LEADINGS

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CLIMATE Change

Activities of the UFM adhoc Climate Change Committee

Climate Related Book Reviews

The Climate Diet: 50 Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint Paul Greenberg (2021)

Readable, bite-sized nuggets on actions we can all take, from the personal sphere to collective action, in these areas: eating and drinking; making families; staying home; leaving home; saving and spending; and fighting and winning. Some of these ideas have found their way into the climate articles in Gleamings.-  Amanda Franklin, reviewer



The Climate Action Handbook: A Visual Guide to 100 Climate Solutions for Everyone, Heidi Roop (2023)

From food and fashion choices, rethinking travel, greening up our homes and gardens, to civic engagement and championing community climate planning, Roop shares 100 wide-ranging ways that readers from all walks of life can help move the needle in the right direction—with dollops of hope that show we are already beginning to act. - Amanda Franklin, reviewer



Quakers, Creation Care, and Sustainability, edited by Cherice Bock and Stephen Potthoff

Quakers, Creation Care, and Sustainability, edited by Cherice Bock and Stephen Potthoff, a Friends Association for Higher Education Book. Available in the UFM library and from Quaker Books of FGC (quakerbooks.org), Amazon (paperback and Kindle), and other bookstores.


Do Quakers think about caring for our Earth, responding to climate change, and building a more sustainable society? A collection of twenty-four essays plus multiple appendices,

this book is well worth exploring if you want to come up to speed on what is happening among the larger community of Friends. Each essay is a well-written statement on some aspect of Quaker spirituality, Quaker community, and Quaker action relating to Earth care. While the book is some 450 pages long, I found it well worth the read. 


Here are brief descriptions of a few of the essays: The first several essays look back on early Quaker authors. In Mike Heller’s essay “John Woolman’s Environmental Consciousness” (essay 2), John Woolman is quoted as writing that “where the love of God is verily perfected and the true spirit of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness toward all creatures made subject to us will be experienced.” The “made subject to us” phrase expresses how many Quaker’s of Woolman’s time viewed Nature: a reservoir of resources to be utilized (carefully) for human benefit. 


In her essay titled “Quakers and Creation Care: Potential Pitfalls for an Ecotheology of Friends” (essay 5), Cherice Bock explores how Friends relate to Creation, noting that we tend “to spiritualize our faith, disconnecting it from the material world.” Bock feels that “as the context within which all other social justice issues take place, it became clear to me that caring for the planet is the social justice issue of our time.” Bock asks “In relation to care for the planet, what happens when we imagine that of God not only in every one, but also in every thing?”


In “Maragoli Shamanism Marries Quaker Christianity” (essay 8), S. Chagala Ngesa, a fourth-generation Kenyan Quaker, is also a shaman for his Maragoli tribe. Ngesa compares the Quaker idea of “speaking to that of God in every person” with his tribe’s tradition emphasizing “the immanence of God in everything that is, both living and nonliving.” The essay compares the views of different branches of Quakerism with Maragoli traditions and his role in the tribe as a shaman.


The last section of the book has descriptions of Quaker organizations working on climate change, including Quaker Earthcare Witness, Earth Quaker Action Team, Quaker Institute for the Future, and Friends World Committee for Consultation, among others. The book also has an appendix of documents and committee reports from Quaker organizations in the past.


Overall, the book depicts a broad range of efforts by a wide variety of Quakers and Quaker organizations. To this reviewer, the key challenges presented to us are the following:

Rick Ells, reviewer


Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe,

Climate change is real and it is happening now, affecting the lives of millions of people. We are seeing it in unexpected weather patterns, unusually severe storms and droughts, changes in the oceans and much more.


I have been following the topic of climate change for years, reading lots of articles and books. I recently encountered a book that particularly spoke to me and my Quaker ways. The book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, by Katharine Hayhoe, both provides an overview of what climate change is and describes a pathway to mitigating its effects.


Hayhoe is an accomplished climate scientist who has been working actively for years with a wide range of groups, including military generals, corporate executives, religious organizations, fraternal orders and government officials, to build an understanding of what climate change is and how we can respond to it. Hayhoe strongly advocates talking about climate change NOW. Begin the conversation, the learning, and the discerning of actions and directions. Climate change is something that affects ALL COMMUNITIES. We can’t just stay in our own little groups on this one, we have to work together to build effective, durable change around the world. 


Her advocacy approach involves first establishing connection with a group, such as a Rotary Club in Texas, by encouraging them to share the climate-related experiences they are having personally, relating those experiences to the group’s creed or faith and then working with them to develop their ability to respond meaningfully to the challenge of climate change. She summarizes it as “Bond, Connect, and Inspire.” She emphasizes the value of example. The first person to install solar panels on their house in a neighborhood can catalyze others to take similar actions. A community of people sharing how they are being affected by climate change and the ways they are trying to respond can develop a sense of efficacy—“we can do this!”—mutually supporting each other in learning and acting. The example of such an initiative can inspire other communities to begin their work. I suggest UFM become such a community. I suggest we all obtain this book, read it and use it as a guide in bonding, connecting and inspiring each other. Rick Ells - reviewer

Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story From Despair to Possibility, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua (2023)

This is a collection of essays from writers around the world (and at least one from the future), sharing disparate yet always-hopeful visions of exactly how badly off we are, and many ways we can change—by engaging our imaginations, our power of community, our political power, and even our humor. In an act of hope, I gave it to a relative who had declared, “It’s too late, and we’re all just screwed.” (The thank-you note has not yet arrived,but the giver has not abandoned hope…) - Amanda Franklin, reviewer

Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet, Hannah Ritchie (2024)

The author spoke to my condition in her first chapter: “Our impending doom leaves us feeling paralyzed. If we’re already screwed, then what’s the point in trying? Far from making us more effective in driving change, it robs us of any motivation to do so. I recognize this from my own dark period when I nearly walked away from the field entirely. I can assure you that after reframing how I saw the world, I have had a much, much bigger impact on changing things. When it comes down to it, dooms-day attitudes are often no better than denial.” - Amanda Franklin, reviewer

Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit (2016, 2nd ed 2019)

The author I met through her earlier work, Men Explain Things To Me, wrote Hope as a response to George Bush’s election. It has been praised as “one of the best books of the 21st century” (The Guardian) and with “No writer has better understood the mix of fear and possibility, peril and exuberance that’s marked this new millennium” (Bill McKibben). Solnit makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable. Drawing on her decades of activism and a wide reading of environmental, cultural, and political history, she argues that radicals have a long, neglected history of transformative victories, that the positive consequences of our acts are not always immediately seen, directly knowable, or even measurable, and that pessimism and despair rest on an unwarranted confidence about knowing the future. - Amanda Franklin, reviewer

Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power, Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (2022)

Long-time Buddhist practitioner and activist Joanna Macy and her British colleague, Chris Johnstone, point out that active hope does not require optimism. They begin with “The Great Unraveling,” which we are now experiencing as life-support systems strain, and show us how to turn from “Business as Usual” to “The Great Turning.” Beginning with gratitude, they take us through a process of honoring the pain of the world, then seeing with new eyes, and finally “going forth.” They point out that we might each be called to different types of actions: Holding Actions, Creation of Life-Sustaining Systems and Practices, or Shifting Consciousness. Many have wept with relief when reading this book. Groups are available online and in person to process the work with others; I may be able to direct you toward some of those if you find yourself interested. - Amanda Franklin, reviewer

UFM Reports

University Friends Meeting reports, statements histories and guidelines

Minute Welcoming Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People (6/2017)

In June 2017, after a year of education and discernment, University Friends Meeting approved the following Minute:

University Friends Meeting, a member of North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, seeks to be an open and affirming faith community. We welcome all to share in worship and the activities of our common life.

University Friends Meeting understands that the Divine Source is leading our Meeting to honor the gender identity and expression of each person, as understood by that person. We affirm that gender expression and identity may be fluid and changeable. We recognize that when we embrace the Light within the full spectrum of gender identities in our Meeting, our worship deepens and our community is enriched.

As part of our evolving struggle to live our testimony of equality, University Friends Meeting minutes our commitment to becoming an affirming, safe, and nurturing place for everyone to live fully that which the Spirit is leading them to be.

We extend our loving care to people of all genders, including, but not limited to, transgender, gender queer, cisgender, gender fluid, agender, gender nonconforming and intersex persons, their families and friends. We will continue to educate ourselves and our communities and take appropriate action to bring about a more equal world.

The North Pacific Yearly Meeting passed a similar minute in July 2017. If you have any questions, we have compiled a set of definitions and a list of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Stories & Resources.

Guidelines on Handling Email (11/2013)

Thoughts on UFM Email

While email is a tremendous benefit to us, at times it can be a burden. Care and Counsel Committee put together the following document to help fellow members. It is common when in the midst of an email problem that we feel the need to help the other person understand our position or make our points more firmly. In these guidelines below, we suggest another tack:

Whenever you feel the need to set things right, instead wait calmly. If after due consideration it is still necessary, briefly state your position once and move on.

Too Long

One strategy for long emails is to skim them looking for questions or requests. Limit your response to answering the questions or requests directly and briefly. This will greatly reduce how much must be read and understood, but still gives the other person a specific response. It represents a midpoint between ignoring an email and taking on the burden of reading and responding to an overly long missive.

Too Numerous

If you are receiving too may emails from another member, consider taking a break and filing for future perusal. Once your good feelings return you can limit the amount of mail you read from the other person by setting aside a period of time, say 10 minutes every Monday, to read and respond to their emails. Take the rest and file them for later.

Confusing

If the email is confusing and there are no requests or questions in it, then take whatever understanding you may have from it and move on. If there are requests or questions in it that you cannot understand, simply respond by letting the writer know that.

Unkind

A good rule of thumb is to read the first few sentences and ask yourself if you feel good about reading further. If continuing to read is digging a hole of bad feelings, then stop digging and move on. If you want, let the writer know that for you to read the email, he or she will need to rewrite it with kindness.

Writing Email

The other side of reading email is writing email. Kind, compassionate, and thoughtful emails that come quickly to the point and put any requests in the first sentence are the mostly likely to receive an audience. Put aside longer or heated emails until you have the chance to revise them to a paragraph or two of kind, compassionate, and thoughtful words.

Care and Counsel Committee, November 2013

What Do You Do That is Green? (3/2009)

(Posted on 3/4/09)

“What do you do that’s green?”

This question was posed by the Peace and Social Concerns committee, on a pin-board outside the worship room for the past several weeks.  It drew 56 response cards, many with several ideas. Here’s a summary of what they said, followed by several interesting or amusing specific comments.

By far the greatest number of folks addressed transportation: several drive hybrid cars, several said they don’t own a car, seven ride bicycles everywhere, and several bus or walk when possible.

Recycling and composting were the most common responses after transportation, including trading or remaking clothes, reusing plastic bags, even collecting chicken droppings.  Five people said they shop at thrift stores, and several limit their buying consumable goods in general. Six people said they grow some of their own food, and three others buy their produce from local growers whenever possible.

To save household energy, four Friends buy low-energy fluorescent bulbs, and two mentioned turning off lights when not in use. Six said they keep their house at 68 degrees and turn down the thermostat at night or when they’re away.  To stay warm, one person suggests, “Wear sweaters and cuddle under blankets.” Several wash dishes by hand and seven dry their clothes outdoors or on a rack or lines indoors.  One family has installed solar water heating.  Two cards mentioned replacing old windows with double-paned windows.

To save energy and water, several said they turn off the water while soaping up in the shower or washing their hands.  Two families even use “grey water” for flushing the toilet and vegetable-washing water to water their plants.

Three people mentioned saving trees by using cloth bags for groceries, and cloth napkins and towels in place of paper.

Finally, several Friends mentioned various forms of activism: educating acquaintances, lobbying, donating to green causes and shopping green, and voting “right.”

Here are some interesting, amusing, or unusual comments:

“Hold wonky tirades about the 3-year depreciation cycle for computers—I think it should be five years, at least.”

“Go on the bus to lots of boring meetings to promote pedestrian amenities.”

“Cremate draped body when the time comes to recycle quickly and easily…no jar—spread me around.”

“Understand why I enjoy nature; create things that are beautiful, will be cherished and saved.”

“We are the Recycle King and Queen of our block!”

“Clammy hands for the planet!  I’ve mostly stopped using paper towels in public rest rooms.”

“I nag organizations (mostly via email) to present transit, bicycle and walking directions on their websites and event announcements.  Amazingly enough, this is sometimes successful!  Look at www.200.org for a good example.”

“Make my Halloween costume out of recyclable items…the ‘eco-couture model’!”

“My work, Urban Hardwoods, diverts trees from Seattle’s neighborhoods from going to landfills and uses the reclaimed lumber to build fine furniture.”

“I’ve rehabbed six old houses, adding insulation, double-paned windows, efficient furnaces and water heters.  I’ve installed 200-300 compact fluorescent light bulbs in the past three years.”

Statement of Support of Sanctuary for War Resisters in the Military (7/2006)

University Monthly Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Seattle, Washington, USA

7/27/06

At their regularly scheduled meeting for business held this day, Friends approved the following statement of support:

In mid-June, 2006, First United Methodist Church of Tacoma became a sanctuary church and made the following statement:

“This church has long been active in efforts to achieve reconciliation and peace in our community and the world. Tacoma is surrounded by military bases and inextricably connected to the consequences of war. We have been asked to consider supporting service men and women by becoming a sanctuary for those considering resisting deployment to combat duties. We are called upon to respond to our Christian faith tradition and religious heritage, and to the needs of all who seek to live according to the dictates of conscience.

“We declare that ‘sanctuary’ is a place made holy by the sanctifying action of God, amidst God’s people–an act of obedience to the mandate of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We offer protection, advocacy, and support to those who, after individual examination of conscience, are unable to participate in the armed forces of the United States or combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. ”

University Friends Meeting, (Quakers) of Seattle, in accordance with our faith’s 350 year tradition of opposition to war, wishes to endorse First United Methodist Church of Tacoma’s stand in offering sanctuary, a sacred space for service men and women considering resisting deployment to combat duties. These decisions must be very difficult to make. And sanctuary will be a blessing to the men and women struggling with them. We will circulate your request for assistance to our members and our Peace and Social Concerns Committee is sending you a financial contribution. May God bless your continuing efforts.

We know that following one’s “inner light ” not to participate in war while in the military takes tremendous courage. We are heartened by those who take that path. They bring hope to a war-sick world. We thank them for considering seriously the path of peace.