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Hampshire and Islands Quakers and Sustainability

Sustainability is one of the five Quaker testimonies – the core ways in which Quakers try to put their faith into practice.

Our testimony to sustainability means:
  • we value and celebrate the earth and the beauty of the natural world
  • we aim to minimise the damage we do to it, especially our contribution to the climate crisis
  • we live in a way that will preserve the earth and its resources for future generations
In Hampshire and the Islands we have audited the actions we are taking for sustainability, and committed ourselves to doing more.

Local Meetings

We have done most of our work for sustainability at the level of local meetings. The situation of local meetings varies and so does the amount a meeting and its members can do.

For example, some meetings own the building where they meet, so they have installed insulation and efficient heating, and used environmentally friendly paint for renovations; whereas other meetings rent space and have no control over improvements to the building. Several meetings use greener suppliers of cleaning materials and other purchases.

The Isle of Wight Meeting teamed up with the local Wildlife Trust to plant trees.

Quakers also work with other local groups who share our aims and principles. For example, Alton Meeting hosted meetings for a local repair café, and Winchester Meeting took part in local events for a ‘Green Week’.

Area Meeting

As an Area Meeting we do not invest in fossil fuels.

We are also considering how to continue the massive reduction in car-driving which has been enforced by Covid-19; most of us are keen to get back to meeting in person, but we also want to make the best use of online meeting technology to avoid unnecessary car mileage.

Individual Friends

We are all called to consider the impact of our own lives and actions; most friends try to adapt their lifestyle to minimise the damage we do to the environment.

Many of us use public transport and cycle as much as is practical in our own situation. Many of us have cut down on eating meat, or stick to a vegan diet. Many are also involved in local, national or international campaigns. This is part of acting on our testimony to sustainability even if we do it as individuals and not alongside other local Quakers.

Our commitment

After we audited the actions we have already taken, we have committed ourselves to doing more. But we also recognise the need for a balance – sometimes an uncomfortable one – between the urgency of the climate crisis, and our individual need to accept our own limitations.

Whatever we do, it will feel like not enough! Still, we are hoping to do more, and we have faith that simply by listing, and celebrating, the things we are already doing, we can fill the gaps and make even more of a difference. We are looking for sustainability ‘champions’ from each local meeting to encourage Friends to live more sustainably.

We are trying to apply the ‘Advices and Queries’ developed by Bristol Meeting which can be viewed here: https://bristolquakers.org.uk/sustainability-advices-queries-for-quakers

This is both a practical task and a spiritual process. We are looking for ways to develop our awareness of the climate crisis and how we can make a difference; to support each other in this huge challenge; and to witness to our work, so that other people in our locality can see what we are doing and be drawn to a more sustainable lifestyle and to an awareness of Quaker life and action.
If you want to get more involved in action on climate change, here are links to some local organisation who are already active.

Quakers at BYM

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust – the leading nature conservation charity in the two counties

Extinction Rebellion

Hampshire Friends of the Earth Network

This page was updated on 11 September 2021.