Quaker Earthcare Witness, the Quaker United Nations Office, and Friends Committee on National Legislation prepared A Shared Quaker Statement: Facing the Challenge of Climate Change during the UN Climate Summit in September 2014. The Statement was originally written as a ‘witness’ of our role in anthropogenic climate change. Its aim was to inspire personal and community action. The Statement was revised in January 2015 to reflect the following concerns: that it have longer life by being non-date specific to continue its relevance, and that the language be less anthropocentric and more strongly acknowledge the grave dangers we face from climate change. It was revised in August 2015, to add the word ‘anthropogenic’ in clarifying the statement relating greenhouse gas emissions to the combustion of fossil fuels.
“It would go a long way to caution and direct people in their use of the world, that they were better studied and knowing in the Creation of it. For how could [they] find the confidence to abuse it, while they should see the great Creator stare them in the face, in all and every part of it?” William Penn, 1693
As Quakers, we are called to work for the peaceable Kingdom of God on the whole Earth, in right sharing with all peoples. We recognize a moral duty to cherish Creation for future generations.
We call on our leaders to make the radical decisions needed to create a fair, sufficient and effective international climate change agreement.
As Quakers, we understand anthropogenic climate change (climate change due to human activities) to be a symptom of a greater challenge: how to live sustainably and justly on this Earth.
We recognize that the current rise of greenhouse gas emissions is leading to an unprecedented rate of increase in global average surface temperature of extreme detriment to the Earth’s ecosystems and species, including human beings.
We recognize that catastrophic global climate change is not inevitable if we choose to act urgently.
We recognize a personal and collective responsibility to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable peoples now, and all our future generations, do not suffer as a consequence of our actions. We see this as a call to conscience.
We recognize the connections between climate change and global economic injustice as well as unprecedented levels of consumption, and question assumptions of unlimited material growth on a planet with limited natural resources.
We recognize that most anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are created by fossil fuel combustion. We recognize that our increasing population continues to pursue fossil fuel-dependent economic growth. We recognize that the Earth holds more fossil fuel reserves than are safe to burn, and that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we are to prevent the catastrophic consequences of climate change. We therefore question profoundly the continued investment in, and subsidizing of, fossil fuel extraction.
We seek to nurture a global human society that prioritizes the well-being of people over profit, and lives in right relationship with our Earth; a peaceful world with fulfilling employment, clean air and water, renewable energy, and healthy thriving communities and ecosystems.
As members of this beautiful human family, we seek meaningful commitments from our leaders and ourselves, to address climate change for our shared future, the Earth and all species, and the generations to come. We see this Earth as a stunning gift that supports life. It is our only home. Let us care for it together.