually, and the entire sum collected (minus some administrative costs) would be disbursed on an equal basis to all citizens. This would shift money from people driving gas guzzlers to the rest of the populace. Friends have had the bill's author come to speak, have spoken at the bill's hearing, are working on a stronger endorsement letter, and are planning outreach to other Meetings in Massachusetts. The bill has bipartisan support at the State House and a fair chance of becoming law. We see teamwork between voluntary lifestyle changes and supportive government policy as a good way to proceed."

  • NEW HAVEN (Conn.) FRIENDS MEETING. Kim Stoner reports: Over the next six months, Jon Gorham of New Haven Friends Meeting will lead a series of workshops on what Friends can do about climate change. (The workshops, all beginning at 1 p.m. on Sundays at New Haven Friends Meeting, are also open to the wider community). This series is based on a two-day workshop that Jon led last fall at the Woodman Hill retreat of Connecticut Valley Quarterly Meeting.

    March 6: “25 No-Cost Ways to Lower Your Environmental Footprint”

    Learn how to save money and be more comfortable, while helping our state and country use energy resources more wisely. Participants will learn very specific methods for achieving these goals and how saving energy in your daily life relates to Climate Change.

    April 3: “Renewable Energy – Right for You, Our Country, the Planet?”

    Learn how to decide if solar is right for you. What are the expectations for renewable energy for America and for the rest of the planet as their wider use relates to Climate Change. Examine relevant case studies.

    June 5: “Climate Change and the Response of Faith Communities”

    Since Pope Francis delivered his encyclical, many communities of faith have responded with strong pledges to help their members or congregants lessen the negative effects of Climate Change. Learn how different faith traditions are mobilizing around Climate Change. What do we have to learn from one another?

    September 4: “Post-Paris COP21 – Are we Making Progress?”

    After the historic agreement among some 195 countries in December 2015 has the world community lived up to its collective promises to act to abate Climate Change? What are the major polluting countries doing to lessen their impact? What positive developments have occurred to place the planet onto a more sustainable trajectory? How can each of us be helpful?

    November 6: “Divestment – a Viable Strategy for Fostering Climate Change Action?”

    Some universities, pension funds, religious organizations and individuals are choosing to divest from fossil fuel companies. What are the pros and cons of this tactic as a way to encourage Climate Change actions? Does the Go Fossil Free Divestment movement track divestment movements in the past, e.g., from the tobacco industry and from companies doing business in South Africa? What choices are available to individuals who may wish to divest from fossil fuel industries? Where does New Haven Friends Meeting stand on this topic?

  • SOUHEGAN FRIENDS MEETING: Brian Drayton of Weare (N.H.) Friends Meeting writes: "Hi, Friends. You are invited to join Souhegan (N.H.) Friends for a forum and discussion about the Voluntary Carbon Tax Witness, which originated at Mount Toby Meeting. Alan Eccleston and other Mount Toby Friends will join us for worship at our usual time, 10:30, on February 21. Simple potluck lunch will be followed the program at 12:30. Join us for any or all of these.   
    Souhegan Friends meet at Pine Hill Waldorf School, 77 Pine Hill Rd. (off of Abbot Hill Rd.), in Wilton, N.H. Call me with questions! -- Brian Drayton 603-654-6001 

  • FRIENDS MEETING At CAMBRIDGE: Mary Gilbert reports: A group of Quakers, including about five from Friends Meeting at Cambridge, recently participated in a demonstration at the site where a new gas pipeline is already under construction in West Roxbury. Five Friends chose to be arrested. Police were very respectful.

    On November 30, six Friends from FMC participated in a walk from Harvard Square to the State House in Boston in support of the climate negotiations in Paris.

  • QUAKER CITY UNITY FRIENDS MEETING: Reb Mackenzie reports: On December 3rd, three Friends from Quaker City Unity Friends Meeting distributed flyers in front of the Claremont, N.H., post office to draw attention to the UN Climate Summit in Paris and encourage personal and group actions that mitigate climate change, based on the Climate Minute from Connecticut Valley Quarter that Quaker City Unity Friends endorsed. “We want to share this statement with the community. As concerned citizens, we need to better understand the impacts of climate change on our local communities and develop reasonable responses personally and as informed community members. Our hope is to continue to raise awareness and encourage an open dialogue between local community leaders, legislators, and concerned citizens about the need to address climate change locally.” For more information, contact Reb at <[email protected]>.

  • MATTAPOISETT (Mass.) FRIENDS MEETING: Deena Kinsky reports: "We switched energy suppliers to a green energy supplier, which is cheaper. That's all I have for you now, but hope to have more in the future!"

  • PORTLAND (Me.) FRIENDS MEETING: Rob Levin announces an event sponsored by Portland's Peace & Social Concerns Committee: 

    Climate Advocacy Training:  Time to Take Our Planet Back! October 17, 2015, 12:30–4:30 p.m., at the Portland Friends Meetinghouse, 1837 Forest Ave., Portland, Maine. 

    Now is the time for crucial action on climate disruption—let’s reclaim the lobbying process and press for action! Learn how to make your voice most effectively heard in Maine and inWashington. 

    This exciting workshop will give you tools for citizen lobbying at both the federal and state levels. You’ll receive training, sample materials for lobbying visits, and hands-on sessions to practice your new skills. We’ll also take a snack break for one of the best parts of the workshop—getting to know each other.

    The workshop will be led by Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobbying organization in Washington, D.C. and by local experts from Citizens Climate Lobby and State Senator Cathy Breen. The skills you'll learn will serve far beyond lobbying on any bill or issue. Even if climate is not your main issue, please feel welcome to attend with your issue or legislation in mind.

    All are welcome, but please let us know you are coming so we can prepare.

    RSVP to: <[email protected]>.

  • BURLINGTON (Vt.) FRIENDS MEETING: David Millar reports that BFM will be hosting a multi-faith potluck and discussion on November 15th, the last day of the 2015 New Economy Week: From Austerity to Prosperity. This is a project of the New Economy Coalition <http://neweconomy.net>. The week is an opportunity for people all around North America to have a public conversation about ideas that can transform society and build an economy where people and the planet matter. Each day during the week the New Economy Coalition will publish new content on the Internet: <http://neweconomyweek.org>. 

  • DOVER (N.H.) FRIENDS MEETING: Phyllis Killam-Abell announced the Dover Peace & Social Concerns Committees 2015 fall program series, "Create a Peaceful World by Sustaining our Future." On October 14, Doug Bogen, Executive Director of SEAREI, will talk on "Energy 2050: Getting to 100% Renewables." On October 22 the SEAREI Women's Club of Portsmouth, N.H., will talk about "Unleashing Solar Power in N.H." On October 23-24 there will be a Main Walk for Peace, focusing on Militarization of the Seas and the Pentagon's Impacts on the Oceans. On October 28, Joe Gerson, Regional Director of the NE AFSC, and Judy Eliot of the N.H. AFSC, will talk on "Nuclear Weapons: 21st Century Dangers, Modernization, and Global Demands for Abolition." On November 4, the documentary, "The Soil Solution" will show how to keep carbon in the ground. On November 11, there will be "Birddogging Training" led by Olivia Zink of the N.H. AFSC.

  • FRIENDS MEETING at CAMBRIDGE: Gwen Noyes reports: On Thursday, November 5, 2015, the Cambridge Quaker Earthcare Witness Committee (CQEW) is sponsoring a workshop,“An Opportunity to Address Climate Disruption.” Participants will be helped to “Advocate for Lower Carbon Emissions in Massachusetts with a revenue-neutral carbon fee and rebate returns to citizens

    State Senator Michael Barrett will facilitate the workshop.

    The aim of the workshop is to “Build individual and interfaith support for Senator Barrett’s Massachusetts legislation to effectively curb CO2 emissions: Senate Carbon Fee Bill # 1747."

    Influence the legislative process at a critical point along the path to adoption. Modeled after successful legislation in British Columbia, this bill supports an efficient use of resources in day-to-day life and then rewards Massachusets citizens with rebates.

    There will also be pro-ACTION planning, seeking publicly visible ways to raise awareness about this bill.

    6:30 – 9:00 At Friends Meeting Cambridge,

    5 Longfellow Park, Cambridge, MA 02138

    Refreshments will be served

    Register by e-mailing <[email protected]>

  • NEW HAVEN (Conn.) FRIENDS MEETING: Kim Stoner shares the following news: "Our work in New Haven meeting taking photos of people (at our Meeting, at gatherings of peace groups, and at the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride) has gone global. Please see the wonderful post (with just a few of our pictures) at:
    http://www.globalwave2015.org/news-2/2015/4/14/new-haven-quakers-multiple-waves-to-abolish-nukes
    I see this work on ending nuclear weapons to be very much a part of Earth Care.  As the organizers of the International Peace and Planet Mobilization say in every post, our issues are interrelated."

  • YAF PILGRIMAGE: Rod Zwirner of West Falmouth Friends Meeting reports: Young Adult Friends of New England are leading a pilgrimage that follows the path of a proposed fracked-gas pipeline. The pilgrimage is in its 8th day and passing near the Meeting School property. It is connecting a lot of churches and some Meetings. Besides the website, there is a blog at Facebook page:

    http://pipelinepilgrimage.org

  • DOVER (N.H.) FRIENDS MEETING. Phyllis Killam-Abell reports: The weekly Create a Peaceful World by Sustaining Our Future has since September to December been reading Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. Climate. All members purchased and read several chapters of the book each week and then discussed them following a potluck supper at the Meeting House. Then the group used their conclusions of grassroots actions to apply blockadia and follow subsequent actions in the new government of Syriza in Greece to ascertain what this new grassroots action will do. We also followed “Black Lives Matter,” which has spread across our country. Both these and others have been examples of what Klein is talking about.
    Our latests efforts are about how Plants Talk to Each Other from the PBS Nature Series and concluding with an outreach to others in the seacoast by coming together with a celebration of Earthday on April 22 by showing The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism, and Community.

  • HARTFORD (Conn.) FRIENDS MEETING: Bill Upholt, Earthcare liaison, links the following from the Hartford Meeting website:

    Peterson Toscano Performance, Sunday, April 12--"Queer Quaker Response To Climate Change." Enough with the gloom and doom! People are hungry for new ways of looking at climate change. Peterson Toscano, a quirky, queer Quaker provides a lively, insightful, and at times hilarious presentation that helps his audiences wrap their heads and hearts around global warming.

  • DURHAM (Me.) FRIENDS MEETING. Sukie Rice reports, "I’m with the 350 Greater Portland group (twice a month) and I convene the Freeport Climate Action Team (twice a month). The Freeport CAT and Durham P&SC co-sponsored having Jay O’Hara a month ago to speak at the Brunswick Library. A very nice turn out of 60ish people. Jay was inspiring. We had it taped.

    The Freeport CAT is now working on a Community Solar Farm and a plastic bag ban that is in front of the Freeport Town Council. We’re also trying to get a Solar Energy bill passed in the legislature, but even if we do see it passed there won’t be enough votes to over-ride a veto from Gov. LePage, who hates solar and wind, and energy efficiency.

    P&SC will be supporting Finance Committee’s recommendation that we put two heat pumps into the meetinghouse, and solar panels on the south-west facing roof to offset the electricity needed. We have begun to seek bids for this but it will be a while before we make any decisions and put all the money together for it.

  • PROVIDENCE (R.I.) FRIENDS MEETING. Paul Klinkman, Earthcare liaison, forwarded the following Minute of Advice to New England Pooled Funds on Divestment from Fossil Fuels:

    9 Eleventh Month, 2014, Minute 3:

    3. For the Finance Committee, Mike Hirtle presented a proposed Minute of advice for the NEYM Pooled Funds, responding to that body's request for guidance, which was read but not considered at last month's meeting for business. The statement was approved as amended to read as follows:

    The Board of Managers should move to divest from fossil fuel related investments, but such divestment should take place in an orderly manner such that adverse economic impacts to the Pooled Funds are minimized. In addition, the Board of Managers should seek alternative energy investments that do not involve fossil fuels or contribute to global warming, and that minimize environmental damage.

  • FARMINGTON (Me.) FRIENDS MEETING. Mark Rains, Farmington's Earthcare liaison, reports: 
    1. The Meeting contributes to a community fund: The Energy Conservation Project. This project will help with weatherizing a home by putting plastic barrier over the windows and also help with fuel assistance for those in need.
    2. The Meeting helps with a booth at the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Assoc. Fair called Common Ground (mofga.org) that is sponsored by Vasselboro Quarterly Meeting. They are promoting a resource distributed by the Quaker Institute for the Future called Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy. 50,000 to 60,000 people attend this fair.
    3. The Meeting is also involved in Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy around Earthcare issues, including issues having to do with the indigenous peoples of Maine.

  • BURLINGTON (Vt.) FRIENDS MEETING. On Sunday, March 22, at the rise of meeting there will be a potluck and panel discussion on the topic “Earthcare begins at Home.” Three panelists from BFM, Louis Cox, Will Perry, and Catherine Bock, will share their practical ideas about saving energy. We also invite everyone to bring their own energy-saving tips and questions. We see this as the beginning of a process of sharing ideas and concerns about lowering fossil fuel use and exploring other climate change related issues.

  • MIDDLEBURY (Vt.) FRIENDS MEETING. Fran Putnam has announced that Earthcare will be the theme of Middlebury Meeting's Friendly Forums for February, March, and April, 2015, facilitated by Earthcare Committee members. The overall theme is how we as Friends can rise to the challenge of a changing climate, both individually and collectively, while honoring our Quaker values and testimonies. Each forum will be based on a pamphlet from Quaker Earthcare Witness: February 22: “Human Induced Climate Change: A Spiritual Perspective,” led by Laura Asermily. March 22:  “Peace on Earth, Peace With Earth,” led by Mimi Love-Nicholson. April 26, “Traveling Gently on the Earth,” led by Chris Stackhouse. Friends are invited to attend one, two, or all three forums. Pamphlets will be available at each forum and do not need to be read in advance. All forums will begin at 11:30 after the rise of Meeting. For more information, contact: Fran Putnam, 575 Morgan Horse Farm Rd., Weybridge, VT 05753, 802-388-1644.

  • NORTHAMPTON (Mass.) FRIENDS MEETING. Maureen Flannery reports that four individuals from Northampton Friends Meeting participated in the first quarter of our meeting’s Voluntary Carbon Tax Witness. Using the model that Mount Toby offered, NFM in September approved the process and content of pledging to assess ourselves, based on our individual judgment, for various sources of energy use, and giving credit for ways in which we already are saving energy. Friends affirmed this witness as a ministry of the Meeting. For the quarter that ended December 15, 2014, $220.25 was collected. Friends chose to send that amount as a contribution to Health in Harmony, an organization founded by a member of NFM which has as its mission saving rainforests and saving lives in Indonesia. http://www.healthinharmony.org/

  • QUAKER CITY UNITY FRIENDS MEETING. Earthcare liaison Rebecca MacKenzie says, “Currently there are some in our Monthly Meeting are reading This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. Climate, by Naomi Klein and are discussing it. Also, I am a presenter for the 'Awakening the Dreamer' symposium and am interested in offering this program through Monthly Meetings as host sites.”
  • BURLINGTON (Vt.) FRIENDS MEETING. Earthcare liaison Ruah Swennerfelt reports that her Meeting has approved a divestment Minute and a climate Minute that is being forwarded to Yearly Meeting. She also reports that members of Burlington Monthly Meeting are reading and discussing Doug Gwyn's latest book, A Sustainable Life.
     
  • MOUNT TOBY (Mass.) FRIENDS MEETING. Roger Conant reports that Mount Toby has established a Climate Witness Committee and has switched its electricity account to a “green” supplier. It is currently working on creation of a large solar farm next to the Meetinghouse. For a year Mount Toby Friends sponsored a Dime-a-Gallon Fund (Friends contributing for fuel used in getting to/from Meeting); the proceeds went to organizations or actions aimed at reducing climate emissions. More recently they formed a voluntary Carbon Witness Fund, now with about 14 members, sending several thousand dollars to organizations or projects working on climate issues. Mount Toby is a member of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light and has been encouraging Friends to sign up for “green” electricity. The Meeting has formed a committee within a local interfaith coalition, focused on climate issues. Mount Toby Friends held a well-attended session on climate issues at NEYM's 2014 sessions.