Climate Witness Committee

This committee was created by Mount Toby Friends on 2/10/13.  Its purpose is to bring forward and support ways the Meeting can become more sustainable. The committee encourages and supports those who are led to a climate witness based on Quaker values.  It also communicates with other Quaker and non-Quaker organizations working for a more sustainable planet.

In January 2014, Mount Toby Friends approved a climate minute which originated in the committee and was accepted with minor improvements.

The Climate Witness Committee emerged from what was known as the Climate Consciousness Group, which had a four-year history as a group focused on sustainable living. In that time it  moved from studying the problem to a spiritual witness for changes necessary to mitigate some of the consequences of climate change. A need for action and witness will persist as far as we can see into the future. Earth stewardship is a widespread concern at Mount Toby as evidenced by attendance at our 11:40 Hours and the individual as well as group actions of many Mount Toby members and attenders.

The Climate Consciousness Group started by studying “Choices for Sustainable Living” and met monthly over the past for four years. In the first 11:40 Hour several years ago, we identified interests in further study, reducing our carbon footprint, and climate change witness. Last year we noted climate actions taken by Quaker meetings and we initiated a “Dime-a-Gallon Fund” to acknowledge and take mutual responsibility for the carbon emitted when we gather as a spiritual community.

In 2013 participants listed some 30 sustainable actions already taken by the Meeting. We spoke of the historic and spiritual grounding for Friends’ commitment to stewardship, noting that 7 of us (now joined with others) are engaged in a Voluntary Carbon Tax Witness, describing the witness and inviting others to join. The amount of tax is self-determined and confidential, though the witness is public. We suggested Meeting might join Interfaith Power & Light of Massachusetts.  We reported that some of us are active in a movement to divest fossil fuel stocks. We noted that Quakers are behind several other denominations that have defined standards for becoming a “green meeting” — are some us led to draft a set of standards?

Mount Toby Meeting’s creation of the Climate Witness Committee supports continuing exploration of climate change issues and spiritually-grounded witness that may emerge. It is evidence of Mount Toby’s on-going commitment and support for stewardship of the earth.